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Killer Gets Custody of Children?

Aired August 2, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a killer custody battle. An Oregon mom is ordered to share custody of her two young sons with her ex-husband. Only problem: his current wife shot her two little girls to death two decades ago. Tonight, outrage that this admitted child killer is allowed to live with another woman`s kids. What`s wrong with our criminal justice system?

Plus, chilling recordings of the polygamist leader Warren Jeffs with two of his alleged child rape victims. One tape allegedly captured Jeffs having sex with a 12-year-old girl while a group of men watch. We`re taking you inside the courtroom for the very latest on this very disturbing case.

Then new evidence of six degrees of separation for troubled celebrities, as Lindsay Lohan`s ex, Samantha Ronson, gets busted for DUI days after her brother comes back from singer Amy Winehouse`s funeral. And we`re taking your calls.

ISSUES starts now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find the defendant, Andrea Pia Yates, not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tampa police say their own mother, 50-year-old Julie Schenecker, shot and killed them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just the unthinkability that somebody could do this to their own children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ll be held without bond.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just sad that his mom did this to him. He didn`t deserve it. He was the sweetest kid ever.

RUSSELL YATES, EX-HUSBAND OF ANDREA: Andrea took the lives of our children. That`s the truth.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A woman loses her custody battle to a killer. Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live from New York City. I`ve got to tell you, this story is an outrage.

Trisha Conlon says that she is terrified for her two sons because their step-mom is a known killer. The step-mom actually executed her own two young daughters. Look at these precious little girls. The court says, "Oh, there`s nothing to worry about." The nervous mom has to let her boys stay with the killer of these children. Are you kidding me?

Here`s Trisha, the worried mom, on "The Today Show."


TRISHA CONLON, CONTESTING CUSTODY OF TEENAGE SONS: I`m not willing to risk my kids` lives on speculation. When a person is capable, they`re capable.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Trisha is worried about this woman, Kristine Cushing. Twenty years ago, Kristine shot and killed her 4- and 8-year-old daughters. Now she`s living with Trisha`s sons. How is this allowed to happen?

It starts in 1991. Kristine Cushing kills her two daughters, claiming she was depressed and had a bad reaction to Prozac. She pleads insanity, is committed to a mental facility for just four years.

Meantime, ex-husband John Cushing marries Trisha Conlon. John and Trisha have two sons together. Then in 2004, they divorce. By this time, wife No. 1 has long been out of a California mental facility, and she turns around and remarries John Cushing, the father of her dead children.

Well, Trisha certainly doesn`t want her sons living with a woman who killed her own daughters. Who can blame her?

The court, well, they think that there`s nothing to worry about.

Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Are you a parent? Do you think there`s something to worry about?

I want to go out to Nina Salerno Ashford. You`re an attorney in Sacramento. When you took a look at this case -- and I have to read from the court order. It`s absolutely astounding. This court commissioner who said these kids have to go to this woman said -- and I`ll give you the full-screen quote here -- "Would I ever want my children around her? I would say no. But that is an emotional reaction coming from a parent."

OK, so, "No, not for me. But for some lady out there in the public who didn`t have the power to say no to the courts, oh, it`s good enough for her." What do you make of it, Nina?

NINA SALERNO ASHFORD, ATTORNEY: I think the judge`s decision is just as unconscionable as the acts of the murder. Nobody is looking at this woman`s past.

Yes, she was committed to a mental facility, but upon release, she had to go back into the mental facility, because she became delusional again.

She also stated when she committed the murders, not only was it the Prozac. It was the stress of being -- getting a divorce from the very man that she`s married to, who she`s back in an unstable relationship. By all accounts in the court documents, they`ve had divorce papers filed again. Now they`re back together again. Nobody is looking at the pattern that caused the violence.

The other big significant is that, although she was mentally cleared here in California, the risk assessment used in California for violence is ridiculous. It is the same risk assessment tool that has said even today, John [SIC] Garrido -- Garrido, Phillip Garrido is a low to moderate risk. It is the same risk that`s an investment tool that said John Gardner posed no risk.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes, exactly. The guy who killed Chelsea King. The young woman.

