Return to Transcripts main page


Spring Snowstorm Hammers Midwest; Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Cases; Domestic Violence Expert Next in Arias Trial

Aired March 24, 2013 - 14:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield with a look at our stop stories here in the NEWSROOM.

A spring snowstorm is bearing down on the Midwest right now. Heavy snow and strong winds are creating dangerous conditions from Missouri to Illinois. We'll tell you just how bad it is and where the storm may be headed next.

And this week, more cross examination of the defense psychologist in the Jodi Arias trial. And a domestic violence expert is also expected to take the stand.

And does this remind you of a car insurance commercial? This is real. How did this car land on a roof in California?

All right, first up, snowstorm, which is hammering the Midwest on this first week of spring. Missouri and Illinois are getting hit the hardest right now. Up to 10 inches of snow is expected there. And wind gusts over 30 miles an hour are blowing all that snow around, making visibility on the roads extremely difficult. It's the same storm that slammed into the Rockies, creating white-out conditions and forcing shutdowns on two interstates in Colorado. Karen Maginnis is tracking the storm from the CNN Weather Center and Susan Candiotti is in Ohio, a state that is right in the storm's path.

Let's begin with you, Karen. Indiana and Ohio, they're going to be hit next?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, they are. And what a difference a year makes. Now, a year ago on this date, temperatures were in the 60s and people were basking in those warm temperatures. Not so as we look at what's happening there right now. This area of low pressure, we watched it all the way from the Rockies. Now it's moving into the Central Plains and moving towards the Ohio River Valley.

So, Susan Candiotti, sitting in Dayton, Ohio, they got one round but there's more right behind it. So don't think it's over with just yet. More snow in the forecast. And that's not going to take a whole lot for records to be broken there.

But it looks like, as we head a little bit further towards the east, now we've got some thunderstorms rumbling around the deep south. But here's what we're expecting. Area of low pressure moves across the Ohio River Valley. Cincinnati and Dayton, and extending on over towards the Appalachians, this is where some of the heaviest snowfall will be. And there are winter storm warnings currently in effect.

Well, this will begin to move towards the east. As it does, a secondary area of low pressure is going to develop and this will affect the Mid-Atlantic Coast. And areas like Washington, D.C., you can expect some snow. I think it's just going to be a light dusting, but it will make for a messy Monday.

Also, for New York, computer models are a little disagreeing as to who is going to see how much, but they're saying maybe one or two inches of snowfall. But definitely south central Illinois, south central Indiana, Indianapolis, Springfield, St. Louis, Dayton, Cincinnati, you're all in the firing line for some of the heaviest snowfall as this storm system continues to plow across the central U.S. and the Ohio Valley. With it, accompanied by 30 to 40-mile-an-hour winds. So, Fred, travel along that Interstate 70, again, and Interstate 65, could be very treacherous.

WHITFIELD: What a mess to begin the work week. All right, thanks so much, Karen Maginnis.

All right, so some of you are sharing your spring snowstorm pictures. Looks pretty in Placid, but we also know it's also an inconvenience. This one, however, is an i-Report from Matt Swinden (ph), a viewer from Evergreen, Colorado. He says he'll need to use a shovel to get to his barbecue. Much of Colorado is buried under two feet of snow.

All right, this huge storm is also hitting cities that are hosting March Madness games. Dayton, Ohio, is one of them. Susan Candiotti is live from Dayton.

All right, Susan, thousands of people have traveled into the city for two NCAA tournament games today. The storm is forecast to hit the city in just a few hours. But is that deterring anyone? Will it interrupt the games?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Fred, I think you know the answer to that one.

WHITFIELD: They're diehards.

CANDIOTTI: We talked to a lot of fans as they were on their way in -- right, exactly -- to the University of Dayton Arena there. You've got more than 13,000 people in there right now and the only thing they're thinking about, of course, is the big game. So right now you've got Ohio State going up against Iowa. And right now they're in the second period. I think Ohio State is still up out in front right now. Next game coming up, you've got Temple versus Indiana. So you do have a lot of people attending from the local area here and others, obviously, from Iowa, from Indiana, and from Philadelphia, and they will have to worry about how they're going to get home later on.

