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Tsunami Debris Hits Hawaii; Arias & Anthony Trials Catch America's Attention; Jury Watch in "Cannibal Cop" Trial; Small Parks Thwart Sex Offenders. Life after Casey Anthony Trial.

Aired March 11, 2013 - 11:30   ET




KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is filled with plastic.


LAH: This is a stomach of a two-month old albatross. Is that part of a drain?

(on camera): Is that part of a drain?

HYRENBACH: Maybe. Oh, it's a brush. Look at that. You see?

LAH: About 80 percent of this baby bird's stomach is indigestible plastic, fed this by his parents who confused it for food.

HYRENBACH: Morally, this is terrible. How is this possible, right? Majestic, far ranging, beautiful birds, right, in a pristine place of the North Pacific. Then you open them up and this is, you know, what you find.

LAH: Hyrenbach says every single bird he's opened up had some sort of plastic, some large ones like these toys and lighters in the adult birds.

HYRENBACH: It goes way beyond the albatross.

LAH: It's also in our fish.

NOAA fisheries biologist, Leslie Jan is cutting into a lancet fish, but this is what yellow fin and tuna eat, the tuna that ends up on your plate.

(on camera): What's that black thing?


LAH: Like a grocery bag?

JAN: Or like just a garbage gab.

LAH (voice-over): Nearly half of the lancet fish Jan's cut into had plastic.

JAN: One thing that is a concern that we don't know is if chemicals are absorbed into the tissue of the fish, which is a problem if it's eaten by fish we consume.

LAH: A disaster still in the making now widening its reach.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Hawaii.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Incredible story from Kyung Lah. Thank you, Kyung.

The debris from the tsunami has washed up all the way from California to Canada. But there's still literally tons and tons of trash that's floating in the pacific. Scientists say that it is going to be washing up for years and likely consumed by fish for years.

To the Jodi Arias trial. So many stories, so many lies. Certainly makes us think back to another high-profile case, one involving Casey Anthony. The tale of those two trials with the man who perhaps knows it best, Anthony's former attorney, Jose Baez, is going to join us live, next.


BANFIELD: To a courtroom in Phoenix now and to the famous defendant, Jodi Arias. Just in case you can't get enough of the lies she has admittedly told and the truth that she now professes to be telling, fear not, there will be an 18th day of testimony in her first-degree death penalty murder case. She's going to return to the witness stand on Wednesday.

So far, the first 17 days have been pretty riveting. With all the sex, lies, and talk of killing, she's often been compared to Casey Anthony. After all, they both lied to police and their families. Remember, Casey admitted lying to her own parents from a jail cell while they frantically searched for her missing little daughter, Caylee. Casey seemed to have no problem pretending Caylee was alive, even though she'd admit months later the toddler was dead all along, even as those parents desperately looked for her.


CINDY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: Do you think after this long she'd still be local?


CINDY ANTHONY: What's your gut telling you right now?

CASEY ANTHONY: My gut's telling me that she's OK.

CINDY ANTHONY: OK. And your gut tells you that she's close or she's hiding? CASEY ANTHONY: She's not far.


BANFIELD: Well, Casey's story is that her dad was in on that all along, but you'd have to be the judge of that by looking at him on that videotape. Turns out the body they were talking about of little Caylee Anthony wasn't far away. It was actually rotting at that moment that they were talking in a park just about a stone's throw away from the Anthony house. Those lies earned Casey Anthony the title from "The New York Post" of the most-hated person in America, ahead of Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Madoff.

But is there a new contender for that crown? Maybe, perhaps Jodi Arias? Because Jodi Arias also admits that she shot and stabbed and slashed her boyfriend, but she says it was in self defense. But then she changed her story. First, she said she didn't do it at all. And then she said intruders killed Travis Alexander, and then came the evidence against her, and then the mea culpa, then the battered woman's defense, which led to this spectacular question from a juror that was read in open court by the judge.


UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: After all the lies you have told, why should we believe you now?

