By Richard Johnson
Hardened tabloid-TV veterans are protesting the harsh treatment of a New Jersey wedding photographer caught growing 17 pot plants.
Jon Peditto (the son of John Parsons Peditto, former news director at Channel 5’s “10 O’Clock News” and co-creator of “Hard Copy”) was sentenced Friday in Toms River, NJ, to eight years for drug manufacturing and distribution.
Family members, who are trying to raise $35,000 to hire a lawyer to appeal, say, “Jon is a gentle, compassionate man with no prior criminal record. His only ‘crime’ is gardening without a license.”
Burt Kearns, a former managing editor of “Hard Copy” and executive producer of “A Current Affair,” told me, “If Jon Peditto lived in Colorado or Oregon, he’d be getting an award from the Better Business Bureau instead of facing what could be the rest of his life in prison.”
Kearns blames New Jersey’s “outdated” and “draconian” marijuana laws, and said Peditto is being punished because he declined to cop a plea.
“He’s a brave man. He wouldn’t take a deal. He took a stand against the law,” said Kearns, producer of the pro-pot comedy “High There,” starring Wayne Darwen — also a veteran of “A Current Affair,” “Hard Copy,” and “Inside Edition.”
Darwen said, “Jon’s a gardener, not El Chapo, and El Chapo only got 22 years last time he was sentenced!”