ASHFORD: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, got you. I want to introduce somebody who represented a woman who`s going to go down in American history. Andrea Yates killed her five children. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. First, before we get to George Parnham, who is one of the top attorneys in the United States, let`s listen to the sound of the Andrea Yates verdict. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In cause number 880205, the state of Texas versus Andrea Yates, we the jury, find the defendant, Andrea Pia Yates, not guilty by reason of insanity.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mr. Parnham, we are so delighted to have you here on ISSUES tonight.

As I see it, Andrea Yates was clearly insane. She was hearing voices. My understanding is she was being commanded by voices in her head to do these very violent things. That to me is real mental illness, as opposed to, "I`m depressed because I`m going through a divorce and on Prozac." Your thoughts, sir?

GEORGE PARNHAM, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREA YATES: My reaction to that, quite frankly, is very simple. Andrea Yates aptly met the standard of insanity in the state of Texas. One has to be severely mentally ill, sufficient enough not to know what she was doing was wrong.

And she, without question, in my mind, was suffering for a long period of time under the delusion that she was a bad mother and her children would end up in hell if she didn`t save their souls. She killed the children to save their souls. In this...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. And as opposed to this situation, yes, proceed.

PARNHAM: Well, in this case situation, we -- we apparently have a claim of temporary insanity, which is not a defense in the state of Texas. We have a life stressor, obviously a divorce. We have blaming Prozac for the unnatural acts that this mother committed.

I would want to know, for instance, what type of evaluation has been done in that household to give this commissioner the right and duty to invoke the decision that he made with his authority. Were there experts involved that talked to the children? Let`s get the children`s view. Were there experts involved that talked to the husband and wife? We know the wife is seeing a therapist at this moment in time.

And most importantly, for the safety of the kids, it appears to me that, based on the reports that I`ve read, that there was no -- there was no decision to let the courts know of a change of circumstance when Mrs. Cushing decided to move back into the house. As a matter of fact, her identity was -- was covered up by her husband so that Mrs. Cushing -- Mrs. Conlon, pardon me -- would not find out that the woman that killed her daughters was now back...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, the mother is claiming the husband hid the fact that that these kids were seeing this woman from the mother of the two boys, who is now fighting. That is absolutely right.

And by the way, we have attempted to reach the husband, and he is invited on any time to give his side of the story. The father of the boys.

But I`ve got to bring in a psychiatrist here, Dr. Paul Dobransky. What I don`t understand is how do you remarry the person who executed your two daughters? How do you have sex with the person who executed your two daughters? I don`t get that. I can`t even imagine.

DR. PAUL DOBRANSKY, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, I wouldn`t know either. I suppose you would have to be in the man`s shoes. You know, context has everything to do with this, too. The process of love and romance, you know, there`s a certain amount of irrationality to love, so to speak. I`m sure the man has his reasons.

But what`s important -- I`m with Mr. Parnham on this. What`s important is what is the feeling of the boys? How safe do they feel? Does a boy of 13 or 14 have a reasonable sense of his own safety? This has everything to do with boundaries.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. I don`t think they do. I see teenage kids going out doing the craziest things. I didn`t have a sense of my own safety when I was a teenager.

DOBRANSKY: Sure, sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I honestly don`t think it should be up for the kids. Because here`s the point, is that when she killed these girls, she reportedly said she was depressed and she was on Prozac and she was going through a divorce.

Now, as Nina said, this relationship has been unstable at times and, in fact, at one point she said, when she -- when the mother of the two boys first discovered that her boys were staying with this woman, the father allegedly purportedly said, "Well, that`s OK, because we`re breaking up," and then they got back together again.

So what`s to stop this woman from flipping out again if there`s a divorce? Getting depressed again? Going on Prozac again?

DOBRANSKY: Well -- you, certainly all of us could sympathize, certainly, with Mrs. Conlon about the anxiety and the worry about the future. The future is always uncertain.


DOBRANSKY (ph): We don`t know, you know, what could happen. But they do say that the best predictor of future violence is past violence. That is true. Everybody can team up with each other, guarantee safety.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, here`s -- here`s the kicker. She has to drop the boys off because they can`t get a hearing on their case, because the judge is on vacation, so they can`t get a hearing until August 25. This is what`s wrong with our criminal justice system, people.

We`re taking your calls on the other side. I see they`re stacking up: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

We`ve got more on this killer child custody case.

