Webber bill protecting victims’ private information advances

Webber bill protecting victims’ private information advances

Jay Webber

TRENTON, N.J. – A bill that would protect the personal information of violent crime victims and witnesses was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Wednesday.

Assemblyman Jay Webber, who sponsored the bill (A1731), wants personal identifying information redacted from Open Public Records Act requests. That information—name, address, age—is public under current law, with only narrow exceptions allowed.

“Our laws need to be tightened to protect victims and witnesses from being further traumatized by those who either wish them harm or seek to profit from their pain,” Webber (R-Morris) said. “The state should do all in its power to conceal the identities of these vulnerable persons.”

While convicted criminals are prohibited from accessing public records about their victims or victims’ families, nothing prevents them from having others access that information on their behalf. News outlets typically refuse to print names of underage victims, but arbitrarily apply that courtesy to adult victims or witnesses.