TRENTON, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation (A1649) on Friday protecting the home addresses and phone numbers of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers from public disclosure.
The bill, known as “Daniel’s Law,” is named in honor of Dan Anderl, the late son of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas. The St. Joseph High School (Metuchen) grad and Catholic University student fell victim to a senseless act of gun violence committed by an individual who had compiled a dossier of personal information about Judge Salas, including her home address.
Primary sponsors of A1649 include Assembly members Annette Quijano, Yvonne Lopez, Craig Coughlin, and Ralph Caputo, and Senators Joe Cryan, Nicholas Scutari, Nellie Pou, and Bob Smith.
“This is a renewed commitment to ensure our judiciary, prosecutors, and members of law enforcement who answer the call of justice can do so without fear for their personal safety, or that of their loved ones,” said Murphy. “By shielding the home addresses and private contact information for those who serve on the bench and enforce our laws, we are demonstrating that in the face of unspeakable tragedy, New Jersey responds not with thoughts and prayers, but with concrete action.”
“My husband, Mark, and I would like to thank Governor Murphy and all the men and women of the New Jersey State Legislature for enacting this trailblazing legislation,” said U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas. “We hope this law can be a steppingstone to improving the security of my sisters and brothers who serve as federal judges throughout the country."
Nobody should be forced to endure the kind of pain my family has experienced ever again. Together we can work to ensure that all members of the judiciary (federal, state, and municipal courts) can perform their duties without fear of retribution or harm. Daniel used to say, ‘Mom, I love talking with you.’ I know Daniel is listening now, and he is smiling down on us today because he knows that with this bill signing, we are doing our part to ensure that his death will not be in vain.” - Judge Esther Salas
The bill amends the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) to exclude from the definition of a government (i.e., public) record the portion of any document which discloses the home address of any active or retired 1) judge, 2) prosecutor or 3) law enforcement officer.
Further, the bill prohibits government agencies, individuals and businesses from knowingly publishing on the internet, or otherwise making available, the home address or unpublished home telephone number of any active or retired judge or any active or retired prosecutor.
The bill also enables any active or retired judge, prosecutor, or law enforcement officer whose home address or unpublished telephone number is disclosed on the internet or otherwise made available to the public, or whose immediate family member’s name, home address, or unpublished phone number is disclosed on the internet or otherwise made available to the public, to request that the information be removed. The government agency, individual or business would be required to remove the information within 72 hours of receiving such a request in writing.
“Daniel Anderl’s tragic death reminds us that the disclosure of personal information can leave judges and family members vulnerable to threats and violence,” said New Jersey State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.
“To everyone who played a role in getting this done, I thank you. However, our work does not end here. We must extend these privacy protections nationwide, so that no one lives through what Judge Salas and her husband lived through,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “I am proud to see Governor Murphy sign Daniel’s Law here in New Jersey – and why I remain committed to the passage of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act in Washington.”