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NFL Player Burned in Balloon Crash; Lacrosse Coach Killed in Crash; Two High School Football Players Accused of Raping Drunk Girl; Police: Mom Smoked Pot with Kid; Rand Paul Wins CPAC Poll; A Resurgence of Chain Gangs; Man Mistakenly On Most-Wanted List Is Suing
Aired March 16, 2013 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now on CNN, a college sports team on the way to a game when their bus crashes. Two on board are dead. Many others are hurt.
Another crash in Florida. This one a hot air balloon. Among the injured an NFL player. I'm going to talk to his agent about his condition.
Getting an early read on the next GOP candidates for president. Voting happening right now at the conservative political action conference.
A teenage girl wants to try marijuana, so her mom buys it, smokes it with her. Are you kidding? We are with asking, are parents trying too hard to be their children's friends?
And name a most wanted criminal but he never committed a crime. He says, the label has ruined his life and he is suing.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM everyone, I'm Don Lemon, those stories and much, much more this hour. But we're going to begin this weekend with a weekend outing that left a pro football player seriously burned. A hot air balloon collided with power lines near Miami today and veteran wide receiver Donte Stallworth is reported in stable condition in a Miami hospital. His female companion is also reported in stable condition.
A third passenger in the balloon was not injured. Stallworth is a free agent who has played for the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots. This accident comes almost four years after another South Florida tragedy involving Stallworth. While driving under the influence he hit and killed a construction worker. Stallworth was sentenced to 30 days in jail after making a plea bargain. He also received eight years probation and his license was revoked for life.
Joining me now on the phone is his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Drew, how is Donte doing?
DREW ROSENHAUS, DONTE STALLWORTH'S SPORTS AGENT: Don, he's doing better. He's in stable condition. I have been in communication with him. Many of his friends as well. He is recovering. It's really a freak a occurrence. It happened here, it was out on a leisure ride. And there was some type of malfunction and the balloon got tangled in some power lines. And he suffered some burns, some serious burns, but thank God he's expected to make a full recovery.
He's been very responsive in communications with me. I have been in touch with, you know, of course NFL teams and NFL players that have reached out to see how he's doing. And we expect him to make a complete recovery, thank God, you know, resume a normal life and he'll be able to continue with his professional football career, hopefully in a matter of weeks.
LEMON: Drew, did he tell you -- did Donte tell you what happened?
ROSENHAUS: No. I really was just, you know, when I visited with -- we made communication that the only thing that I was focused on was his health. We didn't get into really the circumstances of how this happened and just from some other people in his family, my understanding is that he went. It's a very popular balloon ride here in South Florida. Doesn't appear to have been many risk or accidents involved. And just his luck that today was that day. And he did get burned and his companion was burned as well. And we are just thankful that everything is under control and that he's in stable condition and he's on his way to making a full recovery.
LEMON: So, is that the woman he was with was also hurt, burned, right? She's doing OK. Was that the extent of her injuries and the extent of his injuries -- just burns?
ROSENHAUS: You know, I didn't have direct communications with her. Indirectly, she did suffer burns as well. But she's also expected to make a full recovery. And that's the information that I have. I can tell you that Donte was in good spirits. And you know, we'll be hearing from him shortly, I hope.
LEMON: OK. We'd like to talk to him. If you, you know, you want to put him on the phone with us we'd love to talk to him.
LEMON: But again, only burns, to your knowledge?
ROSENHAUS: That's correct. One hundred percent.
LEMON: When is he getting out of the hospital?
ROSENHAUS: I hope soon.
ROSENHAUS: You know, with burns they have got to be careful about infections and things of that nature. And he's being treated for that. And they are taking very good care of him. And he is in good spirits.
LEMON: All right. Drew Rosenhaus, thank you very much. Update us if you get -- ROSENHAUS: Thank you, don.
LEMON: Our best to him as well.
On to other news now. A tour bus carrying a university sports team crashed today and there are fatalities. This is Cumberland County, it's in Southern Pennsylvania. The women's lacrosse team from Seton Hill University was on the bus when it veered off the road. At least two people were killed. And now we know their names.
