Senate Approves Measure to Create State Office to Make ‘Daniel’s Law’ More Effective
Trenton – The law enacted to protect the safety and security of judges, prosecutors, other law enforcement officers and their families would be made more effective under terms of legislation authored by Senator Joe Cryan, Senator Nellie Pou and Senator Nick Scutari that was approved by the Senate today.
The measure, S-4219/A-6171, would create a state office to manage the implementation of “Daniel’s Law,” which protects from public disclosure the home addresses and phone numbers of judges, prosecutors, other law enforcement officials and their immediate family members. It was enacted in response to the fatal attack on U.S District Judge Esther Salas that took the life of her son, Daniel Anderl, who was shot and killed when he opened the front door of the family’s home to an armed assailant who was able to locate the residence by accessing their address.
“Daniel’s Law was a needed response to a terrible tragedy that took the life of a well-loved and admired young man who was the son of a highly respected judge whose family was targeted because of her service as a judge,” said Senator Cryan, the former Union County Sherriff. “This legislation will make substantial improvements to the effectiveness of the law by streamlining the process and making it more workable at all levels of government. The men and women who serve to protect all of us should not be left vulnerable to violent attacks by personal identifying information.”
“Judges and other court officers who serve our legal system deserve to be protected from any possible attack or retaliation for merely performing their sworn duties. What happened to Judge Esther Salas, and her family must never happen again,” said Senator Pou (D- Bergen/Passaic). “This legislation will make those protections more effective by adding a needed layer of safety for these public servants.”
“As Judiciary Chair for the last twelve years, nominating individuals who uphold the spirit and intent of the law has been my highest priority,” said Senator Scutari (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “This horrific act underscores the need to do more to protect judges and their families so they can continue to preside honorably without fear of retaliation.”
The legislation would create the Office of Information Privacy in the Department of Community Affairs to manage the implementation of Daniel’s Law, putting procedures in place to streamlining the process and ensure the effectiveness.
Law enforcement officials, including active, formerly active, or retired judicial officers, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and any immediate family member residing in the same household would have a single office to go to have their personal identifying information protected from public disclosure. The office would make use of a highly-secured “portal” that could be accessed by those who want to request confidentiality of their personal information
The bill would also make sure the confidentiality of the information is extended to local agencies as well as state entities. It includes a $3 million appropriation.
Senator Cryan expressed his appreciation to the groups, government agencies and individuals who worked with him on this legislation.
“I want to thank all the interested parties who came forward with concerns and input. I believe we have addressed them with this legislation and the solution will make Daniel’s Law more effective in providing protections for law enforcement officials and their families,” said Senator Cryan, the vice chair of the Senate, Law and Public Safety Committee.
The Senate vote was 38-0.