The husband and son of federal Judge Esther Salas were shot by a man who showed up at their New Jersey door in a Fed-Ex uniform, according to New Jersey Globe.
Daniel Anderl, 20, the judge’s son is dead, the news site reported. Her husband, Mark Anderl, is in critical condition, and the judge is not injured because she was in the basement at the time of the shooting, NBC New York reported.
News 4 New York reported that the gunman showed up at the judge’s home in North Brunswick around 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 19.
The television station reported that the judge’s husband answered the door and was shot “multiple times.” The son came to see what was going on and was also shot. According to the television station, the judge is the first Latina woman to serve on New Jersey’s federal bench. Rutgers University called her “The first Hispanic to serve as a US Magistrate Judge for NJ.”
The motive and suspect are not yet clear.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Salas’s Husband Is a Prominent Criminal Defense Attorney & Former Prosecutor
The judge’s husband is Mark Anderl, 63, a criminal defense attorney. Anderl is a lawyer with the New Jersey law firm of Anderl & Oakley, P.C.
His website biography says that Anderl practices in the areas of “State and Federal Criminal Defense Juvenile Delinquency DWI/Municipal Court.” He received his education from Brooklyn Law School and Northeastern University and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1985.
“Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney, 1997 to present Over 250 Criminal Jury Trials Anderl & Oakley, P.C., partner, 1997 to present,” his website says. Before that, he worked as an assistant prosecutor for 10 years in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
He has received numerous awards, including Middlesex County Bar Association Practitioner of the Year and New York top-rated lawyers.
2. Salas Is a Former Public Defender Nominated to the Federal Bench by Barack Obama & Was Recently Given a Case With a Link to Jeffrey Epstein
According to The New Jersey Globe, Salas is “a widely respected and popular jurist” who was nominated by President Barack Obama to be a federal judge in 2010 after serving as a public defender and federal magistrate.
The judge was recently assigned a case with a Jeffrey Epstein link.
According to Bloomberg, Deutsche Bank AG is being accused of misleading investors “about anti-money-laundering deficiencies,” including not properly monitoring high-risk customers, among them the financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting sex offense charges. Epstein’s ties to high-profile figures like Prince Andrew and the manner in which he died have caused some to question whether his death was murder instead of suicide. Authorities have given no indication that the motive for the Anderl shootings is tied into any of the judge’s cases, however.
The case was filed “on July 15, 2020, and has been assigned to Judge Esther Salas,” according to Globe News Wire. Bloomberg Law also reported that the case was assigned to Judge Salas.
See the docket entry here.
According to NJ Monthly, she has said one of her “proudest accomplishments” was creating a Pretrial Opportunity Program with another judge. It’s an jail alternative program for drug addicts. The story says Salas would “sit down for frank conversations with defendants,” adding that she “lives and breathes her work.”
3. The Judge’s Son Was a Baseball Prospect
Daniel Anderl is listed by Perfect Game.org as a 2018 graduate of North Brunswick, New Jersey. He was listed as uncommitted. He attended St. Joseph high school and stood 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. Team last played for was listed as “baseball warehouse.”
She once told New Jersey Monthly, when her son was 17, that she could see him pursuing a legal career.
“I don’t want to dissuade him, but I was pulling for a doctor,” Salas told the publication. “He’s been arguing with us since he could talk—practicing his advocacy skills.” The story said that Salas “teaches him her mother’s mantra: ‘Tu no eres mejor que nadie, pero nadie es mejor que tu.’ It means you are not better than anyone, but no one is better than you.”
4. Salas Is the Child of Cuban & Mexican Parents
According to Best of NJ, Esther Salas was born on December 29, 1968, in Monterey Park, California to a Cuban mother and a Mexican father.
She was largely raised by a single mother, the youngest of five children, the site reported, describing her as “a bright child” who “helped her mother negotiate at the welfare office to ensure her family wasn’t snubbed or ignored.”
She eventually went to college, and then clerked for New Jersey Superior Court Judge Eugene J. Codey Jr. before becoming a law firm associate and eventually an assistant federal public defender.
5. The Judge Met Her Husband When He Was a Prosecutor & She Was a Legal Intern
Threats against federal judges numbered “4,449 threats and inappropriate communications,” CNN reported, adding that such threats have escalated in recent years.
There are about 2,700 federal judges in the country.
In 2005, a man upset that U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow dismissed her lawsuit murdered her mother and husband in Illinois.
From 1979 to April 2020, only three federal judges had been murdered in the United States: Judge John Wood, Judge Richard Daronco and Judge Robert Vance, according to CNN.
According to New Jersey Monthly, Salas met her husband when he was working as a prosecutor and she was working as a law school intern. He spotted her “getting fingerprinted” and came over to talk to her, she told the publication, adding, “We’ve been inseparable since 1992.”