Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Process for appealing denial of access to court records

New Jersey's Judicial branch of government, including municipal courts, are not subject to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). See Giacoboni v. Superior Court of New Jersey, GRC Complaint No. 2003-126 here.

Access to court records is governed by an October 12, 2005 directive entitled "New Jersey Judiciary Open Records: Policies and Procedures for Access to Case-Related Court Records." That directive, which includes forms for making requests and establishes appeal procedures, is on-line here.

An example of a successful appeal is on-line here. At issue was the Bridgeton (Cumberland County) Municipal Court's improper redaction of defendant addresses from summons/complaint forms that I had requested. On April 5, 2010, I appealed Bridgeton's redactions to Carole A. Cummings, the Municipal Court Division Manager for Cumberland, Salem and Gloucester Counties. On May 7, 2010, Cummings ruled that Bridgeton is required to give me summons/complaint forms that contain the defendants' addresses.

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