Plus, the latest on the order to get Casey Anthony back to Orlando, breaking news to tell you about just in. The defense has filed a motion. We`ll tell you about it.


AL TAYLOR, INDEPENDENT TV PRODUCER: I`m going to give you the money now. And I could tell from the way she was responding to everything that that`s exactly what they had promised her, and that`s why she was interested in my deal. And that`s why she made them come to Palm Springs so she could meet with me.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: The husband tried to get the medical records and she refused to sign a waiver. Nicky, why do you think she did that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She couldn`t sign it. Because if she had signed the HIPAA form, she would have opened up a whole Pandora`s box of information from her husband. You know, my feeling is that he would find that three of the scripts were from one doctor, two were from another, one from another, and it wouldn`t add up for him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about this case now. This is a similar case. There`s some striking similarities, another mother accused of executing her two children. More recently. She also had a military husband, so there`s a commonality there. But she also claims mental illness. She is accused. She has not gone to trial yet.

She also allegedly had a substance abuse problem involving prescription pills. They count 14 different prescription pill bottles in her house. And she reeked of alcohol. Look at her shaking there.

Now she was also a soccer mom before she allegedly lost it while her husband was off serving our country.

I`ve got to go back to our psychiatrist, Dr. Dobransky. Again, I`ve studied the Andrea Yates case. She was, I think, genuinely insane. Hearing voices. Hearing commands in her head.

Isn`t there a difference between that and women who are basically profoundly unhappy because their lives are unfulfilled? They get on some kind of mood-altering medication, which is the biggest -- prescription drug abuse is the biggest drug problem we have in America today. And more people are O.D.`ing from prescription pills, for example, than from illegal drugs.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: They get on these pills and they`re basically miserable, unhappy human beings as opposed to mental illness. Don`t we need as a society to make a distinction between these two?

DOBRANSKY: Well, addiction is a mental illness.

I do agree with you with the Andrea Yates case. I followed that very closely, as well. I totally agree with you there.

There`s a reason for an extensive psychiatric evaluation. It`s one of the reasons somebody might be institutionalized for a time. It`s not just a spot check kind of thing. Although the criminal act, if there is a criminal act, it does matter if somebody is insane, not in the right mind, right at the time of the act, of course.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you get addicted to Prozac? Can you get addicted to Prozac? This woman who has been released, who is now remarried, she said she was depressed and on Prozac.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is that the kind of -- we know that people on -- are on heroin, they get addicted to heroin. We know they get addicted to Valium and oxycodone and all these others.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you get addicted? Can you use Prozac the way other people use Valium and Vicodin?

DOBRANSKY: No. No, you can`t. No, no. It`s not a drug of abuse at all, per se. It would be more analogous to saying is a diabetic person addicted to their insulin? Well...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So it doesn`t make you high? Prozac doesn`t make you high?

DOBRANSKY: No. Although it can cause side effects, of course. We know about those very well. Those are side effects. That`s not a high, per se.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you know, people who go on Prozac sometimes say they feel better, they feel happier.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are they feeling happier because they`re high? A little bit high? They have a buzz at all?

DOBRANSKY: No. Generally no. Generally the beneficial effects come on slowly over several weeks` time, whereas drugs of abuse more commonly are going to have an immediate effect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Can I jump in then? OK, Doctor. Why would she get depressed if Prozac is supposed to make you feel better? Why did she have an adverse reaction, she said, to Prozac and kill her two kids?

DOBRANSKY: Well, you know, that`s a whole other ball of wax. All the research being done about does Prozac cause people to commit suicide? Does Prozac cause people to get violent? These cases are few and far between. By and large, definitely Prozac has a beneficial effect for people that have a biological condition.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, so for most people it helps, but every so often...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... somebody takes Prozac, and they end up killing two beautiful kids like this, because they have an adverse reaction. You know...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t -- Nina Salerno, this case outrages me. Because the guy who made the ruling saying she`s got to send her kids back to this woman, says, "I wouldn`t send my kids. Oh, but that`s an emotional reaction. No, but for the rest of America, no, they have to send their kids back when I make a ruling." That`s what really upsets me.

ASHFORD: The system has failed. It has failed these children. And you`re right, this judge -- the judge probably needs a mental health exam. This is outrageous.