Let's go now to our national correspondent Susan Candiotti working her sources now from New York. Susan, what have you learned?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Don. This is just an awful accident. There were 23 people aboard the bus carrying Seton Hill's women's lacrosse team. The team's head coach, a 30-year-old mother-to-be was killed. Christina Quigley, she was six months pregnant and air lifted to a hospital. But neither the coach nor her unborn baby survived. And neither did the bus driver, 61- year-old Anthony Guaetta, he died at the scene. Everyone else was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Now, the team's charter bus was heading east on the Pennsylvania turnpike this morning on its way from Seton Hill in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, just East of Pittsburgh across the state to a game in Millersville in Lancaster, County. The driver veered off the road, hit a guardrail, went about 70 yards through grass and then slammed into a tree. The front of the bus appears to have taken the brunt of the impact.
Now, the bus company Mlaker says, it's also investigating and issued a statement expressing its sorrow. We checked the company's history with federal authorities. An agency website lists no accidents for the past two years and shows the company has a satisfactory rating. And that rating is the highest allowed -- Don.
LEMON: OK, Susan, you described the accident, but do we know the cause? Was it bad weather in this part of Pennsylvania? Is this a tricky stretch of highway perhaps?
CANDIOTTI: Yes. Those are the questions we have been asking. Right now it's just so early. Police are saying at the time of the accident, there was a rain and snow mix alternating. But it's not clear whether weather played a role. The NTSB, they could also get involved but at this point they haven't decided whether they will do that just yet, Don.
Susan Candiotti, national correspondent from New York, thank you very much, Susan.
LEMON: Happening right now the alleged victim in the rape trial of two Ohio high school football players is now on the stand. The case attracted a lot of media attention after a picture went public of the incapacitated girl being carried by the two players. Accused are Trent Mays and Malik Richard -- Richmond, excuse me. Some friends testified they saw the two perform sex acts on the girl who was reportedly passed out drunk. A verdict is expected by tomorrow in the trial which is being heard in juvenile court.
We'll go to politics now where it's never too early to talk about the next election. And that's especially true if your side is out of power. This weekend's CPAC, the gathering outside Washington, is considered the premier gathering for conservatives. And we expect them to release results of their annual White House straw poll soon.
CNN's political director is Mark Preston and he is there. Mark, we just had a presidential election, it seems like an inauguration and now we are doing it all over again for the team that's out of power. So, as we wait for those poll results, tell us about Sarah Palin's speech this morning. It was a pretty tough speech, I hear. And she needed some reinforcement with a big gulp.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. There is no question about that. Sarah Palin, the darling of the conservative movement. We haven't seen much of her out there recently. But she was here today just a few hours ago, Don. Not only did she take a poke at the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for trying to ban sugary drinks but she also went after the republican establishment, specifically Karl Rove. Let's hear what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The last thing we need is Washington, D.C. vetting our candidates.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
If these experts who keep losing elections and keep getting rehired, raking in millions, if they feel that strongly about who gets to run in this party, then they should buck up or stay in the truck. Buck up and run. The architects can head on back to -- (CHEERS) -- they can head on back to the great lone star state and put their name on some ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON: And there you have Sarah Palin. Let me put that into context, Don. For the last three days, we have had conservatives meeting here in suburban Washington. The real struggle, the road discussion was between the grassroots activists who were sitting here in this hall right now listening to Ann Coulter over my right shoulder as well as the republican establishment. They look at Karl Rove as the republican establishment. And many conservatives Don, think that the republican establishment is the reason why the Republicans lost the White House in November -- Don.
LEMON: When I introduced you, I mentioned a big gulp. I saw her take a drink. She did bring a prop, didn't she?
PRESTON: Oh, yes. It was a big gulp. And really, she pulled it out from underneath the podium. And really, it had to do with the fact that in New York City, they are trying to outlaw the large, sugary drinks. And of course a big part of the conservative platform is for the government to stay out of people's business. Sarah Palin really knows how to play the crowd. She did it well here. It was well received when she pulled that big gulp out -- Don.
