Return to Transcripts main page


Stranded Cruise Ship Being Towed to Shore; Tips Pour In for Ex Cop Manhunt; Florida Judges Can Order Offenders to Wear GPS Tracking Devices; Legal Recourse for Cruise Passengers; Private Pictures on Web, Next Class-Action Lawsuit; TV Station Warns of Hoax "Dead Body" Emergency.

Aired February 12, 2013 - 11:30   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: After floating stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for days, more than 4,000 people on board a disabled Carnival cruise ship are on the move once again. They are now being towed to shore, at the speedy rate of about seven miles an hour. And if you are wondering how fast that is, it's about the same speed as a lawn mower, so it's going to take them a while to get there. Passengers have been running short on food, on water, even on working bathrooms.

Ann Barlow, a passenger on board, described the situation for us.


ANN BARLOW, SHIP PASSENGER: It takes three and a half hours to get food. The smells, I can't even describe them. There's sewage, raw sewage, pretty bad. When you walk in the hallways, you have to cover your face. We don't have any masks for breathing.


BANFIELD: Seven miles an hour. You sure can't get much of a breeze up on deck either. They are expected to arrive on shore in Mobile, Alabama, on Thursday.

Also making news, that massive manhunt continues for Christopher Dorner. The former L.A. policeman accused of murdering three people, including a Los Angeles police officer. TMZ says this new video shows Dorner buying scuba gear in Torrance, California, just two days before the first two victims were shot dead.

A police officer at a news conference that ended moments ago said the tips are pouring in, at the rate of about 1,000 so far, which may be due to the fact that Los Angeles is offering a $1 million reward for Dorner's capture.


LT. ANY NEIMAN, LAPD MEDIA RELATIONS: We are now investigating over 1,000 clues that came in from the public. Yesterday, there were several questions on whether or not the amount and the frequency of clues had increased since the announcement of the reward. We initially had 250 clues when the investigation started. And so now we are over 1,000. That's since the announcement of the reward. It's about a 400 percent increase in clues that have come in from the public.


BANFIELD: The LAPD also says that reports overnight of Dorner sightings have not been confirmed.

A final goodbye in Texas to a war hero. Hundreds lined the streets today to honor Chris Kyle, the self proclaimed most deadly military sniper, who was shot himself at a Texas gun range earlier this month, allegedly by another veteran. He is to be buried in Austin.

North Korea has carried out its threat to test a nuclear device, it's third such test since 2006. It's the first test under the North's new leader, Kim Jong-Un, on the right bottom of your screen. The North says it was more powerful than the previous ones. President Obama calls this test, quote, "highly provocative," end quote. The North's main backer, China, is also criticizing this test.


BANFIELD: 1.3 million women victims of domestic violence every year. That is a huge statistic, and it's according to the National Coalition Against Domestic abuse. Law enforcement agencies across the country are trying everything they can really, like technology, like GPS tracking devices, to try to keep an eye on past offenders, who might just decide to offend again. And it's important, because in around half of the cases, where a victim gets a protective order, it's violated.

And that's where a new pilot program in Florida comes in. Judges in two counties can now order offenders to wear GPS tracking devices, so that their victims and law enforcement get the beep, if those people get too close to the people that they have attacked in the past.

Sunny Hostin and Glenda Hatchett are back with me, my expert legal panel.

There are so many questions I have about this. Let me start with the one that breaks the intuitively obvious.

Do the offenders -- and, Sunny, let me start with you. Do the offenders have civil rights, when it comes to wearing GPS tracking devices?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Clearly, this is a pilot program. The law hasn't really caught up. This hasn't been reviewed on appeal. So the Supreme Court hasn't spoken. The appellate courts haven't spoke own it. So we don't know what's going to happen ultimately.

But I have to tell you, Ashleigh, I think this is such a watershed moment when it comes to domestic violence cases. I used to prosecute domestic violence cases, and I can tell you, time and time again, those temporary restraining orders or protective orders were violated --

BANFIELD: They're awful.

HOSTIN: -- ultimately, sometimes ending in murder. The fact the victims are empowered in this way and law enforcement is empowered in this way is really important.

