Legislation supports protecting judges’ information in response to family attacked in North Brunswick

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NORTH BRUNSWICK – Legislation that would, if enacted into law, prohibit the posting of addresses and telephone numbers of judges and members of the law enforcement community is receiving support.

Assembly Bill A-1649, known as the Daniel Anderl Bill, is named for Anderl, the 20-year-old son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas who was killed at his family’s North Brunswick home on July 19.

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Salas’ husband, Mark Anderl, who is a criminal defense attorney, was seriously injured in the attack carried out by suspect Roy Den Hollander, who allegedly targeted the family because of his disdain for Salas and her role as a federal judge, according to reports.

Salas sits on the bench in the District of New Jersey, Newark.

In a video message Salas released after her son’s death, she said she understands judges’ decisions will be scrutinized and she said the job requires judges to make tough calls that can lead to people being angry and upset, but she said it should be hard for those who target judges to track them.

“What we cannot accept is when we are forced to live in fear of our lives,” she said in the video.

Salas said personal information like her home address and the church she attends should not be readily available on the internet. She mentioned Hollander having a “dossier” about her family.

“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. Now, more than ever, we need to identify a solution to keep the lives of federal judges private,” she said in the video.

Salas said she wants to commence a national dialogue and work collaboratively to find a solution to safeguard the privacy of federal judges.

“We can’t sit back and wait for another tragedy to strike,” she said in the video.

The bill, dated Aug. 13 and sponsored by Majority Conference Leader Annette Quijano (D-Union), prohibits individuals, state and local agencies, and businesses from posting or publishing on the internet the home addresses or unpublished home telephone numbers of judges, or state, county or municipal prosecutors regardless of whether those people are retired or in the workforce. The bill would amend a current law that already prohibits such disclosure for law enforcement officers.

Specifically, the bill makes it a crime for a person to knowingly post or publish the home address or unpublished telephone number of a judge or prosecutor, regardless of whether those people are retired or in the workforce, or their spouse or child.

If a person recklessly violates the prohibition it would be a crime of the fourth degree. A fourth degree crime is punishable by a prison term of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

If a person purposefully violates the prohibition it would be a crime of the third degree. A third degree crime is punishable by a prison term of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

The bill defines “disclose” as soliciting, selling, manufacturing, giving, providing, lending, trading, mailing, delivering, transferring, publishing, distributing, circulating, disseminating, presenting, exhibiting, advertising or offering.

The bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2018-19 session pending technical review. As reported, the bill includes the changes required by technical review, which has been performed.

North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack spoke in support of the bill, saying, “In a recent statement, Judge Salas implored us not to let Daniel’s death be in vain.

“This terrible event should serve as a catalyst for adopting the necessary measures to ensure that members of the judiciary receive the protection and security our society owes them.

“I officially support and urge the Legislature to quickly act on A-1649. This bill prohibits the posting of the addresses and phone numbers of members of judiciary and law enforcement community without their consent.

“A-1649 is a positive step in making some of our more high-profile citizens less vulnerable to individuals and groups who would use personal information to do harm. We have got to make every effort to protect those who protect us. Perhaps it is fitting to refer to such a measure as the Daniel Anderl Bill,” Womack said.

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