Return to Transcripts main page
LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
New Details on Oklahoma Killing; What's Next for Casey Anthony Judge; FBI's Robert Mueller on Liberty, Security; School Clerk Meets 911 Operator.
Aired August 23, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Paul, I'm going to start with you.
That sounds like it could be a hate crime. But can you connect a tweet like that to a killing months later?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, I think you certainly can. And they have more evidence than that, of course, because they have the three suspects in the case who they have presumably taken statements from. From what I've seen, this could be charged as a hate crime. But that's going to be the least of it here. This is first-degree murder and this is crime of just un-excusable brutality for a person who was doing nothing but jogging on the street. It's a horrible crime.
BANFIELD: Faith, you're a former prosecutor. A lot of times when you have multiple defendants in the same killing or crime, they do a lot of this, it was the other guy who did it. So in this instance, do you try all three of these kids together, do you sever their trials? Is there a benefit or advantage to either the defense or the prosecution in doing that?
FAITH JENKINS, ATTORNEY & FORMER PROSECUTOR: You want to try them all together. You want to put them all on trial together, tell the jury the story and how each one of them participated in the heinous crime. We've seen one of the defendants start to talk and say in court yesterday, I didn't pull the trigger. At least one of them is pointing the finger at other defendants.
BANFIELD: The "other dude did it." We call it in broadcasting circles, the "other dude did it" defense. It's a pretty good defense a lot of times. It works.
JENKINS: In Jones, the one who said I didn't pull the trigger, he's the one not charged with first-degree murder. He's absolutely going to want to sever his case. He doesn't want to go on trial with two other guys who are charged with first-degree murder. He wants to separate himself. So if there's a Motion to Sever, it's going to come from his attorney and the defense.
BANFIELD: So, Danny, there's just so much to talk about with this particular case, but you just get down to brass tax on this one, I said earlier, how do you find a jury when you're dealing with people who appear to be monsters. But maybe more importantly, how do you actually prosecute this case? Do you good guard as a hate crime because that can be trickier and you can overshoot and then lose. Or do you now ahead with, this is a case with exhaustive aggravators.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't know with sentencing that you need a hate crime, even though you could potentially show it. By the way, look at all of the evidence these guys generate with Twitter and Facebook. You have these statements memorialized forever about their racial animosity thing. So if you introduce that, you might have the opportunity to charge a hate crime. But you may not need it. The maximum penalty is life. They're juveniles. They won't be able to be executed. The key here is this first-degree murder. The other key is ultimately going to be the Jones character. Why is he charged with just accessory after the fact? It's confusing a lot of attorney right now.
BANFIELD: There's a dad that spoke with the police about why he thinks this is an actual gang initiation. He had a son that was apparently on a list that was found.
Let me let you hear why he describes why he thinks this is a gang initiation. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES JOHNSON, CALLED POLICE ON ALLEGED KILLERS: I don't think it was for fun. I don't think it was at random. I think it was initiation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gang initiation.
JOHNSON: Because I understand after that happened, there's a list that pops up with my son's name at the top of the list and four others they were going to bump off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Paul Callan, do I even care what the motive is? Because you don't have to prove a motive in a murder case. It doesn't matter. Does it matter in charging? Does it matter in sentencing?
CALLAN: No, it doesn't matter. If it's gang initiation, if it's random hatred, if it's a hate crime, it's still first-degree murder if it was premeditated and the penalty is going to be the same. In this case, this is going to be watched carefully. I was looking at some of the news articles today. Australia is watching it carefully. The rest of the world is watching this case and how our system of justice deals with this case. So it's going to be an important case.
BANFIELD: I have three seasoned lawyers sitting beside me. Show of hands if this one shocks you with everything you've already seen in your profession.
JENKINS: It shocks me. It's still shocking to me.
CEVALLOS: It really doesn't. As someone who's done a lot of juvenile delinquency work, that's where you see the saddest most intractable cases. I wish I could be more jaded.
BANFIELD: We can't cover them all, right.
CALLAN: Read a book, "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote.
BANFIELD: I hear you. There are so many.
Thank you, Paul, Danny and Faith. Appreciate it.
And still to come, a better story. This is so heartwarming especially with what we've had to cover. A hero school clerk and a 911 dispatcher meeting, hugging. You want to talk raw emotion, these two talked their way through an elementary school shooting that could have but did not happen. And they meet face to face exclusively on CNN. You're going to hear all about it and see it.
BANFIELD: You know in this program we've been talking a lot about teenagers and the challenges they're facing growing up and the crimes they've been committing. But we haven't even touched upon what life is like for some teenagers out there, like ones from war-torn countries, like genocide and things like that that have effected their lives. Imagine living in a new country. Life is almost unbearable. But one "CNN Hero" making a huge difference for some girls in Chicago. Have a look.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: My family come to America because we want a better life.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: We are 12 people in the family. When I got to Chicago, they put me into 9th grade. It's really hard the first time. I'm totally lost.
BLAIR BRETTSCHNEIDER, CNN HERO: It's hard enough to be a teenage girl in the United States, so it's even harder to be a refuge teenage girl.
