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.

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 […]

Senate passes bill requiring schools to teach history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

By: - January 11, 2022

Students in New Jersey schools next year will learn about the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, if Gov. Phil Murphy signs a bill the Senate passed unanimously Monday. Activists who have pushed for such representation in school curriculum applauded the Legislature for its “bold and timely leadership” at a time when New […]

Justices give hope to juvenile offenders, allow sentencing review after 20 years

By: - January 10, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday that juvenile offenders serving lengthy prison sentences may ask for sentencing review after they’ve served 20 years behind bars, a decision juvenile justice reformers celebrated as overdue recognition that children don’t deserve to be locked away for life. The ruling stems from the cases of James Comer, who […]

N.J. prisons grapple with staff shortages, inmate restrictions as COVID-19 spreads anew

By: - January 10, 2022

As the omicron variant sends coronavirus cases surging statewide, the virus also has spiked in New Jersey prisons, creating severe staffing shortages and increased restrictions for inmates, including suspended visitation. About 1,600 of the 7,300 staffers with the state Department of Corrections were out because of COVID-19 in December, and another 450 tested positive the […]

Legislation requiring anti-choking devices in schools draws doctors’ concern

By: - January 7, 2022

Devices touted to be a revolutionary new tool to stop people from choking look like little plastic plungers — one inventor said he was inspired to make his version of portable anti-choking devices after a shopping trip to Home Depot. Their inventors claim the devices have saved hundreds of lives. One contends they are safer and […]