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Boy, 17, Found Chained in Basement; Alleged Killer is Ex Cop; The Legality of Drones; Rihanna Defends Chris Brown in Court; Days of Glory for "Sound City."

Aired February 7, 2013 - 11:30   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Boeing 787 Dreamliner is still firmly grounded around the world but, as we speak, one of those Dreamliners is on its way from Fort Worth, Texas, to Everett, Washington, in the sky. It's a test flight to check the battery after two known cases of dangerous leaks and overheating. Just moments ago, the NTSB said tests identified a single cell with, quote, "multiple signs of short circuiting." Hopefully, some answers coming from that.

A shocking and heartbreaking story out of Missouri today. A 17-year- old boy found handcuffed to a pole in his own family's basement. Police say he has been there since September. He is frail. Neighbors say he's mentally challenged. And they say he was only allowed three bathroom trips per day. He was also only given oatmeal, Ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches.

Casey Wian joins us live.

Casey, how on earth could this have gone on for this long?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to believe, isn't it, Ashleigh? This is the house where the 17-year-old teenager, according to police, was chained up, nearly around the clock since September. If you look at the house, you can see between that air-conditioning unit and that bush is a tiny window there. That's where the basement was. He was down there according to police handcuffed to some sort of steel support structure.

When they entered the house, after hearing these reports from neighbors, who were concerned about this young man's welfare, the police say the first thing he said to them, this young man was, I didn't do anything. Also they say he was in a fetal position on the floor. And he had his face -- it was sunken in on both sides. His eyes had a look of desperation.

Neighbors said that they had witnessed instances of him sleeping out on the porch because his parents allegedly would not let him inside. They knew that there was trouble. Some of those neighbors have expressed regret that they did not say anything to authorities earlier.

Right now, police -- I should say, earlier this week, police took this young man into custody, took him to the hospital and put him under protection of social services.

Also there was a two-year-old grandchild living in the residence. That child is now in protective custody as well -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Dear god. Casey, that's just horrifying. Just awful, awful story.

Casey Wian reporting live.

Just remarkable.

We will bring you the latest on how that boy is doing once investigators allow that information out. Of course, what's going to happen next in the case against the parents?

Back in a moment.


BANFIELD: The L.A. police force, whose job it is to serve and protect, is in need of protection itself today. A former officer, one of their own, is threatening to bring, quote, "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in uniform at work or at play." The man behind the threat is Christopher Dorner. He's suspected in killing at least three people. A full-blown manhunt is underway to find this man.

Joining me live is senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and also defense attorney, Joey Jackson.

Joey, let me begin with you.

I keep wondering if this man is a dead man walking. They will either get him in a hail of bullets when they try to capture him, or he will undoubtedly be up on a death penalty charge, if they catch him alive.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Ashleigh. This is the type of story you don't think is going to end well. Here's a person who apparently wanted to be a police officer all his life, was fired for whatever reasons they had to fire him. He apparently has a vendetta he wants to take out on everyone. So certainly a person like this, whose admitted in his postings that he's depressed and we know he's deranged. I don't have the feeling this will end well such there could ultimately be a capital murder prosecution. We will see.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This underlines what we have been talking about so much. How do you know in advance who is going to snap in this way?


TOOBIN: And there is no profile. There's an incredible piece in the current issue of the "New Yorker" about the 45-year-old biology professor at the University of Alabama who opened fire on a classroom of colleagues a number of years ago. BANFIELD: I spoke to the husband face to face, children at home, seemed like a normal environment.

TOOBIN: You talk about obviously Newtown, Aurora. We don't have a template. We don't know whose going to behave this way. And --


BANFIELD: Let me read you something. These are his words, allegedly his own words, a manifesto. I understand you don't know who's at a keyboard when you read something online. But this is what he is suspected to have said in his manifesto. "I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I'm suspected of committing such horrendous murders and have taken drastic and shocking actions in the last couple of days. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy, but must partake and complete for a substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name."

Joey Jackson is that a confession. If they take him in alive, will most certainly come out in court and lead to potentially a death penalty conviction?

JACKSON: Absolutely, Ashleigh. This is something that he is saying that he has to do. He has to satisfy whatever vendetta he has against action taken against him. So certainly those are admissions, those will freely be used against him in court. The reason of course it qualifies as capital murder. There are multiple circumstances. But this is a multiple killing. As a result, he really has a serious uphill battle ahead of himself, if it gets that far. As I mentioned, it does not look like it will end well.

TOOBIN: That's true. But remember, as a side issue, but the death penalty in California is so completely broken. There are over 700 people on death row. They don't actually execute anybody. They sentence people to death, so people sit there on death row forever. It is a system that either they shouldn't have a death penalty, or they should administer is differently. It's just a complete disaster.

