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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Man Arrested Dozens of Times by Mistake; Wisconsin Targeting Wolves for Slaughter; Was Drag Racing Involved in Paul Walker`s Fatal Crash?

Aired December 2, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Outrage over jaw-dropping injustice, and I mean jaw-dropping. Surveillance video blows the lid off a very disturbing trend. A man detained by cops a whopping 288 times and arrested 27 times. And here`s the real kicker. The guy was at work when it happened and his boss says he was doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Imagine heading in to work for the day and wondering if you`re about to be arrested for no good reason.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Regularly arrested while he`s at work, and he`s had enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arrested 27 times at this convenience store and convicted of trespassing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They stopped me, going in my pocket, asked me for my I.D., running my name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Samson works at the store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The case that`s putting police on the defensive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re not protecting and serving. They`re harassing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In all, Samson has been stopped and/or arrested at various places 288 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel abused.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is my rant. You`re telling me these cops don`t have anything better to do than to incessantly question this one guy, Earl Samson, at the convenience store where he works? Are you kidding me?

He`s never been accused of robbery. He`s never been accused of murder. He`s never even been accused of tax evasion. He`s been convicted of two things: pot possession and trespassing, and the trespassing was while he was at work.

Now you tell me -- answer me this question -- how in the world can you trespass at your place of employment when your boss says, you`re there working.

Yes, this is a high-crime neighborhood. Yes, police have stepped up patrols. I get it. But somebody explain to me how routinely frisking this one guy is justice, is preventing crime.

Now Samson`s boss says last year he installed surveillance cameras in his store in Miami Gardens, Florida, not to catch the thieves or robbers but to catch cops that he said were harassing his employees and his customers. Officers had stopped and questioned Samson at least once a week for the past four years, sometimes several times a week, sometimes as many as three times in a single day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The same ones stop me two and three times a day. I feel like I can`t even be in my own neighborhood anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a high crime area, absolutely but doesn`t give a right to a police officer the right to violate people`s rights.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want you to tell me and tell me what you think is behind all this. 1-800-JVM-says, 1-877-586-7297. Call me. Did anything ever happen to you like this? I mean, I can`t imagine it.

I want to say the vast majority of law enforcement, cops in the country are great at what they do and they protect us. So I`m not lambasting the cops. There is a small minority of cops who have no respect for the badge or for people`s rights. That`s what we`re talking about here.

I got to start with the psychologist, Wendy Walsh. What could be psychology be behind this? Why are they targeting this one guy? Why do they keep coming into this store?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, from my understanding, Jane, this police department is trying to form the broken window policy. That is crack down on the smallest crimes they possibly can.

They`re also issuing quotas for these cops. They have to get their numbers up, the numbers of arrests. So here`s this guy who is an easy mark, and they`re going after him.

But Jane, not just him. They`re harassing everybody in that neighborhood, and most of the people are black and most of the cops are white and Latino. You tell me. That`s easy to figure out what`s going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you bring me to my big elephant. The United States has more people behind bars than any other country on the planet. Nearly 1.6 million incarcerated at the end of 2011. Some call it the prison industrial complex.

If you break down the prison population by race and gender, African American males make up the biggest portion, followed by whites and then those of Hispanic ethnicity. Now, let`s get to my elephant in the room.

(SOUND EFFECT: ELEPHANT TRUMPETING)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You called it, Wendy Walsh. Race. The color of a person`s skin should not be a factor whatsoever in how they`re treated by the criminal justice system.

But sadly, it seems to me pretty apparent that it is, despite the fact that we have an African-American president.

My question to J. Wyndal Gordon, attorney out of D.C., is there institutionalized racism in general and against African-American males in particular in the criminal justice system?

J. WYNDAL GORDON, ATTORNEY: I`ve always said that there`s institutionalized racism in general, and particularly with the African- American community.

Look, as African-American males, we`ve been living in a police state for a very long time. We have to be concerned about the cops and the robbers when we`re out on the street.

And the sad thing about it is that we have to teach our children how to conduct themselves when they are accosted by police. Now what you see on video here is the most despicable commentary of our system, but unfortunately some of us become anaesthetized to it because we see it all the time.

