A bill called “Daniel’s Law” that shields the addresses of certain government officials passed the New Jersey Senate on Monday and is now heading to the desk of Governor Phil Murphy.
The bill, S-2797, “prohibits disclosure of certain personal information of active, forme[r]ly active, and retired judicial officers, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers, and their family members.” The law also creates an avenue for both criminal and civil actions when such information is disclosed:
As to potential civil liability, individuals, businesses, and associations would be prohibited from disclosing on the Internet the information about an active or retired judicial officer under any circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that providing such information would expose another to harassment or risk of harm to life or property. As a result of a violation, a court could award: (1) actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $1,000 for each violation; (2) punitive damages upon proof of willful or reckless disregard of the law; (3) reasonable attorney’s fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred; and (4) any other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate.
The Senate voted to pass this bill unanimously, and the House of Representatives passed an identical bill. As such, the only step remaining for the bill to become law is a signature from the governor.
The bill was prompted by the fatal shooting of US District Judge Esther Salas’ 20-year-old son in their home in July of this year. A gunman came to their home posing as a deliveryman and shot her son, Daniel Anderl, in the chest before wounding her husband and fleeing the scene. Her husband, defense attorney Mark Anderl, survived, and the gunman was later found to have killed himself. Salas was in the home at the time of the shooting but was uninjured.