My name is Blair Brettschneider, and I help refugee girls find their place in America.
In my free time after work, I was tutoring different kids. One girl was really struggling.
How's it going?
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Good.
BRETTSCHNEIDER: So good to see you.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I had to do more because I'm a girl. I gook food for my family, go to laundry, take care of my brothers.
BRETTSCHNEIDER: We started going on field trips. We talked about college and things started changing.
Are you getting excited for classes?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yeah.
BRETTSCHNEIDER: One of our biggest goals together was for her to graduate from high school and be on a path to go to college. And she did. I thought that was really important to show the other girls.
BRETTSCHNEIDER: We are?
BRETTSCHNEIDER: There are about 50 girls in our different programs.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: You're making great progress. I'm so proud of you.
BRETTSCHNEIDER: Our mentorship programs matches girls who are in high school with mentors who work with them during the week.
She asked you to write an essay, right?
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I want to write about my life.
BRETTSCHNEIDER: In walking down the street, they are just teenagers.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I want to have my own salon.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: One day I'm hoping to become a nurse.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I want to be a teacher.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I want to become a doctor or a nurse.
BRETTSCHNEIDER: What I can see is what all of the girls can accomplish and everything that they can do. That's really wild. It's the best.
BANFIELD: And we need your help to find more inspiring people just like Blair, so we ask you to go to CNNheros.com and nominate someone you know who's making a terrific difference and deserves to be recognized for it.
My next guest was pushed into the spotlight, never assumed he would be there, but he was because he presided over the Casey Anthony spectacle, the trial. There he is. Here come the judge. Judge Belvin Perry, I'm reunited with you one again after a couple of years. You're going to join me live, next, and I'm going to ask you a little bit about reading that verdict and the new project that you have coming up.
So Judge Belvin Perry coming up next.
BANFIELD: Talk about a guy who can light up a room the minute he walks in, Judge Belvin Perry. You might remember him as the man in charge of the Casey Anthony murder trial. That not-guilty verdict stunned a lot of people. Guess what? It even stunned him. We watched his no-nonsense approach on the bench day after day, week after week as he dealt with the courtroom antics from all angles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELVIN PERRY, JR, JUDGE, NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT COURT OF FLORIDA: I want to ask both sides to turn around and look at that clock back there and tell me what time it is.
Mr. Baez, to be quite frank, both sides have engaged in what I call game playing. OK? And this is not a game. You would think that this would have grown old by now but I guess some things never change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: And the good judge is kind enough to join me now live from Orlando.
Nice to see you again.
You and I spent many a day together and many a lunch hour together in that restaurant across from the courthouse. How are you doing?
PERRY: Fine. How are you doing? I'm glad to be on your show today.
BANFIELD: Speaking of shows, I hear -- I remember saying to myself as I watched you on the bench everyday, this guy should be on TV, and that may be where you're headed. What do you have coming up?
PERRY: Well, I have two good people who are shopping to see if there is some interest in doing a show. I would love to do a show. I think a show with me on it would provide two things. It would provide entertainment and would also provide education on the law. I think there is always a need for folks to know about the law and to be entertained. Make it fun.
BANFIELD: I hear you. Well, you're the guy to do it. I was entertained in that court. Even though this was a murder trial, I couldn't believe you had such a wonderful way of dealing with what was really awful stuff and also annoying stuff that was going on.
Let me ask you about the moment when you read the verdict before the rest of us got to hear it. First thing that went through your mind? PERRY: Well, the first thing, I wanted to be sure what I was reading was what I was reading. And as I said, I was shocked. I was surprised. But I knew that could be a possibility, like in all cases, that a jury can view things totally different than what nonparticipants can view a trial. What you have to realize is that people take sides. They listen to things that don't come into evidence and they look at things through a different lens, a different filter. And evidently the jury did that. And they made a decision base upon their view of the evidence.
BANFIELD: Let me ask you this. I know that it was a massive frustration for you, the extraordinary media attention on your case. I know you had to readjust a lot of issues with how to release juror's names because of the media attention. Do you have anything you can tell me as to why there is this immense insatiable thirst for coverage of cases of people like Casey and Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox, and the list goes on? You're from the bench. Why do you think this is happening?
PERRY: Well, we have, number one, a 24-hour news cycle. Number two, whether we like it or not, court proceedings now begin to dominate our lives. We are a nation built upon the rule of law. And with access to courtrooms by cameras, it has basically fuelled the thirst for coverage, and people like to see its democracy in action.
BANFIELD: I tell you what, I only have one beef with you about spending 80-some odd days in your courtroom. I worked 20 hours a day and I was very sleepy and you had your officers kick us out if we nodded off. Those side bars are long and it was really hard to stay awake.
So next time I'm in your courtroom, go easy on me.
PERRY: I will personally give you a pass --
BANFIELD: Thank you, Judge.
PERRY: -- so they won't boot you out if you go to sleep.
