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Both suspects in a suburban Denver school shooting are due back in court Friday as prosecutors file charges in the attack that killed a student and wounded eight others.

The district attorney’s office also is expected to decide whether the younger suspect will be charged as an adult in Tuesday’s shooting.

Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old senior killed during the shooting, and two classmates at the STEM School Highlands Ranch have been credited with helping thwart the attack by charging at one of the shooters when he entered a classroom. Authorities have said an armed private security guard restrained the second shooter.

Authorities have identified the suspects as 18-year-old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Maya McKinney, whose attorney has said uses male pronouns and the name Alec. They have been in jail since Tuesday on suspicion of murder and attempted murder and made their first court appearances Wednesday.

District attorney George Brauchler plans to file formal charges and decide whether to charge McKinney as an adult by Friday’s hearings. Colorado law permits prosecutors to file adult charges of serious felonies against 16- and 17-year-olds without prior approval from a judge.

The two students allegedly walked into their school with handguns and opened fire in two classrooms. Investigators have offered no immediate motive and refused to discuss how the students obtained the weapons.

Student Joshua Jones told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday that he, Castillo and Brendan Bialy reacted as soon as they saw the gun.

“We rushed him,” Jones said. “Kendrick pushed him against the wall. Me and Brendan grabbed him and threw him to the ground. I stayed on top of him while Brendan went off and tried to help Kendrick.”

Jones said he never specifically thought how he would react in such a situation.

“When it actually happened, I had to make that decision that nobody should really ever have to make, which was run towards a gunman or run away from them. I chose to run towards them,” he said.

The Colorado attack unfolded nearly three weeks after neighboring Littleton marked the anniversary of the Columbine attack that killed 13 people. The two schools are separated by about 7 miles (11 kilometers) in adjacent communities south of Denver.

Friends remembered Castillo this week as funny, smart and modest and expressed no surprise that he protected his classmates. Castillo, a member of the school’s robotics club who loved to tinker with his own projects, was set to graduate days after he was killed.

Details about the armed school security guard who subdued the second suspect also emerged this week. The man’s employer, Boss High Level Protection, was contracted to guard the charter school that about 1,800 students attend.

The guard, whose name has not been released, fired his weapon inside the school during the response to the shooting, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press on Thursday. Two news organizations citing anonymous sources reported that authorities are investigating whether the guard mistakenly fired at a responding sheriff’s deputy and may have wounded a student.


A supplier of Texas’ execution drugs can remain secret under a court ruling Friday that upheld risks of “physical harm” to the pharmacy, ending what state officials called a threat to the entire U.S. death penalty system.

The decision by the Texas Supreme Court, where Republicans hold every seat on the bench, doesn’t change operations at the nation’s busiest death chamber because state lawmakers banned the disclosure of drug suppliers for executions starting in 2015.

A lawsuit filed a year earlier by condemned Texas inmates argued that the supplier’s identity was needed to verify the quality of the drugs and spare them from unconstitutional pain and suffering. Lower courts went on to reject Texas’ claims that releasing the name would physically endanger pharmacy employees at the hands of death-penalty opponents.

Now, however, the state’s highest court has found the risks valid and ordered the identity of the supplier to stay under wraps.

“The voters of Texas have expressed their judgment that the death penalty is necessary, and this decision preserves Texas’ ability to carry out executions mandated by state law,” Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

The court deciding that a “substantial” risk of harm exists appeared to largely hinge on an email sent to an Oklahoma pharmacy in which the sender suggested they enhance security and referenced the bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.

“I’m speechless with the absurdity of them relying on that singular fact to close, to keep in secret how Texas essentially carries out its execution,” said Maurie Levin, a defense attorney who helped bring the original lawsuit.

The availability of execution drugs has become an issue in many death penalty states after traditional pharmaceutical makers refused to sell their products to prison agencies for execution use. Similar lawsuits about drug provider identities have been argued in other capital punishment states.


An environmental group is taking its battle against an oil refinery being developed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

The National Parks Conservation Association argued in its Wednesday filing that an air quality permit issued by the state Health Department for the $800 million Davis Refinery and upheld by a state judge violates the federal Clean Air Act.

The Health Department after a two-year review determined the refinery will not be a major source of pollution that will negatively impact the park just 3 miles (5 kilometers) away. The permit the agency issued in June 2018 cleared the way for construction to begin. Meridian Energy Group began site work last summer and plans to resume construction this spring with a goal of having the refinery fully operational by mid-2021.

State District Judge Dann Greenwood ruled in January that the Health Department had effectively supported its position. Greenwood refused to declare the permit invalid and send the case back to the agency for a more rigorous review. The NPCA wants the Supreme Court to overrule him.

"Although the underlying permit contains a requirement for the Davis Refinery to keep monthly logs of its actual emissions ... the permit contains no requirement that the Davis Refinery install monitors to actually collect this data," association attorney Derrick Braaten said.

The group fears that pollution from the refinery will mar the park's scenery and erode air quality for wildlife and visitors. The park is North Dakota's top tourist attraction, drawing more than 700,000 people annually.

"With the decision to appeal, NPCA is fighting to protect the park that has inspired generations of conservationists," Stephanie Kodish, clean air program director for the association, said in a statement.

Roosevelt ranched in the region in the 1880s and is still revered by many for his advocacy of land and wildlife conservation.

Meridian maintains the facility will be "the cleanest refinery on the planet" thanks to modern technology and will be a model for future refineries. The company in a statement Wednesday said it does not comment on pending litigation.

