Appellate Court’s use of defendant’s initials suppressed reporting

Use of only a defendant’s initials in an Appellate Court opinion masked the lower court’s errors resulting in the Appellate level reversal of a felony conviction. Newspapers that covered the earlier conviction — and stated the felon’s name — were made aware of the reversal by NJFOG’s John Paff, who periodically reviews Appellate rulings and researched the issue. “The Appellate Division’s use of the defendant’s initials in its written opinion almost prevented this matter from being publicly reported. While protecting victims of sexual abuse from publicity is important, it should not come at the cost of transparency,” said Paff.  This case demonstrates the need for better rules concerning the Judiciary’s use of a party’s initials in lieu of name. In this case, absence of the defendant’s full name interfered with the public’s right to know.


Asbury Park Press
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by Amanda Oglesby
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