CJ Griffin Quoted in New Jersey Law Journal Article on Confusion Surrounding Implementation of Daniel's Law
CJ Griffin, Partner and Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in the New Jersey Law Journal article, “ Confusion Surrounds Implementation of Law Enacted to Keep Judges Addresses Private.” The article discusses confusion that has developed in the implementation of Daniel’s Law, designed to protect, and prevent public disclosure of home addresses and telephone numbers of, judges, police officers and prosecutors. The article notes that record custodians who respond to requests under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) say that complying with the law is problematic because they have no way of knowing which records correspond to current or former judges and others covered by the law.
A lawyer who represents parties making records requests, CJ Griffin of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden in Hackensack said one municipal records custodian recently denied a request from her client for property records because the agency could not be sure the records sought did not belong to someone promised protection under Daniel’s Law. The agency later reversed that position, Griffin said.
“I think that the Legislature rushed to pass something out of good intentions but didn’t think how practical it was or how to implement it,” Griffin said. “I think the Legislature should revisit providing a mechanism” for determining whose records should be declared off-limits, she said.
Notwithstanding the tragedy that befell Salas and her husband, Griffin said she thinks Daniel’s Law takes the wrong approach.
“I’m not a fan of it,” she said of the law. “I believe judges and police should be safe in their homes but there are other ways to protect them such as heightened security. This bill is almost impossible to implement.”
She said concealing property ownership records for police could permit a dishonest police chief to buy a house at a discounted price “in a sweetheart deal in exchange for who knows what.”
“It’s very well-intended but it’s problematic to me that a class of people can engage in real estate transactions and we will not know about them because releasing the records will violate Daniel’s Law. So it almost condones secret land transactions,” Griffin said.
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