LEMON: All right. I see Ann Coulter speaking behind you and I'm also hearing no results yet but we expect them soon and we'll get back to Mark Preston. Mark, thank you very much. We'll see you soon.
A senator changes his stance on same-sex marriage after learning his own son is gay. Next, we are talking to a gay rights activist whose son was beaten to death because of his sexuality.
And later this hour, how did this beautiful gym owner become the first woman in NASCAR's pits?
PRESTON: Senator Rob Portman's dramatic reversal on same-sex marriage is getting mixed reviews. Portman came out this week in support of same-sex marriage after learning his own son is gay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: My son came to Jane, my wife, and I told us that he was gay and that it was not a choice. And that, you know, that's just part of who he is. And he'd been that way ever since he could remember. And that launched an interesting process for me which was kind of rethinking my position. You know, talking to my pastor and other religious leaders and going through a process of, at the end, changing my position on the issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does it make a difference if you only decide to support gay rights because it affects you and your family personally? Portman helped sponsor the Defense of Marriage Act back in 1996. Gay rights activist Judy Shepard joins us on the phone from Las Vegas. Her gay son Matthew Shepard, you might recall was tied to a fence and beaten to death nearly 15 years ago. Judy, what's your reaction to Portman's sudden change of heart now?
JUDY SHEPARD, GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, I'm encouraged that first he acknowledged that it is not a choice. That's an important thing to say. I'm relieved for his son and his family that they appear to accept his son for who he is. I praise his son for having the courage to actually come out knowing that his father was or maybe the whole family initially against gay equality.
I am disappointed, I guess, that it took a personal matter for him to understand that everybody else's children who are gay, you know, they go through the same fears and the same anxiety that he is. But telling the stories is how we change. So, I'm ultimately gratified that he decided to do this in such a public way.
LEMON: Yes, I think it's interesting too that you bring up a very good point in order to -- does it have to be -- I will ask you this. Do you think it has to be a family member for someone to empathize with another person? I mean, why does it take a family member to empathize with someone being gay and someone wanting to marry someone of the same sex?
SHEPARD: Yes. You know, as a society we just teach our kids, still, that being gay is somehow wrong and it carries over to the kids. And they feel this fear -- or not even kids. Just family members. Often it's a personal story that makes it come to light for them which is why telling stories is so important.
LEMON: Mm-hmm. You know, I mentioned that your son Matthew Shepard, 15 years ago was beaten to death. And I'm sure not a day goes by or not a moment goes by that you don't think about him. And you just said, you know, many families now teach our kids that it's wrong and they feel it is wrong for their kids to be gay and they can't accept it. What do you say to those parents and what do you say to people who are watching even about empathy, about empathizing with someone outside your family, outside of someone that you love?
SHEPARD: You know, you are who you are. And you love who you love. And that's just the way it is. And I just think it's time as a nation we just come to realize that, we legally discriminate against the gay community. I don't understand it. We shouldn't be. And it's -- you just are who you are. This is not a choice. We just need to accept it. And these folks considering maybe they don't love their children anymore because they're gay, I wish they would reconsider that thought. Because at least they still have their children.
LEMON: As we look at the video of the funeral -- Matthew's funeral in 1998, you have devoted years to fighting for gay rights. Do you think the Supreme Court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage later this year?
SHEPARD: I am really praying that they do. I think it's long overdue. I so admire President Clinton for understanding that it was the wrong move to make at the time. We made a law when there wasn't even a possibility that it was going to, you know, that gay couples were allowed to marry. I'm very gratified for the progress we are making with our national leaders. I'm happy that they are standing on the right side of the street. And I wish more folks would just understand that. You just are who you are. And that's the way it is.
LEMON: Judy Shepard, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
SHEPARD: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you.
SHEPARD: Thanks for the opportunity.
