Rivera v. Vargas and the NJ State Police

On Sept. 17, 2012, the ACLU-NJ filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey State Police for unlawfully denying a request for public records detailing its promotion policies. The ACLU-NJ filed the lawsuit on behalf of Richard Rivera, who requested the documents on behalf of the Civil Rights Protection Project of the Latino Leadership Alliance. On July 25, Rivera filed a request under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) for all written policies, procedures, or orders that reflect the criteria, processes and methods of promotion in the State Police. The state rejected his request on Aug. 2, stating it was too broad and that newly adopted regulations allow the state to withhold broad categories of public documents – even general policies – from the public. Open government advocates, such as the ACLU-NJ, testified against the regulations for compromising transparency prior to the regulations’ passage in December 2011, arguing that many of the documents the State considers exempt are innocuous. The state Attorney General assured the ACLU-NJ that the regulations were not intended to make general policies and procedures – such as the ones Rivera requested – confidential.

Current Status: This case is before Superior Court in Mercer County.

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Listen to audio comments from attorney Janie Byalik of the law firm Pashman Stein, P.C. about this case.

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