Policy on Photography within public accessible areas in Monmouth County Buildings

The request was partially successful.

ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Monmouth County,

This is a request for public records made under OPRA and the common law right of access. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.
Records requested:

The Monmouth County Social Services Building(s) are operated by the county and funded with taxpayer monies; therefore the lobby within each Monmouth County Social Services Building location is a PUBLIC area. There are sign(s) posted in this public area which indicate that the taking of photographs and/or video from this public area without authorization is prohibited. Photography from public areas within taxpayer funded government facilities is a Constitutionally protected activity under the First Amendment/Freedom of Press, and this policy is in violation of Constitutional Rights.
I therefore request under OPRA:1) A digital image of the sign in question as described above.2) Any and all information, documentation,
legal findings, emails, policies, procedures, laws, and/or other material justifying this policy;3)Any and all records regarding instances in which this policy has been enforced including the outcome of such alleged violations ;4) A statement from the Monmouth County Social Services which acknowledges the Right to take photographs and/or video
within any and all publically accessible areas of Monmouth County Social Services Building branch locations.

Yours faithfully,

ASK NJ Media Co.

Masnick, Marion, Monmouth County

Got it

Marion Masnick
Clerk of the Board
County of Monmouth
732-431-7380
[email address]

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ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Masnick, Marion,

It has been past 7 business days since this OPRA request was filed. Please advise as to the status of this request.

Yours sincerely,

ASK NJ Media Co.

Masnick, Marion, Monmouth County

I will be out of th office on Monday, April 30, 2018. If you need
immediate assistance, please call 732-431-7387.

 

 

Marion Masnick

 Clerk of the Board

County of Monmouth

732-431-7380

[Monmouth County request email]

 

 

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Lisi, Allyce, Monmouth County

Dear ASK NJ Media Co.:

 

            The County of Monmouth received your Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”) request on April 19, 2018. As such, the seven (7) business day
deadline to respond to your request is April 30, 2018.  Please be advised
that your request is in the process of review and a response will be
forthcoming on or before Monday, May 7, 2018.

 

            If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to
contact our office.  Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Allyce Lisi,

Office of Monmouth County Counsel

 

Hall of Records, Room 236

One East Main Street

Freehold, New Jersey 07728

(P) 732-683-8641

(F) 732-431-0437

Email: [1][email address]

 

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Patricia Quelch,

Your request was just forwarded to me yesterday to assist in the response
as Special County Counsel. I understand the response date was extended
until May 7. However, due to the unique nature of the request, I will need
additional time in which to comply. I anticipate that the response will be
available before May 18. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

 

Patricia Quelch, Esq.

Special County Counsel

Patricia Quelch,

1 Attachment

As per the email below, I am forwarding the document/information you
requested concerning the personnel expenditure and overtime expenses of
the Monmouth County Park’s System for the 2017 Monmouth County 4H Fair.
Because the document/information is being electronically provided, there
is no cost associated with your request.

 

If your request for access to a government record has been denied or
unfilled within the seven (7) business days required by law, you have a
right to challenge the decision to deny access. At your option, you may
either institute a proceeding in the Superior Court of New Jersey or file
a complaint with the Government Records Council (“GRC”) by completing the
Denial of Access Complaint Form.  You may contact the GRC by toll-free
telephone at 866-850-0511, by mail at P.O. Box 819, Trenton, NJ, 08625, by
e-mail at [email address], or at their web site at
www.state.nj.us/grc. The Council can also answer other questions about the
law.  All questions regarding complaints filed in Superior Court should be
directed to the Court Clerk in your County.

 

Again, thank you for your understanding and patience. If you have any
questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Very truly yours,

 

Patricia B. Quelch, Esq.

Special Monmouth County Counsel

 

 

 

 

From: Patricia Quelch
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2018 11:57 AM
To: '[OPRA #1504 email]'
<[OPRA #1504 email]>
Subject: OPRA request to Monmouth County dated April 19, 2018

 

Your request was just forwarded to me yesterday to assist in the response
as Special County Counsel. I understand the response date was extended
until May 7. However, due to the unique nature of the request, I will need
additional time in which to comply. I anticipate that the response will be
available before May 18. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

 

Patricia Quelch, Esq.

Special County Counsel

ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Patricia Quelch,

This was sent to the wrong e-mail address. I never requested the information either.

Yours sincerely,

ASK NJ Media Co.

ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Patricia Quelch,

This was sent to the wrong e-mail address. I never requested the information either.

Monmouth County Fair Staff Hours 2017.pdf
638K Download View as HTML

As per the email below, I am forwarding the document/information you
requested concerning the personnel expenditure and overtime expenses of
the Monmouth County Park’s System for the 2017 Monmouth County 4H Fair.
Because the document/information is being electronically provided, there
is no cost associated with your request.
Yours sincerely,

ASK NJ Media Co.

Patricia Quelch,

After I sent it, I realized I had mixed up OPRA requests. Fortunately, I had also copied the actual requester. I appreciate your assistance. I am still working on your request.

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Patricia Quelch,

Thanks for letting me know. I did send it to the correct requester. Working on too many requests at once.

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ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Patricia Quelch,

You are very welcome!!

Yours sincerely,

ASK NJ Media Co.

Patricia Quelch,

9 Attachments

Ms. Coombs,

 

I was mistaken that I had sent this to the wrong requester. I had drafted
the letter response on Friday but had not sent it out. Here are the letter
response, photographs and other photographs as well as the replacement
requests for some of the damaged signs.

 

As I indicated in our telephone conversation, if you have questions,
please contact me.

