The lawyer who killed a federal judge’s son and seriously wounded her husband at their New Jersey home last summer also had been tracking Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the judge said in a television interview.
U.S. District Judge Esther Salas said FBI agents discovered the information in a locker belonging to the lawyer, Roy Den Hollander. “They found another gun, a Glock, more ammunition. But the most troubling thing they found was a manila folder with a workup on Justice Sonia Sotomayor,” Salas said in an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes.” The segment is scheduled for broadcast Sunday, but a portion of the interview aired Friday on “CBS This Morning.”
Both the Supreme Court and the FBI declined to comment Friday. “We do not discuss security as a matter of Court policy,” court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in an email.
Authorities have said Den Hollander, a men’s rights lawyer with a history of anti-feminist writings, posed as a FedEx delivery person and fatally shot 20-year-old Daniel Anderl and wounded his father, Mark Anderl, in July. Salas was in another part of the home at the time and was not injured.
Den Hollander, 72, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound the day after the ambush. Authorities believe he also shot and killed a fellow attorney in California in the days before the attack at Salas’ home.
The AP has previously reported that when Den Hollander was found dead he had a document with him with information about a dozen female judges from across the country, half of whom are Latina, including Salas.
Salas has been calling for more privacy and protections for judges, including scrubbing personal information from the internet, to deal with mounting cyberthreats. The U.S. Marshals Service, which protects about 2,700 federal judges, said there were 4,449 threats and inappropriate communications in 2019, up from 926 such incidents in 2015.
Legislation named for Salas’ son that would make it easier to shield judges’ personal information from the public failed to pass the Senate in December, but could be reintroduced this year.
The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday rejected a complaint against Germany’s refusal to prosecute an officer who ordered the deadly bombing in 2009 of two fuel tankers in northern Afghanistan.
Scores of people died when U.S. Air Force jets bombed the tankers hijacked by the Taliban near Kunduz. The strike was ordered by the commander of the German base in Kunduz, Col. Georg Klein, who feared insurgents could use the trucks to carry out attacks.
Contrary to the intelligence Klein based his decision on, most of those swarming the trucks were local civilians invited by the Taliban to siphon fuel from the vehicles after they had become stuck in a riverbed.
An Afghan man who lost two sons aged 8 and 12 in the airstrike, Abdul Hanan, took the case to the European Court of Human Rights after German authorities declined to prosecute Klein. He alleged that Germany failed to conduct an effective investigation and that no “effective domestic remedy” to that had been available in Germany.
The Strasbourg, France-based court rejected the complaints. It found that German federal prosecutors were “able to rely on a considerable amount of material concerning the circumstances and the impact of the airstrike.”
It also noted that courts including Germany’s highest, the Federal Constitutional Court, rejected cases by Hanan. And it added that a parliamentary commission of inquiry “had ensured a high level of public scrutiny of the case.”
Wolfgang Kaleck, the head of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights who provided legal support to Hanan, said the verdict was a disappointment for the plaintiff and his fellow villagers, but noted that judges had made clear that governments have a duty to at least investigate such cases.
“The bombardment and the dozens of civilian deaths didn’t result in a rebuke, there’s no resumption of the criminal case,” he told reporters after the court announced its decision. “On the other hand it will be very important internationally, also in future, that the European Convention on Human Rights applies,” Kaleck said. “That’s to say, those who conduct such military operations have to legally answer for them afterward, hopefully to a greater extent than in the Kunduz case.”
A separate legal effort to force Germany to pay more compensation than the $5,000 it has so far given families for each victim was rejected last year by the Federal Constitutional Court. This civil case can still be appealed in Strasbourg.
The Supreme Court is telling California that it can’t bar indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it can keep for now a ban on singing and chanting indoors.
The high court issued orders late Friday in two cases where churches had sued over coronavirus-related restrictions in the state. The high court said that for now, California can’t ban indoor worship as it had in almost all of the state because virus cases are high.
The justices said the state can cap indoor services at 25% of a building’s capacity. The justices also declined to stop California from enforcing a ban put in place last summer on indoor singing and chanting. California had put the restrictions in place because the virus is more easily transmitted indoors and singing releases tiny droplets that can carry the disease.
The justices were acting on emergency requests to halt the restrictions from South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista and Pasadena-based Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which has more than 160 churches across the state.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “federal courts owe significant deference to politically accountable officials” when it comes to public health restrictions, but he said deference “has its limits.”
Roberts wrote that California’s determination “that the maximum number of adherents who can safely worship in the most cavernous cathedral is zero?appears to reflect not expertise or discretion, but instead insufficient appreciation or consideration of the interests at stake.”
In addition to Roberts, Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Amy Coney Barrett also wrote to explain their views. Gorsuch and Justice Clarence Thomas would have kept California from enforcing its singing ban. Barrett, the court’s newest justice, disagreed. Writing for herself and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, she said it wasn’t clear at this point whether the singing ban was being applied “across the board.”
She wrote that “if a chorister can sing in a Hollywood studio but not in her church, California’s regulations cannot be viewed as neutral,” triggering a stricter review by courts. The justices said the churches who sued can submit new evidence to a lower court that the singing ban is not being applied generally.
The court’s three liberal justices dissented, saying they would have upheld California’s restrictions. Justice Elena Kagan wrote in a dissent for herself, Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Sonia Sotomayor that the court’s action “risks worsening the pandemic.” She said that the court was “making a special exception for worship services” rather than treating them like other activities where large groups of people come together “in close proximity for extended periods of time.” In areas of California where COVID-19 is widespread, which includes most of the state, activities including indoor dining and going to the movies are banned.
A Pennsylvania woman facing charges that she helped steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the attack on the U.S. Capitol will be released from jail, a federal judge decided Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson directed that Riley June Williams be released into the custody of her mother, with travel restrictions, and instructed her to appear Monday in federal court in Washington to continue her case.
“The gravity of these offenses is great,” Carlson told Williams. “It cannot be overstated.”
Williams, 22, of Harrisburg, is accused of theft, obstruction and trespassing, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Carlson noted Williams has no prior criminal record.
The FBI says an unidentified former romantic partner of Williams tipped them off that she appeared in video from the Jan. 6 rioting and the tipster claimed she had hoped to sell the computer to Russian intelligence.
Williams’ defense lawyer, Lori Ulrich, told Carlson the tipster is a former boyfriend who had been abusive to Williams and that “his accusations are overstated.”
Video from the riot shows a woman matching Williams’ description exhorting invaders to go “upstairs, upstairs, upstairs” during the attack, which briefly disrupted certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“It is regrettable that Ms. Williams took the president’s bait and went inside the Capitol,” Ulrich told the judge.
Williams surrendered to face charges on Monday. She was expected to leave the county jail in Harrisburg later Thursday, and will be on electronic monitoring to await trial.
Heavican said the court’s online payment systems allowed residents to pay traffic tickets and court fines without leaving their homes, and the judiciary also offered an online education system to help judges, lawyers, guardians and others meet continuous education requirements.
New attorneys were sworn into office via online ceremonies across the state, Heavican said. In Dawson County, one judge is broadcasting court proceedings on YouTube.
Heavican said schools and private organizations have hosted trials in counties whose courthouses are too small for adequate social distancing to prevent transmission of the coronavirus. He said jury trials were held at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, Grand Island Central Community College and local K-12 schools and the Lincoln Masonic Lodge.
Heavican also touted the benefits of probation services and problem-solving courts. He said probation costs nearly $2,000 per person, per year, and problem-solving courts costs about $4,000, compared to $41,000 for a person in prison. “Do the math,” he said. “Probation is the taxpayers’ friend.”