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How long are records public in NJ?- False Sexual Assault Allegation

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by DizzyElk, Nov 29, 2021.

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  1. DizzyElk

    DizzyElk Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    New Jersey
    In 2012 I was falsely accused of raping a girl while attending college. I was picked up by the police the next morning and had no idea what was going on. Her roommate and my friend were both in the dorm room and confirmed everything was consensual. Therefore, I was never criminally charged. She did end up filing a civil lawsuit against me, her roommate, my friend and the University. I ended up settling for around $40k because it was going to cost me that much to go through the trial anyways.

    My question is are these civil cases public record? I tried searching for myself, but was unable to find anything. Additionally, would the police interrogation video be available? If so, do they keep these public permanently or do they go away at some point? Is it possible or reasonable to ask for an NDA this far after? I know I did nothing wrong that night, but I am trying to move into upper management at my company and have considered running for local office, and don't want this to blow up in my face. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Well-Known Member

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    Yes they could be public record. To late for a NDA as well. The time to fight this was back then. I know myself... she could have kicked rocks before I would have settled with her. If you had 2 witnesses as you stated. What happened to your friend civil suit? If you run for public office you could be faced with having to disclose this information if someone picks up the case.
     
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  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Yes.

    Would it be available to whom? Under what conditions? If your intent was to ask if the police's records relating to an investigation that did not lead to prosecution are matters of public record, the answer is no.

    I doubt anyone here will have any knowledge regarding the record retention practices of New Jersey courts or any particular police agency in NJ (or NJ police agencies in general). Calling the court clerk or someone at the police station and asking these questions will be more likely to lead you to an accurate answer.

    Assuming you have contact information for the woman who accused and sued you, then of course it's possible to ask. Is it reasonable? Not in my opinion. Nor would an NDA be enforceable at this point, unless you paid her additional money to get it. Did the lawyer who represented you in connection with the civil lawsuit not include an NDA in the settlement agreement that (I assume) was signed in connection with the $40k you paid? If not, I'd argue he/she committed malpractice (although it's too late now to do anything about that).
     
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  4. DizzyElk

    DizzyElk Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you both very much for the feedback. The only thing I don't understand is how is it public? If somebody simply searches my name are they able to find it, or would somebody who knew of the situation have to point it out with a case number or something? Thanks again.
     
  5. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Yes - and probably other possibilities. Perhaps just a random coincidence where your name pops up due to a misspelling in a search, etc.
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand this question. It's also not clear what the antecedent of "it" is. I told you that court records relating to civil lawsuits are public record. Is that what "it" refers to? If so, court records are public records because the law makes them public.

    Again, I don't know what "it" refers to in this sentence. Obviously, what someone will find by searching your name depends on where the search is done. If you're talking about a search using an internet search engine (e.g., Google), do a search yourself and see what comes up.

    Typically, one can go to a court clerk's office and conduct a name search to see if the person either filed a lawsuit or was sued.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    EVERYTHING and MORE that you desire or wish to know about civil court records accessibility in NJ:

    New Jersey State Court Records | Digital Media Law Project.

    You can seek YOUR civil case records IF you wish:

    eCourts Civil Case Jacket

    Are New Jersey Court Records Public?
    The New Jersey Open Public Records Act was passed into law in 2002, replacing the pre-existing right-to-know law. According to the act, New Jersey court records are considered public records. The New Jersey Court Rule 1.38 covers the right of public access to the court records. The right of access is not absolute as a court may limit access to court records in certain situations. For example, records that include jury questionnaires, records relating to child sexual abuse victims, search warrants, grand jury proceedings, and most family division records may be inaccessible for public access.

    Note that parties and certain authorized persons may be able to gain access to confidential records of the court on request.

    New Jersey Court Records | StateRecords.org


    How Do I Find Court Records in New Jersey?
    The first step to take when trying to obtain court records in New Jersey is to visit the courthouse where the case was filed and request the record in writing from the court's clerk. Usually, the clerk will provide the records request form for requestors to fill in order to have access to court records. The New Jersey Court website provides locations and phone numbers for the Municipal Courts, Local Courts, County Courts, Tax Court, Superior Court, and the Supreme Court. Court records may be available for public access through paper or via online access. Requestors can request access to any of these court’s records in the following ways:

    Online access
    Visiting the courthouse to make a request.


    Except where prohibited by Supreme Court Rule or by statute, the following court records are available for public inspection:

    Civil Division including Chancery General Equity Records
    Special Civil Part Records
    Criminal Division Records
    Family Division Records
    Municipal Court Records


    Copies of Court Records
     

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