Instead of erring on the side of caution for these children, and as the psychologist said, the best predictor of violence in the future is the past. This woman`s past shows that she`s violent. Shows that she can`t handle the very stress that she`s under now, which led her to murder two beautiful young girls. And now, because some judge decided, "Well, she`s been OK since 2008," we`re going to jeopardize these boys. Without having...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Final thought from you, George Parnham. Andrea Yates is still in a mental health facility, but this woman got out after four years. Just a final thought from you. Final thought, George.

PARNHAM: Oh, sorry. Well, I think the key is, quite frankly, what`s going on with her therapist. Is she on a medication now? And I believe those kids should not be permitted back into that home...


PARNHAM: ... until she stops...



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Helping us stop the sales of any type of books, magazines or paid interviews. She does not deserve money for killing her daughter.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Casey Anthony probation show-down. Her attorney has juts filed an emergency order to have that probation tossed.

Casey was ordered back to Orlando. She`s supposed to get there by the day after tomorrow to start a year of probation or they`re going to issue a warrant for her arrest. Here`s what the judge told her last year when she pleaded guilty to check fraud. Check it out. Listen here for it.


JUDGE STAN STRICKLAND, PRESIDED OVER CASEY ANTHONY CHECK FRAUD CASE: If the state is correct, there will be a conviction and a lengthy prison sentence or worse. If the defense is correct, there will be an acquittal, and she`ll walk for free. There`s going to be a withhold, followed by a year of supervised probation, once released. Again, that`s an issue here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Once released. OK. She was supposed to go on probation once released, but they got mixed up. I`ve got a letter here to Casey from the Department of Corrections. It states "You`ve completed your supervision" and actually wishes her best wishes for a successful future.

Al Taylor, TV producer, you claim to be offering Casey $1 million for her first interview. You say you`re going to sue her, quite possibly, because you say she`s backed out of the deal. First of all, what do you make of the fact that she`s supposed to show up back in Orlando the day after tomorrow? Do you have any idea where she is? Do you think she`s going to show up?

TAYLOR: Well, she has to. I`m sure she will. The thing is, that definitely helps us out, because we were thinking about how we were going to serve her. So we`ll know for sure if she`s back in Orlando, we`ll be able to serve her when we file the actual suit against her and Jose Baez.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? So you`re going to actually go down and have a process server or something try to hit her with a piece of paper if she shows up?

TAYLOR: That`s right. She told me. We met face to face. And she told me, "Join the line." Well, I`m joining the line. I`m not going to let her get away with reneging on the deal, her and Baez. We have a written e-mail confirmation, a verbal contract and we`re going to hold them to it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. A couple of things. By the way, Jose Baez, her defense attorney is going to go to court. They just fired this emergency order, hoping that they don`t have to have her show up. So they`re going to fight that out. We don`t know. There could be a hurricane tomorrow, for all we know.

But Al Taylor, would you be willing to show me that e-mail? Would you send me that e-mail?

TAYLOR: Yes, I will. I believe you already have it. I gave you that information before, but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. All right, all right. So you`re willing -- you say you`re willing to take a lie detector test?

And you know, Jose Baez -- don`t blame the messenger -- he`s calling you a fraud.

TAYLOR: Oh, I know. The joke on this is that Jose Baez said from the very beginning when I was originally called in from "The Jerry Springer Show," "I never talked to this guy. I never talked to this guy."

Then he`s like, "Oh, I talked to him, but we`re just going to meet with him." And now it`s like, "Never" -- he just keeps on changing his story, Jose. I`ve kept my story straight the whole time. I will pass a lie detector, and I challenge you to take one, as well, Jose, you and Casey.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let me say this. All three networks have -- have indicated in various phraseology that they don`t want to do a deal for an interview with Casey Anthony, who could be going back to jail. That`s why we ran the tape.

Do you think her claim that she`s going into treatment now was basically because she didn`t get a deal? Or do you think she`s made a deal with a third party? I don`t need to know names and is currently perhaps even recording that television interview to be broadcast later?

TAYLOR: I believe our interview has been hijacked by a third party. Yes, I believe that`s what is going on. The whole thing about the rehab is a ruse to try to raise her value or to try to make it look like she`s got more important things to do for the meantime.

