Joe Siano is an NJLP Board Member.
“A man’s home is his castle”. In today’s politically correct and gender inclusive society we might say “A person’s home is his/her castle”. Whatever.
The formal name for this axiom is the Castle Doctrine. It derives from English Common Law and is the basis for both the Third and Fourth Amendments in the Bill of Rights. These protect Americans in their places of residence. The British honored and respected the inviolability private living spaces.
After publishing the $145,000 racial discrimination settlement between Plainfield and a police aide, I decided, just for fun, (I know. I have a pretty warped sense of what is "fun") to search the court indexes and submit OPRA requests for other interesting court cases involving Plainfield.
Today, I received the following court cases from Plainfield City Clerk Abubakar Jalloh:
For Immediate Release
November 24, 2014
NJ Libertarian Party Urges Vineland
Residents Not to Seize Judge’s Home
A Faulkner Act Petition has been created that will use eminent domain to seize the Vineland home of Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez for the purposes of erecting a hotel with a restaurant with the name of “Just Desserts.”
Judge Julio Mendez recently decided that eminent domain can be used by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to seize the property of Charles Birnbaum despite no public use threshold or specific plans for the property.
Officer Jason Miller has been arrested for exposing himself several times to drivers he had pulled over in Newton, NJ. Five separate incidences have been investigated where Officer Miller has either exposed himself or made inappropriate statements to male drivers.
Officer Miller has been released on $35,000 bail and has been placed on unpaid leave.
Two years ago, New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) approved something called the South Inlet Mixed Use Development Project, which was intended to "complement the new Revel Casino and assist with the demands created by the resort." Two months ago, the bankrupt Revel Casino closed.
The CRDA nevertheless is still trying to condemn a three-story brick house at 311 Oriental Avenue in Atlantic City as part of that Revel-inspired project, the details of which remain vague. In fact, the CRDA can't even say what it plans to do with the lot on which the house sits.
That's OK, according to Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez, who on Monday ruled that the CRDA may condemn first and answer questions later. Jacob Sullum says the ruling shows that no one's property is safe when eminent domain becomes unmoored from the "public use" that is supposed to justify it.
Retired Wildwood Crest police officers to testify on why letters related to their misconduct should remain secret
In a November 18, 2014 opinion, Superior Court Judge Nelson C. Johnson ordered retired Wildwood Crest Lieutenant Michael Hawthorne and Captain David Mayer to appear before him on December 12, 2014, 10:30 a.m. to explain why letters why letters discussing their "serious deceitful and/or untruthful" conduct should continue to be withheld from the public. Johnson's decision is on-line here and background information on this lawsuit is on-line here.
Letter to Prosecutor: School boards should not hire professional media consultants to "educate" voters on bond referenda
Geoffrey D. Soriano, Esq.
Somerset County Prosecutor
40 North Bridge St
P.O. BOX 3000
Somerville, New Jersey
Dear Prosecutor Soriano:
More than twenty years ago, I worked with Hillsborough resident Randy Enterline and the local chapter of the New Jersey Libertarian Party to challenge the Hillsborough Township school district's use of taxpayer money to produce a newsletter that urged voters to approve a referendum authorizing $54 million for a new high school. The effort resulted in a September 11, 1995 decision by Administrative Law Judge Solomon A. Metzger holding that the newsletter in question was "very much an advocacy piece." Accordingly, Judge Metzger held that the newsletter, even though it did not explicitly urge voters to vote "yes," was an impermissible expenditure of taxpayers' money because it attempted to sway voters' opinions.
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).