New Jersey

(information last updated Fall 2017)

Ongoing Projects:

Federal Project Operating in the State:

In 2009, EPA awarded the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), a non-profit in Newark, a $100,000 CARE Level I grant to conduct monitoring of pollution coming from 34 waste facilities in the area.  See ICC Envtl. Monitoring, Fed. Crowdsourcing and Citizen Sci. Catalog, https://ccsinventory.wilsoncenter.org/#projectId/76 (last visited Apr. 10, 2017).  In 2015, EPA lent ICC four air quality sensors to assist their monitoring efforts. See id.  EPA considers this a “proof of concept program,” which it will use to help determine whether it is effective to lend equipment to citizen science groups in other communities.  See id.

State Project:

DEP runs a volunteer water monitoring program: The New Jersey Watershed Watch Network.  See New Jersey Watershed Watch Network, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit/projects/njdep/watershedwatch/ (last visited Apr. 10, 2017).  We have been unable to find statutory authority for this program, which the DEP appears to have created on its own initiative.

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  Notice against trespass must be given by “[a]ctual communication,” “[p]osting,” or “[f]encing.”  N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:18-3(b).

Other Provisions:

Trespass against “any research facility, structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, of [against a] utility company property, or in the sterile area or operational area of an airport” carries a heightened penalty.  N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:18-3.

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“A person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the fourth degree, if he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.”  N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:12-10.

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions could be construed to allow the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Allows:

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shall “[i]nvestigate and provide responses to al citizen complaints [regarding wetlands protection] submitted under Department procedures[.]”  N.J. Admin. Code § 7:7A-16.19.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires a listing of “the facts on which the claim is based.”  N.J. Ct. R. 4:5-2.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter is what its proponent claims.”  N.J. R. Evid. 901.

Expert Testimony:

Frye standard.  See State v. Harvey, 699 A.2d 596, 621 (N.J. 1997).

Discussion

Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.