BANFIELD: This is still a breaking story. We have no idea whether they will capture this person, whether he will go down in a hail of bullets, how this will end. But hopefully, no other officers or their families will be hurt.

Thank you to you both. I appreciate it. My two brothers are named Joe and Jeff. It's nice to have you two together.

Up next, drones. They are not just for tracking and killing terrorists. They could be flying over your neighborhood, over your kids' school. Just how legal is that? And do we even know what kind of mess we got ourselves into with this? That's coming up.


BANFIELD: They are versatile reliable affordable and sometimes real lethal. Maximum bang for minimum buck. We talked about drones, unmanned remotely piloted aircraft in the context of U.S. terror- fighting efforts overseas. But drones aren't just for governments or militaries or even police any more. In fact, anybody can buy one, not armed with missiles, thank god, but armed with cameras. In fact, we have flown them around the newsroom here in New York. That's a shot of flying it around the fifth floor outside of my office, hovering over one of his colleague's desks. I don't know what he was able to read. But he used his Smartphone to maneuver it. There are even drones that look like humming birds, teeny tiny. And they can get just about anywhere.

It is the cover story of "Time" magazine, "Rise of the Drones." In small print, "What happens when they are unleashed at home?"

It's also our topic for our legal panel. You know our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. I'm joined via Skype by Matt Waite, who is founder of the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska.

I didn't know there was a lab, a drone journalism program.

Matt, that's the question. We are at a point we actually do need to study this, because our technology seems to be getting ahead of our morals.

MATT WAITE, FOUNDER, DRONE JOURNALISM LAB, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA: I don't know about our morals, but certainly ahead of our laws. The technology is advancing so fast. Actually, the thing you can claim the most credit for is your Smartphone. The fact that we are spending billions of dollars on these phones means batteries are getting smaller and processing is getting better. That technology can be used in all kinds of places.

BANFIELD: When you look at the notion of bringing these drones back into sort of civilian applications, it sounds sinister off the bat. But there are remarkable applications that are very beneficial to everyone, when it comes to drones in the United States.

WAITE: There are. My favorite kind of benign example is let's pretend for a second you and I own a golf course. We feel guilty, because we dump millions of gallons of water on the grass to keep it green. We know we are wasting some of it, because some places don't need water. If we had a small UAV that could measure how much water was on the ground, we could water more efficiently. Our golf course would be more sustainable. That water would be around for people to drink or farmers to grow food with. It goes well beyond law enforcement and military.

BANFIELD: I have a small list I just came up with off the top of my head -- farmers, realtors, police, Hollywood wanting to do more movie filming, builders who want to survey their land, border patrol. There's so many different applications.

Jeff Toobin, jump in, if you will. There's a little thing called the fourth amendment. I often wonder, search and seizure, being secure in our persons and our papers, don't drones and the applications of drones at home and little hummingbird drones and bee-sized drones come into conflict with that? TOOBIN: The courts are starting to struggle with those issues. There is -- most of the time they rule that the drones, it is legal for the cops to use drones. There was a case about a family that was suspected of growing pot in their backyard. They sent a drone over to photograph, saw pot, and then got a warrant to do the search. That was ruled constitutional. That if the drone can see it from above your house, the cops can look at it. In that case, I don't think anybody worries too much about it. But in general, it does raise big privacy concerns.

BANFIELD: I love the pictures you're seeing of the cop flying -- looks like a mini helicopter with a camera. But at least one jurisdiction, Charlottesville, has banned the use of drones in its air space. That's symbolic. There is no way they or any other city in America can do that.

TOOBIN: There are as the gentleman said so many benign, good uses of drones, whether it's watering a golf course --


BANFIELD: Who is in control of the skies?

TOOBIN: At the moment, it's a free for all. The FAA is in control of aircraft. But you don't need an FAA permit to fly a drone here in the newsroom at CNN or outside your house.

BANFIELD: At least now.

TOOBIN: Not yet.

BANFIELD: At least now. I think that's the critical issue.

Jeff Toobin, I do appreciate it. Thanks so much.

And also, that's a fascinating program, Matt Waite, that you are involved in. Thanks for being with us today.

WAITE: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Coming up, Joey Jackson will return to our panel.

A domestic abuse victim in court supporting her former abuser. And it just ain't anybody. It's Rihanna and Chris Brown. What does the judge have to say about this? What do you have to say about this one? Coming up.


BANFIELD: So I think you know by now, every day I look at the "New York Post." I get six papers, but this is my first one because I always love the headlines. I wasn't so crazy about this headline, "Beat This." That's Chris Brown leaving court and right behind him, that's Rihanna, back together again as a couple and in court as well. It's hard to believe it was four years ago tomorrow that Rihanna was beaten up by Chris Brown right before the big party at the Grammy Awards. It made massive headlines, especially after she testified against him.

