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Samuel Alito Under Fire; Kentucky Coal Miner Killed; Caffeine and the Brain

Aired January 10, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
What began as a bank robbery is over tonight, but not without sound and fury and a deadly shot in the dark.


ANNOUNCER: Standoff near Walt Disney World -- an attempted bank robbery turned hostage situation lasted for hours, until police forced an ending. 360 investigates.

Collapse at a Kentucky coal mine -- one miner killed -- tonight, the latest on what happened inside the mine that brought the roof crashing down.

Samuel Alito feeling the heat -- Republicans and Democrats get their turn to take a crack at the man who might next occupy a seat on the high court -- tonight, his views on abortion, domestic spying and presidential power.

And new research about what caffeine really does to your brain -- does that cup of coffee help or hurt you?


ANNOUNCER: From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And good evening again.

We begin not far from the Magic Kingdom tonight with a hefty dose of reality, a bank robbery that turned into a hostage standoff, then, after hours of negotiation, an explosion and the crack of a sniper's bullet. One person is dead, an alleged bank robber.

CNN's John Zarrella joins us now not far from where it happened in Kissimmee, Florida.

John, what is the latest?


It lasted more than 10 hours before it ended. And, in fact, police say they were a bit surprised at how it ended. Two hostage takers using a female hostage as a shield came out of the bank, the Mercantile Bank here in Kissimmee, got into a car and tried to make a getaway. At that point, they ran over what police describe as tire deflation devices.

They returned to the area of the bank, tried to get into a second car and get away, again using the hostage as a shield. At that point, police made the decision to shoot. A sniper's bullet killed the driver. That was the male hostage taker. The female hostage taker in the backseat was slightly wounded. The hostage, herself, was then rescued by police, unharmed, police say.

It all began about 9:30 this morning, when police got a call, saying that a bank was being robbed. Police say they happened to be in the area where it was happening, got there in a hurry, before the bank robbers could get away. That's when the standoff began.

During the course of the day, in all, there were four hostages who had been taken. Three of them were -- were released. One was released in exchange for cigarettes and a lighter. Another was released in exchange for the SWAT team moving back. But, after that, Anderson, the deterioration in what were -- negotiations were going well -- began to deteriorate.

Nothing was happening. And, at that point, that is when they were surprised by these hostage takers leaving the bank with their final hostage, using her as a shield. And, again, a decision was made. They did not want them leaving the area with a hostage. And the sniper, police say, had a shot. And he took it and ended the male hostage taker's life -- Anderson.

COOPER: So, John, the -- the female hostage taker was sitting behind her accomplice?

ZARRELLA: That's correct. Our understanding is, he was -- she was in the backseat with the hostage, and he was in the front seat driving. And the sniper took the shot at that the driver, the male hostage taker, and killed him.

COOPER: And this was...

ZARRELLA: Anderson.

COOPER: This was, basically, the second car they had attempted to get into, right? The first car, that's the one that the tires had been blown out with that -- that device?

ZARRELLA: That's correct.

They made a circle back towards the bank, never got out of -- never went back inside the bank, but ended up inside the second car, and, at that point, the decision was made to take the shot and end it.

COOPER: All right, CNN's John Zarrella -- John, thanks very much.

A short time ago, we spoke with the sheriff of Osceola County, Bob Hansell.


COOPER: Let's go through the sequence -- sequence of events, then. They -- they attempted to make an escape. How did they do that? What happened?

BOB HANSELL, OSCEOLA COUNTY, FLORIDA, SHERIFF: What happened was, they used the hostage as a shield,. and went in and entered a car, which was another hostage's vehicle, and took it, and took the hostage and placed the hostage and themselves in it, and tried to flee down a -- the highway.

COOPER: And then what happened?

HANSELL: It was a short pursuit. They circled back into the -- the parking lot at a bank. At that point, we started negotiating again with them over a cell phone. They had ran over some tire- deflation devices on their exit from the bank the first time, so they had four flat tires. And the negotiator started negotiating with them over the cell phone at that point.

COOPER: And -- and they tried to go back into the bank, but you had already occupied the bank?

HANSELL: They did not try to go back in the bank. They stayed in the vehicle. But we had took ownership of the bank to prevent them from going back into the bank to set up a situation like we just had prior to them leaving.

COOPER: And then how did it come to an end?

HANSELL: What we did was, the hostage takers, once again, there was a car right next to the vehicle they were occupying they had the keys to. It was an employee's car from the bank.

They used the shield -- the hostage as a shield again, moved into the other vehicle and -- and started the -- the engine up. At that point, when they backed up into the parking area to prevent them from going mobile again, the sniper made contact with the driver.

COOPER: And -- and killed the driver?

HANSELL: Yes, sir.

COOPER: And -- and, at that point, they -- how many hostages did they have? Just the one?

HANSELL: They had the one female hostage. And the -- the car was occupied by one female hostage and two hostage takers.

