Saturday, March 27, 2010

OPRA case to be heard in Union County on April 16, 2010

An Open Public Records Act (OPRA) case that was filed on March 16, 2010 will be heard on Friday, April 16, 2010, 9 a.m., by Hon. Kathryn A. Brock at the Union County Courthouse, 2 Broad St, Elizabeth, New Jersey.

At issue is my request for a surveillance tape that reportedly shows former Garwood Police Officer Gennaro J. Mirabella entering the locked office of Garwood's Chief Financial Officer and opening her desk drawers. Garwood Borough denied access to the tape claiming it "is a criminal investigatory record . . . for which disclosure may jeopardize security measures and surveillance techniques which, if disclosed, would create a risk to the safety of persons, property, electronic data or software or both.” Richard Gutman, Esq. of Montclair is representing me in this case.

The lawsuit papers are on-line here and the public and media are invited to observe the April 16th hearing. Those who wish to observe should call the court at 908-659-4774 the day prior to hearing to confirm that it hasn't been postponed. Refer to Paff v. Borough of Garwood, Docket No. UNN-L-1089-10.

The incident underlying my request is politically charged because Officer Mirabella, who is the brother of Union County Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, was not convicted of any charges arising out of the incident in the CFO's office or another incident where he was caught on video shoving paper into laundromat dollar bill changers in an apparent attempt to jam them. Rather, the disorderly persons offenses brought against Mirabella were dismissed and Mirabella entered into a deal with Garwood Borough in which he would be allowed to resign in good standing. For more information on this matter and a video of Mirabella in the laundromat can click here.

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