But I think you`re right. I think it would be being taped right now. If we find out it has been taped we are going to file an injunction and try to stop it from being sold.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Al. Keep me posted.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jeffs, did you rape those two girls?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This represents Warren Jeff, and he is the prophet. When he speaks or breathes, he breathes the fire of the Holy Ghost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jeffs, what about the white bed and the temple?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state revealed as many as 11 underage girls were pregnant or married.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is another bedroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The chains represent the hold he has over his followers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several older girls live in his bedroom. And they have taken them as well.

FLORA JESSOP, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: He believes I think that he is the only one through the guidance of God is going to convince all of us that he is -- should be left alone to rape children.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the polygamist cult and the tale of the tapes. Could Warren Jeffs` own voice -- his own audio recording help convict him of sexually assaulting children?

The jury heard grotesque audio tapes today: Warren Jeffs instructing his 14-year-old child bride on ways to please him sexually. Prosecutors also expected to play an audio tape of Jeffs having sex with a 14-year-old girl who he allegedly tied her to himself allegedly. And a bunch of men are sitting around watching him having sex allegedly with a 14-year-old girl and it`s all caught on audio tape?

Jeffs is charged with assaulting two girls, a 12-year-old and a 15- year-old whom he took as quote, "spiritual brides". I hate those phrases because it`s buying in to their lingo that justifies pedophilia and child rape. Ok. That`s what he`s doing, using religion to justify the pedophilia that he`s accused of.

There`s no cameras in court. We`re going to talk to somebody who was in court in a moment.

Here`s testimony from his 2007 trial.


ELISSA WALL, VICTIM: He just started to undress me and undress himself. I was crying and I was like, "Please I don`t want you doing it. It doesn`t feel right, please stop. Please quit. I can`t do this." Just begging him to stop, or at least explain to me what he was doing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeffs has hijacked his latest trial since firing his attorney. He keeps firing his attorneys over and over again. And now he`s representing himself. So he has a fool for a client, as they say. He even threatened the female judge -- he`s very threatened by the female judge and he threatened her with, a quote, "crippling disease which will soon take her life".

Can Warren Jeffs defend himself against these incriminating sex tapes? You can give me a holler now. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Mike Watkiss, investigative reporter for KTVK; Mike, you`re all over this case. You`ve been in the courtroom. What is it like to sit there in this court and listen to Warren Jeffs allegedly instruct a 14-year-old girl on how to please him sexually. Is that what we heard?

MICHAEL WATKISS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, KTVK: Jane, it`s hard to say and hard to conceive that this trial could become any more bizarre, but today it did just that. They never got around to the tape of the alleged sexual assault of the 12-year-old girl, but they did play an audio tape of Mr. Jeffs with about half a dozen of his young brides, including the 14- year-old at the center of this case.

He`s in a private office. He instructs the girls at one point to take their clothes off. He then goes on a rambling sermon for nearly an hour, telling these young girls, and at times, you can hear their voices and they sound like kids responding in a third grade class with a -- instructs them to take their clothes off. He then instructs them how intimately how they should shave their bodies -- things that we cannot repeat and should not repeat on television.

He tells them when they come to him they should be showered in case they`re called to service. I don`t know if I`m projecting my feelings on this, but looking at many of the women in that jury box, they were scowling. There were a number of people in the courtroom crying.

Again, Mr. Jeffs giving instructions to a number of his young brides on how they are to please him and to be dutiful mothers of Zion --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s disgusting.

WATKISS: It was an extraordinary moment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s totally disgusting. And Laurie Allen, you produced this incredible documentary "Banking on Heaven". You escaped a polygamist sect and I congratulate you. You`re one of my heroes for doing so.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But not too far from where this trial is going on, there are still hundreds of girls who are potentially being subjected to this same thing, Laurie.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: They did that raid in 2008 but they let most of these kids go back there, which I think is an absolute abrogation of justice. And who knows what`s happening to these girls behind closed doors.

The adult females are, it would seem to be, brainwashed and conditioned, ok? The outfits, the hair -- they are all exactly the same, and they are brainwashed and conditioned so they`re not going to protect the kids. So who`s there to protect these kids who are right now as we speak at the hands of perhaps maybe some of the men who were even sitting there as Warren Jeffs allegedly tapes himself allegedly raping his child bride.