But for now, the temperature is just above freezing, 33 degrees. So you can see we have barely any accumulation now. You can still see the grass here below. And, in fact, we're only supposed to get one to three inches during the daytime today. You can see it has not impacted the roads yet, but, of course, that will change as time goes on. The traffic flowing freely at this hour.

But everyone is looking at the overnight accumulations, just like Karen was talking about. Where they could get anywhere here from five up to eight inches of snow. So that combined with freezing temperatures could make, of course, for some rough sledding tomorrow morning during the morning commute and for some people worrying about how they're going to get home from the games. But for now, it's all about basketball going on inside that arena.

WHITFIELD: OK. Yes, they're just going to be living in the moment and worry about all that other stuff later. All right, Susan Candiotti, thanks so much, in Dayton, Ohio.

All right, imagine trying to explain this to your insurance agent. Honestly, the next thing I knew, my car was sitting on someone's roof. An explanation something to that effect. Well, this is Glendale, California. The couple driving the black Cadillac missed a turn on a steep hill, careened through a yard, went airborne, and then landed on the roof of that house. No one was hurt, miraculously. The couple climbed out of the vehicle when a neighbor brought out a ladder. A crane delicately then lifted the car off the house.

All right, it's anchors away for the Carnival Cruise ship Dream. The ship set sail Saturday for its first cruise since a failed generator forced the ship to abort a cruise while docked in the Caribbean. Passengers had to be flown home after power aboard the ship failed and toilets began spilling out on the floors.

All right, someone in New Jersey just got $338 million richer. One ticket sold in that state matching these six numbers in the Powerball lottery. If the winner takes a lump sum, they will receive a cool $211 million. Lottery officials will hold a news conference Monday to reveal where exactly in the state of New Jersey that ticket was sold.

Two same-sex marriage cases will be heard in the Supreme Court this week. What are the legal arguments? And the Jodi Arias trial resumes tomorrow. Her psychologist is back on the stand. Is his testimony credible? Our experts weigh in.


WHITFIELD: Starting Tuesday, people in 13 states will start seeing TV ads aimed at gun violence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep it. Background checks have nothing to do with taking guns away from anyone. Closing loopholes will stop criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying guns.


WHITFIELD: Billionaire New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is paying for the campaign himself through his anti-gun violence group. The ads hit the airwaves ahead of a key vote in the Senate on gun control. The National Rifle Association says the mayor is trying to intimidate senators.

Secretary of State John Kerry was in Iraq this weekend. He says U.S. lawmakers worry that after years of receiving U.S. help, Iraq is not behaving like an ally. Kerry has asked the Iraqi prime minister not to allow Iranian aircraft use of Iraq's air space. The U.S. believes the planes are carrying arms to the Syrian regime.

And this is going to be a very important week for gay rights activists. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on two important cases -- the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8. DOMA defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman and it keeps same-sex couples from getting the same benefits as traditional couples, even in states where same-sex marriage is legal. In fact, Bill Clinton, who signed DOMA into law when he was president, is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn it. Let's bring in CNN legal contributor Paul Callan.

So, how much of an impact, Paul, will the former president's reversal potentially make?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Supreme Court justices would tell you that they're immune from politicians lobbying them. They're appointed for life by the president, and the founding fathers, frankly, set up the system so that you'd have sort of an independent judiciary. So I don't think Bill Clinton's position will have a major impact on the court.

WHITFIELD: So what's the constitutional argument that will be made to keep DOMA in place?

CALLAN: Well, there are two cases before the court this week. One on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. The first on Tuesday is called the Prop 8 Case. A California case. And it's very interesting because the California Supreme Court said gay marriage is legal. They said it's against the California Constitution to ban it. And then lawyers came in and voters went out and they adopted Prop 8, which amended the California Constitution to make it illegal. So they stuck it to the judges and said, we don't care what you say, we say it's illegal.

Now, enter the lawyers. They file a federal lawsuit in which they say the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was enacted after the Civil War to guarantee citizenship to freed slaves, says that equal protection of the law won't let you get away with that. You know why? Because if you're going to discriminate against a group of people, like gay people, you better have a very good reason. And you don't have a good reason to do that. So they threw it out.

And that's what's in front of the Supreme Court now. Does the 14th Amendment to the Constitution require that gay marriage should be allowed to occur in California?

WHITFIELD: And all of this is precedent setting. Potentially precedent setting.

