Monday, November 28, 2016

Lawsuit seeks "type of crime" that suspended Mercer Sheriff lieutenant was alleged to have committed.

On January 11, 2017, 2 p.m., Burlington County Assignment Judge Ronald E. Bookbinder is scheduled to hear argument in Libertarians for Transparent Government (LFTG) v. Mercer County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO), Docket No. BUR-L-1567-16.  At issue is whether the public is permitted to know whether a specific crime was reported against a lieutenant in the Mercer County Sheriff's Office and if so, the nature of the conduct underlying the report.

This case stems from a June 7, 2016 Trentonian article entitled "Mercer County sheriff supervisor suspended following criminal probe that found no wrongdoing."  The article reported that Lieutenant Scott Schoellkopf was suspended for an unreported amount of time "over undisclosed allegations of criminal misconduct."  According to the article, MCPO officials investigated and "determined that criminal prosecution was not warranted."

In its Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, LFTG asked for "information as to the type of crime, time, location and type of weapon, if any."  According to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-3(b), which is part of OPRA, the public is entitled to this information when a crime has been reported but no arrest made.  LFTG is being represented by CJ Griffin of Hackensack.  The case was originally filed in Mercer County but was transferred to Burlington County.

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