State Air Quality Director Terry O'Clair said he had not had a chance to review the appeal but that "we're confident in the permit that was issued."

Meridian in late January obtained a needed state water permit . It still faces a separate state court battle related to the refinery's location. Two other environmental groups are challenging a decision by North Dakota regulators who concluded they were barred by state law from wading into the dispute over the site.


North Carolina's intermediate-level appeals court will stay at 15 judges as Gov. Roy Cooper signed legislation that repeals a 2017 law that would have reduced the seats to 12 over time.

Cooper announced Thursday that he had signed the law , which Republicans controlling the General Assembly approved quickly over the past several days.

GOP leaders said they sought the repeal because it would end litigation Cooper filed challenging the previous law. The Republicans won the first legal round, but oral arguments at the state Supreme Court were next.

The 2017 law would have prevented the governor from appointing replacements for the next three court vacancies due to retirement or other reasons because the seats would be eliminated instead. The first such vacancy would have occurred at the end of March.


A Wisconsin judge's decision to become Facebook friends with a woman whose child custody case he was hearing created at least the appearance of bias, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday in ordering the case to be re-heard by another judge.

The case, which is the first of its kind in the state, contemplates whether judges' use of social media can compromise them. In its ruling, the 3rd District Court of Appeals didn't lay out any bright-line rules for judges, but it warned them to use caution when engaging with people online to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

"We caution that judges should recognize that online interactions, like real-world interactions, must be treated with a degree of care," appellate Judge Mark Seidl wrote in the ruling.

According to court documents, Angela Carroll filed a motion in Barron County in 2016 to adjust a custody arrangement she had reached with her son's father, Timothy Miller. She demanded sole legal custody, primary placement of the boy and an order forcing Miller to pay child support. She argued Miller had abused her, an accusation Miller denied.

The case landed with Judge Michael Bitney. Three days after Carroll and Miller submitted their final written arguments in 2017, Bitney accepted a Facebook friend request from Carroll.

She proceeded to like 18 of the judge's posts and commented on two of them. None of the posts were directly related to the pending custody case. Bitney didn't like or comment on any of Carroll's posts and didn't reply to her comments. He didn't deny reading them, however.

Carroll also shared one third-party photograph related to domestic violence. Nothing suggests the judge ever saw it, but the post could have appeared on his newsfeed, according to the documents.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has missed a month of Supreme Court arguments as she recovers from lung cancer surgery. But she’s not the first justice to be away for a while and her absence hardly compares with those of some of her predecessors.

The day before the Supreme Court began its term in October 1949, Justice William Douglas broke 14 ribs and suffered a punctured lung when he was thrown from his horse on a trail in the Cascade Mountains in Washington.

He didn’t return to the bench for nearly a half year, and his long recovery caused delays in several cases, including challenges to segregation.Like much of what goes on away from public view at the Supreme Court, how the justices deal with a colleague’s absence can be opaque. The individual justice decides whether to rule on cases even if she has missed arguments. Indeed, Chief Justice John Roberts already has announced that Ginsburg is participating in the cases she missed.

And only the justice can decide when an injury or illness is so severe that retirement is the only option. A quarter century after his riding accident, Douglas suffered a serious stroke, but refused to retire for months. His weakened state caused a backlog in the court’s work and the other justices refused to issues decisions in cases where Douglas had provided the fifth, majority-making vote.

“There aren’t any rules about this and so much is left to the individual justice,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, who argued a case during Ginsburg’s absence.

The 85-year-old Ginsburg could be back on the bench when the court next meets on Tuesday, and even as she has been away, she has not missed any votes.

In some state court systems, including California, the highest court can essentially borrow a judge from a lower court to temporarily replace an absent member, said Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley.
The Supreme Court has no similar arrangement.

The nine justices are there for as long as they wish, and neither a retired justice nor an appellate judge can fill a void. The 25th Amendment to the Constitution sets out what happens if a president is incapacitated, but refuses to relinquish power.


The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Friday that a woman can sue Six Flags Great America for fingerprinting her child without telling her how the data would be used in violation of the state's biometric law, which privacy advocates consider to be the nation's strongest biometric data safeguards.

Stacy Rosenbach sued the amusement park north of Chicago in 2016, about two years after her son was electronically fingerprinted while buying a season pass. He was 14 at the time.

The lawsuit alleges the park violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires businesses and other private entities to obtain consent from people before collecting or disclosing their biometric identifiers and to securely store biometric data they do collect. It also permits people to sue businesses they believe violated the act.

In its ruling for Six Flags, an appellate court determined in 2017 that Rosenbach never demonstrated a direct injury or adverse effect, such as stolen identity or a monetary loss.

The state Supreme Court, in overturning that decision, rejected the argument that individuals should have the right to sue if no real damage occurred after they handed over their biometric information. The court ruled that a violation of the law is damage enough.

"This is no mere 'technicality,'" as the appellate court suggested, Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier wrote in the opinion. "The injury is real and significant."

Biometric data, fingerprints, facial and iris scans, are increasingly used in tagging photos on social media and recording employee arrivals at the workplace.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said in a statement the ruling will hurt employers and the state economy. The organization has said that protecting consumers' data is important, but that the way the law is written places a burden on employers.

"We fear that today's decision will open the floodgates for future litigation at the expense of Illinois' commercial health," Maisch said.

Great America spokeswoman Tess Claussen declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

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