JODI ARIAS, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: Lying isn't typically something I just do. I'm not going to say that I've never told a lie in my life before this incident, but the lies that I've told in this case are -- can be tied directly back to either protecting Travis's reputation or my involvement in his death.


BANFIELD: And there's her answer.

Joining me now is noted defense attorney, Jose Baez.

Hello, Jose. Nice to see you again after all these years.


JOSE BAEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Great to see you as well, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: We spent a lot of time in the courtroom together you and I did. I wanted to ask you, the minute I started to see the details coming out in this Jodi Arias case, I wonder what Jose Baez would have to say about the spectacular lying acumen of Jodi Arias. Would you want to be defending her, Jose?

BAEZ: Well, I think, unfortunately, for this defense team, they've got a very long uphill battle. I don't -- I don't see that they have much to work with other than putting her on the stand, especially if you're going to put forward an affirmative defense, which is what self defense is.

BANFIELD: What's different between Casey and all the lies she finally admitted to telling. Let me tell you, the more you watch the videos of her, you know, it's remarkable some of the things that she said. And the more I see Jodi Arias, I think they are kind of the same ilk. What's different about these two cases?

BAEZ: I think there's many more differences than there are similarities. I don't se very many similarities at all. You have to remember a lot of defendants lie when they get caught by the police, so it's not something that's new or something that's unique to these two defendants.

What you have that's the main difference between Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias is that a lot of Casey's lies were long standing long before anything happened to Caylee. We're talking about two years back that were consistent on a daily basis, whereas, a lot of what Jodi's lies are seem to be directed at evading prosecution. And that's where it really hurts her a whole lot more than it ever did Casey.

BANFIELD: So, Jose, your client never took the stand. There's another big difference, she was never on the stand and Jodi has been on the stand 17 days, which boggles the mind. But your client was acquitted of first-degree death penalty murder and Jodi Arias is also facing that charge. Your jurors got over Casey's lies. Do you think these jurors can get over Jodi's lies?

BAEZ: Well, I don't think that we're only talking about lies. Now remember, Jodi admitted to the killing, but there was very little in terms of cross-examination on the science to try and support some of her self-defense claims, and that's where I think she's going to really be hurt. You know, when it all boils down to, the end of the day, all of the lies, the sex, all of the side stories about the boyfriends and religion really don't amount to the key issue here, which is did she actually act in self defense. Is there anything to support her affirmative defense, which means she has to help prove something? It's not like she can sit back and say the state has to prove the case against me. She's raised this defense, which clearly gives a burden to her. And I saw a little bit of that, but very little in terms of that other than her testimony, which, unfortunately, has zero credibility.

BANFIELD: Jose, let me ask you this. You and I go back to the beginning of the Casey case. We've had lots of conversations, many off the record, many of them on. All along, you know the press and many in the court felt that your client probably had a terrible accident and that that little child of hers died and she began the web of lies to cover it up. That was not what she was convicted of. She was not convicted of anything. But in your heart, do you believe that that's what happened in the Casey Anthony case, a terrible accident that your client covered up with her lies?

BAEZ: Well, I'll first qualify my answer with my opinion matters very little, but if you really want to know it, I would say yes. BANFIELD: Your opinion matters everything, because you are the only person who's had a chance to speak with her at length. She hasn't talked to the rest of us.

BAEZ: I can tell you this. I built my opinion based on the evidence that supported what she was saying. The fact of the testimony and the evidence that was admitted about the latter was very convincing to me. You know, Caylee was swimming every single day that week. And then the night before, Cindy and Caylee are swimming, the ladder got left the day after -- the actual day that Caylee died, that's when the Anthonys discovered the ladder up.


BANFIELD: You still believe her story, then? You're telling me with the ladder and the pool?

BAEZ: Yes, I do. Yes, I do. I've been in that house and saw how meticulous those people were and how neat and nothing's out of place. Yes, I believe that.

BANFIELD: You know, since I got you, I'm going to keep you. I have a couple of other cases I'd like you to weigh in on.