I think the judges, that will look at it, I think Judge Hatchett will agree with me, will certainly weigh the balance, is the offender's right more important than a victim's right to be safe?

Judge, is it your decision to make? Is it a judge's decision to make? Or might we see some civil actions that come down the pike that tell us, no, you just can't do this no matter how great it is?

GLENDA HATCHETT, TV JUDGE: No, Ashleigh, I think this is paramount to someone being on probation, in the sense that we have seen people having to wear ankle bracelets for ages. I have done that in so many situations. Actually, I applaud the courage of these judges in these circuits to do it. It's absolutely fabulous and needed. And so, when you have a situation where you have gone through a hearing, where a judge determines based on evidence, that you need to be restrained, I think that there is no -- I think that the courts are on solid ground on this one.

Because let me just say quickly, three things.

BANFIELD: 10 seconds.

HATCHETT: Domestic violence is the number one cause of injury for women in this nation, more than rapes, more than auto accidents, more than muggings. And it's the number one cause of birth defects now, according to the March of Dimes. I'm thrilled we are doing this. And I would argue --


BANFIELD: Very quickly, Sunny.

HOSTIN: Judge Perry is behind me. And my money is on him.


BANFIELD: Ladies, you have to stay put. I have a couple other stories I want you to weigh in on. By the way, on this last one, imagine the same unit being used in Manhattan at 1,000 feet, right. You get warned at 1,000 feet. Or in Kansas, it's a very different metric that would have to be employed.

We have lots more to talk about on this one later on.

In the meantime, 4,000 passengers on their third day without electricity, no air-conditioning, 90 degree heat. And the ship they are on slowly returning to shore. Can I repeat? Slowly.

(LAUGHTER) Our dynamic duo will weigh in on what these people have as recourse when they get to dry land.


BANFIELD: It is the cruise you never want to take. The Carnival "Triumph" dead in the water for days in the Gulf of Mexico, and finally now under tow to Alabama. More than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew or so enduring awful conditions, sleeping out on the decks, dealing with busted toilets. A little bit of food and a long wait. And the heat. And no A.C. All starting when a fire clocked out the engine and left them drift being. You can bet this can be one big lawsuit waiting to happen. A whole bunch. Oh, can I say, I don't know, 3,000 or so lawsuits.


My legal team joining me my legal team again.

Sunny Hostin said during the break, Judge Hatchett, she takes cruises every year and she just returned from one.


So I'm directing this question to you, young lady.

I'm a passenger on board, witnessing sewage running down the wall, what can I do, legally, when I get back to shore?

HOSTIN: There's not much you can do, actually. I will say, I love cruises. I just came back from a Celebrity Reflection cruise. I had a great time.

The bottom line, it's a contract when you get on these cruises and you sign up for it, if you look at your ticket on the back, it does say that. So you usually have to arbitrate, you have sort of a monetary amount.

But I think they are trying to make it right, they will give them their money back, they will pay for their airfare and offer them a free cruise. If you are not a cruiser who doesn't want a free cruise, I think they are getting a decent deal.

BANFIELD: Make it quick, if you could, Judge Hatchett. If they offer you a free cruise after you have been through this, are you thinking --


HATCHETT: No. I'm not doing it. I'm not doing it.

But I think they have a bigger P.R. problem, I think there's a legal problem but a bigger P.R. problem. There would be wise to do some settlement. Even if they can't prevail given the clause on the back of the ticket the publicity around clients' actions would be devastate being. They need to work this out. BANFIELD: And some small teeny tiny language saying and you may never speak of this publicly again.


Ladies, my brilliant legal panel, coming up, nudie pictures. When you find pictures of yourself on a web site, can you go after the web site? There's a great story ahead. I want you both to weigh in, in just a moment.


BANFIELD: OK. This is the ultimate revenge, posting naked pictures of your ex-lover on a web site for the whole world to see. It's happening on web sites that are actually described as "revenge porn." Ick. It's not just mean, it's dangerous. These sites often include personal information like home addresses. Now more than a dozen women are filing class-action lawsuits against at least one site and its host, Go Daddy.

CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin, and Judge Glenda Hatchett, back with me to talk about this.

All right, Judge, I want you to weigh in first. These sites do not create the content. They don't take the pictures and post them. They sit there and wait for users to deliver content to them. Does that protect them? Or are they just as culpable as anybody showing around the streets?

HATCHETT: Under federal statute, they are protected. They are protected because of this particular section, 230. And the question becomes now, which I think is the twist, Ashleigh, is, if the provider then adds other things, like my home address or links to my social media, I think federal protection is gone. I don't think they are no longer protected on that. That would be my argument that once they start adding other things, it's a different kind of situation now.

BANFIELD: It seems very mean. Let me read the statute you just alluded to it. It is section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

That's gobbledygook. But, Sunny Hostin, I don't get the same protections here. If I lift up a picture of somebody and it's a nudie picture, and they feel offended, I'm just as culpable. I can be sued and I'm in trouble. I'm the publisher, even if I don't open my mouth.

HOSTIN: Sure. And there's a difference between broadcasting something on television and the Internet. And I've got to tell you, I think --


BANFIELD: It's not fair. -- unfortunately, we haven't caught up. The laws, the law we haven't caught up with the Internet. It's the Wild Wild West. I don't know that they have legal footing against the web site.


BANFIELD: Why haven't we caught up? What's the trouble?

HOSTIN: Because it's ever changing. It's ever changing.

HATCHETT: Absolutely.

HOSTIN: As technology gets better and better and better, and the wheels of justice don't move as quickly. But I have to tell you, it's kind of easy to prevent, isn't it? I don't mean to sound like the old schoolmarm, but if you don't take the naked pictures and give them to your boyfriend, they don't end up on the Internet.


HATCHETT: -- Sunny. I mean, that's the bottom line. You've got to --



BANFIELD: Seriously, Judge?

HATCHETT: Oh, yes. I have seen this situation -- and I will tell you just a quick note to parents. Teenagers who are texting pictures, I mean, they are looking as charges of child pornography. And honor students spend a year in jail.


BANFIELD: That's a good point. You brought up a good point. If this website,, that is taken down -- don't even bother going to it -- and its host, Go Daddy, if they can't be culpable in civil court for doing this to innocent victims, how about this? Let's say, I'm the victim and I snap the shot of myself and sent it to a boyfriend who got vindictive. Am I not the owner of that picture? Is that not a copyright violation of some kind? Can't I go after them for that at least, Judge?

HATCHETT: That's the premise with the lawsuit with the women. They're saying they own the copyright on the case.

The problem, though, Ashleigh, the practical matter -- I have a law professor that says, you can sue for anything, can you recover? Are the sites going to have any money? That's why they went to the host, Go Daddy, for deeper pockets on this. But technically, you're absolutely right. If you snap the picture, you own the copyright. But it gets mudded in the process.

(CROSSTALK) HATCHETT: It's an interesting case to watch.

BANFIELD: What if, Sunny -- this is what I've been hearing, which I find more creepy than the story I'm telling -- that some pictures going up on the revenge porn sites aren't from a vindictive boyfriend. They could be from creepy hackers or I.T. guys trolling sites and peaking.

HOSTIN: Absolutely.

BANFIELD: So this isn't -- isn't that pure and simple theft, Sunny?

HOSTIN: I think it feels bad and feels icky and it's evil. I met two of the women because I've been covering this story, Ashleigh. You do feel violated. But I don't know the answer to that. I'm not convinced that --


BANFIELD: How can it not be theft?

HOSTIN: I'm not convinced if you give this to someone else and they post it on a website, and someone else puts it on their website, it's theft. The bottom line is --


HOSTIN: -- once it's out there, it's out.

BANFIELD: Sunny, I'm not talking gift. I'm talking someone who hacks you're your computer and --


BANFIELD: -- steals your photo and gives it to the site. That's plain and simple theft.

HOSTIN: Glenda and I agree on that one.


HOSTIN: We're in a totally different place.