COOPER: Obviously, you have been having negotiations throughout the day. How -- how -- how did those go, and when did they start to deteriorate to the point that they tried to make a break for it?

HANSELL: They -- they went pretty well in the entire day. It started around 9:30 this morning.

They went and released one hostage right at the beginning of the ordeal. And then, throughout negotiations, throughout the day, they released two more. They had the one remaining hostage at that point. And that was the one that we rescued out of the vehicle.

COOPER: And what were they asking for?

HANSELL: They wanted free passage, mostly. They were not going to give up the last remaining hostage. The hostage taker said that that was his only leverage, and he was not going to give her up.

COOPER: And I understand, at some point, they were asking for -- for cigarettes. Is that what they -- were they giving up hostages in order to get things like cigarettes?

HANSELL: Yes, sir.

They -- they had requested some cigarettes for a hostage. We had a -- a robot take the cigarettes, place them in the drawer of the drive-through teller, what they requested. Once they got the cigarettes, they released the second hostage.

COOPER: And -- and how are the hostages doing? Are they all right?

HANSELL: The last report I got, the first three, they're doing fine. The last one is still being debriefed at this time and is with our people there, as far as the -- the trauma unit that's going to help her get through the ordeal.


COOPER: We turn now to breaking news out of Kentucky, where, once again, a mining community is grieving the loss of one of its own.

This afternoon, the collapse of a mine outside of Pikeville left a 44-year-old man trapped hundreds of feet below the ground. Now, earlier, authorities said there appeared to be some communication with the miner.

But, just a short time ago, we learned the miner was killed in the accident.

Joining us with more is Brooke Thacker, a reporter with our Charleston, West Virginia, affiliate, WSAZ.

Brooke, what's the latest?


The Commonwealth of Kentucky has had its first fatal accident for 2006, Cornelius Yates. He was 44 years old. He was from Shelbiana here in Pike County.

Now, I'm standing right outside the Maverick Mining company. This is in the city of Pikeville in Pike County in southeastern Kentucky. Now, this all started at 3:00 this afternoon. Cornelius Yates was a roof bolter. He operated the machine that kept the roof up while other miners were digging in.

And, at around 3:00, a 20-foot-long rock fell on Cornelius. Now, to give you some perspective of how big that is, it's roughly the size of a semi-trailer. A semi-trailer is around 28 feet. This was 20 feet. It was 14 feet wide, three-and-a-half-feet deep.

Now, this all happened about 900 feet into the mine. At 3:11, state rescue workers were called here to the Maverick mines on Powder House Hollow (ph). By 4:00, rescue workers were on scene. And, by 4:10, they were on their way into the mines. That's less than an hour. They were on their way in for a rescue mission.

Now, by the time they got to at Cornelius Yates at 900 feet, the damage had been done and they had realized this was no longer a rescue, but a recovery mission. Again, Cornelius Yates, 44 years old, he's from Shelbiana right here in Pike County, killed when a 20-foot- long rock fell on him.

This is the first fatality in Kentucky in the year of 2006. There were five fatalities in 2004, five in 2005. The state of Kentucky is addressing this situation. Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher has said he's saddened by what had happened. And they are investigating to see exactly how this happened to make sure it doesn't happen again.

COOPER: There had been this early report saying that there -- there may have been some communication with -- with the deceased miner. Was that true, or was that simply an erroneous report?

THACKER: I heard that rumor as well, Anderson, but that is nothing we have had confirmed. We heard that rumor, but nothing we have confirmed with officials.

COOPER: OK. So, when -- as far as you know, that when rescuers got to him, he was deceased?

THACKER: Yes. That is correct.

When they arrived, they saw what had happened and realized that it wasn't a rescue, that he had already passed away.

COOPER: All right, Brooke Thacker, appreciate it, joining us from WSAZ. Thanks very much, Brooke.

What caused the roof to collapse in this mine? Could it have been prevented? Coming up, we are going to talk with a spokesman for the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety who is on the scene there for the latest information.

And, later tonight, moments of terror caught on tape. Good thing they caught this guy, and good thing this woman was so quick-thinking. We will tell you what she did to stop this robbery in progress.

You're watching 360.



TRACY STUMBO, KENTUCKY OFFICE OF MINE SAFETY AND LICENSING: Well, we got the call at the Pikeville office. And the Pikeville district supervisor, he started paging the people here.

So, I was called. I was in Floyd County, so we drove over. And one of our inspectors went in first to -- to kind of look the scene over. And he came back out. And, by that time, we had all arrived, so we all -- there was probably six of us went in the second time. And, like Mark (ph) said, we took the coroner in with us and -- because part of him was visible. So, they pronounced him dead.


COOPER: Well, we return to our breaking news story, the mining accident in Kentucky today that killed one miner.

Mark York is with the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety. He joins us now from Pikeville.

Mike (sic), thanks for being with us.

What caused this roof to collapse? Do you know at this point?

