On January 13, 2014, Clinton attorney Walter M. Luers filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit on my behalf challenging the suppressions and redactions the Governor's Office applied to travel documents related to the Governor's April 2013 trip to Dallas, Texas for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Background on that suit is on-line here.
On September 11, 2014, the Town of Belvidere (Warren County) agreed to pay $45,000 to a local woman who sued members of the Belvidere Police Department for allegedly assaulting and falsely arresting her.
In her suit, Lisa Patton said that on February 10, 2011, her daughter called police after the mother and daughter had an argument over proper dosage of the daughter's prescription medicine. According to the complaint, Patton's daughter had substance abuse issues and wanted to ingest more of the medicine than prescribed and Patton wished to limit her daughter's medication intake to the prescribed dose. Belvidere police officers Matthew Scott and Frank Tootle, III went to the family home and both Patton and her son told them that the daughter had already had her prescribed dose that day.
On July 30, 2014, the City of Long Branch (Monmouth County) agreed to pay $175,000 to an Oceanport man who sued members of the Long Branch Police Department for allegedly applying excessive force upon him.
In his suit, Ralph Mazza said that on May 25, 2012, he was present at his sister's home when she had called police because of unwanted guests at her residence. He claimed that he "was assaulted without justification and excessive force" by Officers Alfred K. Cistaro and Joseph Kennedy "as be spoke with his sister about the summons issued to her by [police]."
The City of Trenton, like many cities across New Jersey and the nation, set an arbitrary limit on the number of taxicabs the city will license. In Trenton, City Code § 272-4(B), sets the maximum number of cabs at 82. Cities don't limit the number of bakeries or shoe stores in a town, so why taxicabs? Does this type of restriction benefit the public good or is its aim to protect existing cab owners from competition?
Similar taxicab limits have been struck down in other states for violating constitutional provisions guaranteeing equal protection under the law. In a 2013 case, Wisconsin Circuit Judge Jane Carroll found that Milwaukee's limit on taxicab licenses failed an equal protection analysis because it wasn't rationally related to the public health, safety, morals or general welfare. Judge Carroll's ruling, which is on-line here, states that the arbitrary limit on taxicabs indicates "the desire of the City to create a valuable asset for the current permit holders so that they could sell them and, as the one taxi driver indicated, retire comfortably to Florida, that's simply not a legitimate government purpose."
East Newark pays $101,000 plus attorney fees to settle former police dispatcher's lawsuit claiming forced oral sex
On July 25, 2014, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mary K. Costello confirmed an agreement under which the Borough of East Newark (Hudson County) agreed to pay a Borough former police dispatcher and volunteer firefighter $101,000 in damages, plus attorney fees to be established by the court, to settle her lawsuit which claimed that she was repeated assaulted sexually by a Borough police sergeant. In an October 8, 2014 application to the court, the woman's attorney applied for attorney fees of $786,247.50, costs of $36,563.90 and a "contingency enhancement" of $393,123.75 for a total award of $1,215,935.15. Judge Kimberly Espinales-Maloney is scheduled to hear the attorney's application on Friday, November 7, 2014, 9 a.m. in Courtroom 807, 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City.
Today, I had a records custodian claim that she was not obligated to search beyond the walls of her office for records responsive to my Open Public Records Act request.
Since it is fairly common for custodians to take this position, I have publicly posted my response to her. I hope that this might be helpful for other requestors who encounter similar situations.
Dear Records Custodian:
As you know, I submitted an Open Public Records Act request for a settlement agreement that resolved a civil lawsuit against the municipality. You had initially responded that "no settlement [is] available for this case."
Why your Libertarian vote on Tuesday, Nov. 4, is worth 100 times the other guy's vote
Political leverage! Libertarian Party candidates have it in 2014 — IF YOU VOTE Libertarian.
Why? Unlike the Democratic and Republican candidates, our Libertarian Party candidates for public office have one rock-solid issue — and a clear, powerful message.
Our rock-solid issue: To dramatically expand and advance individual liberty in America.
Our clear, powerful message: Vote for us, elect us, and we will do everything we can to dramatically roll back today's Big Government. To dramatically shrink the size, power, authority, responsibility, taxes, and spending of federal, state, and local Big Government.
There are many economic theories that are debatable. The Law of Supply and Demand is not one of them. All reputable economists from all schools of economic thought agree - a high supply of a product results in lower prices. This is true of all goods that can be bought and sold - gasoline, food, labor, home services, and medical care. When there are more hospitals, hospital beds, medical services, and doctors that are willing to compete for your health care dollars there will be lower prices and better service. In a competitive market the consumer wins. When the supply is constrained the consumer loses.
