SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — When Utah's new federal courthouse opened last week, it came with security improvements that are becoming standard around the country: separate entrances and elevators for judges, defendants and the public; bullet-resistant glass and paneling; and vehicle barricades to keep car bombs at bay.
Even the design of the courtrooms, with plenty of sunlight and space, can help calm witnesses or defendants in high-stress cases, some judges believe.
But nothing can prevent every violent courtroom outburst. Authorities said that when a 5-foot-11, 230-pound, pen-wielding defendant rushed a witness during his racketeering trial Monday, a more old-fashioned form of security left him dead: an armed U.S. marshal.
Siale Angilau, 25, was shot several times in front of stunned jurors, lawyers and courtroom watchers. He was one of 17 people named in a 2010 indictment accusing "Tongan Crip" gang members of assault, conspiracy, robbery and weapons offenses.
The unidentified witness, who was unhurt, had been testifying about gang initiation when Angilau charged him, said Perry Cardwell, who was in the courtroom. Cardwell was there to support his mother, Sandra Keyser, who was punched in the face during a holdup in 2002.
Shootings at federal courthouses are rare, though not unheard of, around the country.
Last year, a former police officer who told friends he was dying of cancer was killed by law enforcement after he sprayed bullets into a federal courthouse in West Virginia. In 2012, a man committed suicide at a federal courthouse in Alabama, and in 2010, a man started shooting in the lobby of the Las Vegas federal courthouse, killing a court security officer and wounding a deputy U.S. marshal. The gunman was killed in a shootout.
Shootings in courtrooms themselves are even less common, largely because metal detectors ensure armed spectators don't reach them.
But defendants usually are not shackled when they appear at trial, absent extraordinary circumstances, making their outbursts unpredictable. Courts have held that it's unfair to defendants for jurors to see them restrained. It's unclear whether the U.S. Marshals Service, which provides security for judges and federal courthouses, had any unusual concerns about security in Angilau's case.
Prosecutors say Angilau, also known by his street name "C-Down," was a member of the Tongan Crips, a group of men of mostly Tongan descent that are aligned with a larger Crip culture in the Western United States. They have rivalries with "Blood" gangs and a gang of ex-members known as the "Tongan Crip Regulators," court records show.
The last defendant in the case to stand trial, Angilau was accused of robbing convenience stores and assaulting clerks in Salt Lake City on five occasions from 2002 to 2007. A clerk was shot in the final robbery. He was also accused of assaulting a federal officer with a weapon on Aug. 11, 2007.
Angilau's trial was among the first at the new $185 million federal courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City, next door to the century-old federal facility it replaced.
U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell declared a mistrial after the shooting, noting in her order that jurors were visibly shaken and upset. She issued a separate order extending the jurors' term of service "until counseling is no longer needed."
Angilau's attorney, Michael Langford, declined to take questions as he left the courthouse.
Angilau was arrested in August 2007 for a probation violation and pleaded guilty a year later to obstruction of justice and failure to respond to a command of a police officer, court records show. He remained in Utah state prison until he was handed over to U.S. marshals on Friday, said Utah Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Adams.
Marsha Pechman, the chief U.S. district judge in Seattle, noted that although state courts handle many of the most emotionally charged cases, including family-law matters, security is never far from the minds of federal judges.
In 2005, six weeks after Seattle's federal courthouse opened, Seattle police shot and killed a man who walked into the lobby with an inert grenade.
That same year, a delusional man angry over the dismissal of his medical malpractice case shot and killed the mother and husband of Chicago U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow at the judge's home.
Pechman said she believes the stately, quiet, light and spacious feel of newer federal courthouses like Seattle's can calm people down much more effectively than the atmosphere of older, crowded ones. Devoting plenty of time and attention to cases to ensure defendants believe they are treated fairly also can help, she said.
And when all that fails, she noted, "we have a very highly trained police force in the marshals."