MARK YORK, KENTUCKY OFFICE OF MINE SAFETY AND LICENSING: Not at this point in time. We went from a rescue operation today to a recovery operation. And now we begin our next phase, which is investigating the accident and what might have caused the accident that took this man's life.

COOPER: How are roofs stabilized in a mine? It's a -- it's a dangerous job, to -- to do that.

YORK: Well, mining itself is a dangerous occupation. I think, according to U.S. Department of Labor, it's the second most dangerous occupation in the country.

There are difficult working conditions inside a mine. And, obviously, making sure that -- that a roof is stable and is supportive is a critical job to ensure the safety of -- of all the miners that are -- are mining coal at the time.

COOPER: I -- are there -- I mean, I don't know if you can talk about it. Are there many ways to do it? I -- I -- the mine I had seen was that that they basically drove steel pipes up into the roof that -- that basically held the roof in place. Do you know, was that the case in this mine?

YORK: That -- that is correct. They were -- they mining by a method that is called advanced mining, in which they would mine a portion of coal, and then the roof bolt operator comes in with machinery and drives bolts into the roof to stabilize the roof and then support the roof.

COOPER: And -- and, in a case like this, the rescue workers, were they from the area? Were they from this mine, or were they sent in special?

YORK: These were a group of -- of team members that were part of the state team.

And they were notified immediately and were actually inside the mine in less than an hour after the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing was notified of the roof fall. We thought that was an excellent response time, and they got inside just as quickly as they could.

COOPER: And -- and how common are roof collapses?

YORK: Well, it's difficult to put a figure on it.

I don't know that information available to me right -- right now. But, again, that -- the stability of a roof inside a mine is a critical part of the operation. It's critical to the safety of everyone who's -- who is inside the mine any time there's activity going on.

COOPER: Mark York, appreciate you joining us, telling us what you do know. And -- I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Obviously, there will be a further investigation. We will keep you updated.

Thanks, Mark.

The tragedy comes as we are learning more about last week's mining disaster in West Virginia that left 12 men dead. We know some of the miners knew they were going to die. Tonight, we have evidence of their will to live. The family of the only survivor, Randy McCloy Jr., says the miners tried desperately to escape.

Mine officials told McCloy's brother-in-law that the men used the mine car in an effort to get out. But, when that attempt failed, they barricaded themselves behind a curtain. Investigators will be looking closely at that report. But, for now, the best witness to what went wrong is Randy McCloy Jr.

Tonight, he's in critical, but stable condition in what is called a moderate-stage coma. But there are signs that he is improving by the day.

CNN's Chris Huntington has the latest from Morgantown, West Virginia.


CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Randy McCloy is giving his doctors reason to be optimistic. DR. JULIAN BAILES, CHIEF OF NEUROSURGERY, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY: He has a lot of brain activity. He has symmetrical, meaning the same on both sides, brain waves. There is a predominance of what we call delta waves. And delta waves are what you see in someone who is asleep.

HUNTINGTON: A key sign, says Dr. Bailes, that McCloy is now in a moderate-stage coma, no longer in the deep, medically-induced coma he had been in for nearly five days.

On Sunday, doctors took McCloy off the sedative that had kept him in that coma, but say traces of the drug could stay in his system until Thursday. Dr. Bailes was also pleased with a new MRI of McCloy's brain that confirms what earlier scans suggested, that carbon monoxide poisoning damaged some of McCloy's white matter.

Specifically, the protective coating, called myelin, appears to have been stripped off some of the nerve pathways that connect different parts of McCloy's brain, weakening those connections.

BAILES: It is sort of analogous, we think, if you had an electrical wire, if you lost the vinyl covering, but the copper wire itself is still intact -- again, a cause for -- for guarded optimism.

HUNTINGTON: Bailes said some patient do recover from this sort of brain damaged, but stressed there is no way to know right now if McCloy might be one of them. As long as he stays in a coma, options for gauging his mental state are limited.

BAILES: We tried shouting and shaking. I mean, that's standard procedure for assessing someone in coma.

QUESTION: Does that mean you continue trying or you just sort of back off?

BAILES: Well, we try that several times a day. Shouting and shaking, you know, has its limitations and effectiveness, obviously. But that's just part of the assessment. That won't make him -- someone necessarily wake up.

HUNTINGTON: But the doctors in charge believe love and the comforts of home just might. McCloy's wife, Anna, and their two children spend as much time in Randy's room as possible and have filled it with his favorite photos, fragrances and even his favorite heavy metal music by Metallica.

DR. LARRY ROBERTS, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS: I don't know how much science there is behind it. But, personally, I believe even patient in a coma perceive what's going on around them. All these stimuli, I believe, do help.


HUNTINGTON: Now, Anderson, we understand that Randy McCloy was a bit of a ham radio enthusiast. And we're hearing that there has been an awful lot of traffic in the airwaves around here. We're going to try to hook up with one of his fellow radio operators tomorrow.

