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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Was Casey Anthony Victim of a Dishonest Jailhouse Snitch?; Pills in Prison; Dad Killed in Boat Hit-and-Run

Aired July 21, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight an all-out brawl breaks out behind bars. Inmates trade vicious accusations. And Casey Anthony`s in the middle of the storm. One inmate now claims a jailhouse snitch made up damaging stories about Casey to shorten her own sentence. Tonight, did one inmate contact Jose Baez to tattle on the others? And could the defense team use this war of words to discredit evidence and even prosecution witnesses?

Plus, popping pills in prison. Lindsay Lohan`s locked up, but reports say that`s not stopping her from sucking down her cocktail of prescription drugs. She`s even allegedly allowed to take sleeping pills. If she`s on mood-altering meds, how the heck is she supposed to sober up? Wasn`t that the whole point?

And a fun day on the lake takes a violent and tragic turn. An innocent young father mowed down by a speed boat in a horrifying hit-and- run. Cops are now hunting down this deadly driver. Tonight, I`ll talk to the victim`s devastated father and the dead man`s best friend. His buddy died in his arms, and now that friend has vowed to find his killer.

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news. Out of Riverside, California, a grim discovery and our worst fears are confirmed. The remains of beautiful 17-year-old Norma Lopez have now been identified. Norma vanished last Thursday morning on her way home from summer school. She was studying over the summer. Who abducted and murdered this innocent young woman? We will have the very latest in a little bit.

But first, it is an all-out brawl, people, behind bars. But instead of switch blades, the weapon of choice is lies. And guess who is at the center of this jailhouse mayhem? None other than Casey Anthony. Were some inmates making up stories that could hurt Casey in order to sweeten their own circumstances, or even shorten their own sentences?

In a dramatic development tonight, one inmate has now stepped forward to make that shocking claim. She revealed a possible conspiracy to HLN affiliate Central Florida News 13 in an exclusive interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were comparing their stories. They were basically saying, "Well, I said this when they came to see me. Make sure you say this."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Robin Adams and Maya Derkovic conspired...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... to make up a story about Casey Anthony?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We haven`t been able to reach those women to get their side, because they are behind bars tonight. Now, the woman you just heard from, she plans to hold her ground, even if she is wired up to a lie detector.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They can polygraph me. They can polygraph her, and let`s just see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, controversy is swirling about how the defense is dealing with these jaw-dropping and twisted accusations. Back in May, the inmate we just heard from called Casey`s lawyer, Jose Baez, to tattletale on two other inmates. That phone conversation was recorded. What did she tell Jose Baez? And why is the judge in this case now demanding to hear that phone recording? Who is telling the truth? Do you have any clue? Call me, 1-877-586-7297. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic panel. We begin with Vinnie Politan, host of "In Session" on TruTV and former prosecutor. Vinnie, is this a hot mess can of worms or is it a legitimate opportunity for Casey`s defense team to discredit some of the inmates who have made very damning accusations about her?

VINNIE POLITAN, HOST, "IN SESSION": Let me -- let me tell you. You don`t have to go too far to try to impeach the credibility of convicted inmates. Not a difficult task for defense attorneys.

Here`s the thing. Who are we going to believe? Are we going to believe this inmate who is a convicted killer, who is saying, well, the other two inmates, those are the ones that are lying? Hook us all up to some sort of a lie detector machine? I don`t think that`s the way you solve this problem.

The problem is, anyone in this case who has to rely upon the testimony of an inmate has trouble.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, why do they even need that when they say they have an overwhelming circumstantial case against Casey Anthony? You raise a great question.

So just what are these alleged lies that these inmates are supposedly telling, and how could they hurt Casey? One reported lie is that Casey had it out for her mom, Cindy. Here`s more from Central Florida News 13. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has lied so much since I`ve met her, about things that are frivolent [SIC], that are unimportant, not just with the case, that she had it in for her mother, that her mother showed more affection to the baby, and that she did it to spite her mother. That was made up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: "People" magazine in February of 2009 described turmoil between Cindy and Casey from early on. When little Caylee was born, Cindy was the first to hold her, not the mother, Casey Anthony. Cindy reportedly called herself "Mommy" to Caylee right in front of Casey time and time again.

But you know what, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor? Those stories were also told time and time again on TV.

Here`s my big issue. Is there a snitch glitch? I like the sound of that.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: That`s cute.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a problem with snitches in jail. They can -- they have TV. They can see whatever they see on TV and then just parrot and say, "Hey, I heard that, too."

MURPHY: And you know what they do? They then try to leverage it and turn it into trade value. "Will you give me a discount on my punishment?"

