Cumberland County denied law firm access to documents in excessive force claims, attorney says

This article touches on a few important issues. There are two things to know: 1) Courts have held that records that pre-date the start of an investigation are public in nature. 2) The law limits when a records custodian can unilaterally grant himself or herself an extension of time. See an NJFOG communication on item 2 here, which appears with other good tips on NJFOG’s website under Resources/OPRA & OPMA Education/Knowledge Corner.  – NJFOG
May 28, 2015
by Spencer Kent
(Excerpts from the article appear below. Read the full article here.)

BRIDGETON — A Philadelphia attorney is suing Cumberland County, alleging that the county has yet to turn over documents and other material from an Open Public Records Act request related to allegations of excessive force against two inmates in the Cumberland County Jail.

Conrad J. Benedetto is representing Rashee Barlow, 27, of Cortland, New York, and Raheem Jacobs, 26, of Bridgeton — both of whom have claimed two separate incidents of assault and abuse by corrections officers while serving time in the Cumberland County Jail earlier this year.

Benedetto’s office filed two civil complaints in Cumberland County Superior Court earlier this month alleging that the county violated the New Jersey Open Public Records Act by not returning material the law firm claims it is entitled to under an OPRA request that the firm submitted on March 11.

According to a news release from Benedetto, his office sought documents as well as videos and audio from the Cumberland County Jail connected to the allegations of excessive force against Jacobs and Barlow.

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