ALLEGEDLY: There`s no one there protecting them, Jane. And that`s why we keep fighting because even the police in the town, they`re all polygamist thugs for Warren Jeffs and we can`t even as much as get the AGs in Utah and Arizona to put real cops in Colorado City and Hilldale to protect those women and children.

What is happening to this girl -- I hope America will get behind this cause. This is why I made my second film "Follow the Prophet" because it so much follows the story line of what is going on in this cult. And not just this one, but others and it just breaks my heart. I can hardly speak, I`m so upset. I`m just shaking.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s awful. Yes, what kills me is that we`re paying for it. The taxpayers of the United States are subsidizing all this allegedly to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

ALLEN: That`s exactly right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because in the eyes of the state, it`s only the one wife who`s legally married to the male, the others are all technically single mothers.

ALLEN: That`s exactly right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So check this out. This is from your documentary "Banking on Heaven". You`ve got to check this out, taxpayers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because of all these mothers are single in the eyes of the state, they`re able to pick up a lot of welfare so that essentially these men can receive a lot of free income from those of us who are the taxpayers. And I really have a problem with that.

Rulon Jeffs (ph), one of the prophets he had 60 wives.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Linda, Tennessee your question or thought Linda.

LINDA, TENNESSEE (via telephone): Yes. I`m wondering with all these ladies or what you want to call them, stand behind this man, how will he ever be convicted on all the wrongs that he has done to the children? And how is he going to get out of this since everybody else seems to be getting out of murder and everything. I`m just wondering what he`s going to use to get out of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, David Schwartz, just as we thought, that a lot of people predicted Casey Anthony was going to be convicted and she wasn`t, a lot of people thought that Michael Jackson was going to be convicted of child molestation and he wasn`t. There is absolutely no way to predict what a jury is going to do. Right?

DAVID SCHWARTZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely -- you know, there is no way to predict what a jury is going to do. If there ever is a tight case, you have to think this is a tight case, with all the tapes with all the video, with all the DNA evidence and all the ancillary evidence that the DA is putting together in this case, you would think that he will get convicted of the charges.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But again, you can never predict.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Remember, when somebody makes a mockery of the trial. Look at this guy. He`s walking in like he owns the place. How come he`s not in cuffs? How come he`s not in an orange uniform? He`s walking in like he`s the boss of the whole courtroom with these guys in their cowboy hats escorting him in.

Mike Watkiss, I find that outrageous. Why is he walking in like that -- because he`s chosen to represent himself?

WATKISS: Well, yes, and he gets to wear a suit until he`s convicted; in the penalty phase of this, he`ll undoubtedly, if he is convicted he`ll wear the orange uniform. But while he`s still not convicted; and remember these cases in Utah and Arizona have fallen apart, this is the protocol. I think the police officers actually, Jane, have done a wonderful job here.

I want to make a point about the --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on one second. You`re saying they`ve done a wonderful job. I have critics, including Laurie Allen and a whole bunch of women who escaped from these cults who say there`s hundreds of women still behind these walls, just in El Dorado, Texas, which is what -- a very short drive from the courthouse.

Who`s to say that those girls right now are not being violated in the same way that Warren Jeffs allegedly violated these girls for whom he is being tried while men sat around and watched him allegedly have sex to a 12-year-old girl who is tied to him? How can we say that law enforcement in general is doing a good job when those girls are still there behind those walls?

WATKISS: Jane, no one has been a critic for longer than I have and no one has been covering the story I believe in this country longer than I have. And your point is very accurate.

I`m talking about the people here who are handling this trial. Let`s lay the blame where it needs to be laid. The CPS workers, the actual people who are doing the heavy lifting with those children, almost universally thought they should not go back.

But in many ways, it was the media who went in after the raid and the FLDS community trotted forth a very well-orchestrated media campaign where they put those teary-eyed women in their prairie dresses saying give us our kids back. In some ways those women are some of the biggest villains.

And the media, this network, other networks from Oprah Winfrey on down bought the line, were very sympathetic and the state of Texas at the highest echelons felt the pressure that the media failed to tell this story accurately. And they forced those kids to go back.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you may have a point. Let me say in general --

WATKISS: Well, there`s no question about it. That point --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: These women in their prairie dress are not cute. It`s sick. It`s sick that they`re all wearing the same outfits. That`s not what America is about; everybody running around marching in lock step in the same outfit, not thinking for themselves.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Up next, Lindsay Lohan`s ex.



