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Criminalizing HIV; Tracking Your Texts; U.K. Hospital Employee Commits Suicide; Eva Longoria Gets Political; Success at the Strand

Aired December 7, 2012 - 10:30   ET



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: To avoid a possible ten-year sentence, Suttle entered a plea and he spent six months in jail. Under the picture on his driver's license in bold red capital letters, it says sex offender. He has to carry that tag for 15 years.

ROBERT SUTTLE, CONVICTED OF INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE TO AIDS VIRUS: There are a lot of good people in the world that are HIV positive but that doesn't mean that they are criminals. That doesn't mean that they have malicious intent to hurt anybody. They are just trying to deal and cope with having this disease and get -- these laws that make us look like we are criminals.

GUPTA: At least 34 states and two U.S. territories have laws that criminalize activities of people with HIV. Not disclosing your status to a sexual partner that can land you in jail. So can spitting on someone or biting them if you have the disease. Often it doesn't matter if you actually transmit the virus. In fact the man who slept with Rhodes never got HIV.

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: Jail time is not warranted in these cases.

GUPTA: Last year Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced legislation to get rid of these state laws.

LEE: Many offenses receive a lesser sentence than the transmission of HIV and these laws, again, they're archaic, they're wrong, they're unjust and they need to be looked at and taken off of the books.

GUPTA: Prosecutor Scott Burns agrees the laws need updating but he also says repeal would be a mistake.

SCOTT BURNS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION: Any time that someone knows they have HIV or AIDS does not disclose that to the other party, I think is wrong. I think this should be a sanction. I just don't think you do that in America. And I think most prosecutors would agree with me.

GUPTA: Rhodes and Suttle now work for the Sero Project. It's a group that fights stigma and discrimination trying to make the case that what happened to them should never happen to others.

SUTTLE: We cannot sit and ignoring the fact that this is happening.

NICK RHODES, HIV POSITIVE: I have to fight for this. I think there are a lot of other people that are fighting as well.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It's almost like a leprechaun except the prison is -- how common are these types of prosecutions?

GUPTA: Far more common than I think people realize. We found that in 39 states for exposure, non-disclosure transmission people have been prosecuted. So this is certainly happening. And the flip side of that again Don, is if you don't know your status, then you can't be charged which goes to why people aren't getting tested. In 13 states, you can be criminalized for spitting on somebody.

And the point -- I think this is relevant because some of these laws now are 20 years old.

LEMON: Right.

GUPTA: You know how much we've learned about -- in terms of the science. It just makes no sense in some of these states because it doesn't fit with what we know.

LEMON: I know you are not an attorney but -- and I think you can answer this. How responsible -- I mean the person -- each individual if you are a consenting adult, aren't you responsible for yourself and having safe sex with someone else even if you don't know --

GUPTA: Sure.

LEMON: -- your status? You are responsible for yourself as a human being.

GUPTA: Absolutely. And -- and you know when you -- dig deeply into these laws and read them they obviously talk about that. But ultimately if somebody knows their status and don't disclose it and this are where these laws are focused. And that's why so many people -- these young people are not getting tested. They don't want to know.

LEMON: And the man, and the first gentleman in the piece, his -- his partner never got HIV. It was never transmitted.

GUPTA: You saw what his life is like, he was locked up. All of that --


GUPTA: -- the person we're talking about did not get the virus.

LEMON: Thank you. Great story.

GUPTA: Thank you.

LEMON: I appreciate it, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it.

LEMON: And you can see more reporting from Sanjay this weekend. "SANJAY GUPTA MD" airs Saturday afternoon, 4:30 Eastern and Sunday morning at 7:30 Eastern.

Text messages, you probably send dozens every day without giving it a second thought. Now some police officers want your cell phone carrier to store those messages. We'll tell you why.


LEMON: Police say they could hold the clues to a crime. I'm talking about text messages. And now some groups, including law enforcement officials and district attorneys, want access to your texts.

The story now from CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michelle Medoff says she started getting the harassing texts in early November. An anonymous person threatened to send nude pictures of her to her mother and then a wide circulation. One text said -- "I am so close to f-ing sending them to everyone, you are so sexy, you will be an online star in no time unless you answer me."

The threats came from different cell phone numbers. Medoff a model and college student, was terrified.

MICHELLE MEDOFF, TEXT THREAT VICTIM: I was very, very afraid. I mean, that week I didn't go to a night class because I didn't feel safe to walk by myself.

TODD: It's those kinds of texts that U.S. law enforcement authorities want more power to investigate. Several law enforcement groups, including chiefs of police, sheriff's associations, are pushing Congress to pass a law saying your carrier has to record and store your text messages. It's not clear how long they want them stored.

Scott Burns of the National District Attorney's Association, one of the groups pushing for the new law, says his group favors a period of three or four months, maybe longer if an investigation is urgent.

BURNS: If you're in a middle of an investigation and bad guys are communicating back and forth, whether it's a homicide, whether it's evidence of a crime, it is crucial. I mean 20, years ago we weren't talking about this. Today everybody has a cell phone and everybody texts and e-mails and is on social media. And -- that's where the evidence is today.

TODD: Or not. As of 2010, major carriers like AT&T, Sprint and T- Mobile didn't retain any content of customers' text messages. They got rid of them immediately. Verizon keeps them only for up to five days. (on camera): Why can't law enforcement get the texts from individual cell phones? Scott Burns says it's faster and more efficient to get it from the carriers and he points out that of course, the bad guys often erase their incriminating texts.

(voice-over): But many believe the law enforcement benefit of mining texts doesn't outweigh privacy concerns. Chris Calabrese of the ACLU says with some 60 billion text messages sent every day, there's just too much private information that would be stored.

CHRISTOPHER CALABRESE, ACLU: And that's not just something law enforcement can get, its divorce attorneys, its other investigators, it's the press. Even if you feel like you have nothing to hide, there is a lot of embarrassing and personal information there.


LEMON: Brian Todd joins me now. So Brian, law officers are pushing Congress for a law allowing this. How likely is that to happen?

TODD: You know that's unclear, Don. It is being marked up in the Senate right now. I think there's probably going to be some serious opposition to this. Now we reached out to all the major wireless carriers to see if they would comment on this proposal. None of them would -- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile -- None of them would offer us a comment. The lobbying arm important these -- these companies would not comment on it.

But when you figure in how much it is going to cost them to store all of this information, as -- the ACLU lawyer pointed out 60 billion texts are sent a day. Something like that around the world. If -- if the phone companies now are going to have to store this information for up to three, four months, maybe longer, that's going to cost them, you know, an untold amount of money.

Let's just figure it that way probably billions of dollars. Are they going to want to do that? Are they going to have to create these kinds of metadata farms and things like that, these data farms to store all of this? That's going to cost them a lot of money, you can -- you can figure there's going to be a lot of opposition to this.

So I think it's chances for passage may be a little -- maybe an uphill battle right now.

LEMON: Certainly interesting. All right, thank you, Brian.

Let's talk about the legal perspective here. CNN legal contributor Paul Callan. Paul, is there a constitutional right to privacy issue here?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Very interesting question, Don. You know, the court in a case called Griswald v. Connecticut which people know in the context of abortion found that there is a right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution.

So -- but it's never been explicitly applied to text messaging and -- this case and if a law like this is passed, I think you will see the courts looking at whether text messages are legitimately private. I will say one thing, it's clear, by the way, that the cops would have to get a search warrant to get your text messages.

But here, this is a law that will force companies to save the text messages for an extensive period of time.

LEMON: Does it make them liable then?

CALLAN: And maybe American citizens don't -- well, maybe American citizens don't want the stuff stored for an extensive period of time. Let's say you were applying for a job and the employer said you know something, I want to see what kind of a person you are, give me an authorization for all your text messages for the last five years.

And you say -- oh, what? How many American citizens would want that to happen? This is a major privacy issue. It's never been addressed directly by Congress. And I think it's going to be enormously controversial.

LEMON: Paul, thank you.


LEMON: We're right back.


LEMON: The breaking news involves a shocking turn of events in London where the nurse who took that prank phone call regarding the Duchess of Cambridge has committed suicide.

Matthew Chance joins us now from the hospital which is just confirming the death. So Matthew, do we know any details on this?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dead within the past few minutes, the hospital here, the Edward VII Hospital in central London has issued a statement saying and confirming that with deep sadness the statement says the tragic death has taken place of a member of the nursing staff.

They've named her as Jacinta Saldanha. The statement also confirms that this was -- Jacinta was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. It says that the hospital had been supporting her through this difficult time. That's, of course, a reference to that, you know, pretty light-hearted call actually that took place a couple of days ago when the Duchess of Cambridge was inside this hospital being treated for severe morning sickness.

You may remember some deejays from Australia, from a radio station there, they called in on this prank call. One of them impersonating the Queen and another one impersonating Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. To try and get put through to the ward and to try and get some information on Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge's condition. And amazingly, they were able to do that. They were put through first of all by the receptionist. They then spoke to the -- spoke to the nurse impersonating the Queen and Prince Charles and managed to extract some pretty bland but nevertheless personal details about the condition of the Duchess as she was lying sleeping in her hospital room.

Initially it was taken very seriously. The hospital said they were reviewing their security protocols around the answering of telephones. The -- the radio station itself in Australia and individuals concerned apologized saying it was just meant as a light-hearted prank. And indeed Prince Charles himself seemed to make a reference to it, a joking reference to it yesterday.

Obviously he wasn't able to predict the tragic and ugly turn that this story has taken. I want to go now to the -- the -- press -- here from the hospital. They are about to make some kind of statement. Rather what they are doing is they're telling us that in a few moments the chief executive of this hospital will come out and make a statement to the press -- Don.

LEMON: Again, Matthew, the name of the hospital again?

