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Monday, November 4, 2013

JOSEPH OETTINGER, III VS. TOWNSHIP OF BEDMINSTER


JOSEPH OETTINGER, III VS. TOWNSHIP OF BEDMINSTER,
 ET AL.
 A-1838-11T3/A-3182-11T3, CONSOLIDATED

Although it was enacted in 1979, there are no
published opinions that interpret or apply the Subpoena
First Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-21.9 to -21.13 (the Act), which
has been described as "narrowly circumscrib[ing] the
situations in which the State can properly search and seize
materials acquired in the course of newsgathering." In
this case, we consider the application of the Act to a
suspect in a criminal investigation who asserted a claim to
its protection based upon his status as an "internet
publisher" after a search warrant was executed and his
suppression motion was denied. We hold that plaintiff
waived any claim to protection; that the officers here were
not required to conduct an investigation to determine
whether plaintiff was protected by the Act prior to seeking
a warrant; and that, even if plaintiff had timely asserted
his claim, he was not entitled to the Act's protection
because the materials sought were not obtained in the
course of newsgathering activities. The order granting
summary judgment is affirmed. 10-31-13