His family has been keeping something of a low profile the last couple of days. They made a point -- Anna particularly made a point on Sunday that they did not want to take anything away from the funerals that have been ongoing. The last of the funerals of those miners that perished at Sago was today. We may see some more of Anna in the days ahead.

The doctors here, though, to underscore Randy's condition, have said that it looks like we're in for a bit of a long haul here. They are not planning to hold regular news conferences until developments warrant -- Anderson.

COOPER: Chris Huntington, thanks.

Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we are following tonight.

Hey, Erica.


A New York City detective stricken with respiratory ailments after spending some hundreds of hours sifting through debris at ground zero was buried today. A detectives association say James Zadroga's death is directly related to the contaminants he was exposed to. An autopsy is pending. His wife died in 2004. He leaves behind a 4- year-old daughter.

In Miami, an unwelcome repeat -- another inmate has fled now from the same jail from which an accused serial rapist escaped in December. Rodney Buckles was being held on a charge of domestic battery. He apparently scaled a fence.

In California, it is a happy ending for three hikers who were separated in the San Bernardino Mountains on Monday night. One phoned authorities. And, this morning, the three were rescued by helicopter. All are OK.

And, in this winter of wacky weather, perennially wet Seattle could set a record for the most consecutive days of rain. Now, as of today, measurable rain has fallen 23 days in a row.

I mean, really, though, that's nothing, because the record, set in 1931, 33 days. Keep working, people. Locals say they always endure gray winters, but the difference this year is that every day is an umbrella-popper. But that is, Anderson, except for the Seattle natives, of course, because umbrella? Who needs a stinking umbrella? They shrug it off. The umbrellas are for the out-of-towners and the newcomers.

COOPER: They certainly are -- I don't own an umbrella. It's a sign of adulthood I'm not willing to cop to yet.

HILL: I love my umbrella. Really?

COOPER: Really, yes. I...

HILL: I love the umbrella. I think it's a great tool.


COOPER: All right. Erica, thanks very much. Glad you're over your cold, sort of.


COOPER: On Capitol Hill, Judge Samuel Alito in the hot seat -- you could hear it a little bit in her voice -- is getting grilled by senators. Tonight, two takes from Alan Dershowitz, who is never shy, and our legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, on how the nominee did and what he had to say about the issues that really matter.

Also, dozens of dogs across the country sick and dying, you won't believe what has been killing them.

360 investigates.


COOPER: Well, day one of the grilling of Judge Samuel Alito, President Bush's nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

As anticipated, the questions put by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee broke down into two major categories, presidential power and abortion, not to mention two eras, the Reagan era, when Judge Alito was a hard-charging administration lawyer, and now.

Here's CNN's Ed Henry.


ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Judge Alito has strong views on abortion, he tempered them.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Let me come now to the statement you made in 1985 that the Constitution does not provide a basis for a woman's right to an abortion. Do you agree with that statement today, Judge Alito?

JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: That was a statement that I made at a prior period of time when I was performing a different role. And as I said yesterday, when someone becomes a judge, you really have to put aside the things that you did as a lawyer at prior points in your legal career and think about legal issues the way a judge thinks about legal issues.

HENRY: He did not exactly run from the memo he wrote when he worked in the Reagan administration, but he reached out to Specter, who supports abortion rights, and Democrats by saying, in so many words, I was just doing my job. ALITO: Today, if the issue were to come before me, if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed and the issue were to come before me, the first question would be the question that we've been discussing, and that's the issue of stare decisis. And if the analysis were to get beyond that point, then I would have to -- I would approach the question with an open mind.

HENRY: Pressed on President Bush's domestic spying program and the broader issue of executive power, he said the president needs wide authority in a time of war, but:

ALITO: The Bill of Rights applies at -- at all times. And it's particularly important that we adhere to the Bill of Rights in times of war and in times of national crisis, because that's when there's the greatest temptation to depart from them.

HENRY: The judge also found a way to backpedal just enough when pressed on a 1985 job application in which he said he believes strongly in the supremacy of the executive branch.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Those are your words, am I right?

ALITO: They are, and that's a very inapt phrase. And I...

KENNEDY: Excuse me?

ALITO: It's an inapt phrase, and I certainly didn't mean that literally at the time, and I wouldn't say that today. The branches of government are equal. They have equal -- they have different responsibilities, but they are all equal, and no branch is supreme to the other branches.

KENNEDY: So, you have -- you've changed your mind?

ALITO: No, I haven't changed my mind, Senator, but the phrasing there is very misleading and incorrect.

HENRY: To some Democrats, that sort of answer smacks of evasiveness.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I wonder whether he was one Samuel Alito in the 1980s, a different one today, whether he's running away from his record.


HENRY: Sparks kept flying, in fact, in the hearing room behind me, near the end of day two, a little earlier this evening, when Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer took another run on Alito on the abortion issue. But Alito emerge relatively unscathed. And the bottom line is, Republicans are looking at this, and they feel very confident that, barring some major development, he's going to get confirmed -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, Ed, his style is so different, also, than Justice Roberts, who really wowed senators at his confirmation hearings last year.


