Author

Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.

Unions fight N.J. vaccine mandate for prison and jail staff

By: - January 25, 2022

Unions representing state and county correctional officers are fighting a recent state mandate requiring them to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and Tuesday a state judge allowed their battle to advance in court. The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association on Monday asked the state Superior Court’s appellate division for permission to apply for a […]

N.J.’s top court upholds state ban on racial profiling in new ruling

By: - January 25, 2022

Police officers investigating crimes can’t stop a car merely because its occupants match the race and gender of a suspect, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday in an opinion upholding state prohibitions on racial profiling. The state’s top court tossed the conviction of one man — and upheld the vacated sentence of another […]

Bill would allow cash incentives to diversify police recruits

By: - January 24, 2022

State officials have tried all sorts of things to make New Jersey’s mostly white, mostly male police departments better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, from creating minority mentorship programs to mandating police forces take action to fix underrepresentation. Now, one state legislator wants to pay people to find the state more cops of […]

Affordability and taxes top agenda for new legislator from South Jersey

By: - January 21, 2022

Beth Sawyer doesn’t need any data-packed reports or alarm-sounding researchers to know New Jersey’s high taxes have chased people out of the state. She’s helped them move. As a real estate broker in South Jersey for 27 years, Sawyer has been at the table as a parade of longtime New Jersey homeowners sign the sales […]

Court: Police must face life-threatening danger to search with no warrant

By: - January 20, 2022

New Jersey police who arrest people outside their homes can’t then enter and search their homes without a warrant, unless there’s a clear potential of life-threatening danger to officers on the scene, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday. The high court’s decision involves two cases centered on a routine police practice called protective sweeps, […]

Judges side with A.G. on waiving mandatory minimum prison sentences

By: - January 20, 2022

A New Jersey appellate panel weighed in this week on a yearslong battle over mandatory minimum prison sentences, affirming the state Attorney General’s directive last year ordering prosecutors to waive mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses. Superior Court Judge Carmen Messano, writing for the three-judge panel Tuesday, rejected a lower court’s argument that the directive wrongly set […]

Judge delivers new victory for juvenile offenders serving lengthy prison terms

By: - January 19, 2022

A New Jersey judge ordered a new hearing Wednesday for a man sentenced to life in prison for two murders he committed as a teenager, the latest in a string of state court rulings holding that juvenile offenders have a greater capacity than adults to reform and shouldn’t be condemned to lifetime imprisonment. William Thomas […]

Gov. Murphy signs flurry of bills just before second term begins

By: and - January 19, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a controversial law Tuesday that will allow New Jersey police officers to review their own body-camera footage before writing incident reports. Reformers fought the measure, fearing it would enable officers to omit details the camera didn’t capture and thereby evade accountability. Police unions pushed for it, saying it would improve the […]

New Monmouth assemblywoman sets sights on pandemic recovery

By: - January 18, 2022

In the uproar over the pandemic’s impact on schools, there may be no more dreaded place to be than on a school board. Parents have packed meetings to demand or reject masking, vaccine mandates, and virtual learning. They’ve protested and threatened school board members. Sometimes, the police even get called. But Vicky Flynn was happy […]

State comptroller scolds Monmouth County commissioners for secret salary hikes

By: - January 13, 2022

The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners flouted state law when it disregarded the required public process to boost commissioners’ and the county sheriff’s salaries, according to a new report from the Office of the State Comptroller. Circumventing the state-mandated process erodes public confidence in local government, the Comptroller’s Office said in a statement. “Transparency […]

COVID, economy dominate governor’s annual State of the State address

By: - January 11, 2022

If you tuned in late to Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of the State speech Tuesday night, you might have thought you were watching one of his periodic coronavirus briefings. That’s because the governor spent the first eight minutes of his annual address defending his decision, announced earlier Tuesday, to reinstate a public health emergency in […]

N.J. lawmakers pass bill expanding access to safe-syringe sites

By: - January 11, 2022

New Jersey lawmakers passed legislation Monday intended to expand access to safe-syringe sites for people struggling with drug addiction. Gov. Phil Murphy now has until Jan. 18 to sign the bill, which would allow nonprofits, health care providers, and other entitities to open harm reduction centers, with approval from the state health commissioner — and allow […]