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.

Veteran municipal manager joins N.J. Assembly with budget-busting in mind

By: - February 24, 2022

Brandon Umba grew up with the sound of sirens. He was just 16 when he followed his father and grandfather into the volunteer fire service. He remembers sprinting on foot to the firehouse whenever there was an emergency, until he got his driver’s license. He’d dry off the firetruck after calls and otherwise contribute however […]

Fears grow that Black businesses will be left out of recreational marijuana market

By: and - February 23, 2022

Jersey City plant shop owner Shayla Cabrera has eyed the cannabis industry for years, dreaming of growing and selling her own cannabis crop in a market where sales are expected to top one billion dollars the first year. As a Black woman, Cabrera has an edge in the highly competitive race to snag the limited number of […]

Turnpike Authority approves $250K payout in privacy suit against ex-trooper

By: - February 23, 2022

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority agreed Tuesday to pay $250,000 to a woman who sued the state after a now-fired state trooper secretly stole a sexually explicit video off her phone during a car stop. The New Orleans woman was in New Jersey to visit her mother in July 2016 when Marquice Prather pulled her over […]

Disparities in police discipline drive calls for more transparency

By: - February 21, 2022

A police officer can take someone’s life in New Jersey and receive no punishment. But if he takes a nap on the job? For Passaic County Sheriff’s Officer Angel Lopez, on-duty snoozing snagged him a five-month suspension. A cop who uses excessive force can get away with little or no discipline. But those guilty of […]

Nearly 400 New Jersey cops faced major discipline last year

By: , and - February 17, 2022

Burlington County Correctional Sgt. Matthew Peer channeled his inner Hulk Hogan when he leaped off a metal table onto inmates to break up a jail fight. Newark Police Officer Tigee Pagan let a civilian drive his police car “in an unsafe manner” and posted a video of the illicit joy ride to Instagram. Jersey City […]

Judges side with transgender man in protecting privacy of name changes

By: - February 17, 2022

An appeals court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a transgender man who sought to seal his name change from the public record, declaring transgender people deserve privacy and protection from the harms that could arise from publicizing their name changes. Superior Court Judge Michael J. Haas, writing for a unanimous three-judge appellate panel, overturned a lower […]

Bills aimed at fighting hunger advance in N.J. Assembly

By: - February 15, 2022

A New Jersey Assembly committee advanced 11 bills Monday aimed at reducing hunger in a state where more than a million people — including 400,000 children — struggle with food insecurity. The bill that drew the most attention, called the “Working Class Families’ Anti-Hunger Act,” would require all New Jersey schools to provide free breakfasts […]

N.J. Supreme Court rejects bid to halt vaccine mandate for prison guards

By: - February 14, 2022

The state’s top court has refused to intervene and stop Gov. Phil Murphy’s vaccine mandate for state and county correctional officers, leaving unvaccinated staff two days to get a shot — or get fired. Several police unions, led by the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, had asked the state Supreme Court Friday for an […]

A mom on a mission, new Assembly member eyes fair school funding

By: - February 14, 2022

Marilyn Piperno is one of those moms. The PTO moms. The “big mouth” moms. A mother of three, Piperno wears the self-anointed nickname proudly. “I like to think of myself as a good big mouth, a working mom who’s very involved in our local PTO, very involved in the youth sports foundation, very involved in my children’s […]

Judges uphold Murphy’s vaccine mandate for jail guards

By: - February 11, 2022

A New Jersey appeals court Friday upheld Gov. Phil Murphy’s vaccine mandate for correctional officers in a strongly worded smackdown of the police unions that sought to overturn the order. Superior Court Judge Clarkson S. Fisher, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, said the unions unreasonably placed their “unexplained unwillingness to be vaccinated” above “the interests […]

Police unions urge judges to block vaccine mandate for jail guards

By: - February 8, 2022

A New Jersey appellate panel heard arguments Wednesday on a challenge to Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent executive order mandating vaccines for state and county correctional officers. Officers’ unions called the mandate “government overreach” that will cause unvaccinated officers irreparable harm by requiring them to get jabbed or lose their jobs, while the state insisted the requirement is […]

Court: juvenile offenses count as ‘strike’ under ‘three strikes’ law targeting repeat offenders

By: - February 8, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday judges can count crimes repeat offenders commit as juveniles when weighing whether they deserve to be locked away for life under the state’s “three strikes” law. Two justices dissented in the split ruling, citing the top court’s decision last month finding lifetime imprisonment for youthful offenses is an […]