who lied about conviction status on OPRA form
Today, June 21, 2013, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court affirmed a lower court's dismissal of Michael Taffaro's false arrest lawsuit against the Borough of Ridgefield and Borough Mayor Anthony A. Suarez. The court's opinion is on-line here.
According to the opinion, Taffaro, who claimed to have been put on Suarez'spersona non grata list after having publicly criticized him during his mayoral campaign, had been convicted of fourth degree contempt, a conviction that was later reversed by the New Jersey Supreme Court. But, before the Supreme Court's reversal of the conviction, Taffaro had submitted anOpen Public Records Act (OPRA)request form to the Borough Clerk that contained the standard language regarding the requestor's conviction status. On the form, Taffaro certified that he had not been convicted, even though the Supreme Court had yet to reverse his conviction.
According to Taffaro, Ridgefield police filed a complaint against him on August 6, 2007 for making a false written statement, which resulted in his August 16, 2007 arrest, a strip search and detention at the Bergen County Jail.
In response to Taffaro's civil suit, lower courts found that since the police had probable cause to arrest him, his false arrest claim must be dismissed. Today's Appellate Division ruling affirmed that dismissal.