LEMON: Best of luck to you. God bless.
Are adults today too worried about being friends with their kids instead of parents? One mom says, she was just trying to help her daughter out, but in the end the police put her in jail. What happened? That is next.
We have been telling you about the rape trial going on in Ohio. And we're going to have a live report coming up right after this break.
LEMON: We are just getting some new information on this as I've told you for the break. It may be the weekend but an Ohio Juvenile Court is not taking a break in the case of two teenagers accused of raping a 16-year-old girl reportedly while she was passed out drunk.
Today, the defense got its turn in the trial of these Steubenville High School football players, Trent Mays and Malik Richmond, the credibility of their accuser was called into question. I want to warn you, there's going to be some graphic language with this story.
CNN's Poppy Harlow has been in court all day where the alleged victim is still on the stand right now. Poppy, you come out. There is a recess right now. Give us the very latest news that you have.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this 16-year-old girl, the alleged victim, has been on the stand for the last hour and 15 minutes. She was brought there by the prosecution. Her testimony is not over. She hasn't even been cross-examined yet. But she talked about how much she drank the night of the alleged party. This is important. Because the argument here is how intoxicated was this girl. Was she with it enough to make conscious decisions about what happened that night? The prosecution says, no. The defense says yes, she was.
That's what these boys' innocence or guilt lies on. She said that at the party that night in August, she drank a slushy with vodka, she drink one Smirnoff black, malt liquor beverage, and she had one shot. She said after she left that party, bit after midnight, doesn't remember a thing except a flashback of throwing up in the middle of the streets somewhere. Fast forward to the next morning.
All she remembers is waking up on a couch in someone's house that she didn't really know. She said she was naked. She didn't know where her clothes were and she said Don, she was too embarrassed to ask the boys that were there what happened that night. She said that they told her later that she was a hassle and they were just trying to take care of her. But at the time, she did not ask what had happened. She gathered her stuff. A friend came and picked her up.
I do want to tell you as well that she talked about a few days later when she had told her mom that she didn't remember anything, she was confused. She was seeing social media and texts about that night, saying a lot of very scary things to her about what may have happened. She went to the hospital. She opted not to have a rape kit performed because they said it wouldn't do much good. Too much time had elapsed. And there's been a lot of talk about whether or not she was drugged. Because she had texted friends saying, I was drugged. And we now know that no drug test was performed on her.
LEMON: OK, Poppy. Well, can you take us inside the courtroom? Because we are looking at pictures of the two accused suspects here.
HARLOW: Yes. Sure.
LEMON: And to have a 16-year-old girl on the stand talking about these things, her, the faces of the jury and also the two accusers. Take us inside the courtroom. What's it like?
HARLOW: It's such a good question. Because I mean, these are minors. The girl is 16. One of the defendants is 16. Another is 17, Don. He was shown, the alleged victim a picture on the stand -- a naked picture of herself that she had never seen before today. She saw it and she broke down and she started crying. And she was asked, have you ever seen it? She'd never seen it before. She had seen other naked photos that were allegedly taken that night, but not that one. And you saw it get to her so much.
The co-defendants, we are sitting behind them, so we can't see their faces but they've been in there. Their parents have been there every single day sitting just a few feet away from us. Very difficult for them to hear as well. Interesting, no jury in this. This is a bench trial. The decision will ultimately be made by the judge.
But one of the key things that could come out in her testimony was a lot of text messages and in the ensuing days after the party between her and Trent Mays, one of the accused and Trent Mays asking, listen, I hear you are pressing charges. Are you pressing charges or not? She was getting angry with them saying, you know, that's all you care about, Don. So there was a lot of back and forth between whether charges would be pressed or not.
LEMON: Yes. And you said the judge is a visiting judge. He has other things that he has to attend to...
LEMON: Long court days and that's why we're in court or you in court this weekend.
LEMON: Very interesting, Poppy. Thank you very much.
LEMON: We appreciate your reporting. We'll get back to Poppy throughout the week here on CNN.
