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CJ Griffin Quoted in the New Jersey Monitor discussing New Jersey Supreme Court Ruling Ordering Public Disclosure of Police Internal Affairs Reports


CJ Griffin, Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in the New Jersey Monitor article, “Court ruling on police records a win for transparency, advocates say.” The article discusses the recent New Jersey Supreme Court victory in which Griffin represented the plaintiff seeking the internal affairs records of the director of the Elizabeth Police Department who had been found to violate Elizabeth’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.  While acknowledging that police internal affairs reports are not subject to the Open Public Records Act, the NJ Supreme Court held that such reports should be released under the common law right of access. The Court also set forth factors that public agencies and trial courts should consider when deciding whether to release internal affairs reports. The court reversed the Appellate Court decision and ordered the trial court to release the records, with appropriate redactions.

Attorney CJ Griffin, who argued the case on behalf of plaintiff Richard Rivera, said the ruling should help open internal affairs records, at least in the most egregious cases of police misconduct. The decision sets a bar for why such records should be disclosed, unlike previous precedents, which outlined reasons supporting non-disclosure, Griffin added.

“Maybe we’re not going to get the records that are like ‘so-and-so was punished because they were tardy,’ but we’re going to get the ones that are about excessive force and discrimination and cases like this,” Griffin said. “We will have to keep litigating because police departments are so secretive. But I think this decision is going to go a long way to opening these records.”

To view the full article, click here.  

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