Vinnie is so right. You know, if they all got hooked up to a lie detector, it would explode. There`s no way.

And I actually think this is a kind of an orchestrated distraction. The defense loves to distract us and make us feel something for Casey. These people are lying about her. Who cares? I could not care less if they lie about her, tell the truth about her, throw food at her. I don`t care.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, but if they`re lying about her and the prosecution -- I know you`re a former prosecutor, Wendy -- but if the prosecution is trying to use those lies to convict her, that`s not fair.

MURPHY: I understand that. But look, we`re talking about such tangential stuff. We know what the evidence is that is condemning and that has, you know, landed her in jail so far. Two nuts behind bars are really not going to make or break the case.

I suspect the prosecution is only doing this because they feel obligated to uncover it, to unpack it, to put it to rest so we can focus on the real case, the real stuff.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, but one of these women that supposedly lied, or allegedly lied, told investigators that Casey Anthony admitted to knocking Caylee out so she could go out and party.

Now, Dr. Dale Archer, that is a huge part of this case, because it all boils down to her going out and partying at the time that little Caylee was missing long before she reported it, or her mother reported it to police.

DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes. It`s a huge part of the case. But I think that the inmates involved knew that it was a huge part of the case.

Look, I used to work as a prison psychiatrist, and I will tell you that these inmates will tell a lie about anyone at any time if they get the slightest bit of edge. A better cell, a new location, a little bit less time, anything. So I don`t place any credibility in any of this. And I really think it`s a distraction to the case. And I think we`re getting so sucked into all of these details, whereas the case is dragging on and on and on. And come on, we want a trial already.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, we`re not going to get a trial for many months. And I`ve covered these high-profile cases before, and this is exactly what happens. It becomes a runaway freight train, and things get so muddled and confused because there`s so many developments because everybody`s got their fingers in it, that at the end of the day, the juror is left like, whoa, what just happened? And that`s reasonable doubt. And that`s why some of these high-profile defendants get off, because it`s just too much information. TMI.

Greg in California, your question or thought, sir.

CALLER: Actually, it`s Juan. Hi, Jane. I do want to say yes, maybe that`s why they`re smart, that one lawyer they had who was a lady quit. Because if they go after the father, that`s not a dream team, that`s a dumb team. They try to get the father who has all the sympathy for his granddaughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re absolutely right. And, you know, Casey`s defense has established a pattern of trying to discredit witnesses who are possibly helpful to prosecutors. Back in November, they interviewed an ex-wife of meter reader Roy Kronk. Kronk was the first person to spot the remains of little Caylee. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL KERLEY, EX-WIFE OF ROY KRONK: He duct-taped my hands one time. And I was in Key West at the time. And I was sitting in the chair, and he told me if I moved, then he would beat me if I moved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So that`s Roy Kronk. And then of course, Casey`s dad, George, is another issue. WFTV reports that the defense obtained documents showing that -- well, basically, we learned that they were-- the defense was spending money to investigate George`s alleged suicide attempt. Now, the defense denies this.

I`ve got to ask you, Casey Jordan, a lot of people heard that report, that the defense was going after the defendant`s father, George, who has already been through hell. And they really described it as the ultimate betrayal. What do you think?

CASEY JORDAN: This is all exactly distraction technique, just as Wendy and Dale say. These are all red herrings, trying to get our attention away from the facts of the case.

And the fact is, Baez, the defense attorney, if this is the best he can do is to get a jailhouse snitch to try to discredit the prosecution`s witness, and there`s no honor among thieves and there`s even less among murders. I think he`s clutching at straws and I think it indicates his defense case is trouble. His defense case is in a lot of trouble.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: See, I disagree. Vinnie, I`ve got to say, I think this is brilliant. I think the more confusion you could stir up, the more of these loose ends that you can drag out of the woodwork, the more confusing this case becomes, and that could lead to roam doubt. What do you think, Vinnie?

POLITAN: Absolutely. And I think this is actually worse for the prosecution, if they`re going to rely on jailhouse informants.

I mean, I`ve seen this in high-profile case after high-profile case. We talked to the jurors after the case and ask them, "What did you think about that jail house informant/snitch?" They discount that testimony as soon as it begins. So anyone relying upon a jailhouse informant in a case like this, a death penalty case, is on weak ground. So I don`t -- I don`t take any shots here at the defense, because that was a great news outfit, my old news outfit, Central Florida News 13, that got that interview.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Aha!

POLITAN: You know, she`s the one making the noise. It`s not the defense. The defense is seizing upon it.

They got to do what they got to do. More on Casey Anthony in just a bit. And we`re taking your calls. They`re lining up on the other side of this quick break.

Plus, Mel Gibson`s girlfriend claims he hit her while she was holding their baby daughter. Unbelievable developments tonight. We`ll hear the very latest in just a moment.

But first, the Casey Anthony drama-rama continues. Another of Casey`s jailhouse inmates speaks out and attacks other jailhouse snitches.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You wanted them to keep searching for a live Caylee.

CINDY ANTHONY, GRANDMOTHER OF CAYLEE: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re clear about that?

ANTHONY: Absolutely. I still think Caylee`s alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were comparing their stories. They were basically saying, "Well, I said this when they came to see me. Make sure you say this."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Robin Adams and Maya Derkovic conspired...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... to make up a story about Casey Anthony?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, were they vicious lies or disturbing stories about Casey Anthony? Casey`s former fellow inmate is breaking her silence. You just heard her right there. She`s accusing two other jail house snitches, one of whom is doing hard time for murder, of fabricating tall tales about Casey to hurt Casey, but more important, to shorten their own sentences. Who should we believe?

We`re talking about a whole bunch of people who are behind bars for good reason.

Steve in Arkansas, your question or thought, sir?

CALLER: Hey, Jane. Whatever these people say are completely unreliable. They will -- they will say anything to get themselves out of the jam they`re in. I wouldn`t take anything they said seriously.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I agree with you. And that`s what we`re all saying. We wonder why the prosecution even went there, to begin with.

And that`s what I don`t understand, Wendy Murphy. Wouldn`t they have the option of just ignoring this entire thing and saying, well, they`re jailhouse snitches. We don`t care what they say that Casey said?

MURPHY: Well, you know, look, when people say things, and the prosecution does nothing, you know, the defense at trial will say, you know, there were people at the jail who knew things and the prosecutor never even investigated it. So you know, they`re hiding evidence. I mean, you can`t win sometimes when you`re a prosecutor. You`re damned if you do investigate. You`re damned if you don`t.

I think, you know, really, the story here is that, if this is a distraction tactic which I think a lot of this case has been, the embarrassing thing, and I write about this in my book, the embarrassing thing is that it does work, Jane, you`re right.

And the reason is works is because we live in a country because where, when we screen out jurors or screen them in to pass judgment on cases like this, you don`t even have to pass a basic IQ test. You can be an idiot, be distracted by all the red herrings in the dog and pony show, and vote not guilty for reasons that have nothing to do with the evidence, and a killer walks free. That`s why the tactic works. And it`s embarrassing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you can judge the credibility of the jailhouse snitches for yourself. You`re going to hear from one in just a second. one of the women at the center of these swirling accusations, this is the very inmate who told investigators that Casey Anthony admitted to knocking out her baby, Caylee, so she could go out and party. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYA DERKOVIC, CASEY`S JAILHOUSE FRIEND: She would put it on, like, a rag, like a washrag, and put it over the baby`s face. So she would inhale it. And it would knock her out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did she say what she used to knock her out?

DERKOVIC: I can`t pronounce it. Chloroform -- foam?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Vinnie Politan, this woman cannot -- I don`t like to make fun of people, because I mispronounce things all the time, but she cannot pronounce the word "chloroform."

POLITAN: Right. And the reason she can`t pronounce it is because she never heard it said before, probably because she didn`t hear what she said she heard. It goes to her credibility. It`s awful.

We can`t let these people get into a courtroom and testify in front of a jury, because you can`t rely upon what they`re saying beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard in a criminal case.

MURPHY: But you know who the biggest -- the biggest fat liar is in this case? Casey Anthony and her whole damn family. They`re all a bunch of fat liars. Less credible than every one of those jailhouse snitches.

BROOKS: Casey is not fat. I saw her in court last week. She`s not fat.

MURPHY: OK, you got me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she had gained a few pounds. But in her last appearance, she looked like she slimmed down. And remember, her father, George, purportedly wrote to her saying, "Honey, I see you`ve put on some weight."

And Dr. Dale Archer, I think that reveals a lot about the dysfunction inside this family.

ARCHER: Yes, I think the family dysfunction is well documented. But look, it reminds me of what my grandmother used to say, "Oh, what a wicked web we weave when in fact we practice to deceive." And in Casey`s case, everyone who has come into contact with her has gotten entangled in her web. And I really look at the dysfunction as coming mainly from her. I think this is a pathological liar, and everyone else has gotten entangled.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shelley in Mississippi, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Well, you`ve got inmates that Casey will talk to, and the prosecutors know who they are, can they not put some kind of listening device on them and get them to talk to her so they can tape it?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Jordan, that`s a very good question.

JORDAN: Yes. And honestly, I don`t think they want to go there. The bottom line is, this is such a tangled web, as Dale says already. Everyone knows that they`re lying a lie.

I think the best thing for the prosecution to do is not to try to trap Casey Anthony any further, especially because the credibility of their two snitches is in question already. It`s to simply rely on the forensic evidence. Honestly that`s what they need for this case. Everybody else should be put on the shelf and disregarded.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, I have to say, that with this trial months and months away -- it`s next spring, I believe, when it`s scheduled to start. And even that is a fluid date that could be pushed back. The more time we have, the more distractions are going to come up. We know that.

So it`s really interesting that this time element really serves the defense. Not only do people forget their testimony, and they have fuzzier memories about what happened, now, you know, more than two years ago. I`ll give you ten seconds, Wendy, to comment on that.

MURPHY: I wrote a chapter on that, too. It`s called victory by delay. It a whole chapter. Are you kidding me? This is all about the defense strategy. Ugly.

BROOKS: Where can I get the book, Jane? I`ve got to buy her book.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, we`ve got to buy her book, absolutely.

All right. Well, in honor of you, Wendy, I`m going to whip out the gavel and say, we are out of time. Fantastic panel, thank you so much.

Lindsay Lohan is behind bars tonight as we speak. But will her prescription drug habit go with her? Shocking new developments.

And even more shocking claims from Mel Gibson`s girlfriend. We`re going to play you the stunning tape number six, next. You will not believe it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the fight intensifies between Mel Gibson and his baby mama, Oksana Grigorieva. Cops will investigate Mel Gibson`s claims that Oksana tried to extort money from him in exchange for keeping those vicious audio recordings secret.

But Mel is getting a visit from Child Protective Services, because Oksana claims Mel hit her in the face while she was holding their baby. Listen to this stunning, shocking new audio recording from Radar Online.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OKSANA GRIGORIEVA, MEL GIBSON`S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: Mel, you`re imbalanced. There`s something wrong with you. You need medication.

MEL GIBSON, ACTOR: Oh, you shut up you (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

GRIGORIEVA: You cannot raise this child with this symptoms.

GIBSON: What?

GRIGORIEVA: You`re acting as a crazy man right now. And you have been for many, many months. And you hit me, and you hit her while she was in my hands. Mel, you`re losing your mind. You need medication.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oksana filed for a restraining order against Mel Gibson, and that matter is scheduled to go to court tomorrow. We`ll cover it right here on ISSUES. You bet you.

Straight out to Dylan Howard, senior executive editor with Radar Online.

Dylan, what is the very latest?

DYLAN HOWARD, SENIOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RADAR ONLINE: Well, Jane, I can tell you tonight there are two crucial pieces of evidence that Oksana Grigorieva is using to try and strip Mel Gibson of all his custodial rights to his daughter, Lucia.

One is that audiotape, and two, on RadarOnline.com, a world exclusive photo of baby Lucia that has been tendered as evidence to the police, showing a small abrasion on her chin, the abrasion that Oksana Grigorieva is claiming is as a result of Mel Gibson hitting her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And we do have to say, I`ve looked at that photo, and you can`t really tell -- it could be an abrasion. It could also be a pimple. I mean, it depends on how you perceive it.

And again, Mel Gibson through his attorney is denying that he hit either one.

I have to ask you about the Department of Children and Family Services wanting to interview Mel Gibson. Where the heck is he?

HOWARD: Mel Gibson, he`s currently in Los Angeles. I can tell you that. And Child Protective Services have already interviewed Oksana Grigorieva. They`ve also interviewed her 12-year-old son, Alexander, who also goes by the nickname of Sasha.

Now, Sasha, according to Oksana and what she told law enforcement authorities, was in the room when Mel allegedly struck Oksana, and then pushed his forearm against her face in an apparent chokehold. That, according to Oksana in the testimony that she has delivered towards the court and police, as I understand it.

Mel is the center of this child domestic abuse probe, and he`s expected to be interviewed very soon, if he hasn`t already. And that, no doubt, is going to turn up more details in this he said-she said battle.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s so bizarre, is it seems like there`s going to be two police investigations. One department is going to investigate his claims that he`s being extorted, and the other is going to investigate the domestic violence claims.

HOWARD: In the last -- in the last couple of minutes, Steve Jaffe, who is the spokesperson for Oksana Grigorieva, has come out and flatly denied on the record that Oksana at any stage tried to extort money from Mel Gibson.

Now, of course, Gibson`s camp has leveraged that as their defense strategy, if you like, against Oksana Grigorieva, and the L.A. County Sheriff`s Department has confirmed that they will investigate those claims, given that they have been alleged against Oksana from Mel`s side. So it`s a battle.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dylan, thank you so much for the update on that wild story.

Speaking of wild stories, Lindsay Lohan in jail. Reports say she can still take her pills?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Popping pills in prison. Lindsay Lohan`s locked up, but reports say that`s not stopping her from sucking down her cocktail of prescription drugs. She`s even allegedly allowed to take sleeping pills. If she`s on mood-altering meds, how the heck is she supposed to sober up? Wasn`t that the whole point?

And a fun day on the lake takes a tragic turn. An innocent young father mowed down by a speed boat in a hit-and-run. Cops are now hunting down this deadly driver. Tonight I`ll talk to the victim`s devastated father and the dead man`s best friend. His buddy died in his arms, and now that friend has vowed to find his killer.

Tonight: mind-blowing developments in the incarceration of Hollywood diva, Lindsay Lohan. Li-Lo has so far survived 30 hours in the clink and a turkey dinner which doesn`t sound appetizing to me. But wait until you hear what she is allowed to do behind bars.

RadarOnline reports Li-Lo`s jail debut was full of tears and handcuffs. But the other inmates helped her feel right at home. TMZ caught up with one of the inmates who was there when Lindsay arrived.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every time a celebrity comes, they (INAUDIBLE). Every time she goes to the bathroom, we`re on lock down. Every time she has her food, we`re on lock down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, really? She`d never -- with other people, everyone else is in lock down?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no, no, no. She`s in her own cell. She`s in her own department, her own module.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Then it was time for the dreaded strip and body cavity search. That`s right.

But the biggest shocker of all? TMZ is reporting Lindsay is allowed to take her prescription meds behind bars. And we are talking the hard stuff, people.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, and I want to begin speaking of experts with Jennifer Gimenez. She was the house manager on VH-1`s sober house. She is a recovering addict. She knows of what she speaks.

Jennifer, how the hell is Lindsay Lohan going to get sober if she`s allowed to take mood-altering pills purportedly for medical reasons behind bars?

JENNIFER GIMENEZ, FORMER HOUSE MANAGER, "SOBER HOUSE": You know what, Jane, I have to say at this point, the fact that she still is on medication, there`s no way that she`s going to get sober in jail at all.

I mean, the fact is, though, if she`s using the way addicts use, her 40 days -- 40 pills a day of Vicodin or whatever it is that she`s taking will no longer exist. So the detox is happening. But --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, though, I don`t understand what you`re saying, the detox is happening. What are you talking about?

GIMENEZ: Well, if she`s taking pills, like a normal -- like addicts do, they abuse their medication, there`s no way that she would go and be ok from taking like -- I know when I took pills, I would abuse them. I would go into blackouts and take 30 to 40 a day. If you`re just going from 40 to 4 a day, there`s no way you`re going to be ok. You know what I mean? You`re going to have to physically detox. Your body is not --

(CROSS TALKING)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In other words, she could go into seizures if they just cut her off cold turkey completely.

GIMENEZ: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, reports say jail doctors are allowing Lindsay to take several prescription meds, including Adderall a psycho-stimulant used to treat ADD, and Ambien, a very powerful sleep aid.

Now Lindsay`s dad Michael talked to Larry King last night about what he believes his daughter is going through. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL LOHAN, LINDSAY LOHAN`S FATHER: She`s fighting enough demons herself right now with the prescription drugs and everything else that she`s going to go through. She was -- this didn`t have to happen, but it`s happening now. We have to live with it. She`s got to use it to her best.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. We know Lindsay also had a prescription for the powerful painkiller Dilaudid, which some people compare in strength to heroin.

Howard Samuels, you are a founder and CEO of a treatment center in Los Angeles. Is it possible that jail officials just don`t want to deal with Lindsay Lohan and her drug problems and watch her withdraw and perhaps go into seizure if she`s taken -- these drugs are taken away from her? So they`re going to let her stay on the drugs and leave it to the rehab when she gets out of jail and she has to go to rehab?

HOWARD SAMUELS, FOUNDER & CEO, THE HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: Well, Jane, I must say, I think that the hospital -- or the prison doctors are incompetent if they`re going to allow her to stay on an ADD medication, like the one that she`s on. There`s no reason for her to be on an ADD medication if she`s sitting in a cell. She`s not having to be at a point - - she`s not having to read or do papers. It`s a total joke.