Coming up on CNN, are adults today too worried about being friends with their kids instead of parents? One mom says, she was trying to help her daughter out. But in the end, the police put her in jail. What happened? Next.
LEMON: We want get you up to speed on some of the stories making headline this hour, a university lacrosse team coach is dead along with a driver of the team bus. Police in Southern Pennsylvania don't know why the bus veered off the highway and hit a tree. This morning, it was carrying the women's lacrosse team from Seton Hill University. The driver of the bus was killed along with Kristina Quigley, the 30- year-old coach of the Lacrosse team. Quigley was six months pregnant. Her unborn baby did not survive.
A hot air balloon collided with power lines today near Miami today seriously burning NFL player Donte Stallworth. His reported in stable condition in a Miami hospital. Stallworth's female companion is also reported in stable condition. A third passenger in the balloon was not hurt. Stallworth, a wide receiver currently a free agent. His agent, I spoke to at the top of the hour says, Stallworth injuries are not to the extent that they will jeopardize his career.
A South Carolina woman sympathizes with her daughter who tells mom she's been facing peer pressure to try pot, marijuana. So, reportedly, mom goes and buy some from the guy behind the neighborhood tennis court and then smokes it with her daughter. That doesn't sit well with dad. And soon, mom is facing criminal charges.
Wendy Walsh is a psychologist, she is in L.A. Wendy, why would a parent --
WENDY WALSH, HUMAN BEHAVIOR EXPERT: Oh --
LEMON: Yes. Yes. So, here's the thing. I'm not a parent. But my parents did say, all right, you're going to go out and drink, you want to try it, whatever, as I became nearing the drinking age. Have a beer with us. Right?
WALSH: Right. But, you know, alcohol --
LEMON: Marijuana is different. Alcohol is legal. Marijuana is not legal in every place.
WALSH: So, there are a lot of pieces to this. First of all, there is the question of illegality. We don't have it straight in this country yet. Is it medical marijuana or is a pot shop on the corner? There is one next door to CNN here in Los Angeles. It's called Hope. They are selling hope, which cracks me up. There is one with on every other block here. How, in California, do you tell the parent of a teenager not to do that when they are like a McDonald's on every other block? That's the first thing.
Secondly, the parents weren't a unified front. They clearly had different parenting ideas and the dad, just sort of to get back, called the cops on the mom.
LEMON: Why call the cops on mom? Come on, man. Really?
WALSH: When you have run out of resources, you reach out to the system. And plenty of parents depend on the law and the system when their household becomes too chaotic. So I completely understand that. Part of me endorses him for that.
The other piece is the whole friend -- parents being friends with kids and hanging out. They don't need another friend. They need a parent to provide boundaries. (LAUGHTER)
LEMON: That's what I want to talk to you about. I don't remember my parents really giving two cents about what I thought about. Most people I talked to -- we were having this discussion in the newsroom yesterday. Why do parents care if their kids consider them friends these days?
WALSH: They want their kids to love them.
LEMON: Oh, please.
WALSH: They are afraid to be hard-nosed with them. It's interesting. My teenager mentioned today in her iPhone -- whatever -- listing, I'm listed under Wendy, Wendy Walsh. I'm like, no, no, I should be in the M's. I'm mom to you. Why are you daring to list me by my first name?
She said it doesn't make alphabetical sense.
But that's the point. Parents aren't supposed to be friends. They're supposed to be moms or dads.
LEMON: Exactly. That's something I don't get.
Look at this, Wendy. The percentage of kids living with one parent was 9 percent in 1960. In 2010, it was three times higher at 26 percent. How much of this recent struggle for parents can be traced to divorce?
WALSH: Think of it. One in four American children are either house hopping or living with only one over-strapped, tired parent -- I'm one. So the problem is, when parents only have their kids part time, they are sort of afraid to discipline them. I hate the word "discipline." I like "boundaries with clear, logical consequences," which means rewarding good behavior and also providing consequences for bad behavior. I think parents are afraid to do that because the kid can go -- and courts listen to kids by the age of 12. They can say, I want to stay at my other parent's house because it's a Disneyland household. This is a problem in our culture now.
