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Monday, December 14, 2020

AG HEALEY CALLS ON CONGRESS TO PROTECT SAFETY OF FEDERAL JUDGES AND THEIR FAMILIES

 AG HEALEY CALLS ON CONGRESS TO PROTECT SAFETY OF FEDERAL JUDGES AND THEIR FAMILIES

Joins Coalition Urging the Passage of Legislation to Protect Confidentiality of Personal Identifying Information of Members of Federal Judiciary in Public Records

                                                                   

            BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a bipartisan coalition of 51 attorneys general in calling on Congress to pass legislation aimed at protecting the safety of federal judges and their families.

 

            In a letter sent to leaders of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the coalition is calling for the passage of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act or similar legislation. The bill would protect the confidentiality of personal identifying information of members of the federal judiciary in public records and limit the distribution of that information online and by data brokers. The coalition called the passage of such legislation urgent in light of attacks and increasing threats against members of the federal judiciary, and notes that the legislation has bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.

 

            The Act is named for 20-year-old Daniel Anderl, the late son of Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Anderl was killed in July when an attorney who had appeared in a case before Judge Salas – a man described in the coalition’s letter as “deranged” – appeared at her home and shot both Anderl and the judge’s husband. The judge’s husband was critically injured but survived the attack. The gunman used publicly available information to track down the judge and her family.

 

“This legislation allows judges, who are integral to our justice system and a functioning democracy, to do their job without living in fear,” AG Healey said. “We’re calling on Congress to pass this legislation that will help ensure the safety and security of judges and their families.”

 

            According to today’s letter, four federal judges have been murdered since 1979, including District Judge John Wood, District Judge Richard Daronco, Circuit Judge Robert Vance and District Judge John Roll. In 2005, two of District Judge Joan Lefkow’s family members were killed in a targeted attack on her home. Incidents and threats against federal judges and others protected by the U.S. Marshals Service have been on the rise in recent years with 4,449 occurring in 2019, up from 2,357 in 2016.

 

            Introduced in the Senate on September 24, 2020 and in the House on October 13, 2020, the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act would:

 

  • Protect judges and their families by requiring federal agencies to maintain the confidentiality of judges’ personally identifiable information (home addresses, Social Security numbers, contact information, tax records, vehicle information, and the names and schools of their immediate family) upon request;
  • Authorize funding for state and local governments to adopt similar measures;
  • Prohibit data brokers from selling, licensing, trading, purchasing, or otherwise providing or making available for consideration judges’ personally identifiable information;
  • Create an enforceable mechanism for judges and their immediate family members to secure removal of their personally identifiable information from the Internet.

 

The Judicial Conference of the United States and the American Bar Association also support the legislation.

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