"You can't be a judge very long without having a trial that presents concerning situations," Pechman said. "We handle them by talking them through with the marshals. ... This sounds like something that could have happened at any courthouse, at any time."
Johnson reported from Seattle. Associated Press writers Annie Knox in Salt Lake City and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed.
WADOWICE, Poland (AP) His death triggered a massive outpouring of grief in Poland. His beatification, an explosion of pride and jubilation. But days before John Paul II is to be declared a saint, many of his countrymen are greeting the landmark with little more than a shrug.
One reason is that John Paul has already long been a saint in Polish hearts so making it official with Vatican pageantry is just a bit of icing on the cake. But it's also clear that less than a decade since his death, the enthusiasm that Poles accord their great countryman seems to be dissipating, just as memories of him fade and a new generation comes of age in this young EU country that is moving toward a more secular outlook.
Only a few hundred people turned out in Warsaw's main square for prayers before the pope's relics on April 2, the ninth anniversary of his death. And there is little talk in Polish media of the April 27 saint-making ceremony at the Vatican. It all contrasts sharply with the pontiff's 2011 beatification, which was preceded by months of media frenzy and church preparations across Poland.
"Who needs this canonization?" said Andrzej Grendys, stressing that he is Catholic but does not go to church. "We all know that he was a very good and decent man with a great heart and mind. That is most important and needs no official confirmation."
And many say the country has already completed its emotional reckoning with John Paul's life and death.
"We have discharged our emotions in spontaneous outpourings at John Paul's beatification and death," said Artur Sporniak of the Tygodnik Powszechny Catholic weekly. "That was a unique, mass experience of being a closely-knit community."
Even in Rome, preparations for the canonization are much more subdued than when John Paul was beatified. The Vatican is expecting far fewer people than the 1.5 million who saw the beatification Mass, and church officials readily acknowledge that this will be a "Francis-style" ceremony: no frills and low-cost.
Much of Poland's religious fervor is going into preparations for Easter, an important holiday in Poland, just days before the canonization. Moreover, some of the Church's traditional appeal and authority were recently tarnished by reports of sex abuse of children by priests, some of whom have been indicted and handed prison terms. Feeling that burden â and apparently inspired by Francis â Poland's church has adopted a low-key approach to the canonization.
John Paul's death in 2005 brought millions of mourners, including some 1.5 million Poles, to the funeral in Rome. Six years later, huge crowds gathered again at the Vatican â and across Poland â to observe the beatification. But a similar exodus of Polish pilgrims is not expected for the canonization.
The economic crisis and high unemployment of some 13 percent has played a role in denting plans to travel to the saint-making ceremony.
"I think that people in Poland are now very much focused on the mundane, they are trying to make ends meet and that's very challenging," said Agnieszka Lelinska, an accountant in Warsaw.
John Paul's successor, Pope Benedict XVI, bowed to calls at John Paul's funeral of "Santo Subito" â Sainthood Now â and opened the process only weeks after the pontiff's death, waiving the traditional five-year waiting period.
Pope Francis made a concession to Poles when he moved the Dec. 8, 2013 canonization date, to April 27, 2014 â after John Paul's personal secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz warned that icy December roads in Poland could be dangerous for pilgrims traveling to Rome.
April 27 is Divine Mercy Sunday, a religious holiday established by John Paul II. He was beatified on the holiday in 2011.
Against the generally subdued mood, many Poles are still rejoicing in John Paul's elevation. Some are marking the occasion by walking, running or biking to the Rome observances, which will be attended by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and his predecessors, Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski.
In Wadowice, Jacek Waga, who was arranging flower pots in honor of the canonization, said the pope â while Cardinal Karol Wojtyla â led his Catholic confirmation ceremony.
"It is an extraordinary thing for me that in my lifetime I met a man who will be declared a saint," he said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Some student loan borrowers who had a parent or grandparent co-sign the note are finding that they must immediately pay the loan in full if the relative dies.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says lenders have clauses in their contract that explain this could happen, but many borrowers are not aware of them.