CALLAN: It absolutely is. And it's -- there really are a number of things the Supreme Court could do, because they've also got a New York case in front of them where a couple of women got married in Canada, come to the United States and they now get taxed more because they're taxed as single people when one -- you know, when the estate tax is looked at. One of them died.

Now, the Supreme Court can do a number of things here. Number one, they could just say, listen, if you enact gay marriage, it's illegal to ban it. And that would only affect a very limited number of states. But they also could hit it in a much bigger way. They could say gay marriage is protected as a privacy right under the U.S. Constitution. And they could issue a sweeping decision legalizing gay marriage throughout the United States. Now, most constitutional scholars don't think they'll go that far. But you know something, they could if they wanted to.

WHITFIELD: But right now, you know, these cases are diametrically opposed. You've got one that's talking about state law and the other that's talking about the federal reach. Will one supersede the other? Meaning, you know, if the federal law is reversed and there is a recognition of marriages of same-sex couples, then no matter what, states would have to recognize that, right?

CALLAN: Not necessarily. The federal law -- and that's the second case that's going to be argued on Wednesday, is the DOMA law, Defense of Marriage Act. Now that act says that no state can be forced, essentially, to adopt gay marriage. The federal law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Now, if the court throws that out and says that is unconstitutional, that just means the states can do what they want. Some states will adopt gay marriage. As a matter of fact, I think nine states right now have already legalized gay marriage. But the federal law wouldn't affect that one way or the other. It simply would change federal law. And in states, by the way, where gay marriage was legalized, then you'd be able to get federal benefits if you were a partner in a gay marriage.

The Prop 8 case in California approaches it from a different standpoint. But it -- these two cases give the court a real opportunity to make major changes in this area if they feel they're ready to do that.

WHITFIELD: All right, Paul, thanks so much. It's going to be a pivotal case as it pertains to those two cases before the Supreme Court.

Meantime, you're going to join us in a moment. We're going to talk more about another legal case that has gripped the nation. We're talking about the Jodi Arias trial. It keeps going and going and going. And testimony from a defense psychologist this week has left some unanswered questions. We'll talk to both Paul and another legal expert after this.


WHITFIELD: Colorado's governor says he can't fathom why the son of one of his close friends would shoot the state's prison chief to death. Governor John Hickenlooper made the comment today to CNN about Evan Spencer Ebel, who was killed in a shootout with sheriff's deputies. Authorities have lined Ebel, who once belonged to a white supremacist gang, to the shooting death of Tom Clements. As prison chief, Clements cracked down on Ebel's former gang.

Sex, lies and kinking photographs. The Jodi Arias murder trial seems to be getting more salacious every day. Next week, more cross- examination of defense psychologist Richard Samuels. Then the defense will bring in a domestic violence expert. CNN legal contributor Paul Callan is back, joined by defense attorney Rachel Self.

Good to see both of you.

OK, Rachel, I'm going to begin with you. What needs to happen this week in this case to wrap things up?

RACHEL SELF, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, my goodness. Well, it's gone on forever, hasn't it? But they're going to -- the defense has the right to put on their defense. And at this point, we still need to have the finished cross-examination of Dr. Samuels. And then they're going to be putting on their expert in domestic violence. So that's going to need to happen before we see even closing arguments come up in this case. And so I think that we still are looking at quite a few days of testimony remaining here.

WHITFIELD: And, Paul, how do you see this week? Is this a pivotal week to help finalize this case, or does it continue to get a bit more complex?

CALLAN: I think it's a pivotal week. And the pivotal witness in the case is going to -- cross-examination is going to continue. A psychologist was called last week by the defense and he got slammed by prosecutors for a couple of reasons. Number one, you know, he was testifying that, hey, you know, she really can't remember what happened because she had post traumatic stress disorder, or what the psychs call dissociative amnesia, so she can't remember. Well, they find out, by the way, the when he examined her, she was only on the second of her three stories. In other words, she first said, I wasn't there at all. I don't know anything about it. Her second story was, intruders broke into the house, held me captive, and I was able to escape. And then the third is, of course, that I'm a battered woman and he attacked me. I was doing it in self defense.