You know, it's interesting. The White House was sort of nervous heading into these hearings, that it was going to be a tough act to follow. Some people compared it to following Elvis, and that he was not quite as polished, and that maybe Samuel Alito is a little bookish, a little nervous, might crack under pressure.

But, instead, he's showing himself to be a tough customer. And he's almost, instead of killing them with kindness, killing them with case law and killing them with dullness. And he's not taking the bait from people like Ted Kennedy, as you saw there in that exchange.

Rather than raising the decibel, he's just very calmly, methodically answering those questions. And that style is different than Roberts, but it is working just as well for him -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Ed Henry, thanks.

With us again tonight in Washington, our senior -- senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. And, here in New York, we are pleased to have author and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has been commenting about the case for Court TV as well.

Good to see both of you.


COOPER: Professor, let me start off with you.

How do you think these hearings are going? You're not impressed by the questioning.


I think the senators have shown that they're not very good lawyers. They don't know how to ask follow-up questions. The questions are mostly written by staff. When Alito gives his answers, they just go on to the next question.

COOPER: Do you think that's because they don't understand...


COOPER: I mean, because his answers are very complex and...

DERSHOWITZ: That's right.

COOPER: ... detailed.

DERSHOWITZ: And you -- you can't expect these senators, who are not full-time lawyers, to understand the complexities of his very excellent answers on constitutional law.

What the Judiciary ought to do is borrow from other committees. They ought to hire three or four first-rate lawyers who are constitutional scholars to ask the hard questions. And, then, they should do their role and vote and make their comments.

Right now, what we have is the senators pandering. They're making these long, boring speeches. And when it comes to the questions, Alito shines, and the American public is not served.

COOPER: Jeffrey, what do you make of Alito's responses? I mean, Ed Henry is saying he's sort of killing them with boredom.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I -- I confess to being a little bored at times.

But -- but I -- I think the problem -- I mean, yes, the questions are lousy. I think Alan is absolutely right.

But the way the confirmation process has evolved is that the answers are so general and they don't really address the kind of questions that a Supreme Court justice addresses that, you know, you just don't learn that much about what kind of justice the person will be. And that's just very frustrating to me, as a citizen and as a journalist.

COOPER: Let's play something that Senator Arlen Specter started the session today by saying, really, with a series of questions on Roe v. Wade. Let's listen to some of that.


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Let me come now to the statement you made in 1985 that the Constitution does not provide a basis for a woman's right to an abortion. Do you agree with that statement today, Judge Alito?

JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, NOMINEE FOR SUPREME COURT: Well, that was a correct statement of what I thought in 1985 from my vantage point in 1985. And that was as a line attorney in the Department of Justice in the Reagan administration.

Today, if the issue were to come before me, if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed and the issue were to come before me, the first question would be the question that we've been discussing, and that's the issue of stare decisis. And if the analysis were to get beyond that point, then I would have to -- I would approach the question with an open mind.


COOPER: Toobin's falling asleep. So is Professor Dershowitz. What do you make of that?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, you know, if I were a senator, I'd ask them the following question. I would say, "You have said that your personal views are utterly irrelevant to how you will decide cases. We don't agree with you on that. But since you've said that, let's ask you some really hard questions about your personal views." "Is your mother right when she says that you personally strongly oppose a woman's right to choose abortion? What do you personally think of gay rights? What do you personally think of affirmative action?"

He couldn't say, "Well, I can't give you those answers because it will come before me." No, no, no, no. You've told us that your personal views are irrelevant. We think they're relevant, so give us the answers. I think it's a very, very hard question for him to duck.

TOOBIN: You know, Anderson, all 18 of those senators on that committee had to answer when they ran for office, "Do you think Roe v. Wade should be overturned?" Yet the one person in that room who actually has something to say about whether Roe v. Wade gets overturned doesn't have to answer that question.

DERSHOWITZ: That's right.

TOOBIN: And this isn't something that is just for Republicans. Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg also ducked that question. I just think the process is messed up in a way that we, the public, and the senators don't get the information that they need.

DERSHOWITZ: Let me give you some proof of that. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the best courts in the country, and their judges, when they come out after to do an appeal, they will often say to you, "You know, we have a view on this case. Here's what we think now. Try to talk us out of it."

Some of the best appellate court judges tell us in advance what their views are. There is nothing inconsistent with a judge expressing his views but keeping an open mind. And they ought to demand of every nominee, Republican or Democrat, "Tell us what your current views are or what your past views were."

Bush vs. Gore. Where were you on the night that Bush vs. Gore was announced? What did you say to your friends when the decision came down? What did you actually say? Did you write e-mails to anybody? Did you agree with the decision, not what would you do in the future?

COOPER: Right.

DERSHOWITZ: Senators don't know how to ask these hard questions.