The agency's ombudsman, Rohit Chopra, said complaints related to this issue are growing more common because the practice is catching so many consumers by surprise. Some borrowers told to pay back the loan in full have been making timely payments, Chopra said.
While it's unclear how prevalent it is, Chopra said it appears to be the practice among many private student loan lenders. It has affected borrowers not just when the co-signer has died, but when the co-signer has declared bankruptcy.
"We do have some concerns that with an aging population and with very long terms on certain private student loans, that this could actually increase over time," Chopra said.
The issue doesn't affect federal student loans, which are more commonly issued than private student loans. In the private loan industry, 90 percent of loans were co-signed in 2011, and having a co-signer can often lead to a lower interest rate, a report released Tuesday by the bureau said. Before the financial meltdown of 2009, private loans were more commonly issued, but many borrowers still owe money on them. They generally have higher interest rates than federal loans.
In response, Richard Hunt, president and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association said in a statement that its members work with their customers "carefully and compassionately" and it is common practice for the lenders to release co-signers from loan obligations.
"We are not aware of lenders accelerating the payment of a loan in good standing upon the death or permanent disability of a co-signer as a typical practice and believe it to be a rare occurrence," Hunt said.
Chopra, however, said even as many financial companies advertise the ability to release a co-signer from a loan, they make it complicated to do so. He didn't specify the number of complaints the agency received.
The report said the practice might occur because some lenders rely on third parties that automatically trigger a default "regardless of individual circumstances."
"While these acceleration options may have a legitimate business purposes, it seems that private student lenders and servicers may not always be acting in their own self-interest by accelerating balances and placing loans in default," the report said.
The co-signing issues impacting private student loans are generally different than those associated with loans such as a mortgage because collateral like a house is not put down to obtain the loan.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appears to be highly skeptical of laws that try to police false statements during political campaigns, raising doubts about the viability of such laws in more than 15 states.
Justices expressed those concerns early and often Tuesday during arguments in a case challenging an Ohio law that bars people from recklessly making false statements about candidates seeking elective office.
The case has attracted widespread attention, with both liberal and conservative groups saying the law tramples on the time-honored, if dubious, tradition of political mudslinging. Critics say free speech demands wide-open debate during political campaigns, including protection for negative speech that may sometimes twist the facts.
The high court is not expected to rule directly on the constitutional issue because the current question before the justices is only a preliminary one: Can you challenge the law right away, or do you have to wait until the state finds you guilty of lying?
But the justices couldn't resist going after the law itself, pointing out that the mere prospect of being hauled in front of state officials to explain comments made in the heat of an election has a chilling effect on speech.
"What's the harm?" Justice Stephen Breyer asked Eric Murphy, attorney for the state of Ohio. "I can't speak, that's the harm."
Justice Anthony Kennedy said there's "a serious First Amendment concern with a state law that requires you to come before a commission to justify what you are going to say."
The case began during the 2010 election when a national anti-abortion group, the Susan B. Anthony List, planned to put up billboards accusing then-Rep. Steve Driehaus of supporting taxpayer-funded abortion because he voted for President Barack Obama's new health care law. Driehaus, a Democrat who opposes abortion, claimed the group's billboard ads distorted the truth and therefore violated the false speech law.
Driehaus filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission, an action which prompted the billboard owner to decline posting the ads. The commission found probable cause that the ads violated the law, but Driehaus later withdrew his complaint after losing his re-election campaign.
The Susan B. Anthony List then challenged the state law as unconstitutional, but a federal judge said the group didn't have the right to sue because it hadn't yet suffered actual harm. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati agreed.
Murphy argued that the Susan B. Anthony List has not shown a credible threat of harm because the Driehaus case was ultimately dismissed before it was referred to a prosecutor.
But Justice Elena Kagan wondered why a probable cause determination didn't count as harm. For the average voter, "they think probable cause means you probably lied," she said.
Chief Justice Roberts pointed out that third parties such as TV stations or billboard owners are going to be intimidated by the law, preventing a group from getting its message out.
