Do internal affairs records become public when they are admitted into evidence a public hearing?

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Update: I just received word that the County has recognized the weakness of its case and has agreed to disclose the records.

On Monday, February 22, 2016 at 1:30 p.m., Camden County Superior Court Judge Anthony M. Pugliese will hear argument on whether the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law entitle a Camden County NAACP official to access internal affairs and disciplinary records of a former Camden County Corrections officer who allegedly exchanged racist text messages with coworkers.

In Hardwick v. County of Camden, Docket No. CAM-L-215-16, Darnell Hardwick argues that although the records he sought were internal affairs records, any confidentiality those records possessed was lost when they were entered into evidence before a state administrative court that heard former Officer Thomas McNulty’s appeal of his firing.  Hardwick is represented by Walter M. Luers of Clinton.  (As noted in Hardwick’s brief, internal affairs records are not necessarily exempt under OPRA even if they are not entered into evidence before a court or administrative tribunal.)

Those interested in attending the February 22, 2016 public hearing should call Judge Pugliese’s chambers at 856-379-2369 the morning of the hearing to make sure that it hasn’t been adjourned.

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