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.
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.
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 ...
Update as of 10/23/2020: As mentioned below, we filed OPRA requests on September 26, 2020 for videos that had not been released. On October 6, 2020, the State said it did not have body cam or dash cam footage of the shooting of Luan Agolli. However, it released some surveillance camera videos here. On October 7, 2020, the State identified the man who died in Totowa on June 27th as Sergio Rodgiguez. As of today, it has not released any videos and said such videos might be produced by October 28, 2020 (which will be 123 days from the incident).
In New Jersey ...