"The slightest whiff of this is going to be legal trouble," Roberts said.
Justice Antonin Scalia said the Susan B. Anthony List intends to make the same charges against other Democrats in the next election. He said the harm is that the group fears being dragged before the "Ministry of Truth" for similar proceedings, referring to the government propaganda office in George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
At one point, Murphy reminded the justices that they were not there to debate the merits of the law, just the question of standing. But Breyer said the merits discussion is meant to suggest "that there are real people who would really like to speak in an election campaign. And if they feel they can't they are really being hurt."
Michael Carvin, attorney for the Susan B. Anthony List, suggested that election speech has "an extraordinarily short shelf life" and a group accused of false speech will never be able to go through the entire process of being accused of a crime and exonerated before the election is over.
"You have this regime which has existed for decades in Ohio where they continue to impose very serious burdens on speakers on what we consider facially unconstitutional law, yet it has consistently evaded judicial review precisely because of the short time frames of the election," Carvin said.
More than 500 false statement claims have been brought under the Ohio law between 2001 and 2010, Murphy told the justices. Only five cases have been referred to a prosecutor, and of those, three resulted in plea agreements.
"So you have a system that goes on and on, year after year, where arguably there's a great chilling of core First Amendment speech, and yet you're saying that basically you can't get into federal court," Justice Samuel Alito said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they express bigger doubts as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own experiences and the present time, an Associated Press-GfK poll found.
Americans have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago.
Rather than quizzing scientific knowledge, the survey asked people to rate their confidence in several statements about science and medicine.
On some, there's broad acceptance. Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there's a genetic code inside our cells. More — 15 percent — have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines.
About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory.
Those results depress and upset some of America's top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, who vouched for the science in the statements tested, calling them settled scientific facts.
"Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts," said 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine winner Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley.
The poll highlights "the iron triangle of science, religion and politics," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.
And scientists know they've got the shakiest leg in the triangle.
To the public "most often values and beliefs trump science" when they conflict, said Alan Leshner, chief executive of the world's largest scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Political values were closely tied to views on science in the poll, with Democrats more apt than Republicans to express confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change.
Religious values are similarly important.
Confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change decline sharply as faith in a supreme being rises, according to the poll. Likewise, those who regularly attend religious services or are evangelical Christians express much greater doubts about scientific concepts they may see as contradictory to their faith.
"When you are putting up facts against faith, facts can't argue against faith," said 2012 Nobel Prize winning biochemistry professor Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University. "It makes sense now that science would have made no headway because faith is untestable."
But evolution, the age of the Earth and the Big Bang are all compatible with God, except to Bible literalists, said Francisco Ayala, a former priest and professor of biology, philosophy and logic at the University of California, Irvine. And Darrel Falk, a biology professor at Point Loma Nazarene University and an evangelical Christian, agreed, adding: "The story of the cosmos and the Big Bang of creation is not inconsistent with the message of Genesis 1, and there is much profound biblical scholarship to demonstrate this."
Beyond religious belief, views on science may be tied to what we see with our own eyes. The closer an issue is to our bodies and the less complicated, the easier it is for people to believe, said John Staudenmaier, a Jesuit priest and historian of technology at the University of Detroit Mercy.
Marsha Brooks, a 59-year-old nanny who lives in Washington, D.C., said she's certain smoking causes cancer because she saw her mother, aunts and uncles, all smokers, die of cancer. But when it comes to the universe beginning with a Big Bang or the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old, she has doubts. She explained: "It could be a lack of knowledge. It seems so far" away.
Jorge Delarosa, a 39-year-old architect from Bridgewater, N.J., pointed to a warm 2012 without a winter and said, "I feel the change. There must be a reason." But when it came to Earth's beginnings 4.5 billion years ago, he has doubts simply because "I wasn't there."
