CJ Griffin Joins as Local Counsel in Federal Class Action Lawsuit Challenging State’s Secret Retention of Newborn Blood Spots

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Law360
11.14.23

CJ Griffin, Partner and Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C., has recently joined as local counsel in a class-action federal lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s practice of keeping blood samples taken from newborn babies for 23 years, all without parents’ knowledge or consent. Not only does New Jersey hold onto the blood, it can use the blood samples in any manner it chooses. The complaint alleges this violates the Fourth Amendment.

Last year, Griffin filed a successful public records lawsuit on behalf of the Office of Public Defender and the New Jersey Monitor to expose that law enforcement agencies had been accessing the blood spots to investigate crimes, all without parental consent. The lawsuit attracted national news coverage and caught the attention of attorneys at the Institute for Justice, the public-interest, libertarian law firm that serves as lead counsel in the federal class action lawsuit.

The goal of the OPRA lawsuit was just to learn more about how often the state was allowing prosecutors to access blood spots behind parents’ backs. In addition to learning it’s happened several times in the past few years alone, we also know the state has allowed other third parties to access the blood spots, without parents ever consenting or even being noticed. We’re asking the court to declare these practices unconstitutional and to stop the government in its tracks, requiring state officials to cease these practices unless they obtain informed consent,” said CJ Griffin.

To read the full NJ Monitor article about the case, click here.

To read the full Law360 article about the case, click here.

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