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Report: Bergen Lawsuit Involving Township Police, Former Judge, Moved To Somerset County

A lawsuit filed in Bergen County that involves township police and a former Municipal Court Judge has been moved to Somerset County, according to a published report.

A report appearing in the Cliffview Pilot, an online news site covering Bergen County, says that state Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Doyne recently ruled that a civil suit against officials in several Somerset County towns, filed by an individual whose name was sealed by a 2015 court order and is referred to as “J.O.,” must be heard in Somerset County.

“J.O.” is a chemistry teacher from Westwood who had a so-called “gripe site” on the Web targeting Rutgers University Associate Dean Amy Wollock. The site was put up in 2007 after Wollock told “J.O.,” who lived in Bedminster at the time, that he needed to complete more credits before he could receive his teacher certification, according to the report.

“J.O.,” who was a master’s candidate, was later convicted on a harassment charge that was eventually overturned. In 2009, authorities found a second Web site listing Wollock’s home address and which included aerial photos of her home.

A Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office detective found that “J.O.” had created the second site using Wollock’s name and listing her as the registrant, according to the report. An identity theft investigation led to “J.O.’s” Bergen County home being searched and 18 computers, cell phones and other material being seized, according to the report.

Although the search was in Bergen County, the search warrant was signed in Franklin by former municipal court Judge Ronald Wright.

“J.O.” is suing Wright, Franklin Township and Bedminster police officers and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office for the seizure, claiming he was protected from the search by the state’s Subpoena First Act because he is a journalist, according to the report.

A state Appellate Court panel has already ruled that “J.O.” is not protected by the Act, according to the report.

 

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