Experience and faith aren't the only things affecting people's views on science. Duke University's Lefkowitz sees "the force of concerted campaigns to discredit scientific fact" as a more striking factor, citing significant interest groups — political, business and religious — campaigning against scientific truths on vaccines, climate change and evolution.
Yale's Leiserowitz agreed but noted sometimes science wins out even against well-financed and loud opposition, as with smoking.
Widespread belief that smoking causes cancer "has come about because of very public, very focused public health campaigns," AAAS's Leshner said. A former acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Leshner said he was encouraged by the public's acceptance that mental illness is a brain disease, something few believed 25 years ago, before just such a campaign.
That gives Leiserowitz hope for a greater public acceptance of climate change. But he fears it may be too late to do anything about it.
The AP-GfK Poll was conducted March 20-24, 2014, using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. It involved online interviews with 1,012 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.
Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and were later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to access the Internet at no cost to them.
KAHULUI, Hawaii (AP) — Surveillance cameras at San Jose International Airport successfully captured the teenager on the tarmac, climbing up the landing gear of a jet. But in the end, the cameras failed because no one noticed the security breach until the plane — and the boy — landed in Hawaii.
Although the 15-year-old apparently wanted nothing more than to run away, his success in slipping past layers of security early Sunday morning made it clear that a determined person can still get into a supposedly safe area and sneak onto a plane.
Video surveillance can help catch trespassers. Some airports use not just human eyes watching video screens, but also technology that can be programmed to sound an alert when a camera captures something potentially suspicious. But just because something is caught on camera does not mean it will make an impression.
Despite great promise, "sometimes the actual results are quite underwhelming when it gets to the real world, where people are fatigued, people are preoccupied," said Richard Bloom, an airport security expert at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona. "There's no way to guarantee security, even if you had one person per video screen."
There were no obvious efforts Monday to increase security or the police presence at airports in San Jose or Maui. In San Jose, airport officials said they were reviewing how the boy slipped through security that includes video surveillance, German shepherds and Segway-riding police officers.
While each of those measures can work for certain situations, "the problem is that each layer has its own error factor," Bloom said.
Nobody monitoring security cameras throughout the 1,050-acre airport saw anyone approaching the Boeing 767 until they reviewed the footage after the boy was discovered in Hawaii, San Jose airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said. The airport, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is surrounded by fences, although many sections do not have barbed wire and could easily be scaled.
Barnes said the boy went onto the tarmac when it was still dark. The flight took off at about 8 a.m. PDT, about 90 minutes after sunrise.
The boy was knocked out most of the 5 1/2-hour flight and didn't regain consciousness until an hour after the plane landed in Hawaii, FBI spokesman Tom Simon said. When he came to, he climbed out of the wheel well and was immediately seen by Maui airport personnel, Simon said.
Surveillance video at Kahului Airport showed the boy getting out of the wheel well after landing, transportation officials in Hawaii said. The video was not released because of the ongoing investigation.
The boy was not charged with a crime, Simon said.
While the Transportation Security Administration oversees checkpoint security inside airport terminals, airport perimeters are policed by local authorities and federal law enforcement.
Airport police were working with the FBI and TSA to review security.
San Jose police said they will forward the findings of their investigation to the district attorney, who can decide whether to file criminal charges in California. Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said the county was not involved with the incident or investigation because the state runs the airports.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation said they didn't plan to investigate further after turning the boy over to state human services, where officials were working to reunite the boy with his family.
Isaac Yeffet, a former head of security for the Israeli airline El Al who now runs his own firm, Yeffet Security Consultants, said the breach shows that U.S. airport security still has weaknesses, despite billions of dollars invested.
"Shame on us for doing such a terrible job," he said. "Perimeters are not well protected. We see it again and again."
U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who serves on the Homeland Security committee, said on Twitter that the incident demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.
The FAA says about one-quarter of the 105 stowaways who have sneaked aboard flights worldwide since 1947 have survived. Some wheel-well stowaways survived deadly cold and a lack of oxygen because their breathing, heart rate and brain activity slow down.
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