Security camera footage OPRA case goes to NJ Supreme Court

On November 6, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear Bloomfield Township’s (Essex County) appeal of a May 13, 2015 Appellate Division ruling that required the Township to provide an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requestor with 14 hours of video taken by a stationary camera located on the back of Bloomfield’s municipal building.

The Appellate case:  A-15-15  Patricia Gilleran v. The Township of Bloomfield (076114)  –  “Does the Open Public Records Act require the Township to disclose video recordings from a security camera surveilling the back of the Township’s municipal building (i.e., Town Hall)?” (This summary of the core question in the case is from the Judiciary’s website.)

In Gilleran v. Township of Bloomfield, both the Trial Court and the Appellate Division held that the Township had not proven that disclosure of security video would jeopardize safety. The NJ Supreme Court has granted Bloomfield’s request to appeal those decisions to the Supreme Court. The Court’s decision to accept the appeal is not an indication of whether the Court will change the lower courts’ decision; it does mean, at a minimum, that this is an issue that the Supreme Court thinks is important and needs additional clarification or amplification.

The progress of the appeal to the Supreme Court can be tracked at the following web page: