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Woman, Boyfriend Murder Boy for Wetting Pants; Will Casey Get a Plea Deal?

Aired March 4, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight a toddler`s brutal beating death. A 3-year-old child dies after cops say he was clobbered by his own mother and her boyfriend for wetting his pants. What`s worse: what the two of them did while this little boy was dying. You will not believe this horror story.

And the Casey Anthony case at a crucial turning point. Casey`s family, drilled on the stand, delivers shocking testimony. Did the cops make a colossal mistake? And could it mean a plea bargain is on the horizon?

Then a judge`s jaw-dropping remarks shine a spotlight on the war on women. A rape victim courageously speaks out against the man she says sexual assaulted her, and then the judge suggests maybe she asked for it. What? We`ll talk to rape survivors about this outrage.

Plus, a firestorm erupts. Animal advocates say they find a dog in deplorable conditions living in a box for years. Now we`re joining the investigation. Is this innocent animal still being treated inhumanely?

ISSUES starts now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened to Noah? Can you tell us what happened to Noah?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you intentionally kill the child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have anything to say to yourself?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently not. Tonight a horrific case of child abuse leads to murder. A Florida woman -- you saw her there -- and her boyfriend are accused of savagely beating her 3-year-old son to death, all because the little boy wet his pants. Isn`t that children do?

Investigators say these two monsters punched and hit little Noah for more than an hour, tossed him aside, and then allegedly ate pizza and watched a movie while the little boy fought for his life, struggling to breathe.

His mom, if you can call her that, this woman right here, finally called 911 after this poor baby had gone through hours of hell on his own.

And get this. Are you sitting down? I hope so. She called 911 not because she was worried, but because the little boy`s wheezing was keeping her awake. It doesn`t get any worse than that.

Noah was raced to the hospital. Poor little baby died shortly afterwards. At first authorities thought this little boy had died of meningitis. That`s how bad his symptoms were. But after the autopsy, they realized the toddler`s skull had been bashed in.

Police say when they confronted the mom, she confessed. That`s what they say. She says she wanted to call for help, but her boyfriend convinced her to wait until the morning.

There really are no words that can adequately describe the brutality and callousness of this crime against an innocent little boy.

Straight out the Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst.

Mike, how could two adults sit there after committing these alleged horrific beating on this child, and then watch a movie? And eat pizza?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They tossed him. They spanked him. They punched him. Then let`s order a pizza and watch a movie.

And then you said it all, though, Jane. What topped all this off: she finally called for help for this little dying boy, because he couldn`t breathe. He was wheezing. And she couldn`t sleep.

You know, these two, these two, you called it. They`re monsters. You think you hear it all about abuse of children, and then another case like this. Unbelievable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It just boggles the mind. And it`s so depressing. Sometimes I read the details of these cases and I`m like, what`s wrong with this world? It`s almost like I have to go to a therapist afterwards, because the details are just so upsetting, that a mother would do this.

BROOKS: You know, Jane, somebody just said right before I came down here, they said, "You know, it`s the same old thing. You have to pass a test and a practical test to get a driver`s license, but you don`t have to pass anything to have a child."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you`re talking my language.

This is -- but you know, she`s not that young. Sometimes you say, well, these teenaged moms. This woman, Robin Greinke, is 26 years old, old enough to certainly know better. And her boyfriend, Steven Neil, is 33 years old.

They were arrested Thursday afternoon and booked on charges of first- degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and child neglect.

A prosecutor, Stacey Honowitz -- you`re a prosecutor there in Florida. Police say the mother was, quote/unquote, "apologetic" and claimed that she wanted to call cops, but her boyfriend convinced her not to. And this is another thing that we see all the time. What`s wrong with these women who are mothers, and they put some dirt-bag boyfriend over their own children`s lives?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, listen, her apology now, you know, they say that and a nickel, who cares? I mean, there`s some other words that I -- choice words I could use, but I won`t do it, because we`re on television.

The fact of the matter is we see these cases all the time. We highlight some of these as high-profile. But we see these cases in our office all the time.

And Mike`s right. I mean, you say to yourself, you need a license for everything, and no one cares about parenting.

I don`t know what it`s going to take for people to see that you cannot kill a child. You cannot abuse a child, no matter how little it is, because these are events that take place. Now unfortunately, you know, there`s no -- there was no history. In other words, sometimes you see these cases...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes there is.

