N.J. makes it illegal to post addresses, phone numbers of judges, prosecutors after judge’s son was killed | #privacy | #internetlaw


Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed a bill into law making it a crime in New Jersey to post the addresses or phone numbers of judges, prosecutors, or law enforcement officers and their families.

The new law responds to the July 19 fatal shooting at U.S. District Judge Esther Salas’s home in North Brunswick. A gunman, a self-described “anti-feminist,” found her address online shot and killed her son and injured her husband, Mark Anderl. The gunman was found dead a day later from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The judge, who was in the basement of her home at the time, was not injured.

The law is named Daniel’s Law in honor of Salas’ son, Daniel Anderl, who had come home from college to celebrate his 20th birthday.

“In the seconds before his death, Daniel asked me to keep talking to him because he loved talking to me,” Esther Salas said while holding back tears and looking to the sky during a ceremony for the bill signing at the Trenton War Memorial.

“Well Daniel, on behalf of all New Jersey judges, I thank you son for all you have done — not just for Daddy and I — but for all judicial officers. With today’s bill signing, I believe symbolically Daniel is doing what he did for his father and I. He is protecting the lives of countless judicial officers.”

She added: “There are no words that can adequately express how Mark and I feel at this very moment. While today is yet another painful reminder of the vicious attack on our family, it’s also a day to celebrate and be proud of being from New Jersey.”

In the wake of the shooting, Salas urged leaders to take actions to protect federal judges’ privacy.

“Currently, federal judges’ addresses and other information is readily available on the Internet,” she said in August. “In addition, there are companies that will sell your personal details that can be leveraged for nefarious purposes. In my case, this monster knew where I lived and what church we attended and had a complete dossier on me and my family. At the moment there is nothing we can do to stop it, and that is unacceptable,”

“My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench,” the judge added.

The law (A1649) prohibits people, government agencies, and businesses from posting the home addresses and unpublished phone numbers of active and retired judges and state, county and municipal prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and any of these public officials’ spouses or children. Violations of the proposed law would be a crime of the third- or fourth-degree, punishable by fines, imprisonment or both.

“We will never be able to bring the man who targeted (them) to justice for this awful crime. But my hope is by enacting this law today … we are doing something good for the cause of justice and something good in Daniel’s blessed memory,” Murphy said just before signing the bill.

The state Senate passed the bill 39-0 and the Assembly 74-0.

Esther Salas said she hopes this law will be a stepping stone for a national law shielding judges’ personal information.

”It is my sincere hope we can address this critical issue at a national level,” she said.

NJ Advance Media staff writer Samantha Marcus contributed to this report.

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Matt Arco may be reached at marco@njadvancemedia.com.

Brent Johnson may be reached at bjohnson@njadvancemedia.com.





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