The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced this afternoon that charges will not be filed against the two Princeton parking enforcement officers related to the trade of food and other goods with some downtown businesses in exchange for not issuing parking tickets.
Two representatives from the prosecutor’s office met in closed session with Princeton officials last night to discuss the case. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said the office can’t discuss the specifics of that meeting. The office issued a statement to the press explaining why charges are not being filed.
Enforcement officer Chris Boutote was placed on unpaid leave and was terminated by the town after an investigation regarding the matter.
“In light of the proofs in the case, Mr. Boutote’s age and lack of prior record, our office determined that his likely sentence would have been admittance into a pretrial intervention program conditioned upon job forfeiture,” Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Spokeswoman Casey DeBlasio wrote in an email to reporters. “This was accomplished through Mr. Boutote’s termination by Princeton, and our office felt that prosecution would not serve the interest of justice.”
Enforcement officer Jon Hughes was placed on four weeks of unpaid leave during the investigation and was then demoted.
“With regard to Mr. Hughes, our office agreed that he was appropriately addressed through Princeton’s administrative channels,” DeBlasio wrote.
Planet Princeton broke the story detailing how employees of some downtown businesses were able to park at expired meters and in two-hour zones all day without receiving parking tickets in exchange for food and other goods. More than 16 cars were observed on Humbert Street and Greenview Avenue, for example, displaying menus and other items from local eateries on the dashboards. Those cars were never ticketed, yet residents who parked too long in the two-hour parking zones were aggressively ticketed, and there were often no spaces for the residents or their guests because of all the employee cars parked on the streets.