Now, the sleep aid that she`s on is a benzo, and that in itself is habit-forming. It`s addictive. If she`s supposed to detox off that, you can only do it very slowly. Otherwise the patient goes into seizures. And benzo detoxes are more dangerous than heroin detoxes. It really seems to be a lot of incompetence that`s going on with the prison doctors.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just want to read from the probation report I am holding in my hand. And this probation report really gives the viewers the insight into this whole melodrama. It`s very simple.

In the probation report, it is said that the defendant takes the following prescription drugs: Nexium, Zoloft, Trazodone, Adderall and sometimes Dilaudid for, quote unquote, "dental pain". This is not a violation of probation. This is not a violation of probation. It says so right in her report.

So she is allowed to take all these drugs. This is why this whole thing that you`re looking at here, Dylan Howard, senior executive editor of RadarOnline is a charade.

She is an addict. The pills, according to her father, are the problem. So they put a SCRAM bracelet on her, they say you can`t do alcohol, and that SCRAM bracelet goes off. But meantime the entire time she`s allowed to take a slew of powerful pain meds that would knock a horse over.

DYLAN HOWARD, SENIOR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RADARONLINE: I disagree with Howard. I think that she -- that the prison medical officials have done the right thing in allowing her to take what they believe she should be able to take. And it`s up to the court-ordered rehabilitation program when she`s released from prison to deal with these issues, to rehabilitate her, to get her cold turkey.

Of course, the only turkey she`s having at the moment is the turkey casserole, which was her opening dinner last night. But I think the role of rehabilitation, to get Lindsay Lohan back, are to be played out in that court-ordered program. In the meantime, jail should just serve as nothing more than punishment and the sudden wakeup call she needs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So Howard Samuels --

SAMUELS: Yes, but I --

(CROSS TALKING)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

SAMUELS: But I have to disagree with that. I mean she`s now under the control of an institution. Whether the institution is a prison or a rehab, the rehab has to start immediately. Otherwise, you know, you`re putting off the most important two-week stay there is, which is part of the detox stay.

HOWARD: But these prison doctors --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time.

SAMUELS: It`s irresponsible to, like, not to start this now. And I must tell you, I`ve been doing this for 20 years, ok? These doctors do not know what they`re doing if she`s on Adderall.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what it is. That`s what it is.

SAMUELS: That is just -- that is ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s no reason a 24-year-old girl needs all these meds, ok? We all know that in Hollywood they can go doctor shopping. We saw it with Corey Haim. We`ve seen it with so many different cases.

You can find a doctor to write you a prescription for anything in Hollywood. That`s just the truth.

Jennifer Gimenez, here`s my big worry. They`re going to give her -- when she gets out of jail, which is 13 to 15 days, which is an outrage in itself, they`re going to give her a day to collect her belongings before she has to check into rehab.

I`ve been there. I know what it`s like to have an uncontrollable craving. In that one 24 hours if somebody`s going to tell me I can`t ever do drugs or drink again, my gosh, in that 24 hours, I`m going to do as many drugs as I possibly can.

GIMENEZ: Oh, absolutely. I know I did. I mean it was -- it`s crazy. It`s like saying, you have one more day, one more freebie to go try to kill yourself.

I mean you`re looking at Lindsay Lohan as the Michael Jackson in female form. She`s 23, like this girl -- or 24, whatever, this girl does not need this stuff. The fact that they`re giving her one more day to go try to kill herself is like making a joke out of this situation. It`s giving a wrong message to the world.

All these people who are suffering from addiction are also all the young people that follow Lindsay Lohan are thinking that it`s ok to be cool like her. It`s still like cool to do this.

This is not a joke. This girl`s going to die. And if people are thinking that they can still control their drinking and using, like she is, because she`s under monitored care right now, it doesn`t happen. It doesn`t exist. Like the crash on this is going to be terrible. It is just tragic.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She is a metaphor for what`s happening in America, which is rampant prescription drug abuse. You know, prescription drugs are more of a threat than illegal drugs in America today. People are --

GIMENEZ: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- are fueling left and right from prescription drugs. But our war on drugs -- our war on drugs keeps fighting those illegal drugs when most people are getting high on prescription pills.

She is a metaphor -- she is a hot mess, and our country is a mess for not dealing with the drug issue rationally. Why? Because there`s big bucks involved in prescription meds. We all know that. That`s the underlying story of this.

Is that the powers that be look the other way with prescription drugs because prescription drugs are a big money maker and nobody wants to, you- know what with that.

