TOP COMMENTARY OF THE WEEK
Daniel’s Law is bad for N.J. journalists — and everyone who wants government accountability
The recent dustup between the editor of New Brunswick Today and that city’s police director exposes what a disaster Daniel’s Law is for public accountability, and what a mistake it would be to continue expanding the law.
Named for the slain son of a federal judge, Daniel’s Law was intended to keep judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers safe by allowing them to prevent the public from knowing where they live. But in the New Brunswick case, the law is being used —predictably — to halt legitimate debate about a public official’s residency.
Even worse, the same anti-transparency push that is allowing New Brunswick Police Director Tony Caputo to threaten journalist Charlie Kratovil with criminal charges for reporting that Caputo lives in Cape May will soon allow mayors, council people, zoning officials, and other local government officials to keep their home addresses a secret, too. State lawmakers already did that for themselves in February.