On January 7, 2011, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Bernadette H. DeCastro ordered the Town of West New York (Hudson County) and its record custodian, Carmela Riccie, to disclose a recording of a call to the West New York Police Department that resulted in plaintiff’s car being towed.

According to the complaint, Plaintiff Frank Ponce’s car was towed on September 4, 2010 after someone called police and reported that the car was blocking a driveway. Police also issued Ponce a summons for improperly blocking the driveway.

Ponce claims that the owner of 6708 Palisade Avenue, the location from which the car was towed, “has made numerous, unfounded complaints” against him. While he suspects that the owner called police, he wants to listen to the recording so that he can verify who made the call. Since he is pleading not guilty to the summons, he says that he needs that information so that he can subpoena the caller as a witness before the Municipal Court.

DeCastro ordered Riccie to provide Ponce with the recordings he sought and also declared him to be the prevailing party in the litigation who is entitled to recover his costs and attorney fees from West New York.

Ponce was represented by Walter M. Luers of Oxford. The complaint, brief and DeCastro’s order are on-line here.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]