Dear Middlesex County,
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.
Under NJSA 47:1A-3(b), please provide all information required about all arrests made by your officers/agents during the period of November 30 2020, through December 6, 2020
Please do not omit critical information such as the LOCATION or TIME of the arrest, or the complete list of charges filed against the individual. Though it is okay to redact names of juveniles, please do not entirely omit these records from your response. If you are providing a summary/list, please kindly provide the list in Excel format or sort by the arrest date/time.
Thank you very much,
--- Please respond above this line ---
The County is in receipt of your request for “all information required
about all arrests made by your officers/agents during the period of
November 30 2020, through December 6, 2020.”
As it pertains to your request, please be advised that the record systems
of both the Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office do not organize
files according to date of arrest in any central location, nor can same be
easily retrieved within each system. Moreover, the Sheriff’s Office does
not maintain the information you seek in the form of a single cumulative
record. Nor is the information readily available as an annual report or
other statistical record. Rather, such records can only be retrieved using
a specific defendant name or case file number. Without this information,
the Sheriff’s Office or Prosecutor’s Office would have to manually review
each and every file maintained by the each office to determine whether it
contains records responsive to your request.
The New Jersey Superior Court has held that "[w]hile OPRA provides an
alternative means of access to government documents not otherwise exempted
from its reach, it is not intended as a research tool litigants may use to
force government officials to identify and siphon useful information.
Rather, OPRA simply operates to make identifiable government records
‘readily accessible for inspection, copying, or examination.’ N.J.S.A.
47:1A-1." (Emphasis added.) MAG Entertainment, LLC v. Division of
Alcoholic Beverage Control, 375 N.J. Super. 534, 546 (App. Div. 2005). The
Court further held that "[u]nder OPRA, agencies are required to disclose
only ‘identifiable’ government records not otherwise exempt ... In short,
OPRA does not countenance open-ended searches of an agency's files."
(Emphasis added.) Id. at 549.
For the foregoing reasons, the County requests that you narrow the scope
of your request to individually identifiable cases so that responsive
records can be accessed. If you would like the County to proceed with your
OPRA request, please respond in writing within seven (7) days. If no
response is received from you, the County will consider this OPRA request
Deputy Clerk of the Board