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Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping Public Documents From The Public


More gamesplaying in New Jersey.   A county freeholder reportedly advised a group of public officials to avoid the public disclosure laws (in New Jersey, the Open Public Records Act, or OPRA) by keeping documents in their "personal possession."
If this were done after the issuance of a subpoena or warrant, commencement of a civil or criminal case, or even when production of the documents was reasonably foreseeable, this effort at concealment would warrant judicial sanctions of the lawyers or parties involved.  In fact, depending on the aggressiveness of a county, state or federal prosecutor, a criminal investigation could be launched with a prospective charge of obstruction of justice, or the tampering or destruction of public records.

Another example of how weak the rule of law can be in New Jersey.  This nonsense is much harder to pull off in New York.  The difference: a much more aggressive, and larger, press corps including blogger-investigators (like me).

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer and president of Eric Dixon LLC.  He handles litigation counseling, lawsuit stress management, government investigations, business investigations and due diligence, opposition research, litigation and negotiation of business and personal disputes.  He can be reached at edixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com. 


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