But as you look at Mr. Earl in this video, you can`t help but empathize with his plight, because 288 times arrested? If he`s got paper for that, if we wanted to obtain a job, people would look at him as a menace because he has so much police contact. And he`s only been convicted of trespassing and I imagine he got convict of that because he didn`t have an attorney or couldn`t afford one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he does now, mister. The much-questioned employee, Earl Samson, his boss and several other local residents have now filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Miami Gardens, Florida.

They are accusing officers of harassment and racial profiling. The city manager wouldn`t comment on the lawsuit but he did tell us city officials are, quote "deeply bothered" by the surveillance footage of the cops come in the store and grabbing this guy repeatedly. In the meantime, the mayor of Miami Gardens, an African American man himself says the claims are not true. He says his officers reached out to the store owner, but he hasn`t cooperated. Cooperated with what, I don`t know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR OLIVER GILBERT, MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA: He knows that his store is a source of problems in that community and he knows that we`re trying to clean up that community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sierra.

SIERRA ELIZABETH, ATTORNEY: Jane, how can this be anything other than -- it cannot be anything other than harassment of an African-American male in a high crime area. Because the law here is clear. We have Fourth Amendment rights.

Look, you need to have reasonable suspicion to make an investigatory stop of a person. And that`s reasonable suspicion that they created a crime or were involved in a crime. This is not the case here. This man was walking into his place of business. The store owner backs up his story and says that he is employed there, that he had lawfully on the premises and that he still gets arrested? Let alone that you also have to have probable cause to make an arrest. And there`s no probable `cause here at all.

The police in Miami are bypassing the fourth amendment here, because they want to racially profile African-American males in high crime areas.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in and say it`s Miami Gardens.

We want to go out to the phone lines. Stevie, South Carolina. What you got to say?

CALLER: Yes, I would like to say that I would make comparison to the Trayvon Martin trial. He racially profiled this boy, following him and shooting him with no remorse. Listen to the 911 call when he told him not to follow Trayvon Martin. They`re always going out and they`re always going for young black men, because they feel as though young black men are the strong dominant people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? Here`s what I have to say. It`s a shame, because this young man, who has done nothing wrong, now has a criminal record that`s going to impact the rest of his life, as J. Wyndal Gordon said.

And this is happening not just in Miami Gardens, but there`s evidence it`s happening coast to coast. And these young men then find themselves, really, at a disadvantage when it comes to getting a job, because there are background checks.

And shame on that. Shame on anybody who would target anybody else because of the color of their skin. We are all earthlings. We`re all here on this planet together. People and animals together. Let`s stop hating each other and start loving each other. Because we need to band together. We`ve got some problems with the environment, and maybe that`s what has to happen.

Mother Nature has to threaten us all so much that we realize, oh my God, we better band together and clean up our act or we`re going to lose this planet.

Ahead, another example of injustice. This man spent 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife. There`s only one problem. He didn`t do it. A stunning new CNN documentary show cases his incredible story.

Plus, tonight in just a couple of minutes we`re going to talk to another man wrongly -- wrongly accused of a very serious crime he did not commit.

So many questions surrounding the death of actor Paul Walker. Our guest was an eyewitness to the deadly horrific crash. That`s next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL WALKER, ACTOR: I grew up hunting and fishing. Like, I`ve always been into archery; I`ve always been into cars. In my family, that was just stuff we did. That`s just the way it was. So car racing, growing up, all the different car publications around the house, you know, going to my grandfather`s shop. I think it`s just a part of my DNA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, Foxy, tonight in our "Animal Investigations Unit," there`s a war against your cousins, your cousins the wolves, and it`s a war taking place in Wisconsin tonight. And critics say it must end, and I second that. End it.

Since mid-October 188 wolves, again cousins of the dogs, have been killed in the state of Wisconsin. That`s more than were killed in the entire hunting season last year.

Wisconsin has shut down several hunting zones. The state will allow 251 wolves, however, to be killed by the end of February, 251 wolves. Most of them are being tracked.

Critics say livestock, hunting and trapping interests have taken over the Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee. Basically, they went to kill the wolves, critics say, so they don`t have to spend money protecting livestock with fencing and cowboys.

That`s right. Critics say they`re killing these precious, beautiful, these innocent animals for profit: to make their lives easier, their jobs easier.

We reached out to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for comment. They did not respond. We called them twice. Typically of many government agencies that deal with animals, they feel they`re absolutely immune. They don`t have to say anything. And the wolves certainly can`t speak for themselves.

