(TRENTON) – To protect the privacy and safety of judicial officers and prosecutors, legislation to prohibit their home addresses and telephone numbers from being posted online was signed into law Friday by Governor Phil Murphy. The measure was approved earlier this week by the full Assembly 74-0 and Senate 39-0.
Under the new law (formerly bill A-1649), sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano (D-Union), Yvonne Lopez, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (both D-Middlesex) and Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), individuals, State and local agencies, and businesses are prohibited from posting or publishing home addresses and phone numbers of judicial officers and federal, State, county or municipal prosecutors, regardless of whether they are currently working or retired, as well as their spouse or child. Specifically, the new law amends an existing law that prohibits such disclosure for law enforcement officers.
Additionally, the law makes 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 is a crime of the fourth degree punishable by up to 18 months in person, a fine of $10,000, or both.
Under the new law, the home addresses of law enforcement officers, judicial officers and prosecutors will be redacted from government records before a document is provided to a member of the public through the Open Public Records Act.
If the home address of a law enforcement officer, judicial officer or prosecutor is posted online, they may request the person or entity that disclosed the information to remove it. If the information is not removed in a timely manner, the affected individual could bring civil action in Superior Court.
After the attack at the New Jersey home of federal Judge Esther Salas this summer, it was discovered that the shooter had found her home address online. This new law is known as ‘Daniel’s Law’ in honor of Judge Salas’ son, Daniel Anderl, who lost his life in the attack.
The sponsors released the following joint statement:
“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 law 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.”