COOPER: And we certainly are not hearing that. Professor Dershowitz, good to have you on the program.

DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.

COOPER: And Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much, as well.

TOOBIN: He's my professor.

COOPER: He said. He said.

DERSHOWITZ: A-plus student, right.

TOOBIN: Well, no, only after the fact, not actually in the class.


COOPER: Yes, that's not what he said to me during the break, to be honest. All right, Jeff, thanks very much.

You can see for yourselves what we have been talking about tonight. CNN is covering the hearings, of course. A special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM with Wolf Blitzer begins tomorrow morning at 9:30 Eastern time.

A horrifying crime caught on tape. One woman's terror as a man robs her at gunpoint. Find out how she kept her cool and how police catch her attacker. It was all caught on tape.

Also ahead tonight, a new study gives coffee-lovers some really good news. That's right, not bashing coffee tonight. Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.


COOPER: Welcome back. Here's a look at some of the stories we're following at this moment.

The U.S. and its European allies are condemning Iran's decision to restart its nuclear program today. Iran says it's working in compliance with an agreement with the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog and claims it's working to build civilian power plants. The U.S. though believes Iran is trying to conceal a nuclear weapon.

Health officials in Turkey are investigating up to 100 suspected cases of bird flu. They have confirmed that 15 people have contracted the disease, including two children who died last week. A World Health Organization spokeswoman says the rapid rise in cases may be due to the recent holidays, since children were home and perhaps playing with birds around the house.

Five white South Carolina teenagers were sentenced to prison today after admitting they attacked a black teenager. All five pleaded guilty moments before their trial was to begin. The young man they attacked said through his lawyer that he forgave them.

And the French woman who received the world's first partial face transplant in November is doing better. Her psychiatrist says she is steadily regaining sensation in her nose, chin and lips, though she still cannot feel temperature. The woman is said to be, quote, "very happy."

You're about to watch a violent crime being committed. It happened three days ago inside a cash checking store in Utah. Now, the victim was a brave young woman who did everything right to survive the attack. And you think it is terrifying to watch, imagine what she was going through. CNN's Ted Rowlands has the tape and the outcome.


ANGIE HERSCHE (ph), ROBBERY VICTIM: He came flying over the countertop.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Angie Hersche (ph) was alone. She had just opened her check cashing store when she was attacked.

HERSCHE: He was wearing a yellow sweat suit. He was like a...

DISPATCHER: OK, calm down.

ROWLANDS: The man that attacked Angie took her by surprise. But right away, she noticed his gun was fake.

HERSCHE: I could tell it was an orange plastic thing on the front of it. It was the cheapest (INAUDIBLE) like you get at a dollar store. I thought it was a joke at first.

ROWLANDS: It wasn't a joke. The man wanted money. And as you can see in this surveillance tape, he forces Angie to the floor to open the safe.

LIEUTENANT DOUG EDWARDS, OREM POLICE DEPARTMENT: She gave the money to the suspect. There was absolutely nothing in that safe that was worth her life.

ROWLANDS: The attacker then tries to get a hold of Angie. He uses his body to pin her against the wall, but she continues to squirm free.

HERSCHE: He (INAUDIBLE) electrical tape and was trying to tie me up.

EDWARDS: She didn't want to be tied up. She talked him out of taking her into a back room because she was fearful that she'd be raped or worse.

HERSCHE: I kept saying, "Someone's going to come. Someone's going to come. You've got to get out of here."

ROWLANDS: Angie, who's married and the mother of two, says she continued to plea with the man to let her go and to leave. Then, after a few minutes, the phone on the counter starts to ring. You can see the attacker pause for just a second. Then he decides the best thing to do is to rip the phone out of the wall.

(on-screen): But he didn't knock the phone out of the wall at all. In fact, all he really did was knock the receiver off. On the other end of the line was Angie's husband, Sy (ph).

(voice-over): Her husband could hear what was happening. He immediately called 911. A few moments later, Angie walks away from the attacker, and he decides to leave. She waits until he's gone, locks the front door, and calls 911.

HERSCHE: I'm just been robbed by a man.

ROWLANDS: She tells the dispatcher what happened, and she says she may know the attacker.

HERSCHE: I think he could possibly be one of our customers that I gave money to not too long ago.

ROWLANDS: Police say she was right. They showed up and used the information on file at the store, including his home address, to identify the man they believe is the attacker.

EDWARDS: In fact, the officers got to his home before he did. And they were there waiting for him when he returned.

ROWLANDS: The best part of this amazing surveillance tape may be here at the end, when Angie's husband, Sy, who'd rushed to the store, finally arrives and finds that his wife is OK.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Orem, Utah.


COOPER: Well, it is addictive. It stains your teeth. But will it also make you smarter? Coming up on 360, how the most widely- consumed psychotropic drug on the planet might be giving you an edge. If you can't get out of the house without your morning cup of joe, stick around. We might have some good news for you.

