On December 12, 1999, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit against the State of New Jersey and its Division of State Police under 42 U.S.C. § 14141 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The DOJ alleged that the defendants engaged in an unconstitutional pattern or practice of performing vehicle stops and searches of African American motorists traveling on New Jersey roadways, including the New Jersey Turnpike.
Simultaneously with the filing of the government's complaint, the parties filed a joint application for the entry of the consent decree. The terms of the consent decree included:A prohibition of racial profiling and racial discrimination of any kind by state troopers;
Documentation of various information (including race) for every traffic stop
New policies and procedures for receiving, investigating, and resolving citizen complaints;
Public reporting on a semiannual basis by the State Police about its law enforcement activities;
Creation of an Office of State Police Affairs by the Attorney General of New Jersey to assist in the implementation of the consent decree; and
Establishment of an independent monitor to oversee the implementation of the consent decree.
In accordance with this consent decree, the parties selected Dr. James D. Ginger and Alberto Rivas, Esq. to act as the Independent Monitoring Team. The team was charged with oversight of the implementation of the provisions of the consent decree and with providing quarterly reports to the court.
On October 6, 2000, the office of the Independent Monitor began providing status reports to the District Court. Similarly, the State Police began providing the District Court with progress reports and semiannual public status reports on October 27, 2000.
On April 6, 2004, the District Court granted the parties' joint motion to dissolve certain portions of the 1999 consent decree which related to changes in the investigation and resolution of citizen complaints.
On June 5, 2007, three individual members of the State Police moved to intervene in this action; they had filed lawsuits in state court alleging claims of employment discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment against the State of New Jersey, the State Police, and requested a federal judgment declaring that certain State Police documents regarding the consent decree, which were obtained from an anonymous source, should not be considered confidential. On December 6, 2007, U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper issued an order to show cause as to why this motion should not be denied, since both the discrimination and disclosure issues were then being addressed in a New Jersey state court proceeding. As of March 19, 2008, the individuals had failed to respond to the order to show cause, and thus Judge Cooper deemed their motion to intervene withdrawn.
On August 27, 2009, the parties jointly moved for the termination of the consent decree. According to the parties, beginning with the tenth status report (for the period ending March 31, 2004) through the most recent report (for the period ending December 31, 2007), the monitors found that the defendants were in substantial compliance with the consent decree. On September 21, 2009, after considering the joint motion and its supporting documents, issued an order terminating the consent decree, closing this case.Dan Dalton - 01/11/2007
John He - 01/31/2016