AMY WINEHOUSE, SINGER: I don`t really do what I`m told me to do. I don`t really care enough about what people think of me to conform.

LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: It wasn`t a vacation. It wasn`t some sort of a joke. And I respect you and I`m taking it seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have DJ Samantha Ronson who has --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you in a year.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Four celebrities in trouble. What do they have in common? Let`s see, substance abuse. Tonight the latest in the gang to get in trouble: celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson, who was also Lindsay Lohan`s ex- girlfriend.

Check out some of her work on YouTube.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Pretty cool. I`m buying it. But what about this mug shot. Take a look at that expression. What is that expression saying? All right.

Sam deejayed in Las Vegas at the Plaza Hotel over the weekend; unfortunately, what happens in Vegas doesn`t stay in Vegas when you drive off allegedly drunk. Sam was arrested Monday morning -- not noon, much earlier than that -- near Baker, California about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.

Cops pulled her over, they say, for speeding in her Porsche. She was hauled to the police station after she failed a field sobriety test, allegedly. Now reports from close friends of Sam say they`re not surprised by this arrest. Some are claiming she hasn`t been acting herself lately.

We`re taking your calls. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Straight out to my buddy Mike Walters, assignment manager at TMZ; what is the latest with Sam?

MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, Jane, she was arrested on the 15 South coming back from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. One of the most dangerous roads, you know, to speed on or to even drive on.

And we are told she was there spinning at Lavo Nightclub. She left in the morning and she had been drinking, at least at that point either all night or started in the morning. She was arrested at 10:31 a.m. Near Baker, which isn`t that far away from Vegas. So she didn`t get very far. But she was arrested, taken into custody.

And the interesting thing is, Lindsay Lohan, we`re told, has been kind of keeping her distance from Sam. They dated. But Lindsay has all this experience in substance abuse, rehab and for her to say she`s not hanging out with Sam Ronson right now, that`s a bad sign for Sam. In that relationship, she was the sober one. And now it looks like the tides might have turned.

So the latest is: Sam missed a gig last night here in L.A. Hope she`s doing well, but really, really dangerous situation to be in. Speeding drunk, home from Vegas on the 15 freeway. Not a smart idea.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Samantha is famous for being a really cool deejay, but probably more famous for being Lindsay Lohan`s ex-girlfriend. Now, guess what -- they have matching mug shots. Isn`t that quaint? Now, they could maybe put those in a frame and put them together.

Kim Serafin, senior editor, "In Touch". I know they live near each other or at least did recently. In others words, people were a little shocked when Lindsay Lohan decided to, I believe, it was move into Venice near Samantha Ronson. I actually always thought Samantha was sort of a stabilizing influence on Lindsay because Lindsay would get into trouble and Samantha never seemed to. So it seems like there`s a slightly new dynamic here. What are your new thoughts, Kim?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH": Yes. It`s interesting because as you mentioned, Samantha is a deejay so she is constantly out at these parties, out at clubs that Lindsay has been seen attending but Sam is working. So she has a reason to be at these clubs.

And you`re right. It was always Sam that would visit Lindsay when she was in rehab. It seemed like she was kind of that stabilizing force. And of course, if you even think about Lindsay, why she`s in all the trouble she`s in right now, it goes back to DUI arrests. Yes, there were probation violations. Yes, there was the issue with the necklace, but it really stems back to those 2007 DUI arrests.

So even with Sam, you know, her and Lindsay have been off again and on again, and off again and on again. She has to know and she has to have seen, and we know she saw everything that Lindsay has been through. So that`s why this is kind of bizarre that she would be in this situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and then Samantha Ronson joins another celebrity arrested for substance abuse this week. Redmond O`Neal was arrested. I think we have his mug shot to show you. He was arrested in Santa Monica yesterday in connection with narcotics. We are being told that he ran a red light. Cops pulled him over and they allegedly found heroin in his vehicle.

Now, Jamison Monroe, you`re the founder and CEO of The Newport Academy and an addiction specialist. He`s 26 and he was less than a year removed from graduating from a court-ordered treatment program. Your thoughts? 20 seconds.