Also, distraught dog owners across the country worried about dog food contaminated by mold. How could it have happened? And how can you protect your pet? A 360 investigation coming up, next.


COOPER: Our weeklong series, "Mind and Body," continues tonight with a simple question: Does your morning cup of joe make your smarter? There are three Starbucks within a block of our office, not to mention a fancy coffee machine in our break room that brews you a cup anytime you want. So it's a question a lot of us here at 360 were curious about. So was "Time" magazine.

In its current issue, our sister publication looks at caffeine's effect on the brain and has partnered with us to produce this report from our senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I know coffee can make you more wakeful, maybe even more cheerful. But here's something I didn't know: It could actually make you smarter.

MICHAEL LEMONICK, "TIME" MAGAZINE: ... allow you to use what brain power you have in a much more efficient and focused manner. GUPTA: Michael Lemonick, a colleague from "Time" magazine, has been drinking coffee, lots of coffee, for years. He's also been researching its effects on the brain.

LEMONICK: Can you give me a latte, skim latte?


GUPTA: Make no mistake: Caffeine is a drug and stimulates your brain in sort of a tricky way. Look here. Many medications focus on increasing the amount of stimulating neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. Caffeine actually works against other neurotransmitters that would normally make you sleepy. The end result?

LEMONICK: Coffee gave me more energy, more focus, more sharpness. And it gave me a better attitude, and this mountain suddenly didn't look like such a big mountain.

GUPTA: As far as concerns about increased risk of cancer or high blood pressure, none of that has ever been proven. In fact, there seems to be no major negative side effects to consuming a couple of cups of coffee each day, unless your doctor advises otherwise for conditions such as menopause, lumpy breasts, urinary incontinence, or rapid heartbeat.

LEMONICK: There seems to be nothing medically dangerous about doing it. And, in fact, it's protective against things like Alzheimer's disease, we think, and Parkinson's. Physically, if you let the caffeine go out of your system, you do go into a slump. You go downhill in the afternoon or late morning, which is why I'm doing this.

GUPTA: Of course, your inherent smartness isn't actually changing with what you drink, but you may just be getting a lot better at using what smarts you do have.

JAMES MCGAUGH, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE: Most of the stimulant drugs are memory-enhancing drugs. Caffeine, as you know, is in coffee and tea. And so we routinely dose ourselves with mildly memory-enhancing drugs.

JOHN CALDWELL, NASA: Well, I think we see coffee shops on nearly every corner now. And so a lot of people rely on high doses of caffeine on a daily basis to help support their alertness.

GUPTA: There is a downside, though. Michael has been drinking coffee for so long he can't even go one day without.

LEMONICK: Tomorrow morning, I'd wake up with a crushing headache and I would be very lethargic, almost half-asleep for the whole day. I just couldn't keep my eyes open.

GUPTA: But hey, some would say, why stop in the first place? All this talk about better mental performance just waiting for me in this paper cup made this non-coffee drinker a little curious.

GUPTA: Cheers. I feel the I.Q. points adding up already.


GUPTA: And it's worth pointing out as well that coffee has lots of anti-oxidants in it, as well, which might be some of the benefits that you're getting. And also, if you're really tired, no amount of caffeine is going to counter that. You probably just need to get some sleep.

COOPER: But you don't drink coffee. I don't drink coffee. Would you start drinking coffee because of this?

GUPTA: No, I wouldn't. You know, I think -- I feel pretty good most of the time. It might improve my performance a little bit, but I just never really liked it that much.

COOPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: A couple of stories we wish hadn't happened at all but they have. Dogs have been dying because their well-meaning owners have been unwittingly feeding them contaminated food. The food has been recalled, but the danger doesn't seem to have passed. We'll give you an update on that.

And women indulging themselves in the harmless pleasure of a pedicure, only for too many it hasn't been harmless at all. The shocking story of a luxurious treatment that has led to grief and scars, spreading a dangerous bacteria. You're watching 360. Stay with us.


COOPER: Well, if you're one of the millions of dog owners in this country -- and I'm among you, by the way -- this story will alarm and infuriate you and then break your heart. It concerns some people who did just what you do everyday, fed their dogs, and then the worst happened. CNN's Rick Sanchez reports.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Shanika Stewart spent her last dollar to get the dog she wanted most.

SHANIKA STEWART, DOG OWNER: And all I had in the bank was just enough money to purchase Chulo, so I went and withdrew all the money I had in the bank and brought Chulo home.

SANCHEZ: This is not Chulo. That's Cocoa. This is Chulo. We can only show him to you in pictures, because last December he suddenly became extremely lethargic, stopped eating. Within a week, Chulo was dead.

STEWART: Chulo was my baby. I did everything for Chulo. SANCHEZ: And now Cocoa, the dog Shanika's had since she was 10- years-old, is also sick, same symptoms. Lethargic, won't eat, throwing up. She started wondering if the dog food she'd fed both pets had something to do with their conditions.

(on-screen): And something in your mind clicked, "That must have been what done it"?