CHANCE: It's the -- it's the Edward VII Hospital in central London. It's the place which is often favored by members of the royal family because of the very strict, very tight security that's often placed around its high-profile patients.

But obviously there was a huge shortcoming on this occasion which had these tragic consequences.

LEMON: Yes. Matthew Chance reporting the breaking news for us outside of that hospital, the Edward VII Hospital in London. Thank you, Matthew.

In a nutshell here, the employee in the hospital which was duped by a prank phone call from two Australian radio deejays concerning Prince William's pregnant wife -- I should say -- Catherine, has committed suicide. The hospital confirming that today. The deejays impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in prank phone call in which the nurse gave details of the Duchess of Cambridge's condition and care.

That is CNN reporting and confirming that now. We will get more on this breaking news story for you in moments. We're back.


LEMON: Sleep is something many of us can't seem to get enough of. In today's "Daily Dose", celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor Kristin McGee shows us how she poses her way to a good night's rest.


KRISTIN MCGEE, YOGA AND PILATES INSTRUCTOR: Here are my top yoga poses to help you fall asleep. First one is child's pose. You come on to your shins. If you need to open your knees wide you can. And you will just lay forward on your forehead and stretch your hands straight back. And feel that nice release in your lower back. You can also walk your hands forward. And if you need to take your knees wide to sit back, you can.

There's also twist. Bring your legs together and let your legs fall to one side, stretch your opposite arm in the opposite direction. Breathe into your lower back. And come over to the other side.

Come back, let your legs fall long. Sweet dreams.


LEMON: You may know Eva Longoria from her roles on TV and in the movies. But it's actually politics that's giving Eva her biggest platform right now. You saw her during the campaign season at the Democratic National Convention. And now she has been named co-chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Kareen Wynter following the stars D.C. Turn for us. Eva Longoria going all political on us.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: She's such a pint- sized powerhouse. They have to make room for another desperate housewife on Inauguration Day. She's one of the four people, Don, serving as a co-chair on the Presidential Inaugural Committee. You may recall that the actor she served as a co-chair woman on President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. Longoria will, of course, be joined by many other dignitaries at the event including former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush along with other key staffers from Obama's campaign.

And on Thursday, Don, well, Longoria she wrote on Twitter that she's of course, so excited and honored to co-chair the event. And of course, more celebrity names will start popping up as the big day draws even closer since this is a president who was widely supported in Hollywood.

You may also remember that back in 2009, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin were at the 2009 inauguration. Don, It is going to be another star-studded event in short time from now. It's amazing. It's right around the corner.

LEMON: Yes. Get your tickets now. Get them now. They will be sold out whatever it is -- plane, train, automobile, event, whatever. Thank you, Kareen Wynter.

For the latest entertainment headlines make sure you watch "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT", 11:00 Eastern on HLN.

The holidays are here. So how are some businesses finding ways to keep jobs while others are failing? CNN's Tom Foreman went looking for some answers in today's "American Journey".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amid the bustle of Broadway against the bad economy and the crushing competition at the Strand, the show goes on. Started more than 80 years ago, this independent bookstore has beaten the odds. Surviving the great depression, World War II, and Fred Bass who was a baby when his dad started the Strand says the store is enduring these tough times, too.

FRED BASS, OWNER: Mainly by having good books and good prices. Lately we have been sailing lot of new books at discount. Mostly used books or bargain that we sell. Our antiquary and out of print books.

FOREMAN: The Strand's eclectic approach allows it to appeal to a broad array of clients hunting both the trivial and the treasured on its shelves. Like this rare signed copy of Ulysses by James Joyce.

BASS: What are we selling this one for? $25,000. A bargain really.

FOREMAN: But the Strand's success is about more than inventory. Employees top to bottom must possess a deep knowledge of books and embrace the idea that they are maintaining a business, yes, but also a community.

BILLY MOWBRAY, EMPLOYEE: There's just comfort here where people feel willing to open up and have 30-minute conversations with you in the aisles even when you probably should be working.

FOREMAN: The Strands has kept with the times too. To compete with mega-bookstores and Internet retailers, it now offers almost all of its books online. Still it could be argued that in these days of everything moving faster, the Strand's winning edge really comes from going slower.

IRIS LEVY, CUSTOMER: There's something about being able to just browse through all these aisles and hold a book and read a book and look at a book. That's wonderful.

FOREMAN: The bottom line of all of this, even with the economy down, sales at the Strand are up. And another great season of holiday shopping is going on the books.

Tom Foreman, CNN.


LEMON: Thank you, Tom.

I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for watching. It is the holidays. Get out and do a good deed. And it is the weekend. Get out and have fun. But not before you tune in to Ashleigh Banfield right after the break. Have a good one.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It is 11:00 on the East Coast. It's 8:00 on the West Coast. I want to start with this story that you might have been watching the last couple of days. Two deejays in Australia decided to do a prank and they called the hospital where Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, was admitted. Remember, she had pregnancy related morning sickness and she was in that hospital resting.