By the way, the state uses the term harvesting wolves. Yes, harvesting. That`s not what`s being done. These majestic animals are being slaughtered, killed, executed.

Stand up for them, because they cannot speak for themselves.

This is another example of the anti-wolf attitude that is growing in America, and it has to change. What`s worse: a whopping 85 percent of the wolves killed in Wisconsin this year were trapped. Do you know what that`s like?

OK. Now because of this crisis there`s a call to action for you from the Humane society of the United States to ban cruel traps. We`re going to talk about that in a second.

Straight out to Maggie Howell, executive director of the Wolf Conservation Center.

Maggie, tell us about the horror of these traps and how these wolves suffer when they are caught in traps.

MAGGIE HOWELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WOLF CONSERVATION CENTER: Yes, trapping is an incredibly barbaric and indiscriminate hunting tool. So not only is it going to have the wolves in great pain, suffering for a long amount of time, often chewing their limb off, dying of dehydration, it can also be very harmful to pets, people and other species, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at that animal. I see dogs in Central Park that look like that all the time. They`re cousins of my little Foxy here and your dogs at home. We`ve got to speak up for them.

OK. One of the worst aspects of this is that about 160 of the wolves killed this year were trapped. And that`s why, one of the many reasons why the Humane Society of the United States is urging the government to pass the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act. That would ban body-gripping traps from wildlife refuges. Hunters are allowed to use body-gripping traps in the state of Wisconsin.

The organization Born Free USA says, quote, "The brutality of these barbaric traps is shocking. The animals caught in them suffer an agonizing, prolonged death."

You know, these animals are innocent. They`ve done nothing wrong. And Maggie Howell, why is it, beyond the obvious horrific cruelty, a bad idea to be killing this many wolves?

HOWELL: Well, wolves are a keystone species. They`re ecologically extremely valuable to the environment. They can even be valuable economically. A lot of studies show that people are willing to pay top dollar to go to certain areas to see wild wolves. So we`re really killing the golden goose, and it just doesn`t make sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s obscene. I would like the authorities in Wisconsin to come on our show, because I`ve got some questions to ask them.

Meanwhile, people, go to my Facebook page, Jane Velez-Mitchell Facebook, go to my HLNTV.com/Jane, and I`ll hook you up with how to express your support for this proposed bill to ban trapping.

Next, Hollywood star Paul Walker dies in a very fiery crash. Why did the driver lose control of the car? It`s a mystery we`re exploring on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before Paul Walker shot a frame of the original "Fast and Furious," he was ecstatic about acting in a movie about car racing.

WALKER: It was a joke. I remember getting the phone call. It was like, "Hey, Paul, we realize you`re not filming yet, but would you be comfortable with going to Las Vegas for a couple of days to go to race car driving school?"

And I`m like "What, are you kidding me? This is a joke, right?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Walker, who made a name for himself in the "Fast and Furious" movie franchise, died in a fiery car crash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s nothing. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers.

WALKER: You can`t control anything. And that`s like us with money (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight in the Lion`s Den, shock in Hollywood. Has life imitated art again?

Famous "Fast and Furious" Paul Walker goes out for a spin in this high-priced Porsche, but the joy ride ends with the car crashing head first into a light pole and then exploding into flames, killing both Walker and his friend at the wheel.

We just moments ago obtained this video of the moment of impact. Take a look at it. It`s mostly hidden by the trees, but look at the explosion. Look at the smoke. That is horrific. Two individuals are there in that, in that. Wow, look at that unfold. Again, we just received that moments ago. You are looking at what happened -- moments after. There`s the crash, moments after the crash. Boom. Right there.

And also, you can check out some other footage of YouTube of somebody going by the crash moments after it happened. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a guy in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He died. Go!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is just unbelievably sad. Look at the wreckage there.

The investigation tonight involves what happened in those final few seconds before the car crashed.

Now earlier that day Walker helped host a fundraiser in Santa Clarita, which is a suburb about 30 miles outside of L.A. He was gathering donations for the Philippine victims. The victims of the typhoon. He was showcasing some of the fancy sports cars. He was a wonderful guy. He loved to help people.

As the fund-raiser was wrapping up, Walker and his buddy and business partner decided to take the $500,000 Porsche on a spin. And he said, "I`ll be right back." But now cops say it wasn`t a leisurely drive, that there was speeding involved. And they even got a tip that drag racing might have been involved in this incident.

