New Brunswick Today’s Pursuit for Press Freedom has made its way to the state Appellate Division
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New Brunswick Today’s Pursuit for Press Freedom has made its way to the state Appellate Division
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NEWARK, NJ – A press freedom case out of New Brunswick has made its way to the state Appellate Division.

Lawyers for Charles Kratovil, the publisher of New Brunswick Today, a local media outlet, argued last week that Kratovil had the right to publish the home address of the then city’s police director, Anthony Caputo.
The saga began when Kratovil discovered that Caputo lives in Cape May, an estimated two-hour drive from New Brunswick. The idea that a high-ranking official lived so far from the city he served struck Kratovil as news, so he sought comment about it from the city council.
What Kratovil got in return was what he considered a letter threatening legal action if he revealed Caputo’s address.
The premise was “Daniel’s Law,” which gives police and related law enforcement officials the ability to shield their addresses from public records. It was adopted after a deranged man invaded the home of a federal judge in 2020, killing her son.
Kratovil filed suit, seeking to have the letter and its alleged threat nullified.
A judge in state Superior Court, Middlesex County, last year ruled in favor of the city, preventing the publication of the address.
Kratovil appealed and a three-judge appeals court panel held a hearing on the topic last week.
Caputo left his job at the end of last year, but the principle of the dispute remains.
In court, Kratovil’s lawyer, Alexander Shalom of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the city’s actions are a “classic, unconstitutional prior restraint.”
He noted that Kratovil legally obtained Capito’s address through the Cape May County Board of Elections, and therefore, should be permitted to write a story about it.
The city’s position is being backed by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and various police agencies, including the state troopers union.
Lawyers for the city argued that the letter Kratovil received was not threatening. Instead, they said it just reminded him about Daniel’s Law.
During the hearing, a video of which is available online, the prevailing view among lawyers backing the city’s position was that Kratovil could report that Caputo lives in Cape May, but not his actual street address.
This is standard newspaper practice. 
However, Shalom contended that accepting those conditions would, in effect, allow the courts to act as an “uber editor.”
He asked the judges to allow Kratovil to publish Caputo’s full address if he so desires.
The panel will make a decision later this year, but as one of the judges observed, a person’s home is not necessarily a secret.
“You can follow someone home,” he said.
By William Swanson, Special to The Central Observer
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