STEWART: Yes, sir. I noticed the same symptoms in Cocoa.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): In fact, dog owners in 23 states would see the same symptoms, a pattern emerged. More than 100 dogs dead, including the dog belonging to Scott Brown, who lives in the same town as Shanika Stewart.

SCOTT BROWN, DOG KILLED BY DEADLY DOG FOOD: (INAUDIBLE) your family. And they're just not there.

SANCHEZ: As dozens of dogs began getting sick and dying, owners and veterinarians all over the country realized this was no coincidence. But what exactly was it that was killing these animals?

The answer to that question came from two major universities, Cornell University in New York and Clemson University here in South Carolina. Scientists working inside the labs were able to do autopsies on the animals that had died. And they were able to determine that this is what killed them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aflatoxicosis (ph).

SANCHEZ: That's it. That is the killer. And it came from Diamond Pet Foods, so says this pathologist who made the connection in her lab.

(on-screen): So once you checked the liver of the dog, the deceased dog, and checked the dog food itself, you came to the conclusion, there's no doubt in your mind, this is this aflatoxin, caused by the dog food?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the lesions in the liver are very indicative of amicotoxin-type (ph) damage to the liver.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Lesions that do this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It causes them to go into liver failure. So they bleed, they hemorrhage, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice.

SANCHEZ: Diamond Pet Foods immediately issued a recall. Twenty of its dog food brands are now affected. Experts say it's likely the aflatoxin came from corn a company used in its feed that had developed a fungus. Diamond says it's reaching out to dog owners by posting all necessary information on its Web site, has stepped up its testing for the fungus, and has offered to pay veterinary costs for dog owners. Dog owners, like Shanika Stewart, who now feel guilty about feeding their dogs the very thing that killed them.

STEWART: It was my baby. He was just a puppy. But I have faith that Cocoa's going to be OK, so she's my strength right now.

SANCHEZ: Veterinarians say Cocoa may or may not recover. And no one knows how many other dogs around the country may also have been poisoned.


SANCHEZ: This is important. If you think that your dog has taken substantial amounts of this particular dog food, there's a Web site you can go to. I've got a copy of it right here. There's some things that they want you to know about. By the way, it's They say, if you see any of these signs, loss of appetite, yellowing, severe persistent vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine, fever, there's a possibility your dog could have this. You might want to get them checked out.

We also checked, by the way, with the FDA, the Department of Agriculture. And they're going to be doing some sampling themselves. They want to make sure that this company's taken all the precautions they need to with the shipments of corn that they take in, which apparently, according to experts, is what causes this situation.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right, Rick, thanks very much for that..

We want to thank our international viewers for watching. And if you're just joining us, ahead on 360, we've got a lot ahead. An attempted bank heist. A standoff with police. And a dramatic and deadly end. We'll have the latest from Kissimmee, Florida.

Plus, another reminded tonight of just how dangerous it is to be a miner. One week after the tragedy in West Virginia, there's been another deadly accident. We'll have that.

And also tonight, underaged kids not supposed to get alcohol at Applebee's, but we know of one who did, and he's 5 years old. How did it happen? That story and more, when 360 continues.


COOPER: Good evening again. A day at the bank turns dangerous, then it turns deadly. This is the story, a bloody story, of cops and robbers and hostages and snipes.

ANNOUNCER: Florida bank robbers take multiple hostages and try a daring getaway. Tonight, how the ten-hour ordeal came to a dramatic end.

Collapse at a Kentucky coal mine. One miner killed. Tonight, the latest on what happened inside the mine that brought the roof crashing down.

And ever go to a nail salon for a relaxing pedicure? You might want to think twice before doing it again. Shocking findings about what kinds of bacteria more and more women are dipping their toes into.

From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And good evening again. Thanks for joining us. Here are some of the stories we're following at this moment.

Gearing up for day three in the hot seat, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito will return tomorrow morning for more tough questions on Capitol Hill. Today Judge Alito said he opposed Roe v. Wade at one time in his life. But if appointed to the court, he would approach the issue with a, quote, "open mind."

A new report says that 12 miners whose died in West Virginia last week may have had a chance to survive. A mine spokesman says the men were within 2,000 feet of breathable air. A spokesman adds that the miners could have used their oxygen tanks to walk the half-mile to get them out of harm's way.

Meanwhile, the soul survivor of the mining accident continues to improve. Randy McCloy, Jr., remains in critical but stable condition. Tonight, doctors have reason to be optimistic. They say that he has a lot of brain activity and is no longer in a deep induced coma.

Now, two developing stories. Another fatal mine accident and this. It started with an attempted bank heist. It ended after a scene straight out of an action movie with one alleged perpetrator in custody, the other in the morgue. CNN's John Zarrella now in Kissimmee, Florida, with the latest -- John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the sheriff here in Osceola County told me that he wished it could have ended a little bit differently. But the good news is that all four of the hostages are safe, are freed.


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