That brings me to my next big issue. Oh, the humiliation -- oh, the humiliation of poor Lindsay in handcuffs, getting strip-searched and experiencing a body cavity search. You know what? I`m not buying it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Jane, we`ll have to take this up another day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BROOKS: Perhaps we can debate it to death on your show. But I`ve got a lot to say to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok -- BROOKS: But we don`t give up on people that easily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A.J., real quick before we hit break and we`ll continue the conversation --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not giving up on her. But I think if you`re going to be kind, you should be kind and you should be kind to everyone. What about all the other poor you know what who are stuck behind bars who don`t get this treatment?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dylan Howard, RadarOnline, yes jail can be terrible and embarrassing. But we need to remember that non-celebrities experience what Lindsay Lohan is going through on a daily basis and nobody seems to give a bleep about them, Dylan.

SAMUELS: Look and you know what, Jane? You`re absolutely right. I mean, when I -- I`m a convicted felon. And one of the ways that I got sober is that I was committed to a rehab for a year. Now, when I was arrested, I had cavity searches. I was strip searched. That`s part of me getting sober and hitting the bottom.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly.

SAMUELS: Hopefully the same thing will happen to her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Fantastic panel, we have to leave it right there.

Up next, breaking news in the war on women: the hunt is on for 17- year-old Norma Lopez`s killer. Plus a summer day at the lake turns deadly. And there is a man hunt for a boater.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A fun day on the lake takes a deadly turn. That`s next.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Tragic breaking news in the war on women, badly decomposed human remains found yesterday in Moreno Valley, California have been positively identified as Norma Lopez. This beautiful, beautiful 17-year-old had been missing since last Thursday after merely taking a short-cut home from summer school through a vacant lot.

Police say she was abducted and they are treating this case as a homicide. Police are now looking for a green SUV-type of vehicle that was seen driving away from the area where Norma disappeared. We need your help to find her killer.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block".

Turning now to the tragedy on the water: A beloved young father hit and killed by a boat on a very popular lake. The suspect fled the scene and we need your help to track him down.

These photos of Eric Norris were taken just moments before a boat slammed into him on Lake Havasu on the California/Arizona border. This is moments before his death, people.

This happened over the busy July 4th weekend. Police say Eric had fallen of the tube when he was hit by a boat going 30 to 40 miles an hour. Friends and paramedics tried frantically for 45 minutes to revive Eric.

He died in the arms of his very best buddy, Mike, who joins me tonight.

Police released these sketches of the suspect and the boat. Witnesses say this boater initially slowed down after hitting Eric and then suddenly sped away. Police say there was also a blond female on the boat.

Eric`s friends and family are desperate for the suspect to grow a conscience and turn himself in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY HAIRSTON, VICTIM`S FRIEND: (INAUDIBLE) at him, I wanted to make him turn himself in. I mean, he`s got -- he`s got to be feeling guilty somewhat about -- about all this right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am honored to welcome Eric`s dad, Jim Norris, and Eric`s very best friend, Michael Dunn. We know this is such a difficult time for you both. And we here at ISSUES are so very, very sorry for your loss.

Mike, you are the best buddy. You were with Eric on the water that day. I understand it was very dramatic. Tell us what happened.

MICHAEL DUNN, ERIC NORRIS` BEST FRIEND: Where should I start?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, start with the accident. Start with, he was -- he was in this -- playing this game and going on this tube. He fell off the tube. And then what happened?

DUNN: Well, at the time I was actually on the boat. I had been in the tube with Eric the entire day. And I just got tired and I decided to get out. And he was with one of the other teenagers that was on the boat with him.

And the -- the one teenager fell off the tube. And Eric eventually fell off as well. So they were in kind of different areas. And the driver of the boat, she spun around to pick up the boys, and the next thing we knew, Eric was hit so --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, where did this boat come out of, the blue? Was there any attempts --

DUNN: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- to tell -- tell this guy, slow down, stop? What happened?

DUNN: One of the children in the boat, a 16-year-old is holding the awareness flag up. And he was frantically waving the flag. And he just came out of nowhere. And I didn`t even see the boat. I never did see the boat, that`s how fast it happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God.

Eric was just 30 years old. He has a 7-year-old son. He was a martial arts expert. He was a very popular personal trainer. Eric had actually moved in with his 88-year-old grandma so he could take care of her. He leaves behind 7-year-old son, Phoenix.

Now, Eric`s devastated father, Jim, joins us tonight. Jim thank you so much. Once again, we are so sorry. What do you want to say to the suspects out there, this boater and this blond to encourage them to turn themselves in?

JIM NORRIS, ERIC NORRIS` FATHER: Well, they need to do the right thing. They need to, you know -- it`s hard to say -- well --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What would you say to them in your heart?

NORRIS: What I`d like to say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell them. Tell them.

