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.

As NJ Advance ...

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. You can watch it here.

CJ ...

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 by clicking here.

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 ...

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 ...

On December 21, 2020, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced changes to the statewide “Use of Force Policy,” the first revision to the policy in two decades. Among other things, the new policy prohibits the use of deadly force against citizens “except as an absolute last resort.” Because the Attorney General is New Jersey’s “chief law enforcement officer,” this policy is binding upon every law enforcement agency in the state.

The new policy has been widely applauded by both the law enforcement community and the civil rights community. In terms of ...

On Nov. 20, 2020, Governor Murphy signed A-1649 into law. Among other things, the bill amends OPRA to render certain home addresses exempt from public access.

Specifically, the new law immediately exempts from access "that portion of any document which discloses the home address, whether a primary or secondary residence, of any active, formerly active, or retired judicial officer or prosecutor."  A "judicial officer" is defined as an "active, formerly active, or retired federal, state, county, or municipal judge, including a judge of the Tax Court and any other court of limited ...

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