Magazine article The Quill

SPJ Helps Win Open Records Victory in New Jersey

Magazine article The Quill

SPJ Helps Win Open Records Victory in New Jersey

Article excerpt

April 4

The Society helped convince a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey that police reports - and 911 tapes - are public records under the state's laws.

In the case of Asbury Park Press vs. Lakewood Township Police Department, the Society and two other organizations supported the Asbury Park Press' legal action to seek the release of 911 tapes and police reports regarding a July 6, 2001, police chase in Lakewood Township, N.J. The New Jersey Attorney General appeared as an amicus on the other side of the issue.

Judge Eugene D. Serpentelli found that the police reports and the 911 tapes are both public records. The judge said, however, that the 911 tapes will be disclosed immediately and the police reports will be confidential until any trial is completed.

The judge's ruling was one of first impression in New Jersey and could help set precedents in the state and around the nation regarding open records issues for 911 tapes. …

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