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Open Government Advocacy Project:
Morristown: Appellate Division to hear argument Wednesday on police suspension case.
 

Issue Detail:

 
On Wednesday, September 21, 2011, the Appellate Division will hear oral argument in the case of John Paff v. Borough of Chatham, Docket No. A-2350-10. The argument is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. at the Morris County Courthouse, Court Room 12, Morristown. Background: In early 2010, newspapers reported that Chatham Borough Police Sergeant Roy George allegedly left a backpack containing a loaded, .45-caliber handgun on a Westfield sidewalk after a night of drinking. The papers also reported that Sergeant George had been demoted and suspended as a result of this incident. After learning of the matter, I submitted a records request for a record that disclosed the length of George\'s suspension. The Borough of Chatham denied access to that record “based on the confidentiality for personnel records.” In June 2010, Richard Gutman, Esq. of Montclair filed suit against Chatham on my behalf under the common law right of access. In essense, the suit claimed that the public\'s right to know the duration of George\'s suspension was superior to George\'s or the Borough\'s interest in keeping that information confidential. On December 3, 2010, Morris County Assignment Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis upheld the Borough\'s refusal to dislose the length of George\'s suspension and dismissed my complaint. Judge Bozonelis held that “the release of the information would have a chilling effect on the otherwise private personnel evaluation and analysis of public employees.” The judge expressed concern that knowing the length of George\'s suspension might allow the public to derive information about his prior, confidential disciplinary history. The press and public is welcome to attend Wednesday\'s argument. The case filings in the trial court are on-line at http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2010272oD//PaffvChatham.pdf. The appellate briefs filed by both sides are on-line here.

 

Documents:

 


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New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project: Morristown: Appellate Division to hear argument Wednesday on police suspension case.. September 18, 2011.
URL: http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2011260pM/
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