Get them, girls! Get them!


All right.


BANFIELD: After the break --

HOSTIN: Federal law can change this. BANFIELD: How do you feel about revenge of the dead?


From the ground, rising to come for you -- I'm not kidding -- out over television an alert. Oh my lord, where did it happen? How did people buy into it? More importantly, just how in trouble are the people who did it? Coming up.


BANFIELD: This wasn't exactly George Orwell's "War of the Worlds," but hackers did break into a Montana TV station's emergency alert system and then aired a warning for a zombie apocalypse. Here's the warning. "The dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living." I am not kidding. This really went out over a TV station during the Wilco show. The station had to issue an alert of its own. "This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency," for those of you who do believe in the zombies.

My legal panel is back to talk about this.


I'm laughing, but there are plenty of people who could have gotten sucked into this.

HATCHETT: It's true.

BANFIELD: Judge Hatchett, is someone in big, big trouble for what seems like a funny prank?

HATCHETT: Well, you know, I have been looking at this and I've been looking at the regulations on this, and wondering if there's a higher standard because it was an emergency alert sent out. And if there isn't, Ashleigh, I think there should be. But you know if you're going to sue on this later. There's going to be causation. I have got --


BANFIELD: I'll tell you something. I'll tell you what. When I started to realize this was the emergency alert system, I thought that's -- I believe there's a connection to a federal program here.

Sunny Hostin, it is a federal program. Isn't that part of FEMA?

HOSTIN: It is part of FEMA.

BANFIELD: Doesn't get this get more dangerous? Sunny, weigh in on this. What is the emergency alert, and if you hack into it, now what level is your crime?

HOSTIN: That's right. It's funny until it's not. When I first heard about it that's funny, I like the walking dead and vampires. But now that we know the emergency alert system is used in emergencies and connected to FEMA, we're in federal land, my province, as a former federal prosecutor. That's serious. When I say it's funny until it's not, let's say instead of zombies they perhaps broadcast this in New York and allege that there had been a terrorist attack.

HATCHETT: Exactly.

HOSTIN: You'd have people running out of buildings and you have real safety concerns. So --


BANFIELD: Does something have to happen then? Sunny, look, they hacked into a federal program.


BANFIELD: And they hacked into a TV station that is operating under a federal program. I don't know the mens rea or the level of crime, but if something resulted -- you have to wait for something to result? Someone had a heart attack, somebody did something and hit a car in order for the crime to get traction.

HOSTIN: I don't think so. You first have to find hackers and we know they're difficult to find, but the FBI's pretty good at finding folks. But I think you have to -- once you find them, there's already been a federal violation. You've broken federal law, Ashleigh.

I will say this, yet again, technology. We haven't caught up with hackers. The law hasn't caught up. Cybersecurity is really significant. Who is to blame? Is it the television station for not having everything buttoned up or is it FEMA that they were able to somehow get into.

BANFIELD: Hey, Judge Hatchett --

HOSTIN: So it's open.

BANFIELD: -- what about that -- what about that scenario? Someone has a heart attack and dies because of this. Now what are we talking about?

HATCHETT: I agree you've got federal protections against whoever hacked into it. Either you're a woman who thinks someone is going to happen -- if you connect dots, people will have some civil actions. This is unfortunate. I agree, we've got to tighten up technology, our laws have to get in line with technology, because it's a problem. It could be worse with terrorism.

BANFIELD: Last five seconds to you, Sunny.

HOSTIN: I like zombies, but stop hacking.


BANFIELD: Stop hacking.


HATCHETT: That's dangerous.


HOSTIN: I absolutely agree.


BANFIELD: Judge Glenda Hatchett, Sunny Hostin, nice to see the both of you.

HATCHETT: Thank you.

BANFIELD: I just want to button up the story real quick. This happened during the "Steve Wilko Show." Here's my guess. If they find the people that did it, and they get in trouble, they will end up as guests on the "Steve Wilko Show."

Thank you, everyone for watching our program today.

Thank you, ladies, for your brilliance and wisdom and humor as well.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. We're taking you around the world in 60 minutes.