 

If your request for access to a government record has been denied or
unfilled within the seven (7) business days required by law, you have a
right to challenge the decision to deny access. At your option, you may
either institute a proceeding in the Superior Court of New Jersey or file
a complaint with the Government Records Council (“GRC”) by completing the
Denial of Access Complaint Form.  You may contact the GRC by toll-free
telephone at 866-850-0511, by mail at P.O. Box 819, Trenton, NJ, 08625, by
e-mail at [1][email address], or at their web site at
[2]www.state.nj.us/grc. The Council can also answer other questions about
the law.  All questions regarding complaints filed in Superior Court
should be directed to the Court Clerk in your County.

 

Patricia B. Quelch, Esq.

Special Monmouth County Counsel

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.state.nj.us/grc

ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Patricia Quelch,

The first amendment protects the right to gather information about what government officials do on public property and specifically a right to record matters of public interest. There is established case law within the Third Circuit regarding Public Photography/Videography that is protected by the first amendment. The First Amendment protects the public’s right of access to information about government officials’ official activities. This access “is particularly important because it leads to citizen discourse” on public and political issues, the most highly valued First Amendment activity. Thus, the government is constitutionally barred from “limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” Plus, there is established case law within the Third Circuit that law enforcement officers who violate that right in Delaware, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania may be sued as well.
"Transparency and accountability are critical to further strengthening the bonds between government officials, law enforcement officials and the communities they serve." Freedom of speech, whether we agree with it or not, is our Constitutional right...!! It wasn't put there to be changed according to our feelings.
“The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles. Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’” This right to gather and disseminate news is not one that belongs solely to the media, a particularly important principle in this modern era of the news industry, when “changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw,” the court said. “The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.”
-Kristen Rasmussen August 29, 2011

Please take a look at the two links below that are from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office regarding First Amendment protected activity.

https://opramachine.com/request/citizens...

https://opramachine.com/request/first_am...

Yours sincerely,

ASK NJ Media Co.

Patricia Quelch,

Ms. Coombs:

The First Amendment also protects individuals from unwarranted invasion into their personal lives. Those receiving assistance from Social Services are entitled to their privacy, which has nothing to do with acts by public officials.

Your email below is a recitation of your position as to the right of access by the press. I presented the position taken by the County in my letter to you. Obviously, we will not agree.

The email below is not an OPRA request. The County responded in a timely fashion to your OPRA request. If you are not satisfied with that response, your recourse is to take an appeal as provided in the letter.

Very truly yours,

Patricia B. Quelch, Esq.
Special County Counsel

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Patricia Quelch,

Ms. Coombs,

 

I spoke with my secretary this morning and was informed that you had
called.  Any communication between the County and you and your
organization concerning OPRA requests must be in writing so there can be
no misconstruing what was said by either party. Please stop calling and
being rude to my secretary.

 

If you have questions concerning my responses, you may email me. If you
are just dissatisfied with the legal position taken, you should avail
yourself of the remedy in the OPRA statutes and appeal the County’s
decision.

 

Very truly yours,

 

Patricia B. Quelch, Esq.

Special County Counsel

ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Patricia Quelch,

My phone calls has nothing to do with any OPRA requests at this point. I needed a couple of clarifications of the County's unlawful policy regarding public photography/videography within public accessible areas in Monmouth County Social Services Buildings. I thought that I made that abundantly clear to your secretary. I was also following up with your office because you didn't return any of my phone calls. Please stop being rude and do the job that you are getting paid for by taxpayer's money. Please call me at 732-988-0125 at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

ASK NJ Media Co.

Patricia Quelch,

Ms. Coombs,

There will be no phone call. Put your requests for clarification in writing.

Patricia B. Quelch, Esq.
Special County Counsel.

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ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Patricia Quelch,

Again, my clarifications has nothing to with any OPRA requests at this point. I would like to know what will be the consequences of the county's unlawful policy if a person chooses to exercise their first amendment right to photograph and/or video record within public accessible areas in the Monmouth County Social Services Buildings. There is established case law within the Third Circuit regarding Public Photography/Videography that is protected by the first amendment. The courts already ruled that there isn't a reasonable expectation of privacy within public accessible areas on public property when it comes to other citizens and/or government workers. Plus, there is established case law within the Third Circuit that law enforcement officers who violate that right in Delaware, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania may be sued as well. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office also gave issued a memo that is dated October 13, 2017 to all the county police chiefs and Terri O'Conner, County Administrator addressing this type of situation.

Yours sincerely,

ASK NJ Media Co.

ASK NJ Media Co.

Dear Patricia Quelch,

I'm following up on the correspondence that I sent to you on May 18, 2018 because I never received any answers regarding the clarifications of the county's unlawful policy.

This is the correspondence that I sent to you on May 18, 2018.
Dear Patricia Quelch,
Again, my clarifications has nothing to with any OPRA requests at this point. I would like to know what will be the consequences of the county's unlawful policy if a person chooses to exercise their first amendment right to photograph and/or video record within public accessible areas in the Monmouth County Social Services Buildings. There is established case law within the Third Circuit regarding Public Photography/Videography that is protected by the first amendment. The courts already ruled that there isn't a reasonable expectation of privacy within public accessible areas on public property when it comes to other citizens and/or government workers. Plus, there is established case law within the Third Circuit that law enforcement officers who violate that right in Delaware, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania may be sued as well. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office also gave issued a memo that is dated October 13, 2017 to all the county police chiefs and Terri O'Conner, County Administrator addressing this type of situation.

Yours sincerely,

ASK NJ Media Co.