I'm sure you heard about the one in New York we're covering with this police officer who had these fantasies about cannibalizing women, including his wife. The jury watch is on, Jose, as we like to say, a verdict watch. I want to ask you about thought police and where we have the right to step in and say you're dangerous and must be stopped and where we don't.

That's after the break.


BANFIELD: In New York today, jury deliberations are resuming in the case of the so-called Cannibal Cop, Gilberto Valle. He is accused of conspiracy in an alleged plot to kidnap, kill, and eat several women, including his own wife. Valle's defense team argues he was only engaged in a dark fantasy and he didn't have any intention of really doing these things. The federal prosecutors, on the other hand, say his online communications were too detailed and revealed in-depth planning of a real plot, even some action.

CNN legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, is with us, also Jose Baez, who represented Casey Anthony.

Sunny, quick update from you, if we could. We are on verdict watch. How do things look like they are going, so far?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's the third day of deliberations for this jury. All-in, it's been about eight and a half hours and it's very tense in the courtroom. The prosecutors are milling around, the defense attorneys are milling around. It is packed with media, packed with Gilberto Valle's family. His mother has been here every single day of the trial.

Now, the jury did send out two notes on Friday, so in terms of reading the tea leaves, I think we have a bit of a sense of where this trial is going. One, they are certainly digging in, Ashleigh. They asked for six, six transcripts. And in addition, I just found out there is a lawyer on the jury. They also asked a very sophisticated question about venue, which is legalese for does the government even have jurisdiction, jurisdiction, Ashleigh, to deal with this case, because they are saying there may not have been these overt acts that even occurred here in the southern district of New York.

BANFIELD: Well, that's odd. That doesn't sound like jurisdiction. That just sounds like evidence.


Sunny, thank you. Keep an eye on that for us.


That's crazy.

Jose Baez, weigh in on that. That's quite a question, do you have jurisdiction, do you think they are just getting their words muddled?

BAEZ: I think it's brilliant to have a lawyer on this jury. You know, this story reminds me of Tom Cruise's movie, "The Minority Report."

BANFIELD: It does, doesn't it?

BAEZ: Where you're arresting someone -- yes, it's very similar. You're arresting and charging and prosecuting someone for thinking about committing a crime, and the fact that that overt act is the key issue here. What did this person do in addition to just thinking about the crime --

BANFIELD: But you know what, Jose?

BAEZ: -- to kind of set things in motion?

BANFIELD: You know what, he did a lot.


BAEZ: -- having lawyer --


BANFIELD: He did a lot. Yes. He did a lot of overt things. He scoped them out in the real world. He accessed his police database for some information on these people. He had a meeting with one of them. So, there are overt acts there.

But my question to you is this, when you have a guy who is clearly so yucky -- there's no other way to put this guy. He's admitted to these fantasies, et cetera. If he is acquitted, does he have any life? And I'm thinking Casey Anthony, again. "New York Post," most hated woman in America. Will this guy have any life if he's acquitted after court?

BAEZ: Well, you have to move on, Ashleigh, number one.


But I will tell you this much. I certainly don't think he has a future in law enforcement.


BAEZ: It is scary, the fact that he's a police officer takes this to a whole new level. But fortunately, there's a psychological requirement to carry out the job in law enforcement. And I think this will clearly classify and raise a few red flags to kind of keep him out of that profession completely.

BANFIELD: Jose Baez, I can't move on. I lost 80 days of my life in the courtroom.


I can't move on.

But I want you to stay with me because there's this question that's been stumping a lot of us. What would you do if a suspected sex offender was lurking around a park where your children play? And then, how about a registered sex offender?

Some people think co-called pocket parks might be the answer. I'll get you to weigh in on it in a moment.

That's moving on for me, Jose.