But Walker is famous for his wild racing scenes in the "Fast and Furious" movies. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice car. What`s the retail on one of those?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than you can afford, pal. Ferrari.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are the chances, what an irony?

We know that Paul Walker was just the passenger in the red 2005 Porsche, but cops told CNN they aren`t just investigating if drag racing was involved in the crash but also claims that a mystery car might have veered in front, causing the driver to swerve.

All right. We have a fabulous Lion`s Den panel tonight. But first we want to go to Alan Duke, CNN digital reporter. Do you know that there was speeding? Have cops said yes, there was speeding involved in this?

ALAN DUKE, CNN DIGITAL REPORTER: When the day started this morning, I was told by a Los Angeles County sheriff sergeant who was at the scene on Saturday that they were looking at the possibility of drag racing. They had a tip that a second car was seen there and involved.

Just a short time ago, though, the sheriff`s department, it says, they decided there`s no evidence of that. They`re closing that out. Now they`re focusing on speed. And I can tell you, you can get a lot of speed on the street that they were on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do they think they were speeding?

DUKE: Yes, they do. The focus is on speed. There`s probably no doubt, at least the investigators say, there is no doubt that they were speeding. It`s a 45 mile-per-hour zone, a very wide boulevard there. Almost deserted on a Saturday after a Thanksgiving holiday. They were going fast.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now why they crashed is a total mystery, but cops are investigating speed. They had originally been investigating whether it could have been a drag race, but you heard moments ago -- and that`s breaking news -- that it`s not drag racing. And that does not surprise me, because Paul Walker has publicly spoken out against drag racing. Listen to the late Paul Walker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Kids have been drag racing since I don`t know, basically as long as there have been cars kids have been drag racing. I think that -- I think you see the downside to doing it, and I think that is, you know, hey, the cops swarm in. They take your car, and you don`t want to mess with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Take a look at those marks on the road. Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, famed forensic scientist, the bodies were so badly burned they have to rely on the dental records. So the car is a complete - - it`s just destroyed. What can they do in terms of looking at evidence, specifically these tire marks found near the scene to determine what really happened, Dr. Kobi.

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST (via phone): Well, essentially, there are analysts that tried to reconstruct the accident. And by measuring the length of those tire track impressions, they can get an estimate of the speed.

You have to know whether or not the driver tried to hit his brakes. That will become evident, as well.

So -- and also, just because people are saying that Paul Walker was not the driver, that`s got to be confirmed, as well. That would probably be done through DNA analysis.

So the idea here is if the car was traveling 45 miles per hour, could it possibly leave those kind of tracks, and that has to be determined through physics, the laws of physics. And again, DNA will tell whether or not the friend, Paul Walker`s friend, Roger Rodas, was actually driving.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We actually have somebody here who was an eyewitness to the aftermath of the crash, and I want to get to him and I want to explain that this charity event was to benefit, as I mentioned, the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. Paul Walker was a very generous man, and he was known to have a huge heart.

Listen to his heartbroken father describe his son, Paul Walker, the actor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was proud of him every day of his life. He was always doing stuff for us, big gestures. He just -- his heart was so big.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So sad. Joining me now, eyewitness Jim Torp.

Jim, thank you for joining us. I know this is difficult for you and my condolences. I know you cared and your family cared very much for the Walkers and Paul Walker in particular. You were at the charity event. What was Paul`s mood leading up to this tragedy? I mean, set the stage for us.

JIM TORP, EYEWITNESS TO AFTERMATH OF CRASH (via phone): I`ll set the stage. This was a charity event. It was an annual charity event for Toys for Tots. Part of the toys that we earned on Saturday were going to the victims, of course, you know, of the monsoon, were going -- part of them were going to Indiana to the tornado victims and as well as for Toys for Tots here in California.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jim, can I jump in and ask you this question?

TORP: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have said that you did not see any other car. Did you get any evidence that there was the need for speed? I want to see the aerial shot where we look down. Because if you look like from the aerial, you see that the streets look like a racetrack and that they have had problems with people speeding. And you see how it looks just like a racetrack even though it`s a public street.

Do you think there was any speeding involved? Why do you think this happened?