HONOWITZ: ... where there is repeated reports where DCF has gone out to the house and nothing`s happened. In this case there was nothing. There was no warning signs.

The bottom line is you have two sick individuals. There`s no other way to really explain it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, actually, there was one warning sign, not from Florida, but from another state. And it brings me to our "Call to Action" tonight. OK, just like we have sex offender registries for convicted rapists and pedophiles, there has to be a domestic violence offender registry, where anybody can go on and look and see if somebody has been convicted of domestic violence.

That way teachers can see if they should be looking for signs. Single mothers can see if their new boyfriend is a violent psycho. Society can be aware of what this person is capable of.

This guy that you just saw getting into that squad car, this guy who cops say killed 3-year-old Noah, has a child of his own the same age with another woman, and that other woman sought an injunction against him in 2008, three short years ago, citing, what else, repeated domestic violence.

Levi Page, host of "The Levi Page Show" on Blog Talk Radio, we see this all the time.

LEVI PAGE, HOST, "LEVI PAGE SHOW": I mean, it`s absolutely sick. I mean, these two couples were batterers. This child went through hours and hours of hell, Jane. They put him through this hell.

And afterwards they`re so evil, despicable and subhuman that they were going to kick back, watch a movie and eat some pizza, all because this child urinated on himself.

Well, guess what? Under Florida law, because they beat him, because they sit by and let this happen and watched a movie, they let him die, child neglect charges, aggravated child abuse, first-degree murder charges. This means that the prosecutor in this case in Orange County can seek the death penalty against them. And hopefully, that will make these two scumbags wet their pants.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue tonight. Alcohol and pills. The mother and her boyfriend both confessed to drinking beer before hitting the child numerous times. And cops say pills might have been involved, as well. Did this boyfriend have a drinking problem? He was charged with a DUI in his home state of Illinois.

So Mike Brooks, to me it`s reasonable to wonder if alcohol, possibly combined with drug use, fueled the fire and led these two to violently behave and react so viciously when this child wet his pants.

BROOKS: Well, you know she said, yes, they had been drinking, most likely, you know, there had been pills, too. And, you know, but what drives someone?

I don`t care. Not everyone who has a -- who has a cocktail and takes pills kills a little child, tortures a little child and then lets the little boy die. It`s just -- there`s something else going on with these -- with the people like these two -- these two monsters here.

And Levi is right. You know what? Death penalty.


BROOKS: That`s too good for them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And then they`ll be wetting their pants. Good line. Absolutely.

BROOKS: A lot more than wet them.


All right. We`ve got so much more to tell you about. Thank you, panel.

A judge`s shocking statement that a rape victim may have asked to be sexual assaulted. Well, now he`s under fire. And we`re going to tell you the outrageous things that he said and talk to real-life rape victims here on ISSUES about their reaction to his unbelievable comments.

Plus, Casey Anthony`s family and witnesses grilled on the stand. Did cops make a colossal mistake, and could it be a crucial turning point in this case and actually result in a plea bargain for Casey Anthony?


GEORGE ANTHONY, FATHER OF CASEY: I`ve said this many, many times. And I`ll agree with you to a point. But you know, ma`am, I would have sold my soul to the devil to get my granddaughter back.




G. ANTHONY: I don`t know why you`re going in this direction because right now...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your honor, I`m going to object to Mr. Anthony challenging me rather than answering questions.

G. ANTHONY: I will challenge you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, are Casey Anthony prosecutors on the defensive after day three of vital crucial hearings on evidence and testimony? Some experts are now starting to wonder if a plea bargain could be on the table soon. What?

Casey and her family have been pushed to the edge. Casey breaks down on camera -- you see it right here -- as her mom Cindy describes the day that she called 911 to report little Caylee missing.

George Anthony weeps as he tells Casey`s lawyer he would have done anything to find his granddaughter and protect his other baby, his daughter, Casey.

But did the family`s suffering pay off for Casey?

The defense is trying to get a slew of evidence tossed out. They say Casey was not read her Miranda rights soon enough, and they`re also accusing investigators of being shady. The defense claims cops asked the family -- asked the family -- to talk to Casey for them, because they couldn`t, since Casey had lawyered up.

