On February 9, 2023, MSBA Advocacy Director Shaoli Katana testified before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB221, Court Officials – Public Disclosure of Personal Information, authorizing certain judges, immediate family members, and judicial officers, to make a written request that certain personal information be removed from the Internet.

In written testimony she submitted with her spoken testimony, Katana wrote:

“The MSBA represents more attorneys and judges than any other organization across the State in all practice areas. MSBA serves as the voice of Maryland’s legal profession. Through its Laws Committee and various practice-specific sections, MSBA monitors and takes positions on legislation of importance to the legal profession.

“The MSBA strongly supports the updated version of the bill provided by the Judiciary. Enhancing judicial security is critical to the MSBA and the entire legal profession. SB 221 would not only protect the safety of judges and their families, but also preserve judicial integrity and independence, allowing judges to make decisions without fear of harmful recourse. The bill provides a practical, straightforward approach to enhance judicial safety, without being overly burdensome to implement, as the bill limits ‘personal information’ to home addresses and unpublished telephone numbers posted on the Internet by state or local governments or by private parties. The bill provides a reasonable process to permit judges who qualify as ‘protected individuals’ to request the sensitive information be taken down.

“SB 221 will improve the safety and security of current and retired judges, as ongoing violent and tragic threats and attacks affect judges around the country. This would follow recently-enacted federal legislation and similar bills in other states to protect this population. The bill is also critically important for future recruitment and retention of judges in Maryland, so they can safely seek judgeships and fulfill their obligations without fear of retribution.”

The MSBA actively shapes practice-based legislation and policy to realize the best possible outcomes for Maryland’s lawyers and legal professionals. Visit MSBA Advocacy to learn more. We welcome questions and comments at advocacy@msba.org.