New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services was within its rights to fire an investigator who, in a room containing oxygen tanks, held a lit cigarette lighter in the face of a 5- 1/2-year-old boy believed to have started a fire in his adoptive home, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The court held 6-0 that the Appellate Division exceeded the bounds of judicial review when it ordered the state’s Merit System Board to use the principle of “progressive discipline” to consider a form of discipline short of termination.

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