Here is Cindy from this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you at any time have conversations with any of these detectives regarding the subject matter of them saying that they could not talk to her, meaning your daughter Casey, because she had a lawyer. However, you can talk to her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us how many times these police officers, detectives made those suggestions to you that you could talk to her where they couldn`t?

CINDY ANTHONY: All the time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, Casey`s lawyer, Jose Baez, stood up in court and made a full-on apology for statements he made to one of the prosecutors. Jose says his passion got the best of him. So did they kiss and make up? You think? I don`t know.

So much to talk about. Straight out to Sunny Hostin, legal contributor for "In Session" on TruTV.

Sunny, these are absolutely crucial hearings. And I think the whole question is could the failure to read Casey her Miranda rights, as well as allegedly using the parents to try to get info from Casey, could those two things nuke a lot of the most incriminating evidence against Casey Anthony?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": There`s no question about it: yes, absolutely, Jane. I mean, I`ve been watching this suppression hearing, which is what it is called, riveted, riveted. Because your Miranda right, your right not to be interrogated by police while you`re in custody, is paramount. I mean, that decision, Miranda versus Arizona, was decided 40 years ago. Everyone knows about it. You see it on court shows all the time.

And so what I`m hearing is that the police not only interrogated her at a police station, they also talked to her while she was in the back of a police car. They also had her handcuffed. I mean, she was not told that she was free to leave. She was not told that she had the right to an attorney. She was not told that she didn`t have to talk. All of those things are just the procedural safeguards that the Supreme Court says has to be there.

So yes, I think that the defense has a very good chance of getting some of these statements suppressed. No doubt about it. They are putting on quite a good case here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: During the epic evidence hearing, this suppression hearing, Jose Baez, the defense attorney, grilled the lead detective about whether cops read Casey her Miranda rights. Listen.


JOSE BAEZ, CASEY`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You read her her Miranda rights? She wants to stop talking to you at any moment, you would gladly take her home?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Stacey Honowitz, the way I understand it -- and please correct me if I`m wrong, Sunny -- cops -- Cindy calls 911. The cops show up. And then she really wants to get information on where her granddaughter, Caylee, is, and she starts handing them, like, receipts and saying, "Here, my daughter took my credit card. And you can arrest her on this, because she charged up a whole bunch of stuff."

And so they briefly handcuff her, and then they let her go. And then she`s walking around the apartment. So now the defense is saying everything that Casey told them after that point has to be thrown out, because they did not read her Miranda rights, even though they cuffed her. Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor?

HONOWITZ: Well, here`s the situation. That`s exactly what is the basis of the suppression hearing. How -- what was her feeling? Was she free to leave? Was she in custody? If she was deemed to be in custody, do they have to read her rights, or does everything after that -- you know, once they uncuffed her, was that freely and voluntarily given?

And that`s what happened here. Cindy Anthony wanted her arrested for anything, just so that she would talk as to where the child was. They asked her to be cuffed. She was cuffed for about four or five minutes. Sunny can tell you, four or five minutes. Then they uncuffed her.

What happened after that? She`s walking around the apartment. She turned into basically a witness at that point. That`s what the prosecution`s arguing. She`s a witness to try to find out where is your daughter. What do you know? Who took her? And that`s what the prosecution is arguing.

She was free to leave. Nobody told her she had to stay. She has to know that at some point she`s not a suspect. And that`s what they`re trying to show.

Now the interesting thing in this case is, Jane, is that, even if some of these statements are suppressed, that`s not dispositive of the case. In other words, every time you have a criminal case, the defense moves to suppress certain things. It doesn`t mean the state doesn`t have a case. Certainly there`s overwhelming evidence in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in here for this second. It could really hurt the case against her. Leonard Padilla, what were some of the incriminating things she said that are at issue here after they uncuffed her and let her walk around the apartment? Didn`t she start talking about Zanny the nanny?

LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: Well, yes, but it`s not an apartment; it`s a residence. It`s got a back yard. It`s got a front yard out to the street, no front fence.

The thing about it is that it`s not what the cops thought as to whether she was in custody or not. It`s what`s in her mind.

And I can tell you this. She never at one time after the cops arrived thought that she could leave. She told Tracy on various occasions that they had her at the house, and she was not allowed to leave. A lot of the speculation as to whether the cops thought she was in custody or wasn`t in custody is not the issue. The issue is what was in her mind.

And yes, Zenaida Gonzalez came up. The fact that she had taken her to the apartment at the Sawgrass, all these things came up right around that period of time, up until she was arrested after she took the cops out to the studio.


HONOWITZ: Jane, there`s something very important you have to remember. Yes, it`s not whether the police thought she was in custody. The cops did put the cuffs on her. Then they took her off. Then they basically unarrested her is what they`re trying to say.

But Jane, in missing child cases, there are some exceptions to Miranda. And I think also the prosecution might try to argue this. Sometimes, if a child is missing, they don`t know if the child is dead or alive. They`re trying to save the child`s life. You know, they can say that there`s an exception to Miranda, because we`re trying to save this child`s life.

And I think that, even if it gets to the point where the court is saying, "We might have a Miranda issue," I think that`s what the prosecutor is going to try to argue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sunny, tell me, in a nutshell, what`s at stake here? What did she say? What the heck did she say that could be thrown out?

HOSTIN: Well, she said the Zanny the nanny stuff. She gave a lot of excuses as to the timeline, when she last saw Casey. And that`s very crucial here, all of the excuses, because that shows, I think, a jury that she knew something was going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More on the other side.

We`re also going to talk about a rape victim courageously speaking out against the man she says sexually assaulted her.



BAEZ: You loved your granddaughter more than anything in the world?


BAEZ: And you would have done anything to help find her?


BAEZ: And you love your daughter more than anything in the world?


BAEZ: And you would do anything to protect her?


BAEZ: She is your baby.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you ever think you`ve had a bad day, that things aren`t going your way, you get frustrated, irritated, think about George Anthony. It should put it all into perspective.

He has gone through hell on earth, losing his precious granddaughter to murder, and then his own daughter on trial for that murder. That is the definition of hell on earth.

Leonard Padilla, does it matter in this whole debate about what could be included or not that, at the moment that cops arrive, they thought that this mother was missing a child? In other words, this was a desperate race against time to find a child that they believed was alive and had been taken by somebody.

PADILLA: I don`t know. If you listened to the 91 calls that Cindy made, she definitely mentions the fact that she thought there was a body in the trunk of the car.

In order to -- in order to get to the house, to the kitchen where the cops came into the house, the family used the garage entrance. They very seldom used the front-door entrance. That`s why they noticed that the car hadn`t been towed until two weeks late. So the smell and the odor of the car would have had to have tipped the deputy off.

Now what was -- what was in his mind at the time that he handcuffed her is very, very crucial. If he thought, "I`m out here on a call, and there was a body in a trunk of a car," et cetera, et cetera, I don`t think he`s thinking a missing child. I think he`s thinking homicide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but they looked for this child for weeks. There were people searching hither and yon, and there were all sorts of contentions that this child was alive. So I think that could be an issue.

PADILLA: No, no. No, no. No.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: My big issue...

HONOWITZ: Jane, can I tell you something?

PADILLA: No, no. No, no, no.

HONOWITZ: Hold on a second. I appreciate...

PADILLA: July the 15th. July the 15th.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey. Stacey, go ahead.

HONOWITZ: Leonard is not a lawyer. He is not -- he`s not a lawyer. And what goes on in the courtroom is a little bit different than maybe what his perspective is.

First of all, in starting with the first issue that we talked about, and him saying that she wasn`t free to leave, she didn`t believe she was free to leave. He doesn`t know what`s in her mind. Anybody that`s not Mirandized is going to take the stand...

PADILLA: That`s what she told...

HONOWITZ: ... and say, "I didn`t think I was free to leave. I didn`t think I was..."

PADILLA: She told Tracy that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Hold on.

HONOWITZ: The judge has to take certain factors into consideration. The testimony from the -- from the police officers, did she say anything? Did she ever say, "Can I go?" and they said no.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to ask you a question, Stacey.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think that this -- if they lose this stuff that the prosecution will go for a plea bargain? Yes or no?

HONOWITZ: No. That`s just my take, because lots of times things are suppressed. They have other overwhelming evidence to prove this case.

