The New Jersey attorney general agreed on Monday to delay the release of the names of officers convicted of misconduct to allow time for the state’s highest court to rule.
Gurbir Grewal told the Supreme Court that no names will be released until November 30. This would leave enough time to notify officers, so they can challenge the disclosure of their names on a case-by-case basis, Grewal wrote.
He asked the seven judges to make a decision on the case before the end of November, but said he would wait to release the names until the court has made a decision.
His letter arrived the same day the police unions asked the court to continue blocking a plan to appoint cops who were fired, demoted or suspended for more than five days, according to the State Police Charitable Association, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Fraternal Association of State Soldiers.
Law enforcement groups are still drafting a formal appeal.
In a document filed Monday, union lawyers told the court that “serving and retired officers” were in danger of “damage to reputation, invasion of privacy” and “disclosure of disability”. “the lawyers wrote.
In response, the court’s chief justice gave both sides until Nov. 12 to submit arguments to the judges.
Grewal’s plan was first suspended over the summer after the unions continued, but one the state appeals court unanimously upheld its order on Friday and said officials could start publishing the names within days.
The New Jersey Supreme Court does not have to hear the case since the three lower court justices agreed. If anyone disagreed with the decision, the highest court should have heard an appeal.
contrary to other states, New Jersey does not disclose the names of officers punished for giving false testimony, abusing their spouses, or drinking on the job. Cops may also be given “major discipline” for being chronically late and for other less serious behaviors.
The unions argued the plan risked exposing officers who may have made only minor mistakes years ago. Soldiers have also pleaded guilty to the charges on condition of anonymity, lawyers argued, and releasing them now would violate those agreements.
Proponents of the proposal argue the move would increase public confidence at a time when most Americans say they don’t have a lot of faith in law enforcement.
“If people don’t trust cops they won’t report crimes, if people don’t trust prosecutors they won’t testify in court,” Grewal said last week. “If that doesn’t happen, it’s bad for public safety.
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