Planet Princeton

Planet Princeton and Princeton University Negotiating Settlement in Public Records Case

Lawyer Walter Luers, head of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, is representing Planet Princeton in a public records case regarding town-gown police jurisdiction.
Lawyer Walter Luers, head of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, is representing Planet Princeton in a public records case regarding town-gown police jurisdiction.

Lawyers for Planet Princeton and Princeton University are seeking to work out a settlement in a court case regarding public records related to a policing agreement between the town of Princeton and Princeton University.

Earlier this year, Planet Princeton filed a public records request seeking all policing agreements between the town’s police department and the university’s public safety department. The agreements cover who has jurisdiction over what geographical areas and what kinds of crimes on Princeton University property. The town denied the request altogether. A lawyer for the town said the request was denied after consulting with the university and the Mercer County Prosecutor.

After Planet Princeton filed a lawsuit objecting to the records denial in Mercer County Superior Court, the town reversed its position and released four agreements — three versions of an agreement between the school and the town regarding police jurisdiction and a fourth agreement regarding the handling of sexual assaults.

Princeton University objected to the release of maps and a chart that were attached to the agreements. Those documents were not released with the agreements.

The town is no longer part of the lawsuit, but the university has become a party in the lawsuit. Since then, Planet Princeton’s lawyer, Walter Luers, and Princeton University’s lawyer, James Lidon, have been seeking to negotiate a settlement. As part of those negotiations, the school released a redacted chart listing the types of service calls and criminal incidents that are part of the agreement.

Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson has granted a two-week adjournment in the case while lawyers for Planet Princeton and the university seek to reach a compromise in the case.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

7 comments

  • The only thing to hide, for a number of reasons, is the number, location, and frequency of crimes, and how and by whom they are investigated. If the data were freely available, I would surmise there is a low crime count, and all crimes are handled, and resolve, quickly. However, I suspect the crime count is relatively high, when compared with the bucolic synthesized image of small-town Princeton, and those charged with enforcement, investigation, etc., are loathe to reveal their mere humanity.

  • I don’t think any objection of that type was raised by Princeton University. PU simply doesn’t seem to want the public knowing what those agreements entail. What are they hiding?

  • If any of those were the case, they would be reasonable defenses. They have not been offered as a defense.

  • I generally agree here, but if reveling some part of this info would jeopardize an ongoing investigation or publicly identify a victim that does not want to be identified, that would probably be why the prosecutor’s office and the University object to the wholesale release of the docs.

  • There is no compromise in telling the truth. There is no acceptable amount of deception.

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