BANFIELD: Appreciate it. Good luck with the show. I hope it's a success. You're going down the right road, if Judge Judy has anything to say about it. Man, she makes a lot of money.
Thank you for being on the show.
PERRY: Thank you very much and thanks for having me. It's good talking with you again.
BANFIELD: Judge Belvin Perry. It is good to see you again. Feels like it's been decades but it's only been a few years.
Judge Belvin Perry joining us from Orlando.
Despite all of the criticism of the NSA and all the surveillance of Americans, the FBI director, Robert Mueller, say it is needed. It's needed to prevent another terrorist attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: It's understandable and absolutely necessary if you want to protect the security of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: The good director sitting down one on one with your Joe Johns, next.
BANFIELD: Robert Mueller has been leading the FBI since the week before 9/11 and now, 12 years later, he's stepping down, but not before speaking with Joe Johns. Have a listen.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: We're coming up on the anniversary of 9/11. We've had embassies overseas closed and reopened. Are we bracing for imminent attack?
MUELLER: I don't think so although we have to monitor the situation very carefully. We had the reports of the possibility of an attack on our embassies in the Middle East perhaps a month ago. We took precautions. By that, I mean the administration and the State Department. It may well be that that's been postponed. We're monitoring the situation very carefully to determine if that's the case. But I don't think at this particular juncture we see an imminent attack.
JOHNS: If we had the kind of intelligence we were collecting through the NSA before September 11th, the kind of intelligence collection that we have now, do you think 9/11 would have been prevented?
MUELLER: I think there's a good chance that we would have prevented at least part of 9/11. The four planes, there were almost 19 persons involved. I think we would have had a much better chance of identifying those individuals who were contemplating that attack.
JOHNS: By this mass collection of information?
MUELLER: By the various programs that have been put in place since then. And part of it is not just the focus of those programs on identifying communications of would-be terrorists but it's also the ability to share that information amongst the law enforcement and intelligence communities. The Patriot Act broke down those laws and included that sharing of information, and so it's both the programs but also the ability to share the information that's made such a dramatic change in our ability to identify and stop plots.
BANFIELD: So much more on CNN.com.
Two women brought together by a near tragedy, meeting face-to-face exclusively on CNN. Don't miss this. It's next.
BANFIELD: Happy to end our show on a positive night. Last night, Anderson Cooper had an opportunity to talk to that hero bookkeeper who talked a suspect into surrendering. Her name is Antoinette Tuff and she gave Anderson the exclusive interview. The best part was the reunion with that 911 dispatcher who was her lifeline on the phone as everything unfolded.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, A.C. 360: I have somebody I'd like for you to meet.
ANTOINETTE TUFF, SCHOOL BOOKKEEPER: OK. OK.
COOPER: Come on in.
KENDRA MCCRAY, 911 OPERATOR: Oh!
COOPER: This is Kendra McCray.
TUFF: How are you?
MCCRAY: How are you doing?
MCCRAY: We made it.
TUFF: We did. Oh, my god.
COOPER: Kendra, what do you think of job that Antoinette did?
MCCRAY: She is a true hero. She missed her calling. She should have been a counselor or something.
You did so great.
TUFF: Thank you.
MCCRAY: I've never had a call where the caller was so calm and so confident in what you were saying and so personable. It was great.
COOPER: How did you know what to say to him? How did you know the right things to say?
TUFF: To be honest with you, I didn't. While I was there and she was talking to me and he was saying things to me, I was praying on the inside of myself and saying, God, what do I say now? What do I do now?
COOPER: Do you still feel compassion for him? Do you still feel sorry for this man?
TUFF: I really do. I would like to visit him.
COOPER: You would like to maintain contact with him?
TUFF: Yeah. I would like to contact him and see how he's doing. Not end the relationship there, because I know it's beyond what he sees. He's a hurting soul. If any kind of way that I can help him and allow him to get on the right path, we all go through something. I believe God gives us all a purpose in life. I believe he has a purpose and destiny for that young man also.
COOPER: I want to have you on my speed dial. Whenever I'm down, I want to talk to you. You're great.
TUFF: Thank you.
COOPER: I want you to call me sweetie and tell me everything's going to be OK.
TUFF: It's going to be OK.
COOPER: I'm going to be my ring tone. I going to get a ring tone with your voice saying, sweetie, everything will be OK.
TUFF: It's going to be OK. And it is.
COOPER: You have been through not only in your own lifer and personal things, devastation, but this situation. You've survived unimaginable things.
TUFF: Yes. I have this new thing that I say to myself. It's called Push Past the Pain. My pastor's wife did that teaching in a women's ministry last year. She titled the message Push Past the Pain. In spite of what adversaries you go through in life, continue to push. Every time things come on, I always say Push Past the Pain.
BANFIELD: I want her on my speed dial, tool. You can watch that entire interview between Anderson and Antoinette Tuff tonight, an "A.C. 360" special version of it at 11:00 eastern.
Thanks for watching, everyone. Have a great weekend.
AROUND THE WORLD starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I think the American people expect me to do as president is to think through what we do from the perspective of what is in our long-term national interests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)