And they can try -- listen, will it muddy up the waters a little bit? Are there important things in there that the jury would like to hear about her lies and where she worked and all those kinds of things that goes to her credibility? It doesn`t take away from the case. The case is still there. It`s a good case. There`s other evidence to prove that she is guilty of this crime.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much, fabulous panel.

A judge`s outrageous comments bring the war on women to the forefront. This man suggests that a rape victim who entered his courtroom looking for justice might have actually asked to be sexual assaulted. A woman who is so scared she ran through the woods without her panties on to get away from her attacker? Are you kidding me?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A judge`s jaw-dropping remarks shine a spotlight on the war on women. A rape victim courageously speaks out against the man she says sexual assaulted her. And then the judge suggests maybe she asked for it. What? We`ll talk to rape survivors about this outrage.

Plus, a firestorm erupts. Animal advocates say they find a dog in deplorable conditions, living in a box for years. Now we`re joining the investigation. Is this innocent animal still being treated inhumanely?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give women hope, rape is not a joke. Give women hope, rape is not a joke.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rape is not a joke. Then why is a judge making a mockery of the system by suggesting that a rape victim`s clothing, shoes, and even makeup were the reason she got raped?

This is an outrage. This guy, in his fancy little tie should be removed from the bench permanently. The victim, who we are not identifying, told cops that she and a friend met her rapist while they were out one night at a bar. They later drove out of town to a small lake on an isolated road. The victim said the rapist made several passes which she rejected, and then after she had had too much to drink, the rapist threw her in the middle of a dirt road, ripped her clothes off and raped her.

Well, Judge Robert Dewar convicted the man of rape, but only sentenced him to a two-year conditional sentence to be served at home. That means no jail time. That is outrageous.

And the judge said a whole bunch of outrageous things. He essentially said that the rape happened because, quote, "there was sex in the air" and that there was a, quote, "heightened expectation that sex would occur."

Listen to this. Quote, "Two women, one dressed up in a tube top without a bra and jeans and both of whom were made up and wore high heels made their intentions publicly known that they wanted to party." Oh really? The woman deserved to be raped because she was wearing a tube top without a bra? This is absolutely moronic, beyond being sexist.

The judge has also agreed at this point to stop handling sex cases until this investigation is complete. But here`s my opinion, people. This guy, ok, with his little sash and his fancy little outfit should be removed from the bench, disbarred. If the justice system doesn`t take rape seriously, it puts every single woman at risk.

Straight out to one of my heroes, Katie Callaway Hall; Katie, thanks for joining us. You were raped by Phillip Garrido long before he allegedly kidnapped and raped Jaycee Dugard and held her for 18 years, fathering two children with her.

What is your reaction to this Canadian judge`s deplorable actions and comments?

KATIE CALLAWAY HALL, KIDNAPPED AND RAPED BY PHILLIP GARRIDO: Well, you know, Jane, it takes me back to my trial with Garrido. And the same thing happened to me, but it was from the defense attorney, Garrido`s attorney, actually attacked me for what I was wearing in court. And I was wearing a little muslin top with embroidery that my mother had bought me because she wanted to make me feel pretty when I was in court that day, make me feel better.

And I was just so blindsided by this man`s remarks. He turned to me and said were you wearing something that night like you`re wearing today in court, Miss Callaway. And I recoiled like I had been slapped. I had just been re-victimized all over again. I couldn`t believe that he was insinuating that what I was wearing to court was unacceptable.

What he was saying, in effect, was the same thing that this judge was saying. And, you know, this took place in the `70s. And I would hope that we would have progressed by now. This judge just set everything back about 50 years in my opinion.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you bring me to my big issue tonight. Has this judge been living in a cave, under a rock somewhere? Doesn`t he understand that no means no? To blame the victim for wearing a tube top with no bra, jeans, and high heels and makeup?

So wait a second. If you`re wearing high heels and makeup, you`re inviting rape? If that`s true, then every woman who goes to work all across the world is inviting rape. Because that`s business attire, to wear high heels and makeup when you go to work or when you go out to dinner. This is beyond absurd.

And Dr. Jenn Berman, I`ve got to bring the psychotherapist on this. What is wrong with this judge? What is his mentality?

DR. JENN BERMAN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: This is such a ridiculous misogynistic series of remarks to make. You have to wonder does this judge blame a man who has been robbed for robbery? Is he just into blaming victims? Of course not. This is misogynistic comment. It is absolutely ridiculous.

