A New Jersey appellate court has ruled 2-1 in a decision released on August the 28th that would classify police dashcam footage as public record. The reason for the case was to determine if dashcam footage fell under the umbrella of OPRA. The majority largely upheld an earlier ruling by Vincent Grasso from the Orange County Superior Court who ruled that it was not an exception.
For clarity, OPRA is a state statute that was created to determine what is and is not public record in New Jersey. Its intent was to expand the rights and transparency towards private information.
The case in question ‘Ganzweis v. Lakewood,’ revolved around a plaintiff seeking access to the dashcam footage and related reports for an officer charged with official misconduct during the stop. He had charged driver and passenger with drug related offenses, which were later dropped.
In her partial dissent, Judge Susan Reisner, stated that she believed the record should not be open to public viewing considering there are not statutes nor state government directives that are required by law. The majority rebutted “Rather than militate towards secrecy, ‘the public interest’ in an investigation into police malfeasance may well support disclosure.”
The majority ruled that this case should be remanded to determine if Ganzweis should be allowed access to the reports stemming from the arrest as well as review an award of $22,000 in counsel fees to Ganzweis and her attorney.
Do you think it is beneficial for the public to have access to dashcam footage? Have you ever been in a situation where Dashcam footage would have helped your case?
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To read the original article: NJ Appeals Court Opens Avenue to Police Dashcam Videos