LEMON: Yes. How much does social media have to do with this?
WALSH: Well, you know, we tell parents. I tell parents they should be their child's Facebook friend. They can follow what's going on with and they are a Twitter follower, but that doesn't make them a real friend. Mark Zuckerberg thought he was making friend lists when he developed Facebook but it's just a contact and a link. I think maybe parents and kids confused the term.
LEMON: Mm-hmm. Yes.
I'll tell you what my mom and dad said. I am not your friend. I am your parent. Go to your room. WALSH: Exactly. That's how it should be.
LEMON: Thank you, Wendy. Thank you. Appreciate it.
WALSH: Take care.
LEMON: Who's going to run for president next on the Republican ticket? We'll find out soon at the CPAC conference. They have taken their straw poll. We'll let you know the results after the break.
LEMON: As promised the results are in from CPAC's straw poll.
CNN's political director, Mark Preston, is there.
I'm sure it's loud where you are. Who's the leader?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Don, probably by no surprise, Rand Paul was the winner of the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, just announced moments ago.
You have to say that it's not a surprise because many of the attendees at the conference tend to be young. These are folks who would gravitate toward Rand Paul because of his libertarian views.
Coming in second place was Marco Rubio, the Florida Senator. Many people think he will run for president in 2016. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio gave back-to-back speeches on Thursday. Coming in third was Rick Santorum, who had a strong run for the presidential Republican nomination back in 2012. Chris Christie, who is not here, Don. He came in next. Congressman Paul Ryan rounded out the top five right there.
We have the results of the straw poll. The question is, will it matter in 2016? Probably not. But it is bragging rights now for Senator Rand Paul.
LEMON: I'm looking at an e-mail. Rubio, 25 percent. Let's see. Santorum with 8 percent. Chris Christie, 7 percent. Paul, 6 percent. Then 23 percent -- we have two Rubios. Anyway.
Here's a question. Chris Christie is not even there and got 7 percent. What's the deal with Chris Christie? How do they feel about him there?
PRESTON: Clearly, a lot of people think Chris Christie has done a good job. He's a Republican governor in a blue state. He came under a lot of criticism for embracing President Obama after Superstorm Sandy came in and wiped out the shoreline of New Jersey. He did it right before the election. He drew the ire of a lot of Republicans. But the fact of the matter was he wasn't invited here. The union said Christie's politics didn't fit the conference this year. But 7 percent of attendees think Chris Christie should be the nominee in 2016.
This is a wide-open race, Don. 23 people were on the ballot -- 3000 people were on the ballot, including Senator Ted Cruz, right behind me, giving closing remarks here at CPAC.
I have to tell you, Don, for conservatives, this has been a whirlwind three-day conference of red-meat speeches. But can they leave and take the message back to their neighborhoods and communities across the country?
LEMON: Thank you, Mark. Appreciate it.
They are part of history and Hollywood. Prison chain gangs have nearly been extinct for decades. Next, meet a sheriff campaigning to bring them back.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ethan Dumeyer chose a two-year liberal arts degree at the Burrough of Manhattan Community College.
ETHAN DUMEYER, COLLEGE GRADUATE: I thought it would be a great place to find direction.
ROMANS: He found more than that. His degree landed him a job in the college's computer center and later a promotion.
DUMEYER: I was making $62,000. I felt good about how things went even without having a bachelor's.
ROMANS: Ethan's one of many community college graduates proving that a four-year university isn't the only gateway to the middle class. According to a Georgetown University study, 28 percent of Americans with associates degrees make more than those with bachelor's degrees.
ANTHONY CARNEVALE, DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN CENTER ON EDUCATION & THE WORKFORCE: Associates degrees are for fast starters.
ROMANS: That's exactly what it was for Ethan, a start. He went on to get his bachelor's degree on his employer's tab.
DUMEYER: Because of my role working for a CUNI, they were able to waive the tuition.