Rapists are responsible for rape. And it doesn`t matter what a person wears. Rape is a crime of violence and degradation and sex is just the weapon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Countless rape victims have experienced the very same thing that this woman in Canada is going through right now. And it makes me sick.

By the way, this woman in Canada says she feel likes a prisoner in her own home because the man who attacked her, even though he is convicted, was sentenced to living at home. All right. He is not in jail. You can get out of your home if you`re really determined to.

I want to go to another one of my heroes, Liz Seccuro who was raped at a party while she was a freshman at the University of Virginia. She reported the rape to campus police, but the DA refused to prosecute.

Liz, you also said people questioned your story. What is your reaction to this judge not only describing this scene where this woman was brutalized as sex was in the air, but he also calls the rapist a clumsy Don Juan who may have misunderstood what the victim wanted.

LIZ SECCURO, AUTHOR, "CRASH INTO ME" (via telephone): Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy raped the woman on a highway on a dirt road.

SECCURO: Exactly. Well, that`s the first thing. First of all he is saying sex is in the air? Rape has nothing to do with sex. It`s control and violence. So clearly this judge is misogynistic and doesn`t even know the meaning and he is sitting on the bench.

And when my rapist was on trial, it was the university that refused to press charges. When my rapist was on trial in -- 2007, they actually made me stand up and walk to the front of the courtroom and demonstrate the length of my skirt. And I was wearing a modest skirt, a long-sleeved crewneck sweater, flats and a pearl necklace and pearl earrings. Made me demonstrate what I was wearing. I just -- literally I said are you kidding me? It was the only time I spoke out of turn in court.

And I`m talking side of the dirt road? I don`t think that`s consensual. It doesn`t seem like she was "asking for it". I`m doing air quotes now. I mean really? We`re just going backwards, Jane. I really -- this is very upsetting to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And it`s an attitude that is currently invading society from all directions. Just the other day, a Georgia lawmaker introduced a bill that would stop referring rape victims as victims. They would only be accusers, ok? This is the representative, the lawmaker who suggested that.

SECCURO: Bobby Franklin. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. He is suggesting that, ok, rape victims shouldn`t be rape victims. They should be accusers like they shouldn`t be trusted.

And Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor, the defense attorney in the Canadian case described the guy he is representing, the convicted rapist as somebody who had a lapse in judgment. Well, you could say if I shoot somebody in the head, that`s a lapse in judgment too. Where does this end?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Look, I hear it all the time because I prosecute rape cases, and I hear the defense attorney. They always call and say it was a lapse in judgment.

Look, it`s ridiculous. The bottom line is this judge -- his conduct needs to be reviewed. He is not going to be disbarred. He is not going to lose his license. But the judicial qualifications committee needs to see if he is fit to sit on the bench if he is making these comments.

Also, very interesting, Jane. In Florida, there is now in the evidence code a defense attorney is not allowed to question the victim with regard to what she was wearing on the night of the rape.


HONOWITZ: Because in Florida there was a case where the defense attorneys said to the victim, and isn`t it true you weren`t wearing any underpants that night. That case went up on appeal. And the appellate court said that`s it. You are no longer allowed to refer to what they`re wearing. And that`s what needs to be out there --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Katie Callaway Hall, last word on this. Should everywhere, defense attorneys be banned from asking a woman on the stand what she was wearing when she was raped?

CALLAWAY HALL: Absolutely. I mean like I told you, it affected me so traumatically when that man did that to me. I couldn`t even think straight for the rest of the trial that day. I was so shocked. It just re- victimizes a victim who has already been through so much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are just getting started on this. This is absolutely outrageous. Hang in there, fantastic panel

We`re also going to talk about another outrage: a movement to save a dog that animal advocates say was forced to live in a box for years. And it`s picking up steam. There is all sorts of stuff on the Internet about this little dog -- actually not so little -- and where it was forced to live.

And we are going to talk to somebody who is spearheading the movement to get better conditions for this particular animal.

And much more on this judge`s uncalled -- uncalled for comments about a rape victim who he says may have asked for it. What?



