Dear Hamilton Township (Mercer),

This is a request for public records made under OPRA and the common law right of access. I am not required to fill out an official form. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.
Records requested:

1. Animal Cruelty police reports and completed investigations from February 1, 2018 through April 2020
2. All records of court case records and settlements for animal cruelty from February 1, 2018 through April 2020
3. A copy of all assessed fines for animal cruelty and any associated payment records from February 1, 2018 through April 2020

Yours faithfully,

Opra Machine

Hamilton Township (Mercer)

Good afternoon,
The Township is in receipt of the responsive records to OPRA request 20-0414 pertaining to animal cruelty police reports, court case records and all assessed fines.Please be advised, that until further notice in accordance with the concurrent State of Emergencies that have been issued by the State of New Jersey on March 9, 2020, the County of Mercer on March 12, 2020 and the Federal Government on March 13, 2020, the Township of Hamilton is operating with a diminished workforce to combat the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, your OPRA request requires an extension of fifteen (15) business days to respond. That being said, the new productions date is now Wednesday, May 20, 2020. If the record is made available prior to that date, it will be provided to you. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.
Regards,
Erin


Erin Embley
Municipal Clerk’s Office
2090 Greenwood Avenue
Rm. 210
Hamilton NJ 08609
(P) 609.890.3635
(F) 609.631.8287



ANY OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS ACT REQUESTOR WHO CHOOSES TO SEEK PUBLIC
DOCUMENTS WITHOUT USING OFFICIAL OPRA FORMS PROMULGTED BY A PUBLIC
ENTITY, MUST SPECIFY IN THE WRITTEN REQUEST (AND SUBJECT LINE) THAT
THE PUBLIC DOCUMENTS ARE BEING SOUGHT UNDER “OPRA” IN CONFORMANCE WITH
THE GRC HANDBOOK (PURSUANT TO COURT ORDER DATED JUNE 5, 2019 [DOCKET
NO. MER-L-303-19])
________________________________________
From: Brittani Calderone
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 8:31 AM
To: Erin Embley
Subject: FW: OPRA request - Animal Cruelty

________________________________________
From: Oprah Machine [[OPRA #10882 email]]
Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2020 9:45 AM
To: Brittani Calderone
Subject: OPRA request - Animal Cruelty

Dear Hamilton Township (Mercer),

This is a request for public records made under OPRA and the common law right of access. I am not required to fill out an official form. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.
Records requested:

1. Animal Cruelty police reports and completed investigations from February 1, 2018 through April 2020
2. All records of court case records and settlements for animal cruelty from February 1, 2018 through April 2020
3. A copy of all assessed fines for animal cruelty and any associated payment records from February 1, 2018 through April 2020

Yours faithfully,

Opra Machine

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Hamilton Township (Mercer)

May 20, 2020
OPRA Machine
Via email only: [OPRA #10882 email]

Re: April 20, 2020 OPRA request from OPRA Machine (#20-0414)

Anonymous:
I received the above-referenced request (the "Request") under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. ("OPRA") on April 20, 2020. In the Request, you seek:

1. Animal Cruelty police reports and completed investigations from February 1, 2018 through April 2020
2. All records of court case records and settlements for animal cruelty from February 1, 2018 through April 2020
3. A copy of all assessed fines for animal cruelty and any associated payment records from February 1, 2018 through April 2020

An OPRA request must identify the documents sought with specificity and particularity. Burke v. Brandes, 429 N.J. Super. 169, 175 (App. Div. 2012). A general request for documents is invalid under OPRA if such documents are not "reasonably described with such identifying information" sufficient to identify specific government records. See id. at 176-77. Moreover, "OPRA does not require record custodians to conduct research among its records for a requestor and correlate data from various government records in the custodian's possession." MAG Entertainment, LLC v. Div. of ABC, 375 N.J. Super. 534, 546-47 (App. Div. 2005).
OPRA is not a research tool, and it cannot be used "to force government officials to identify and siphon useful information." See id. at 546. Rather, OPRA simply operates "to make identifiable government records "readily accessible for inspection, copying, or examination." Ibid. (citing N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1). Furthermore, OPRA does not "authorize a party to make a blanket request for every document a public agency has on file." Bent v. Twp. of Stafford Police Dep't, Custodian of Records, 381 N.J. Super. 30, 37 (App. Div. 2005).

Here, you have failed to identify specific records in the Request since you seek information rather than specific documents. See, e.g., Burke, supra, at 176. Further, locating the information you seek would require me to perform research, which is improper under OPRA. Therefore, I must deny number one (1) in the Request. See, e.g., N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1; Burke, supra, at 175-77; MAG, supra, at 546-57.
Lastly, in regards to numbers two (2) and three (3), please be advised you must submit an OPRA request via the court system being that you are seeking court documentation. This request is now considered closed.
Regards,
Erin

Erin Embley
Municipal Clerk's Office
2090 Greenwood Avenue
Rm. 210
Hamilton NJ 08609
(P) 609.890.3635
(F) 609.631.8287

ANY OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS ACT REQUESTOR WHO CHOOSES TO SEEK PUBLIC DOCUMENTS WITHOUT USING OFFICIAL OPRA FORMS PROMULGTED BY A PUBLIC ENTITY, MUST SPECIFY IN THE WRITTEN REQUEST (AND SUBJECT LINE) THAT THE PUBLIC DOCUMENTS ARE BEING SOUGHT UNDER "OPRA" IN CONFORMANCE WITH THE GRC HANDBOOK (PURSUANT TO COURT ORDER DATED JUNE 5, 2019 [DOCKET NO. MER-L-303-19])

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