BANFIELD: You know, there are rules in most jurisdictions that registered sex offenders can't live within, you know, say 2,000 feet of a school or a park. And now there are a lot of people across this country who have seized on that last little bit, a park, to keep registered sex offenders out of their neighborhoods, building itty bitty parks called pocket parks. One in Los Angeles is 1,000 square feet, but it qualifies as a park, and makes sure no registered sex offenders live nearby. But is that legal? Is it fair? Is it moral? And what does it do to all the sex offenders who are now just gone or homeless?

Back with his take on us is our criminal defense attorney, Jose Baez.

What do you think about that story? Do you think that's fair? Do you think it's right? Do you think it's more dangerous to scatter sex offenders all over the map instead of keeping them in one controllable location?

BAEZ: Well, we've had that problem here in Miami for quite a while to the point where they lived under bridges. And that was the only place they could go and then the city threw them out. I really don't know what the answer is here. Do we end upsetting up reservations for sex offenders? Or putting them in some far-off land? I don't think that's the answer.

What a lot of people don't realize is that many sex offenders are from what we call Romeo and Juliet laws. They're not usually -- many of them don't have violent pasts and weren't crimes against children. But you do have a problem here. And they are monitored very closely. Only 3.5 of the parolees actually violate. But that creates a major problem where people want to have safety.


BAEZ: And it's a balance. I don't know.

BANFIELD: Yes. Some of the people who actually run the housing scenarios for a lot of these registered sex offenders say that they actually become more likely to commit a crime once they don't have anything to lose. Meaning, if they're building up their lives again, they may be less likely to commit these crimes. When they're scattered and, as you said, living under a bridge, what else is there to do but rob or attack?

BAEZ: Right. And remember, they have three square meals a day plus a roof over their head if they commit a crime. So are we encouraging it? I don't know. That's certainly another argument that needs to be taken into consideration.

But these communities that want to build these pocket parks, it's just like, you know, some of those homeowners associations that go a little overboard.


BAEZ: These people are monitored. They have to check-in every month. They can't change their address.

BANFIELD: Fascinating though.

BAEZ: They can't change their driver's license. They're monitored very closely.

BANFIELD: Thousand square foot of park is something else.

Jose, when we come back, I want to ask you about how things have been going for you since the Casey case, and then I'll move on. Does that sound OK?


BAEZ: That sounds like a plan.


BANFIELD: We're back after this.


BANFIELD: When you have famous defendants like O.J. Simpson or Scott Peterson or Sam Shepherd, they give rise to famous lawyers. I'm just going to go over a couple of them for you -- Johnny Cochrane, Mark Geragos, Gloria Allred, Robert Kardashian, F. Lee Bailey. These people have become as famous as their clients it turns out.

Then you have Casey Anthony and her attorney Jose Baez, who is still with me.

I was thinking about what your life would be like after that case. And I want to know from you straight up, now that you've had two years to digest everything -- I know you're still in litigation but getting paid by her -- what is your life like? And do you belong among that list?

BAEZ: Well, I try not to compare myself to other lawyers. I just, you know, at the end of the day, I want to be a good lawyer. I want to practice law. That's what I focus on. And fortunately, this case has given me the opportunity to work on other cases that are just as interesting and to the point now that I'm actually representing many victims of crimes. So it's expanded my life and my practice to a point where I'm very happy.

BANFIELD: Listen, a lot of people didn't like your client. Did that extend to you? O.J's lawyers are rock stars.

BAEZ: I think people, at the end of the day, they're educated. They realize that, you know, I had a job to do. I did it to the best of my ability. I fulfilled the oath that I took. If it weren't for defense lawyers, our system just wouldn't work. Innocent people would be thrown in jail without any due process. And our role is a very valuable one.

So I've seen on your show many times you're giving the other side of situations and wrongful convictions where, if you had a committed defense lawyer, never would have happened.

BANFIELD: So you're going to come back tomorrow then, right?

BAEZ: I think we need that --


BANFIELD: Be a guest tomorrow?

Oh, I guess so.


I'm so sorry, Jose. It went to colored bars.

Jose is going to be back tomorrow.


Thanks for joining us today, everybody.


Suzanne Malveaux and Michael Holmes are coming up next.