NJ Supreme Court hears OPRA case Re 14-hr security video

UPDATE (11/22/16):  John Paff provides this summary: “In a November 22, 2016 decision, a 4 to 2 majority of the New Jersey Supreme Court held that footage from a town hall security camera is not subject to disclosure under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). The four-Justice majority, through an opinion authored by Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, was concerned that disclosure of security video could reveal the security camera’s vulnerabilities. According to the decision, “it takes no stretch of the imagination to realize that [releasing security footage on demand] would make it possible for any person to gather the information necessary to dismantle the protection provided by such security systems.””  The high court held that video footage can still be requested under the state’s common law right of access, for which the disclosure decision is subject to a balancing test that pits the public’s right to know against the need for confidentiality and potential harm that may result from release.

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Six NJ Supreme Court justices heard argument in September 2016 on whether a 14-hour security camera video is disclosable under OPRA. The ACLU-NJ participated as amicus for the requestor. The trial and Appellate courts ruled for release. The high court’s opinion is pending.


NJ Supreme Court hears Bloomfield OPRA case
By Sonia Owchariw
Oct. 13, 2016