University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name New York Civil Liberties Union v. New York City Police Dept. PN-NY-0008
Docket / Court 07/115154 ( State Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
On November 13, 2007, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, under Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), as the plaintiff, represented itself and asked the court to compel the New ... read more >
On November 13, 2007, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, under Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), as the plaintiff, represented itself and asked the court to compel the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to comply with New York State Freedom of Information Law and turn over its stop-and-frisk database.

In July 2007, the NYCLU filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, asking the NYPD for records on the department's stop-and-frisk activities. NYPD officers who forcibly stop and/or search civilians are required to document information about the encounter, such as race, gender and reason for the stop, among other relevant details. At the time this case was filed, the NYPD maintained electronic files on nearly 850,000 police stops in a centralized database. The NYCLU requested an electronic copy of that database in order to conduct an independent analysis of the NYPD's stop-question-and frisk activities.

On May 29, 2008, Judge Marilyn G. Diamond ordered the NYPD to comply with the NYCLU's FOIL request. Government records are presumed open to the public under New York state law, and agencies must give a particularized and specific explanation in order to be exempt from this general rule of disclosure. Here, the judge held that the NYPD failed to present any reason why the NYCLU should be denied access to its stop-and-frisk database, especially when the NYPD had already shared these records with other organizations. Accordingly, Judge Diamond ordered the NYPD to give the NYCLU an electronic copy of its stop-and-frisk database, but with the names and addresses of police officers and civilians involved in the stops redacted.

Kayla Arslanian - 03/17/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) New York City Police Department
Plaintiff Description The New York Civil Liberties Union
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
07-115154 (State Supreme Court) 03/14/2012
PN-NY-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Westlaw
General Documents
Verified Petition 11/09/2007
PN-NY-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Press Release -- Bar Association, Prestigious Academics & NY Times Join NYCLU Lawsuit Against NYPD 01/10/2008
PN-NY-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Order 05/29/2008 (866 N.Y.S.2d 93)
PN-NY-0008-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: State Court Website
Judges Diamond, Marilyn G (State Supreme Court)
PN-NY-0008-0012 | PN-NY-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Angelos, Claudia (New York)
PN-NY-0008-9000
Dunn, Christopher (New York)
PN-NY-0008-0001 | PN-NY-0008-9000
Eisenberg, Arthur (New York)
PN-NY-0008-9000
Lieberman, Donna (New York)
PN-NY-0008-0001 | PN-NY-0008-0002
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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