TORP: Well, you know, as you said earlier, you know, everything was winding down. Roger was parked in the Porsche. Paul Walker wanted to take a ride in the Porsche that they had just got. And so, you know, they said to us, "Hey, we`ll be back in five minutes. We`re taking the car out for a test drive, and we`ll be right back."

So, you know, as far as one, speeding out the parking lot coming out of the event, that never happened because there was a California Highway patrolman sitting on the corner waiting for people to speed. When they got out they drove out nice and easy, they drove past the cop, they went for a 20-minute ride.

When I saw them come back in to the loop, they drove past us, I was talking to my friends that have a Ferrari and a Ford GT, both very high performance cars, we were comparing the exhaust.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did they speed past you when you they were speeding - - when you saw them come back after that spin were they speeding?

TORP: At that point they had slowed down from whatever speed they were doing so they weren`t doing 100-miles an hour like a lot of people are saying because they were coming into a turn. So it`s when they turned out of the turn and then they got about three or four hundred feet is where the accident happened. So that`s what we`re still trying to find out.

I don`t know who this analyst is that you had on, on the radio or on TV just a couple of seconds ago. Those tire marks that you see there and which is good because he`s looking at it off the camera, those are not the tire marks of the Porsche GT. Those are tire marks off of either a Toyota or a Subaru or something because the tire marks are only six inches wide. The average tire on a Porsche, just so everybody knows, is 17 to 18 inches wide. So those are not the tire marks made from that car.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well you know a lot about cars and we are in the early stages of this investigation. Jim Torp, I want to thank you. We just look at the evidence as police look at it and they will discard as they come upon it.

It`s a tragedy, that`s one thing we know and our hearts go out to Paul Walker`s family.

On the other side, 22 years behind bars -- speaking of a tragedy -- for a crime he didn`t commit. And you will not believe why he sat and languished in prison. We`ll talk to this man live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her husband convicted of the crime, but there`s a big problem here. They thought that he needed to prove himself innocent. He didn`t do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never think that this can happen to you or anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did not show any emotion in the courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He spent nearly that years in jail accused of murdering her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For a crime he did not commit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any one of us could be Michael Morton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight`s big story, a shocking shameful secret exposed. Our nation, as I tell you often, has more people locked up than anywhere in the world. But guess what -- there`s a slew of wrongful conviction. A new CNN film, "AN UNREAL DREAM: THE MICHAEL MORTON STORY" is the story, the true story of a husband and father who always said he was innocent in the 1986 beating death of his beloved wife but a Texas jury convicted him giving him life in prison.

Michael Morton sat in a jail cell for a quarter of a century desperately trying to clear his name. Three years ago this poor man finally got his life back. New DNA evidence was the key to setting him free from his nightmare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MORTON, WRONGFULLY CONVICTED FOR WIFE`S DEATH: When I first got to the Texas penitentiary, the first thing they do is they strip you naked and search you. You`re given a pair of state boxers.

I realized the full gravity of the place, because as I was standing in line to get my boots, I noticed the guy in front of me, I counted 13 stab wounds in his back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t miss "AN UNREAL DREAM" this Thursday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN must watch television. Unfortunately, it`s horrible, this happens way too often and we have a very special guest tonight. Alan Newton was released after spending 22 years in jail for a rape he did not commit. He begged cops, "Test the DNA, it wasn`t me."

Key evidence was taken, a rape kit from the woman who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and twice robbed in New York. But cops claim that it was missing, that the files were destroyed in a fire. Turns out the rape kit was right there in its original storage bin from 1984, in the very same place, the same police warehouse that authorities claim they searched three times. The same barrel, barrel number two, it was there all along.

In Alan Newton`s case, the rape victim was forced into a car, taken to an abandoned building, raped, beaten and stabbed in the eye. She originally identified Alan in the photos but then said it wasn`t him, she wasn`t so sure.

Straight out to my very special guest, Alan Newton and I am so glad you are free tonight, my dear friend. I don`t know you but I feel like I want to call you that because your story just touched me in a way -- I was sick to my stomach as a New Yorker. You said that you had an alibi, a woman you spent the night with in Queens.

ALAN NEWTON, WRONGFULLY CONVICTED FOR RAPE: Correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me -- tell me what this was like, this surreal nightmare, this Kafka-esque experience of not committing a crime and being convicted and spending two decades plus two years in prison, sir.

