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Federal Judge Whose Husband and Son Were Shot at Home Once Sentenced an Admitted Member of ‘Most Violent’ Cartel

Judge Esther Salas

The son and husband of U.S. District Court of New Jersey Judge Esther Salas were shot Sunday when a gunman dressed as a FedEx worker opened fire on the family’s New Jersey home.  Daniel Anderl, Salas’s 20-year-old son, has died; defense attorney Mark Anderl, Salas’s husband, was injured.  Judge Salas was unharmed.

Judge Salas made headlines during the trial of Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Teresa and Joe Guidice, when Salas handed down jail sentences and harsh words for the couple convicted of fraud.

The judge also handled the sentencing of Farad Roland, the leader of the South Side Cartel, which the DOJ has called “one of Newark’s most violent street gangs.”  After Roland pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges, Judge Salas sentenced him to 45 years in prison. The sentence term had been part of Roland’s agreement with prosecutors.

On Thursday, Salas was assigned to preside over the class action lawsuit brought against Deutsche Bank over alleged special treatment it gave to Jeffrey Epstein. The lawsuit was brought by Ali Karimi on behalf of a group of investors and alleges that the bank failed to monitor high risk customers such as convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Salas is 51 years old and is of Cuban and Mexican descent; she is the first Hispanic woman to serve as a as a United States District Judge in the District of New Jersey. Salas was recommended by Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama. She has spoken out about the need for government and law enforcement to address mental health and substance abuse issues as part of sentencing reform.

The FBI is reportedly looking for one suspect, and it is not yet known whether the gunman was an actual FedEx employee or simply someone posing as one.  Jonathan Lyons, a spokesman for FedEx, told reporters in an email statement obtained by the Washington Post that the company was “are aware of the media reports and [is] fully cooperating with investigating authorities.”

Messages of support and condolence for Judge Salas and her family have been widely shared by those inside the New Jersey government and legal communities.

[screengrab via Columbia Law School]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos