On January 7, 2020, the ACLU of New Jersey filed an amicus brief with other advocates who support police records transparency. At issue is the release of internal affairs records regarding Neptune Township Police Officer Phillip Seidle who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his wife on a street in front of their child and several police officers. The Asbury Park Press requested his internal affairs records pursuant to OPRA and the common law. Ultimately, the trial court granted access to the records pursuant to the common law and awarded attorneys’ fees. The government appealed. The amicus brief argues that: (1) public access to internal affairs records would benefit the public; (2) transparency strengthens trust between the community and police; (3) transparency benefits police officers personally; and (4) secrecy undermines the public’s efforts to hold their government accountable against corruption. The brief also argues that the trial court was authorized to award attorneys’ fees under the common law.
Asbury Park Press v. Township of Neptune
CJ Griffin/Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, P.C.; Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey; Libertarians For Transparent Government; Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey; New Jersey Foundation For Open Government
January 7, 2019
Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division