CASE SUMMARY: John Paff v. Andrew C. Carey, Middlesex County Prosecutor

Case Name: John Paff v. Andrew C. Carey in his capacity as Middlesex County Prosecutor
Docket Number: MID-L-4240-15
County / Vicinage: Middlesex
Filing Date: July 22, 2015
Judge: Francis, Travis L.
Status: Closed

 

Overview:

John Paff filed suit against the Middlesex County Prosecutor to obtain the Promis/Gavel reports available to that office.

The Promis/Gavel System is the state’s criminal case database. There is an online public access portal with basic, limited information. In contrast, court and law enforcement personnel have access to full information and custom reports providing frequent updates to court schedules and case statuses. The lawsuit addresses the question of whether these reports — both those already produced and those capable of being run — are accessible by the public under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

There are two interesting issues here aside from the primary question of whether the Promis Gavel custom reports are accessible to the public.  One issue is that Prosecutors are subject to OPRA while the Judiciary is not (though the Judiciary’s records may be publicly accessible under other laws). This could allow for easier access to some court records using the OPRA request process. The second issue concerns whether public agencies are required to run a report off a database to fill an OPRA request. Is this creating a record? But more to the point, are records stored in electronic form OPRA-able?

Judge Travis L. Francis heard the case on September 16, 2015 and ruled for the defendant in this matter.

 

Case Documents:

Complaint, Opposition, Certifications, Briefs, and Order to Show Cause
http://www.njclear.org/PaffVCarey1.pdf

 

Articles & posts:

Middlesex Court to decide who can access Promis/Gavel reports
http://njfog.org/2015/08/25/middlesex-court-to-decide-who-can-access-promisgavel-reports/

Court to decide whether public–or only law enforcement–can access Promis/Gavel’s customized reports.
http://njopengovt.blogspot.com/2015/08/court-to-decide-whether-public-or-only.html