NEWTON: Well, one of the things I can definitely say is that for being one of the 300 exonerees for the Innocent Project we all have the same feeling that the system basically failed us. And the problem is the system is still failing us because it refused to acknowledge any responsibility in this action. It refuses basically to take any responsibility in regards to all of these wrongful convictions that happened in the past and wrongful convictions that are still going on.

And like you mentioned in my case, Jane, I`ve been trying -- I was trying to find my evidence in my case since 1986. It disappeared a few times. I got different excuses as to why they could never find the evidence.

And basically that was one of the reasons that kept me going because once I understood the city did not even understand their evidence preservation procedure. So if they did not understand the procedure, it was safe to understand or know where the evidence was at the same time, though.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Your attitude really inspires me because -- I don`t know -- I think, I think I would have been very, very bitter and you don`t seem bitter and I applaud you for that, really -- my hats off to you.

Vanessa Potkin, you are the former attorney as well as a senior staff attorney for Innocence Project. Here`s what gets me, when I just found out that -- I said to him during the break, I said I`m sure you sued, right? And he said, yes, I got awarded $18.5 million but then after the jury awarded me that, some judge said, "I don`t think so. There was negligence but I don`t think he deserves money." Are you kidding me? Vanessa.

VANESSA POTKIN, ALAN NEWTON`S FORMER ATTORNEY: It`s pretty incredible. I mean it`s been over, you know, six going on seven years since Alan was exonerated and he hasn`t received a penny of compensation. And unfortunately, you know, he was able to bring a federal civil rights lawsuit which is on appeal now and will hopefully be decided soon by the Second Circuit.

But only 29 states in this country even have laws on the books that provide compensation for those who are wrongfully convicted. And some of those state laws are woefully inadequate. You know, some have caps of $20,000. So you could, you know, serve 25, 30 years in prison and the most you can recover is $20,000. We have a real problem in this country with how we treat victims of wrongful convictions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to Dr. Kobe briefly -- we have very little time. How do cops say we don`t have that DNA anymore, it got lost in a fire, we can`t find it and it`s sitting right there in the same barrel where they left it in 1984?

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST (via telephone): It`s absolutely inexcusable because we know that the way to exonerate wrongfully convicted people is through DNA. By the way, Alan mentioned that he said he started looking for evidence in 1986. He`s lucky they didn`t find it then in a sense because we weren`t doing DNA then and it probably would have been tested with other methods and may not have resolved anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I wouldn`t say that Alan is lucky but let`s go back to Alan for one second. I want to say that I congratulate you. I hope you win at least $18.5 million. I would like you to come back on and be a regular on our show because we just scratched the surface tonight. Will you promise to do that?

NEWTON: I definitely will come back. I definitely like to make one point. I actually did find the evidence after 1986. In 1988 there was supposed to be testing done by the ME`s office in the city but unfortunately a scientist who was to perform the testing basically never performed the testing and basically just falsified the medical reports.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable incompetence and if what you`re saying is true, corruption.

NEWTON: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bad. Thank you Alan, thank you Vanessa, thank you, panel. Next --

NEWTON: Thank you for having me, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, come back so.

NEWTON: Will do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Do bad eating habits start in the womb? Moms, this is a must -- and dads listen to the story. Are junk food eating moms putting their future children at risk?

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your Crazy Video of the Day -- not so smart crook. Police say this would-be robber came in to this Miami convenience store to steal cash but a quick thinking clerk said, "Hey, why don`t continue you grab some beer too."

Well, the friendly gesture bought just enough time for cops to get to the scene and capture this really silly, short-sighted suspect. Hope you enjoyed the brewsky, dude. Best part, the guy`s bag of stolen stuff broke on the way out the store.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a clip from the extraordinary documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". Food is everywhere. Well, you don`t need to test a bunch of rodents to come to this obvious conclusion but they did. A new study showing that women when they`re pregnant women if they eat a whole bunch of junk and fast food they are putting their kids behind the eight ball healthwise before those children are even born.

That`s the eating patterns the children develop in early childhood and even in the womb carry on through their entire lives, which raises the question -- are parents responsible for the epidemic in childhood obesity?