New Jersey is one of 36 states that provides protectionism to existing medical suppliers by restricting capital improvements in health care by requiring all new facilities to obtain approval from a state board.
CATO Institute: The Cronyism of ‘Certificate of Need’ Laws
Once again the Tax Foundation has ranked NJ dead last among the 50 states for business climate. Contributing to NJ's awful business climate were our high property taxes (50th), high income taxes (48th), high sales taxes (48th), high corporate taxes (41st) and our high levels of regulation.
Tax Freedom Day Arrives on May 9th in New Jersey
Tax Freedom Day is the day when Americans finally have earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year. In 2014, New Jersey taxpayers worked until May 9th (latest nationally) to pay their total tax bill. The Tax Freedom Days of neighboring states are: New York, May 4th (ranked 3rd latest nationally); Pennsylvania, April 21st (ranked 15th latest nationally); and Delaware, April 18th (ranked 19th latest nationally).
By way of background, Atlantic County Judge Nelson C. Johnson, on June 10, 2014, required Galloway Township to disclose e-mail logs showing the sender, recipient, date and subject line of each e-mail sent by a specific government employee during a specified period of time. On September 4, 2014, Galloway appealed from that ruling. More information and case documents are on-line here.
The NJLP is proud to announce a forum on urban issues. Join us for a discussion of issues including education, the war on drugs, and corruption. The event will be held at the Trenton Public Library beginning at 1:00 PM on October 25th 2014.
More information is on our meetup page. All are encouraged to attend. The event will also be streamed live below.
On November 19, 2010, the City of Bridgeton (Cumberland County) agreed to pay $442,500 to a local man who sued members of the Bridgeton Police Department for allegedly beating him and fabricating charges against him. In addition, the city also paid $87,500 to the man's two co-plaintiffs.
In his suit, Thomas Bard, along with co-plaintiff's Donald Thomas and Jay Hall, all of whom are African-American, alleged generally that the Bridgeton Police Department "entered into a conspiracy to deprive minority residents of the City of Bridgeton of their civil rights under a pretext of combating drug trafficking and 'gang activity.'" According to the lawsuit, Bridgeton Police had a long history of routinely profiling racial minorities and targeting them for motor vehicle stops, arrests without probable cause and physical assaults. $442,500 was paid to Plaintiff Thomas Bard. and the city's insurer confirmed that co-plaintiffs Donald Thomas and Jay Hall, Jr were paid $7,500 and $80,000 respectively.
NJ Television also covered the issue in an article here.
As a result of a request from the NJ Libertarian Party, the Borough of Paulsboro has repealed Chapter 28, Curfew of the Code of the Borough of Paulsboro.
The repeal passed 5 to 1. Several councilmen stated objections. Councilman Corradetti expressed concern that police wouldn't be able to stop people from congregating on the streets. Councilman Stevenson, the lone no vote, blamed the illegality of loitering ordinances on the ACLU.
The NJ Libertarian Party strongly believes that the police should not have the power to stop people from congregating on the streets at all. All local loitering ordinances in New Jersey are invalid and unenforceable.
Police Accountability Project of the New Jersey Libertarian Party
Paul Morrison, Chief
Roselle Park Police Department
110 East Westfield Avenue
Roselle Park, NJ 07204
Dear Chief Morrison:
I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project and ask that you accept this e-mail as our Internal Affairs complaint. I am forwarding this complaint to you, as Chief of Police, because there is nothing on your web site identifying the person within your Department to whom an Internal Affairs complaint should be directed.
Today the Reason Foundation released their 21st Annual Report on the Performance of the State Highway System. This report ranks the quality and spending on the state highways based on data reported by each state for 2012 and part of 2011. Our legislators should be hanging their heads in shame while the taxpayers should be sharpening their pitchforks.
The condition of New Jersey highways ranks very low while spending per mile far outpaces the rest of the nation. New Jersey spends 12.5 times more than the national average per mile. This is over 3 times more than Massachusetts, the next lowest spender.
As a result of pressure from the NJ Libertarian Party's Preempted Ordinance Repeal Project, Manville has repealed three loitering and curfew ordinances.
An article announcing the repeal has been published by The Manville news. A recent letter sent by by committee chair, John Paff to the Borough of Manville is below.
Does your town have an outdated ordinance? If so contact us and we will see what we can do.