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UPDATES & SHORT ITEMS:08/12/96 The New Jersey Attorney General's office earlier in July reversed a decision that would have made…



The New Jersey Attorney General’s office earlier in July reversed a decision that would have made arrest and conviction information available for sale statewide.

Privacy advocates in June last year objected that disclosing arrests where there had been no conviction would be unfair and misleading. New Jersey would have been the first state to sell arrest records.

Attorney General Deborah Poritz, who days after the reversal was appointed to the state’s Supreme Court, altered the policy to provide arrest data only to law enforcement agencies and certain other state entities.

Conviction data in New Jersey is currently available to any member of the public who can furnish the subject’s Social Security Number, birth date or fingerprints.

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The New Jersey Senate passed a bill in late July that would hold newspaper delivery personnel responsible for unwanted papers delivered to the doorsteps of people who have requested that delivery be stopped.

The bill passed with the minimum 21 votes needed. The vote was divided on party lines, the Associated Press reported, with Democrats criticizing the bill as infringing on newspaper’s First Amendment right to disseminate publications and Republicans supporting the measure.

The bill will give newspapers 14 days to halt the delivery of a paper after receiving written notice that the paper is not wanted. Employees who continue to deliver the papers could be charged with littering, a disorderly persons’ offense punishable in municipal court with a $100 fine and 40 hours of community service.

Sen. Joseph Bubba (R-Passaic), chairman of the State Government Committee and sponsor of the bill, introduced a similar bill last year that was defeated in the Senate.

The New Jersey Press Association opposes the bill, arguing that it is unclear who could complain under the law — property owners, landlords, tenants, condominium associations or others. Also, many newspapers use private contractors to deliver papers who are not legally “employees” of the newspaper, they said. (S-837)