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AG Derek Schmidt urges support for federal legislation protecting safety of federal judges, their families

Release Date: Dec 15, 2020

TOPEKA – (December 15, 2020) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday joined a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general in backing legislation to protect the safety of federal judges and their families.

In a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, the attorneys general encourage passage of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act or similar legislation that 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 legislation is named for Daniel Anderl, the son of federal Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, who was fatally shot at their home in July 2020. The letter was signed by 46 state attorneys general, the District of Columbia and four territories.

“Kansas law already limits disclosure of judges' personal identifying information in state and local public records," Schmidt said. "This proposal would extend similar protections to federal records and to data collected by certain non-governmental entities. No member of the judiciary should be subjected to threats or violence towards themselves or their families for carrying out their constitutional duties.”

The attorneys general wrote that in addition to the killing of Daniel Anderl this past summer, four federal judges have been murdered since 1979, and two family members of another judge were killed in an attack at their home in 2005. The attorneys general state that incidents, inappropriate communications and threats against federal judges and others protected by the U.S. Marshals Service increased to 4,449 in 2019 from 2,357 in 2016.

A copy of the letter can be found at https://bit.ly/3mjZPh0.

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