NORRIS: You need to step up. You need to step up and do the right thing. You need to come forward. Turn yourself in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You might say, how could someone escape on a lake? Well, guess what, Lake Havasu is a huge lake. It is 45 miles long. It has more than 400 miles of shoreline. Either the suspect docked his boat on the lake -- in other words, he has a home on the lake, or he took it out at one of the other areas where the people who don`t live in the immediate area can -- can put their boat in and out of the water. And then he hitched it up and he drove away.

Now, I`ve got to go back to Michael. Do you think it`s possible the driver of this boat was not aware that he had hit someone?

DUNN: I don`t think it`s possible. From talking to people that -- that have boats, they say that if you -- if you hit a fish in your propeller, you feel it. He hit a human being, so he definitely felt it. He slowed down. He looked back. We were frantically screaming. He knows he killed Eric. He knows.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lake Havasu is a popular party spot especially over the Fourth of July holiday. Let`s face it, there`s a lot of drunk people on the water. It`s illegal to boat under the influence. People do it, however, all the time. It`s possible the suspect might have been drunk.

Take a look at how crowded.

This is what I don`t understand Wendy Murphy. If this blond woman who was in this boat with his man is caught could she be charged with a crime?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: That`s an interesting question; depends whether she had any control over the boat, or responsibility. For example, what if she`s the owner of the boat and she lets the driver get very drunk and then drive it. That`s negligent homicide for sure even if she wasn`t drunk.

I don`t think folks realize, you think you can go on boats and have fun and drink. I`m a big fisherwoman. I was fishing in Maine and boating over the July 4th weekend. It is extremely dangerous to be drunk while you`re driving a boat, because there are so many people on the water. And that`s why it`s a felony.

If these people get caught, they will go to prison. That`s why it`s a felony.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stay right there. We`re going to have more on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORRIS: There`s a lot of things I`d like to say. But if he could just man up and do the right thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Eric Norris` heartbroken father who is my guest tonight. Eric died tragically July 3rd when he was hit by a boat on Lake Havasu. The driver fled the scene.

Police are looking for a heavy-set white male with a mustache. The boat is about 30 feet long, red with a white stripe. There was also a blond female on the boat.

Michael, I am just perplexed, even though I know Lake Havasu is huge, that given the distinctive color of this boat, a red boat, and the fact you have a man and a blond woman, that somebody hasn`t put all this together and said, either this guy lives on the lake and we know his boat, or gee, we know somebody who owns a boat who fits that description.

I just don`t understand where -- are police getting tips in, do you know?

DUNN: Yes. The first five or six days we received many e-mails with pictures of boats. Unfortunately a lot of the pictures were white boats with red stripes and we were getting very frustrated. But the police told us they had to do that, it was brought protocol.

People were calling in constantly saying my friend has that color boat. Maybe not the same color combination, but they would check it out and it was protocol we had to see it. I truly believe that it`s going to happen. It`s only a matter of time.

That`s why we`re here today is to get public awareness because if this person lives in a different state, they did not see our local news. In Orange County it was all over the place. There was news every day on it. But our goal is to get this across the nation and wherever he is, we`ll find him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eric leaves behind 7-year-old Phoenix, his son. Eric`s family has started a foundation in his name to help this young boy who is now left fatherless. If you want to help, go to ericoctopusnorris.com.

In case you`re wondering, "Octopus" was a nickname Eric earned for himself because of his martial arts skills.

Jim, tell us about your son. Tell us about -- I hear he was just an amazing guy. Everybody loved him.

NORRIS: Yes, he was terrific. He learned real quick. He was always wanting to learn more. And it`s --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you going through?

NORRIS: I don`t even know. It`s --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s like a dream right now?

NORRIS: All sorts of different emotions. Yes, it`s a real nightmare.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And how about -- do you have a wife, the mother of your son?

NORRIS: No. No.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So it`s just you. So this is a real loss for you.

NORRIS: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my god. Wendy Murphy, do you find it odd, as I do, that given the great description they have, they haven`t been able to match this up?

MURPHY: Yes. That`s a very big lake, though. But I guarantee you, someone saw them. I guarantee you. The problem is, July 4th weekend -- it was like grand central on the lakes I was on. It`s hard.

But I think what people have to appreciate is, it`s not only not ok to drive drunk in a car or a boat, you`re not even supposed to have alcohol on your boat. So anyone who knows anything about the description -- what I also want to point out is, yes, there may have been 400 white boats with a red stripe -- too bad. Bring them all in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We need one.

MURPHY: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fabulous panel. Let`s find this guy. You`re watching ISSUES.

END