When the defense psychiatrist examined her, she was on story number two, so she was lying to him, and he still says, well, it doesn't matter that she was lying to me. I still think she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. He's going to get slammed by prosecutors this week and I think it will be a big, big moment in the case.

WHITFIELD: So his credibility has been questioned. And you have to wonder, especially by way of the questions being posed by the jurors, if they are wondering about the credibility of this psychologist, Paul.

CALLAN: Absolutely. And, you know, you've got this strange thing in Arizona where the jurors can ask questions. The juror questions have been very aggressive and very skeptical questions, which would suggest to me that they're not buying into the psychologist's testimony.

WHITFIELD: And, Rachel, the significance of this domestic abuse expert that would be called to the stand. What needs to be said to help Jodi Arias' claim that this was self defense?

SELF: I don't know. At this point, I think that she's in trouble. I think Jodi Arias is in trouble. I think she's on the train to needleville USA. And I think that a domestic violence expert is going to need to say more than, oh, my boyfriend made me dress up in a maid costume and get a little kinky in the bedroom. So I got -- I decided to stab him 30 times, slit his throat, and shoot him in the head.

There's been credibility issues here, especially -- the Dr. Samuels stuff is a big problem because Jodi Arias' word is more crooking than a dog's hind leg. And he didn't utilize any collateral resources. He didn't. he didn't utilize any collateral resources to verify this, speak with her friends, speak with any family members. He went off of her word, which we all know how big a problem that is.

And the other thing I find very interesting here is that the jury has been burden shifting. One of the questions that they posed to the defense expert is, how are we supposed to believe you and that your assessment is not based on his lies. So when the jurors are able to question like this, I find that what it does is it shifts the burden to the defense to prove her innocence, which is a very interesting thing in this case.

WHITFIELD: All right, fascinating stuff.

CALLAN: You know, Fred -- you know, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, go ahead, Paul.

CALLAN: Fredricka, kind of interesting, you think only southern lawyers make references like a crooked dog's hind leg.

WHITFIELD: A crooked dog's leg.

CALLAN: Rachel's from Massachusetts.

WHITFIELD: That was a new one on me.

CALLAN: Yes. Right. There you go.

WHITFIELD: But I envisioned it perfectly. It was very good. Very graphic.

All right, Rachel Self, Paul Callan, thanks so much to both of you.

CALLAN: Nice being with you.

SELF: Thank you. Good to see you both.

WHITFIELD: All right. Tiger Woods. Hey, guess what, he's starting to play like the Tiger Woods of old. The one that we all recognize from way back when. If he wins today's tournament, he'll get back something he lost nearly three years ago.

But first, Dr. Sanjay Gupta previews "The Next List."

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks. Up next, meet an innovator who says checking your vital signs should be as easy as logging onto FaceBook. Wireless health and Dr. Leslie Saxon. That's coming up on "The Next List."


WHITFIELD: OK. A tiger on the prowl leads today's "Bleacher Report." Look out, PGA. Tiger Woods is starting to play like the Tiger we remember, before his personal problems nearly destroyed his game. Woods has the lead going into today's final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando. And if he wins, he'll regain his number one ranking. Something he lost nearly three years ago.

And the experts were right. This year's NCAA tournament is wide open. The latest evidence, a number one ranked Gonzaga lost to ninth seeded Wichita State 76-70. The Bulldogs are out of the tourney.

It's tradition, pro football players often return to their alma maters to encourage the young players, but Marshawn Lynch, now a running back for the Seattle Seahawks, went one step further. He suited up and played in the University of California's spring football game. Lynch even scored a touchdown.

For more entertaining sports news, check out

And here's a look at what's trending online. Health expert and body building icon Joe Weider died of heart failure this weekend. He was 93. Weider helped change how the world looks at fitness. He created the Mr. Olympia competition.

And a man who was freed from prison after being wrongfully convicted of murdering a New York rabbi is recovering from a heart attack. David Ranta was stricken just a day after he was released from prison.

American Airlines is continuing its tradition of honoring veterans who have received the nation's highest military honor. This weekend, the airline is flying a group of Medal of Honor recipients to D.C. for a series of activities. Among other events, they'll take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown.

And I'll be back at 4:00 Eastern Time with details of the new pope's first Palm Sunday mass and what his leadership means to the catholic church.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Keep it right here. "THE NEXT LIST" starts right now.