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CJ Griffin Quoted in New Jersey Law Journal Regarding OPRA case, “5-2 High Court Majority: County Prosecutor Organization Not Required to Turn Over Records to ACLU”

New Jersey Law Journal

CJ Griffin, partner and director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C. was quoted in a New Jersey Law Journal article titled, “5-2 High Court Majority: County Prosecutor Organization Not Required to Turn Over Records to ACLU.” The article discusses a recent 5-2 decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court decreeing that the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey is not a public agency, therefore it does not have to comply with the Open Public Records Act.

"Although I wish the dissent’s reasoning had prevailed, what seems clear is that when CPANJ’s records are in the hands of a prosecutor or other public agency, they can likely still be obtained that way. It will just take much more time and effort to track down which of the 21 prosecutor offices holds a particular document,” said CJ Griffin, who filed a supporting brief in the case on behalf of Libertarians for Transparent Government and the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey.

Griffin added that the case may have opened a can of worms for CPANJ as a result of the court’s ruling that it is not a public agency.

First, it conceded at oral argument that OPRA’s deliberative process privilege would not apply to communications between the attorney general and CPANJ if CPANJ is found to be a private organization. And second, there are some serious concerns about whether the practice of using assistant prosecutors to represent CPANJ in court is lawful, in addition to CPANJ using other government resources like secretarial staff to work its conferences,” Griffin said.

To read the full New Jersey Law Journal article, click here.

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