CJ Griffin, Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in an article in NJ.com, “Should police disciplinary records be public? In N.J., the answer is still ‘no,’ but some want that to change."
In discussing whether public disclosure of police disciplinary records should be required by law, the article highlights a case filed by Griffin in 2017 on behalf of Libertarians for Transparent Government, which case is currently pending before the New Jersey Supreme Court. In that case, the trial court denied a request, which denial was subsequently upheld by the appellate court, for information as to a New Jersey State Trooper’s name, title, and date of separation and the reason thereof. The request was made after an annual public report of the State Police Office of Professional Standards Report disclosed that a Trooper pled guilty to, among other things, engaging in racially offensive behavior, and was required to separate from employment. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys of New Jersey, and a coalition of 16 media outlets, led by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, filed amicus briefs in the Supreme Court arguing that disclosure of the terminated Trooper’s name is in the public interest.
Griffin was quoted in the NJ.com article regarding the case.
CJ Griffin of Pashman Stein, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of Paff’s group, Libertarians for Transparent Government, said it’s important that members of the public know when officers have engaged in misconduct.
“Was he permitted to resign in lieu of termination and is now working someplace else,” asked Griffin, a public records attorney.
Griffin added that New Jersey’s public records law shields more than rogue police officers.
But the Legislature has not moved yet to open up disciplinary records to the public, as has been done in many other states, according to Griffin.
Please click here for an online version of the article.