Campus Life

SPONSORED: Hughes Center forum featuring judge whose son was killed spotlights judicial security

Content sponsored by Stockton University’s Hughes Center

A federal judge whose son was killed in a targeted attack at her New Jersey home warned that protecting judges at all levels are needed to preserve democracy during an online forum about judicial safety Wednesday, April 12.

US. District Court Judge Esther Salas was the keynote speaker in a program, “A Threat to Judges – and Judicial Independence,” sponsored by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and the New Jersey Hispanic Bar Association.

A video recording of the event was archived and is available for viewing on the Hughes Center’s website,

In July 2020, an assailant armed with a gun went to the New Jersey home of Salas, seriously wounded her husband, Mark Anderl, and killing their son, Daniel, 20. State and federal laws named after Daniel have since been passed prohibiting the publication of addresses and personal information of judges.

Salas and a panel of experts called for greater sharing among states of intelligence on people who pose threats. States should develop systems of tracking threats and protecting judges as New Jersey did after the Salas family attack, participants said.

“This is important to preserving democracy and the country we all love. Judges must be able to do their jobs without fear of being killed,” Salas said. “When democracies fail, they always go after the courts and judges first.”

Retired Judge Julio Mendez, a senior contributing analyst for the Hughes Center, moderated the discussion.

Panelists included:

  • Robin Morante, chief of Court and Judicial Security, New Jersey, with Robert P. Arter, Esq., Advisory Committee on Extrajudicial Activities
  • Nathan W. Hall, National Center for State Courts; and principal consultant of Court Consulting Services
  • John Muffler, MS, CTM, principal, Aequitas Global Security, LLC; formerly U.S. Marshals Service National Center for Judicial Security
  • John Christopher Palmer, Court Security director, Utah State Courts, formerly head of travel security for Obama White House.