(TRENTON) – To protect the privacy and safety of judges and prosecutors, the Assembly State and Local Government Committee on Thursday advanced legislation to prohibit their home addresses and telephone numbers from being posted online.
Under the bill (A-1649), sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union), individuals, State and local agencies, and businesses would be prohibited from posting or publishing home addresses and phone numbers of judges and State, county or municipal prosecutors, regardless of whether they are currently working or retired. Specifically, the bill would amend the current law that prohibits such disclosure for law enforcement officers.
Additionally, the measure would make it a crime of the third degree for a person to knowingly and purposefully post this information online to expose another to harassment or risk of harm to life or property. A third degree crime is punishable by three to five years in prison, a fine of $15,000, or both.
If a person posts the information online with reckless disregard for the risks it may cause to another, it would be a crime of the fourth degree punishable by up to 18 months in person, a fine of $10,000, or both.
After the attack at the New Jersey home of federal Judge Esther Salas last month, it was discovered that the shooter had found her home address online.
Assemblywoman Quijano released the following statement on the bill:
“Making tough decisions is part of the job for judges and prosecutors. Sometimes these decisions aren’t popular, and they become a target. It’s frightening to think that disgruntled individuals may be able to find their home addresses and personal phone numbers readily available at the touch of a button.
“Our hearts continue to break for Judge Salas and her family. The goal of this bill is to better protect the privacy of judges and prosecutors by prohibiting their personal addresses and contact information from being shared online without their consent.”