The NJSP denied the request claiming that internal affairs and personnel records are confidential. In February 2017, OPRA lawyer CJ Griffin filed a civil complaint on LFTG's behalf in Mercer County Superior Court that challenged the NJSP's denial. Assignment Judge Mary C. Jacobson ruled against LFTG on July 20, 2017 and a two-judge Appellate División panel affirmed Judge Jacobson's ruling on May 20, 2019. On October 10, 2019, the Supreme Court granted certification meaning that New Jersey's highest court will review the lower courts' rulings.
In my view, the public has a right to know the identities of police officers who are forced to leave their positions because of misconduct. As Griffin points out in her brief to the Supreme Court, without knowing this Trooper's identity, the public cannot determine whether this trooper was fired or allowed to resign in good standing or whether he or she has moved on to work for another police department.
As the Supreme Court observed in 2012, one of OPRA's chief purposes is to "enable citizens and the media [to] play a watchful role in curbing wasteful government spending and guarding against corruption and misconduct." If this purpose is to have any real meaning, the public has to be allowed to know the identity of a police officer who was separated from employment after a finding of misconduct.