ROMANS: His salary now $76,000, not a bad return on a $10,000 investment. His sister chose a different path, an expensive master's degree from New York University. If you are trying to trim your college costs, start at a community college.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where you went to school matters less and less. What matters more is what you take.
ROMANS: Second, learn a practical in demand skill like computer science and finally, see if your employer will chip in.
DUMEYER: That was essentially to help me finish my bachelor's.
ROMANS: Christine Romans, CNN, New York.
LEMON: Known for its harsh and sometimes brutal history, chain gangs are a long thing of the past, well, having been phased out of prisons in the 1960s. But one South Carolina sheriff wants to bring them back.
Chuck Wright joins me now, a sheriff of Spartanburg County in South Carolina.
Sheriff, welcome. Thanks for joining us.
CHUCK WRIGHT, SHERIFF, SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: My pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.
LEMON: You believe chain gangs could be a positive thing for both community and inmates. Why is that?
WRIGHT: I think that we can call it a chain gang or a behavior modification program or whatever you choose to do. I'm trying to lessen the burden on society that these people, who choose not to follow the rules, to pay society back for the drain they put on them.
I am not into the old 1960s form of chain gang where they were cruel and unusual punishment. I'm not into treating any human being badly. Just asking people who drain our society to pay back. All I'm asking them to do is basically yard work, like most Americans do every day. I'm not trying to suggest they are less of a human whatsoever. I still believe in the programs you put them in to get their education, to let them have their religious beliefs. I believe in all that stuff. I understand these are someone's children.
LEMON: There are still a few chain gangs in existence, most notably in Maricopa County, Arizona, but they are voluntary. Would this be voluntary for your prisoners?
WRIGHT: I'm asking for it not to be voluntary. Why should a person who breaks into homes or sells drugs get a say in their sentence?
WRIGHT: Instead of sentencing somebody to 15 years of sitting in jail, learning to be a better criminal and be a drain on society, why can we not ask them to help us pay society back by maintaining our roads or state and county-maintained roads? It costs $47 per day to house an inmate if he or she is healthy and nothing else going on with them. All I'm asking them to do is earn their keep.
LEMON: Would they be chained to each other or just their feet chained together? How would it work? WRIGHT: It doesn't matter to me if they have chains on them or not. We have different alternatives. There is a stun belt. We are not going to put people on the chain gang who are pedophiles, rapists and killers. We want to put the low-risk, low-flight risk people out there to, you know, shorten their sentence up. Most of them, if you ask them in jails today, would tell you, I will take three years at working five to six days a week as opposed to sitting in jail for 10 to 15.
There is an economic problem with the fact that if they have a spouse and children at home, they must go on government assistance most of the time just to survive. That's going to lessen the burden on taxpayers to help pay the fee.
I have heard people say it has no rehab value. I don't believe it's society's business to rehab people who don't want to be rehabilitated. If you are a drug user, it's up to you to decide whether or not you want drug treatment. If you ask for it, I believe in helping to get it for you. But people are not going to change no matter what program you put them in unless they choose to change. And I don't think it's the government's responsibility to fix everybody, either.
LEMON: Sheriff, thank you. We have to end it there.
Sheriff Chuck Wright from Spartanburg County in South Carolina.
WRIGHT: Thank you.
LEMON: We appreciate you joining us.
Everybody wants to be wanted, unless it is by the police. A California man found himself on the most-wanted list by mistake. He tried to clear his name, but the cops didn't listen. Now he's suing. The story is next.
LEMON: A California man was named one of the most violent criminals, problem is, he says he didn't commit a crime. When he learned he was wanted by police, he tried to clear his name. Instead, he was thrown in jail, released three days later. His picture remained on the list six more months! What in the world?
Holly Hughes joins me. She's a criminal defense attorney.
He is suing the city and police for defamation, civil rights violations, false arrest. Does he have a case?
HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & FORMER PROSECUTOR: He does. I tell you why. This man finds out -- his friend calls him, says, Dude, you're on the news, wanted in a gang shooting. He thinks that's a mistake. Googles himself, finds out they have put my name out there. He goes down to the police station a couple days later to say what's going on, let me turn myself in, I didn't do anything, but you have my name and photo out there. They arrest him for another crime. They said, you beat a man with a baseball bat. He said, what are you talking about? They book him, hold him three days, never file charges and finally spring him.
Here's the thing. It was false arrest, took his fingerprints, booked him, his mug shot is out there, they have that crazy web site out there -- I won't name it. They put your mug shot out there, then you have to pay to get it taken down. His life was turned upside down and he did nothing wrong.
LEMON: Probably still on the Internet. Yes.
HUGHES: It is forever. Lives forever.
LEMON: His lawsuit doesn't mention any compensation. What do you think is likely?
HUGHES: I think they're probably going to ask for a couple million. I'll tell you why. It is not so much that you can makeup for what the man has lived through. He is living in fear for his life. He is on the most-wanted list. People think he is a criminal. What a jury will want to do is send a message to the police, don't do this again, don't do this to another innocent citizen. I think that's probably, when they get down to it, going to ask for millions. And a jury may find this crazy and ridiculous and egregious enough, they might give him a big, fat reward for this.
LEMON: Holly Hughes, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
LEMON: A story that will make you go gross! I was eating my sandwich when this story came on earlier today, and I had to turn it off. Passengers on a Greyhound bus, roaches everywhere.
HUGHES: Oh, that's not good. Roaches on a bus?
KAKENYA NTAIYA, COMMUNITY CRUSADER & CNN HERO: I avoided the ceremony. Most of the girls are mutilated when 12. I knew that once they go through this cutting, I am going to be married off, and my dream of becoming a teacher would end. My mind said run away, I had to face and only go through the cutting if he let's me go back to school.
It was done in the morning, using an old recipe with no anesthesia. I can never forget that day.
Eventually, I was the first girl in the community to go to college. I want to start a school for girls so they, too, can achieve their full potential.
NTAIYA: When girls start school, they're very shy. But over time, we see them confident. How are you girls?
UNIDENTIFIED GIRLS: Fine.
NTAIYA: Very well.
It is the most exciting thing.
NTAIYA: It is about empowering the girls. These girls are saying no to being cut, they're dreaming of becoming lawyers, teachers, doctors. My daughter will do better than my son. I came back for the girls in my community.
Achieve your goals.
NTAIYA: I came back so the girls in my community don't have to negotiate like I did to achieve their dreams. That's why I wake up every morning.
LEMON: The Miami Heat on the third-longest winning streak in NBA history. The Heat won their 21st straight game last night against Milwaukee Bucks. They are now just one win from tying the second- longest streak, '71-'72, the Los Angeles Lakers still own the stop spot with 33 straight wins.
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LEMON: That means it is March Madness time here. Election Sunday a day away. Test your bracket skills against me and other CNN personalities in the official NCAA March Madness bracket challenge game. Go to CNN.com/brackets, join the CNN group to see if you can pick a better bracket than I can. I never win. I get close but never win.
This is gross. Roaches, roaches everywhere. That was a story on a Greyhound bus from Atlantic City to New York Friday. Passengers shot video of the bugs crawling out of air vents, up seats, windows, even over passengers. Not surprisingly, most of the people on the bus were disgusted.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roaches started crawling on our clothes, everything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like a thousand roaches. I say infested, I mean infested.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The man had roaches on his coat. The lady had a roach on her hat. It was terrible.
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LEMON: When the roach problem became apparent, the bus driver immediately pulled over. Greyhound sent a replacement. The company apologized for the inconvenience and is now investigating.
Believe me, ain't nobody got time for that.
I'm Don Lemon, at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Thank you so much for joining us. I'll see you back here in an hour. I am going to talk to the mother of the missing teacher from New Orleans.
Also, the inspirational story of an Ohio teacher donating her kidney to one of her kindergarten students.
"THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer begins now on CNN.