JAMISON, FOUNDER AND CEO, NEWPORT ACADEMY: That`s the problem with court-ordered treatment programs. One of the biggest problems with publicly funded treatment in our country is the private prison systems. They would rather incarcerate you and collect their check than really treat you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say, my heart goes out to everyone. As a person in recovery myself, I know I`m just one day away. All I have is today. We`re going to talk more about this on the other side.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course, Amy Winehouse, an incredible talent and unfortunately struggled with drug addiction. Ironically, Samantha Ronson`s brother, a famous deejay, a music producer, Mark Ronson, just attended Amy Winehouse`s funeral. Let`s listen to Mark.


MARK RONSON, MUSIC PRODUCER: I definitely didn`t make Amy a star. I just -- I think I helped to find a great sound that was really -- really fit well with, A what she wanted to do, and, b, her songs.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Kim Serafin, what is so fascinating about this, we have actually done six degrees of separation. Obviously Sam and her brother Mark are connected, who are connected to Lindsay Lohan. There is the connection to Amy Winehouse and we also have Redmond O`Neal connected to all of them and it is a link too complicated to get into here, but trust us.

So is this some sort of circle in Hollywood that really takes it to the edge; that is very, very cool, maybe a little too cool?

SERAFIN: Well, you know, how many times have I been on this program with you? How many times have you covered all these addiction issues with celebrities in trouble, having trouble with drugs or alcohol, if you`re in Hollywood? It seems to be a lot of times the same people who keep getting into trouble again and again and over and over. It is really sad with Redmond O`Neal, obviously he -- you talked about the court-ordered program that he was in, he`s only been out a year. He had many drug problems before that.

Of course, Lindsay had been in and out. Amy Winehouse, many problems. Even now there is differing reports whether she was clean before her death or whether she was on a binge or buying drugs right before her death. Of course, we`ll know that when the toxicology reports come out.

But, you know, it is just a recurring theme and it happens over and over again. It is not really going to stop until people stop rewarding celebrities with giving them jobs after they get into trouble.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Jamison Monroe, somebody described Amy Winehouse as sort of too cool to be clean. And I know she was struggling. Let`s face it. She got famous for a song that said "I don`t want to go to rehab. They want me to go to rehab, I said no, no, no." Your thoughts on that.

MONROE: That was her most famous song, but she had some fantastic tunes other than that one. As far as the groups of friends, I always say, and it is very true, you are who you hang out with. We heard that a million times. It is very true.

One thing I want to point out is the only thing that is worse than the drugs themselves are the enablers. Now after these deaths and after people are getting in trouble, you have all their friends coming out and saying I was worried about her, I was worried about him.

Well, I want to encourage people to speak up sooner. As soon as you know something, speak up, do something, act out. A real big problem is the stigma of addiction in our country. If you call someone out as being an addict, they might as well be a leper.

In actuality, the American Medical Association deemed it a disease a long time ago, somewhere to diabetes or cancer. It is a disease. You`re not a leper and you`re not -- you know stigmatizing someone for the rest of their lives. You`re very -- it is a grave concern. They`re going to die.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are in recovery. I am in recovery.

MONROE: I am in recovery, exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We both know that --

MONROE: We`re on national television saying it. It is ok, right?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is ok. We can let go of the shame. And we can say that really that it is not cool to be messed up. We tried it that way. And it doesn`t work. And it is actually cooler to be clean.

MONROE: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is cool to be clean. And I hope that the next wave of celebrities in Hollywood gets that.

We`ll be back in a minute. Thank you both.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: With so much disturbing news in the world, let`s take a minute to study a story with a happy ending.

I want to tell you about the amazing rescue of an adorable puppy who was trapped under a car. Cops say this little guy crawled underneath a car in Miami, Florida, got caught near the engine. There is no telling how long he was stuck there. But look, he looks scruffy, he looks beat up, he looks hungry.

Neighbors heard his whimpers and some good-hearted person called 911 for help. Firemen actually had to lift the car to get him out. There he is, sneaking out after all of that.

And now the search is on for his human companion. Of course, he could be one of the many millions of animals who are abandoned or stray. And that`s why I always say, don`t shop, adopt. There are so many little guys like that out there on the street that need love and a good home. I know that there is a lot of people with good hearts ready to give them a good home.

"NANCY GRACE" is up next.