A Search Warrant for a Bullet, and a Dispute Over Whether a Prosecutors’ Association is a Public Agency Subject to OPRA, for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in two more cases. One of those is before the Court on a grant of leave to appeal, while the Court granted certification to review the other matter.

The leave to appeal case is State v. Ross. The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Where defendant had elective surgery to remove a bullet from his body, can the State obtain the bullet using a search warrant and the attendant medical records using a subpoena?” The Law Division denied the State the ability to do that. The Appellate Division granted leave to appeal and, in an unpublished opinion by a two-judge panel, reversed the Law Division’s ruling.

The other appeal is American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. County Prosecutors Ass’n of New Jersey. That case presents this question: “Is the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey subject to the Open Public Records Act [“OPRA”] as a ‘public agency’ under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1 and are its records subject to the common law right of access?” The Law Division held that the Association was not a public agency for OPRA purposes and was not subject to the common law right of access either, which led to a dismissal of the complaint. The Appellate Division affirmed in an opinion by a three-judge panel that was reported at 474 N.J. Super. 243 (App. Div. 2022).