But now, Rihanna is standing by Brown in a brand new court battle over whether he faked the number of hours he put into his community service. That was all part of his plea deal. Did he do what he was supposed to?

Back with us is Jeffrey Toobin, senior legal analyst and also former federal prosecutor. And also Joey Jackson, a criminal defense attorney and dear friend of this program.

First, let me just say Chris Brown's defense attorney is Mark Geragos and is calling these allegations absolutely false. So it matters now what happens in court. And Rihanna is sitting front and center in that gallery. She may not have spoken but just sitting there speaks louder than words.

I'll throw that out to you, Joey Jackson. Does it just matter that she showed up?

JACKSON: It does. There are two issues obviously here, Ashleigh. One is whether or not he really did the community service. As to that issue, her appearance is not really relevant. What is relevant is documentation to show that he did, in Virginia, community service that was owed in Los Angeles.

Now, on the other issue as to the charges themselves. It's always relevant, when you have a domestic violence case, when you have a victim who is supporting you. Trust me this happens so often. I remember as a prosecutor, it was so difficult to move forward in cases like this, Ashleigh, because the victim today, I want him in jail forever. And tomorrow, I love him and want him back.


JACKSON: Emotions change, times change. That's what happens.

BANFIELD: While we get criticized in the media for covering cease stories when there's big celebrities, these bring eyeballs to an important issue that Joey Jackson brought up, and that is this happens all the time. Those who are abused come back to their abusers.

TOOBIN: It's worth it to remember, when we have criminal prosecutions, it's not victim versus defendant. It's the state, it's the federal government versus the defendant. Because when you commit an act of domestic violence, it's not just a crime against the specific victim, it's a crime against society. So prosecutors correctly more and more are saying, look, we are not going to drop a case just because --


TOOBIN: -- a victim doesn't feel like testifying today.

Domestic violence is a crime that affects us all. It affects children. It affects the society. So many prosecutors now are forcing victims, usually women, to go to court and testify about what happened. And I think that's a good thing.

BANFIELD: And if it's not Rihanna, many experts will say, it will be someone else. To your point, Jeff Toobin, if it's not her, the next person could be one in society who is victimized.

I hope he gets his act together.


I hope whatever punishment he had to go through has had an effect.

I am flat out of time with this one, guys. This has been a great conversation.

Like I said, we bring these stories, because at least because they are celebs, people look at the issue, and they will know about the issues. And they are critical issues.

Jeff Toobin and Joey Jackson, thank you for weighing in on this.

By the way, the judge has scheduled Chris Brown for another hearing on this issue in April. So stay tuned.


BANFIELD: It's Grammy weekend, and many of the greats of the music world truly might never have made it to the big time if it weren't for a place in Los Angeles called Sound City.

Nischelle Turner explains this is really a musician's mecca.


DAVE GROHL, DIRECTOR: We are here tonight at Sound City. Sound City was a place musicians would go to make truthful honest pure albums.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dave Grohl wants to tell you about a musical memory.

GROHL: Sound City is where the musicians would go to make really truthful, honest, pure albums.

TURNER: The shuttered Sound City studio in L.A. was a musical mecca from 1969 until it closed in 2011. So to memorialize and celebrate the music created there --

GROHL: -- Sound City records --

TURNER: And recorded an all-star tribute record with artists like Stevie Nicks and Paul McCartney --


TURNER: -- all to honor the studio where Grohl and his band mates in Nirvana created their album "Never Mind" --


TURNER: -- a place Stevie Nicks credits with giving birth to Fleetwood Mac.


STEVIE NICKS, MUSICIAN: I spent a lot of time at Sound City, so that really, had it not been for that, there wouldn't have been a Fleetwood Mac.

TURNER: And where dozens of other stars recorded their songs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seeing all of those platinum records on the wall --

NICKS: Tom Petty.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joey Pepper (ph).


TURNER: It was that led these stars to appear in the documentary.

GROHL: Stevie Nicks, Neil Young and Tom Petty, these are people I don't hang out with every day.


So I would send them an email and say, hi, my name is Dave. I'm making a movie. Everybody wanted to be in the film, because of what that studio represented.

TURNER: But despite it's grand history, even at its peak, stars like Rick Springfield knew Sound City was not a glamorous space.

RICK SPRINGFIELD, MUSICIAN: We still thought there were cockroaches in the wall. It was pretty filthy. That was part of the charm.

TURNER: Ultimately, the technology that made the studio special became out of date.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you came to work, it was a tape-based studio. You knew what you were getting.

TURNER: And the analog, Sound City, became a casualty of a digital age.

GROHL: Like anything, there's no book store. There's no music --