In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, New Jersey’s Attorney General issued two directives calling on state and local police agencies to release the names of law enforcement officers subject to major discipline, including those subject to discipline within the last 20 years. In response, five police unions representing law enforcement officers sued. The ACLU-NJ, alongside advocacy and service organizations in New Jersey, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the directives before the Appellate Division on July 7, 2020. The Appellate Division upheld the directives, and the law enforcement unions appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court. The ACLU-NJ again filed an amicus brief alongside 26 community organizations, emphasizing that police accountability requires transparency in disciplinary records, and that transparency in police discipline is essential to public safety and the public interest.
In March 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments from parties to the case and amici, including the ACLU-NJ. The Court issued its decision on June 7, 2021, largely upholding the directives. However, the Court limited the retroactive effect of the directives and also left open the possibility that individual officers can bring future legal challenges to the way the directives are implemented.
- In re: Attorney General: NJSC Opinion (378 KB pdf)
- In re: Attorney General: Amicus Brief (204 KB pdf)
- October 16, 2020: Court Affirms Authority to Require Police Transparency