Does that surprise you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, that makes a lot of sense. Whatever you`re eating goes right to your child. We`re training them. So we eat very healthy. They`re allowed, you know, snacks and junk food here and there but it`s not part of their diet. And they know when it`s OK and when it`s not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s what you teach them to eat. It`s what`s becoming healthy. You pass it through breast milk.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Given all of that then why don`t pregnant women stick to a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains? Good stuff. Could it be the cravings?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes but everything in moderation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you think that cravings are no excuse to just go crazy on the junk and fast food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no. There`s always an excuse to do it but we have to moderate ourselves right?

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Neal Barnard, of Physicians` Committee for Responsible Medicine, 70 percents of Americans are overweight or obese. I mean what`s your message to moms?

DR. NEAL BARNARD, PHYSICIANS` COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE MEDICINE: Well, you know, moms have been told for a long period of time when you`re pregnant, when you`re breast feeding your baby eats what you eat.

But what we now know is not only does your baby eat what you eat, your baby comes to prefer what you`re eating. So let`s say you`re eating a lot of salt, a lot of sugar, those happen to be the foods your baby is going to prefer later. And there`s a time -- there`s a specific window during pregnancy and up until about three and a half months after birth that`s a time when a lot of these food preferences are really set.

So what does that mean? Just as you said in the introduction there, a mother should be feeding herself and her baby the healthiest foods -- that`s vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans.

There`s also been a new warning out about dairy product. We`ve learned for a long time that if the mother is consuming milk herself, if she`s breast feeding some of those milk proteins go all the way through her digestive tract into her breast milk and can then cause colic in the breastfeeding baby. I`m talking about cow`s milk proteins ending up in mom`s breast milk and affecting the child.

So that`s been a surprise to us but we now know that that`s the case. So it`s another reason why moms should follow a healthy diet. That means plant-based diet -- vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans. The payoff is going to be a healthier baby and a healthier child growing up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I say, Dr. Neal Barnard with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Google PCRM -- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and learn more about this. A lot of information you can use.

And coming up next: a solution to America`s big, big, big, problem. That`s a hint.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane.

Sophie -- look at those two-colored eyes like that. So gorgeous. Oh, my God, Oakley, you are also stunning and adorable, and I think you love to get a little scratch, don`t you? Oh, yes, you do. Speaking of scratches, Hunter says, "Scratch my belly". And that`s not a request -- that`s a demand. Buddy -- he says I like hanging out with my buddy. Who`s that little guy at the bottom? He is very cute.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One in every seven can`t find full-time work.

RICHARD QUEST, CNNI HOST: Holding the U.S. economy back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bring down the unemployment rate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there`s a new model that could change the way students learn the skills they need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The apprenticeship concept.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So those German kids, they`re ready for a job when they graduate high school. We need to give every American student opportunities like this.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unleash me. We talk about America`s growing gap between rich and poor eroding the middle class; how in this increasingly high-tech world those with less access to higher education seem destined for low-wage, dead-end jobs. We also complain millions of industrial jobs have gone overseas.

Staring us in the face is a solution, an obvious way to create millions of new, exciting, decent-paying, rewarding blue collar jobs. That solution is apprenticeships.

And here to explain that is Ben Olinsky, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Tell us why this apprenticeship which unfortunately have dropped by 40 percent in the last few years are the solution to America`s gap between the wealthy and the poor?

BEN OLINSKY, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well Jane thanks so much for having me on.

Apprenticeships are basically a job that pay you to learn skills on the job and in related classroom instruction. They`re pretty much paid by the employers and so for workers, it means that you don`t have for a typical four-year-degree. And in fact, in many, you`re not just learning the skill, you might even get an associate`s degree or even a bachelor`s along the way.

And for employers, it`s great because they`re getting -- they`re building a pipeline of skilled workers which they so desperately need especially with the upcoming retirement of the baby boomers. And the nice thing about apprenticeships is that they create a lot of wealth for the workers over their lifetime.

There`s one study that showed that workers who went through an apprenticeship and completed it made $300,000 more in wages and benefits over the course of their lifetime. And for a lot of people, this is an alternative for a traditional four-year degree where you see student debt has just skyrocketed, college costs have skyrocketed -- today it`s close to $27,000 for someone coming out of college.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, we`ve got to leave it there but it`s an obvious solution. Government, get to work. Put business together with these talented young people who need a practical job skill.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for your Slice of Happiness, Foxy. It took hours but rescuers finally got this tiny terrier out of a drain in Dallas.

Nancy, next.

END