SECCURO: I was given a drink that was apparently spiked with something. And you`ll see on the cover of the book, that`s what the drink is. And I was actually gang-raped, although we did not know that at the time. I recall one of the rapes, and I woke up tossed on a sofa in a sheet, naked, covered in blood.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is rape victim Liz Seccuro talking about the nightmare she experienced in college when she was raped at a fraternity party. Cops questioned her story.

And now we`re hearing about a judge who actually blamed the victim for her own attack. That outrage occurring in Canada. I want to go to Liz Seccuro, who joins us by phone. There is very real concern on the part of the victim in this Canadian rape case. She says she is terrified to leave her own home because this judge sentenced the man who he convicted of raping her to house arrest essentially. And what does a rape victim go through after the crime when they live in fear of the people who have not been adequately punished?

SECCURO: I think that`s a really valid point that this victim has. Because agoraphobia, as part of PTSD, I couldn`t leave my house for about two years in the intervening years. Because when you`re told that no one believes you, and you`re told that you`re the one who is wrong and you`re the one to blame, the panic attacks become so great that you don`t trust humanity. And you can`t seem to leave your safe place.

So I see that. And is he even wearing an ankle bracelet? I know he is under house arrest or he has to report to probation. But it`s like three years of supervised nothing is what it seems to me to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we`re looking at video of this remote area where this occurred. As if a woman wants to be raped on a dirt road all because she is wearing high heels.

SECCURO: As if a woman wants to be raped period, hello.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. But I mean the idea that she would want to go to a dirt road and lie down in the middle of a dirt road. And the woman ran away. She was so terrified, she ran way without any underpants on to get away from this guy who was physically bigger than her.

SECCURO: Yes. And the judge is like oh, he is a misguided Lothario. No, no, no.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you who is misguided, this judge. I think he needs actually psychological help.

Katie Callaway Hall, you were kidnapped and raped by Phillip Garrido, and again the same theme. As we talk about the war on women that this not taking rape seriously has a ripple effect that really affects the victim long after the actual rape.

Now I understand when Phillip Garrido was released very quickly, about a decade after raping you, he actually came after you again.

CALLAWAY HALL: Yes, he did. He hunted me down and he found me. He wasn`t even completely released from the halfway house that he had to spend six months in during the interim of being completely released back into society. He wasn`t even finished with that.

He just happened to manipulate, get his way out of work early that day, and he came up to Lake Tahoe and showed right up at my roulette wheel in the casino I worked at. And walked right up to me and said "Hello, Katie".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Dr. Jenn Berman, psychotherapist, this Canadian judge who is just such a moron, and on top of being a moron, so sexist, so out of touch, obviously living under a rock the last couple of decades, he sentenced this guy that he convicts of rape who he calls sort of a clumsy Don Juan who miscalculated to house arrest. Now he is obviously under the impression that this guy isn`t a threat. But is that really the case with rapists? Don`t they have a track record?

BERMAN: Of course he is a threat.


BERMAN: Absolutely this guy is a threat. And I also think that this judge in his own way is a threat on so many levels. You have to wonder, when a judge says things like that, is he trying to justify his own aggressive urges? Where is this coming from? And to let this guy get away with just house arrest is -- it`s ridiculous. And yes, absolutely, this makes the world only a more unsafe place for women.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is likely to happen to this judge, Stacey Honowitz? I understand that in Canada, once you get in as a judge, a Canadian friend told me it`s very hard to get them out. It`s a boys` club. And the Canadian judicial council is supposed to look at this, but it`s part of the big club.

HONOWITZ: Look, you know, it`s hard for me to say what they`re going do up there except for the fact when you`re sitting as a judge, you still have to be reviewed by a qualifications committee and certainly anybody has the right to bring a grievance against you, even though you`re a judge.

And so they will review it. And in certain cases they could suspend him from the bench. They could reprimand him. I mean there is a host of things that can happen.

The bottom line is rape victims are stigmatized from the very start. Their horrors, they asked for it. This judge has only added to that theory now. And now rape victims who know that a judge can get away with making these comments like this would be very, very hard-pressed to even come forward. I hate to say it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s why we`re talking about it here on ISSUES. That`s why we have the war on women right over there. That`s why I have this gavel, even though I`m not a judge because the criminal justice system, not just in the United States, but all over, is messed up. And it doesn`t allow women the kind of representation and justice that they deserve.

