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.

N.J Supreme Court says courts should collect jury demographic data

By: - August 16, 2021

New Jersey’s top court ruled Monday a convicted attempted arsonist failed to prove the trial court’s primarily virtual, hybrid jury-selection process deprived him of a jury representative of his diverse community. The case represents one of the first challenges to whether a defendant can get a fair trial when the pandemic has pushed so much […]

Newark still tops among New Jersey’s biggest cities

By: - August 12, 2021

Newark is keeping its crown as New Jersey’s biggest city, surpassing the 300,000 mark in total population for the first time in four decades, according to numbers the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday. The Brick City saw its citizenry soar 12% in the past decade to 311,549 residents, according to the new figures. Leaders of […]

New law aims to slash youth incarceration, expand community supports

By: - August 12, 2021

Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver on Wednesday signed legislation that will pump $8.4 million into a two-year restorative justice program supporters say will keep kids out of jail and erase racial disparities in New Jersey’s expensive juvenile justice system. The money will fund community-based services intended to do two things: resolve conflicts before they lead to incarceration […]

Police can’t secretly record phone calls, N.J.’s top court rules in win for privacy advocates

By: - August 10, 2021

Law enforcement in New Jersey cannot secretly record telephone calls made in police stations or use any information they hear in such calls because surreptitious recordings violate constitutionally protected privacy rights, the New Jersey Supreme Court decreed in a ruling issued Tuesday. In writing the unanimous decision, Justice Barry T. Albin said a police station […]

Major police discipline now publicly reported in N.J. — but is it enough?

By: - August 10, 2021

Monday was supposed to be the start of a “new chapter” in police accountability in New Jersey. That was the deadline the state Attorney General’s Office set for the state’s 500-plus law enforcement agencies to publicly report major police disciplinary actions. But the disclosures contain scant details. And some stragglers haven’t yet gotten their reports […]

Affordable housing key for N.J. to prevent homelessness spike, official says

By: - August 9, 2021

With some experts predicting the pandemic could increase homelessness nationally worse than the Great Recession did in 2008, the head of New Jersey’s Office of Homelessness Prevention says the state must create more affordable housing to keep people off streets here. “Housing is health care. We have to create a pipeline of affordable housing, because […]

As school year nears, calls grow for a vaccine mandate for teachers

By: - August 6, 2021

With school set to start in-person in most New Jersey districts in a month, superintendents are busy announcing all the safety measures they hope will keep COVID-19 away and prevent a return to remote learning. Largely missing from that messaging is any report on how many teachers are still not vaccinated — and whether they […]

Court monitor gives N.J. child welfare system positive review

By: - August 5, 2021

Twenty-two years after advocates filed a sweeping class-action lawsuit to reform New Jersey’s overburdened, mismanaged, and occasionally deadly child welfare system, a court-appointed monitor Wednesday reported that the system has improved so much it’s now regarded as a model nationally. The state Department of Children and Families (DCF) met 44 of its 48 performance targets, […]

From public art to police oversight, N.J. looks to right its racist past

By: - August 4, 2021

New Jersey may not be the first state that springs to mind when considering the history of slavery and systemic racism. But the ugliness emerges after even a cursory probe into the past. The Garden State was the last of the Northern states to abolish slavery, initially rejecting the Thirteenth Amendment. Perth Amboy was one […]

Governor Phil Murphy speaking

Murphy orders health care, corrections staff to get vaccinated or tested

By: - August 3, 2021

All workers in New Jersey’s state and private health care facilities and “high-risk congregate settings” must get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 7,  or undergo testing once to twice a week, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. Murphy attributed the change to the spread of the Delta variant and its widespread impacts. “Almost every day, […]

Police cannot always stop drivers for obscured license plates, N.J. Supreme Court rules

By: - August 2, 2021

Police in New Jersey can no longer stop motorists for driving cars with partially obscured license plates if the plate markings are still recognizable, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled in a unanimous decision issued Monday. The ruling was largely a victory for civil liberties advocates who claimed that such stops are unconstitutional, discriminatory […]

Roselle Park bows out of fight over profane anti-Biden flags

By: - July 28, 2021

Roselle Park has dropped its case against a borough resident who displayed profane anti-Biden flags outside her home, a decision applauded by free speech experts who said town officials were violating the resident’s free speech protections. The borough’s attorney told a state Superior Court judge in Union County Tuesday that Roselle Park would dismiss the […]