An unfortunate reality for many judges is the prospect of irate, and possibly violent, litigants and others seeking to harm the judges and their families. Most states have prohibitions on the release of the judge’s home address in certain instances through Freedom of Information Act requests, but those determined to harm the judge may find other venues (such as requesting voter registration information which contains the address).
Three state legislatures are currently debating the subject in particular:
Florida HB 629 / SB 916 Expands confidentiality of home addresses to include former as well as current judges/justices. House version: Approved by full House 2/16/12. In Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Senate version: Approved by Senate Criminal Justice Committee 2/22/12. On Senate Special Order Calendar for 3/7/12.
Georgia HB 397 Repeals provision that prohibits release of records that reveal the home address of judges. Replaces with new provision prohibiting release of records that reveal the home address of “public employees”, including any officer or employee of any state, county, or municipal agency, department, or commission. Approved by full House 3/5/12.
Illinois HB 5877 Excludes personal information of a judicial officer covered by the Judicial Privacy Act from being included as a public record under the Freedom of Information Act, and from inspection or copying under the Act. Establishes procedure for the State Board of Elections to redact a judicial candidate’s home address from the candidate’s certificate of nomination or nomination papers, after conclusion of the Code’s objection period. Establishes procedure for the Secretary of State to redact a judicial candidate’s home address from the candidate’s declaration for retention. Provides that the Secretary of State may allow an applicant who is a judicial officer to provide an office or work address instead of a residence or mailing address on a driver’s license. In House Judiciary I – Civil Law Committee.