CJ Griffin, Partner and Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, participated in an interview by the ACLU-New Jersey titled “What Is The Open Public Records Act And How Does It Impact New Jersey?” Griffin, who is Vice President of the ACLU-NJ Board of Trustees, discussed the importance of the Open Public Records Act and holding those in power accountable. OPRA remains important today and for the future.
To view the article, click here.
To watch the video of the interview, click here.
On November 16, 2022, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order (EO) No. 311, which exempts all name change orders filed with the New Jersey Department of the Treasury after 1948 from the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). The EO aligns the Treasury Department’s records system with the Judiciary’s, which amended court rules in 2021 to ensure that all name changes records are confidential and that name changes do not need to be publicized. The goal of both the court rule change and EO 311 is to protect the privacy of those seeking gender-affirming change changes.
The New Jersey Attorney General has published a database of all of the major discipline reports that police departments have released this week in response to Law Enforcement Directive 2020-5. Although the AG is heralding the disclosures as “an important and necessary step to build greater public trust,” we are already identifying discrepancies. Here is another troublesome one from Lower Alloways Creek Police Department, in Salem County.
According to Lower Alloways Creek Police Department’s 2020 Annual Major Discipline Report, officer Jared Adkins “was terminated ...
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Law Enforcement Directive 2020-5, the Attorney General set a deadline of August 9, 2021 for agencies to make major discipline disclosures by posting on their websites “the identity of each officer subject to final discipline, a brief summary of their transgressions, and a statement of the sanction imposed” for all major discipline imposed after 6/15/2020. These disclosures are exposing how police departments will easily evade the very little transparency that AG Directive 2020-5 provides to the public.
On June 7, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Attorney General by upholding Law Enforcement Directives Nos. 2020-5 and No. 2020-6, which ordered law enforcement agencies throughout the state to annually publish the names of police officers who were either terminated, demoted or suspended for more than 5 days. We previously blogged about the Directives here and here.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner delivered the opinion of a unanimous court finding that Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal had the authority to issue the Directives, which are, “consistent with ...
It's Sunshine Week and this year it kicks off in New Jersey with oral arguments before our Supreme Court in an important Open Public Records Act (OPRA) case.
On March 15, 2021, the Supreme Court will hear Bozzi v. City of Jersey City, a case that asks whether a list of names and addresses of dog license holders are accessible under OPRA. The plaintiff seeks the list for commercial purposes--he intends to mail dog owners information about his invisible fences. The case is listed as the second case of the day, which means arguments will begin sometime after 11:00 a.m.
CJ Griffin of Pashman Stein ...
On March 2, 2021 at 10:00 A.M., the New Jersey Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case In re Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive Nos. 2020-05 and 2020-06. The argument will be streamed live on the Judiciary's website, which you can view live on March 2nd.
We previously wrote about this case while it was pending in the Appellate Division:
In mid-June 2020, the Attorney General of New Jersey issued two important police transparency directives, both of which have been challenged and were before the Appellate Division this week.
The first directive, Law Enforcement ...
Today the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear the plaintiff's appeal in Libertarians for Transparent Gov't v. Cumberland County, 465 N.J. Super. 11 (App. Div. 2020), a published decision that shut down public access to non-litigation settlement agreements that resolve a public employee's internal discipline.
CJ Griffin of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden filed the successful petition for certification. We will blog soon with more details about the case and the issues before the Supreme Court. In the meantime, readers can view John Paff's blog for more details about the matter when ...
As our readers may recall, Governor Murphy recently signed "Daniel's Law" into law, which exempts the home addresses of current and former judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers from access under OPRA. A bill pending in the New Jersey Legislature would expand those exemptions to include two additional categories of persons.
Among other things, Senate Bill 3209 exempts from OPRA "that portion of any document which discloses the home address, whether a primary or secondary residence, of any active, formerly active, or retired probation officer or member of the ...
Happy New Year! The year 2020 was a year unlike any other. As we look back at transparency issues that arose over the past year, we hope that this blog finds our readers healthy and well.
Pandemic Creates Transparency Hurdles
Transparency was front and center in New Jersey in 2020, although sometimes it was the lack of transparency that was the focus.
On March 9, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 103 to declare a Public Health Emergency in New Jersey. Days later, the Legislature rushed to amend the Open Public Meetings Act (OPRA) so that public agencies would not have to comply ...