Newspaper fighting order blocking reporting of document

AP News
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Posted: Oct 28, 2016 6:25 PM

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey newspaper is fighting a judge's order preventing it from reporting on a child services complaint it obtained.

The complaint pertains to the case of a 5-year-old boy found with drugs at school twice. An attorney for the Trentonian said Friday that Judge Craig Corson's order this week barring it from reporting on the document violates the newspaper's First Amendment rights.

Lawyers for New Jersey sought the injunction against the newspaper, saying the document must be kept confidential under state law. The newspaper says it obtained the document lawfully.

The Trentonian reported Wednesday that the boy was placed into foster care after he was found with crack cocaine this week. His father and another woman were charged last month after the boy was found with 30 packets of heroin.

David Bralow, an attorney for the Trentonian, said it's outrageous for the state to block publication of the information while also seeking to keep its legal case against the newspaper confidential.

"This is not even a hard case, this is simply the imposition of a prior restraint to restrain the Trentonian from publishing information of significant public concern," Bralow said. "And that the state in order to do so has to enunciate a compelling state interest that would be akin to troop movements in time of war."

Jay Kamau, director of the International Academy of Trenton Charter School, said that the school is cooperating with local authorities and the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

"Incidents like this one remind us of some of the challenges our students face outside of school today," Kamau said. "They also remind us of the potential we have to make a difference through education."