So I got to tell you that I am very happy that we`re covering this tonight on ISSUES. And I`m going to give Katie Callaway Hall the last word because we women have to stand together. We have to rise up and say this is absolutely unacceptable. It cannot happen.

CALLAWAY HALL: That`s true. We have to stick together. We have to watch out for each other. And we have to come forward. Because I mean, not telling anybody, it just perpetuates the cycle. And we need to talk out, speak out and we need to stick together and stand up for each other.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Outrage over a dog who was in a box, next.



ALVIE KIGHT, TOOMBS COUNTY, GA SHERIFF: When it gets down to cruelty to animals and the way the law reads, what`s cruelty to you may not be cruelty to me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, was that beautiful pit bull being kept in a dark, dirty doghouse which some call a large box for years before animal advocates sounded the alarm and got the media involved? Listen to this question and answer between the reporter and the woman who calls herself the dog`s owner.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long would you say that she`d been in that bin?

DELOIS HAYWARD, CALLS HERSELF DOG OWNER: She may have been in that one about 2 1/2, 3 years. I didn`t see anything was wrong with it. I mean it was out there, took it out, this and that, fed it, I`ve been playing with it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Three years? Really? In a glorified box? Well, after an uproar over these conditions, the precious pit bull called Li`l Mama by that woman and Alice by animal advocates now lives in a chain link pen. There you see it on the right. Is that much better?

My next guest says no, and he is not giving up the fight to make this one dog`s life better.

Check out this Facebook page, it`s called "Save Alice, the Dog in a Box". Almost 2,500 people have visited. It`s becoming a national movement.

Joining me now: Scott Bennett, director of Southern Comfort Animal Rescue. Scott thanks for joining us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us about the conditions you originally found this dog in.

BENNETT: She was in a 5 x 8 grid box completely closed other than slats on the side. There was fecal matter compacted into the floor, dirt floor. The stench made me sick to my stomach. Her food pan was completely buried in fecal matter. The water bucket, five-gallon water bucket had algae -- thick algae built up on the sides and about two inches of the fecal matter compacted in the bottom of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, in the wake of the uproar, the woman who you saw there, who describes herself as the owner, who is invited on the show anytime to tell her side of the story, then switched out to this pen here. But the dog is still alone in this pen.

And how would you describe this particular pen?

BENNETT: Well, when we -- when we found her imprisonment -- there`s no shade for this dog other than the doghouse. When the heat hits in the summertime, this dog is going to bake.

I`ve been out there to the property since she was moved. Every time I`ve been out there, the water bucket has been pretty much shallow. There`s been fecal matter starting to build up on the ground. It amazes me that every time a news camera goes out there everything is straightened up and looks perfect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we called the sheriff and he insists the dog is living in good conditions. Here`s what he told our HLN affiliate WMAZ about the dog`s health.


KIGHT: If that dog that night had been, say, bones sticking out, not fed well, you know, the dog appeared to have been sick, feverish, we`d have removed the dog that night.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about one dog here, and she`s symbolic, however, of what`s happening all over the country. Check out some of these disturbing pictures we got from PETA. I mean so many dogs kept on chains, kept in tiny little areas.

Is that part of the reason why you`re fighting for this one particular dog, Scott, because she`s symbolic of what happens all over the country?

BENNETT: Yes, it is Jane. We contend that if Toombs County allows this case just to be swept under the rug, everyone else in that county that`s abusing animals is going to know that they could just simply straighten up for a little while and get away with it. The change has got to start somewhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. Thanks for joining us. You`re watching ISSUES.




HAYWARD: There`s no reason to be worried about my dog. I mean, they got the facts and everything. Why is they still bothering us?

BENNETT: We think that the minimal amount has been done just to appease everyone and to get us off of their backs. But the point is a crime occurred. There needs to be a charge.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Scott Bennett, director of Southern Comfort Animal Rescue,, what about the Facebook page? What can people do to help?

BENNETT: They can continue to send messages, mails and whatnot, use our form letter, send it to the officials of Toombs County to encourage them to prosecute this crime. We are having a rally on the 16th of March. You can get information off our Facebook page about that. Just keep on these officials to do their job.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We can`t let this go on, animal cruelty, in general. These animals cannot speak for themselves. It`s up to Americans to speak up for them.

Thank you, Scott.

BENNETT: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nancy Grace starts next.