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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Judge Orders "Affluenza" Teen to Rehab; Opening Statements Begin in Loud Music Murder Case; Emotional Day in Curtis Reeves Trial; Obama Says He'll Stay Away If His Presence Will Hurt Democratic Re- elections; Bieber, Dad Smoking Pot on Plane.
Aired February 6, 2014 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: But no matter how you slice it, to look at this as justice is a perversion of it. When a court for the future looks at something like affluenza and has somebody get off easy like this because they're from such a background, I think that I would dare say it will not happen.
I also say this, Ashleigh, finally. I think, rich or poor, I think you have to factor in everything about the case. When you factor in four people dead, two people critically injured. A person is 16, driving with three times over the limit, three hours later, so could have been higher, I think that's problematic and should have never have occurred the way it did.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Let's say this. If anybody is angry about the fact affluenza made big headlines and this defense attorney thinks it's crazy when he, in fact, brought the strategy to the court --
-- let's say this folks, and be happy about this -- it probably won't work again. Headlines have been distasteful. We are all a jury pool. We will all not buy that crap if it is put before us in a court of law.
Gentlemen, thank you.
JACKSON: Well stated.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
JACKSON: Thank you.
BANFIELD: I learned from the best, from you guys.
Thank you, guys.
Just ahead, we're moments from opening statements in another case. Before we do that, a reminder. Take a look at your screen. Yes, that's me. But the other thing is 12:00 p.m., we're moving. LEGAL VIEW moving to 12:00 noon start next week. Be sure to tune in next week at noon eastern for our new time slot. After that, we'll be sleeping in one extra hour. My team is thrilled. Just ahead, those opening statements I talked about, the case making big headlines because it seems to be about loud music. It's a murder trial in Florida where a man is accused of shooting into an SUV filled with teenagers because they were playing music loud and wouldn't turn it down. One teen is dead. It's similar to the Trayvon Martin case. Guess what? It ain't similar at all. Looks can be deceiving folks. We'll explain.
BANFIELD: Jurors in the so-called loud music murder trial. Really, that's what it's being called in headlines. We're just 30 minutes away from important things happening. They're called opening statements, and they set the tone for the trial. 47-year-old Michael Dunn is charged with first-degree murder for shooting an unarmed teenager at a gas station in a case a lot compare to Trayvon Martin killing. Dunn says he was trying to defend himself when he shot at the car filled with teenagers, telling police one of the teens pulled a gun after he asked them to turn down music. Big problem. No gun was found.
CNN's Tory Dunnan is joining me live outside of the courthouse in Jacksonville.
Tory, anybody, unless they're living under a rock, knows that during the Trayvon case, which was so pivotal around the question of race, the makeup of the jury was questioned every single day. Who was black, who was white, who was male, who was female? The race question was bigger than the gender question. What does this panel look like?
TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Ashleigh, this is interesting. Right now, we're taking a look at a group of 16 people. The reason it's 16 people, it's 12 jurors and four alternates. So far, the judge has not made it clear who the jurors are and who the alternates are. When we talk about this group, we've got a lot of information, but today we should know who those jurors are.
Getting you the key information you were talking about, we know it's 10 women, six men. Among the women, five are white, three are African-American, two are described as Asian decent. Among the men, five white and one male described as Hispanic and white. That's where we stand with that right now.
It's interesting, if you go beyond the fact, these people have diverse backgrounds. One is a father of 11 kids. Another is a software programmer. Michael Dunn is in the software business as well. There's a doctor that could be one of the jurors sitting in the trial.
BANFIELD: Fascinating. Also fascinating, Angela Corey is actually litigating. She'll be in the courtroom. She spearheaded the case for the prosecutors in the Trayvon Martin case but she was only in the gallery. She was not on the other side of the bar. So this will be good lawyering. We'll be watching.
Tory Dunnan, thank you for that.
Again, we're just minutes away from the opening in that case.
In the meantime, a very emotional day in a courtroom for a retired policeman who fatality shot a man in a movie theater, allegedly because that man was texting with the babysitter of his kid. Wait until you hear what the shooter said, how he said it, and what he may have said to the victim and the victim's wife moments after shooting the husband.
BANFIELD: Some damning evidence coming out against the 71-year-old man that shot and killed a father who happened to be texting a babysitter in a theatre because he wanted to check on his daughter. The victim is Chad Oulson. The widow wept in the courtroom. She, herself, still wearing a cast because she was shot in the hand. She was trying to protect her husband. It did not work. The raw emotion did not just come from her side of the aisle in the courtroom.
As Martin Savidge explains, there's plenty more of that sure to come.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Retired Tampa police captain, Curtis Reeves, shed tears in court Wednesday.
UNIDENTIFIED DAUGHTER OF REEVES: He has high blood pressure.
SAVIDGE: His family and friends came to the 71-year-old's defense in a bond reduction hearing that felt more like a murder trial. More than eight hours of emotional testimony.
Reeves pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated battery charges stemming inside the central Florida movie theater January 13th. He's accused of shooting and killing Chad Oulson, who was texting with his 2-year-old daughter's babysitter during the movie's previews.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: He said I can't believe he shot me. He took another step and collapsed on my son.
SAVIDGE: Reeves said he acted in self-defense after being hit in the face with an unknown object in the dark. Witnesses in the theater say the only thing thrown was popcorn. Then Reeves fired a shot, killing Oulson and wounding his wife.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: I checked his pupils to see if they would react to light, and they did not.
SAVIDGE: Oulson's widow wept in the front row as Reeves sat in court in civilian clothes and no handcuffs. Reeves daughter asked that her elderly father be released.
UNIDENTIFIED DAUGHTER OF REEVES: He has arthritis in his hands. He kept his tools because he knew that his hands would get better and he'd be able to do it again. But it hasn't happened.
SAVIDGE: An off-duty deputy attending the movie with his son said he heard Reeves talking to his wife about the shooting after the gunshot.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: She postured and said that was no cause to shoot anyone. And then he leaned back around and stuck his finger out as to scold her and said, you shut your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouth and don't say another word.
SAVIDGE: The judge in the case granting a big win for the prosecution, allowing them to play infrared surveillance video of the shooting in an open court when the hearing continues Friday morning.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.
BANFIELD: A rollover car crash happens on the freeway. Firefighters get to the scene to help the victims. Really heroic stuff. Look at your screen. What's going on here? Why is that cop handcuffing the firefighter, all at the time he's trying to help the victims of the crash? They put him in the cop car. We're going to tell you how this played out and we'll ask if there's any reason a police officer should do this in the first place.
BANFIELD: We now have pretty good intel on that closed-door huddle that went on between Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama. It happened in Washington yesterday.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer joins me now live with the inside story.
Am I correct in what I'm hearing that the president gave an overture to Senate Democrats saying, if I'm not polling well in your jurisdiction, I'll stay away, I'll help you by not helping?
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: That's part of the story. He made it clear, in some vulnerable Senate races, he could go into states and help with fundraising, energizing more of the Democratic base. I'll give you an example. North Carolina where Kay Hagan is up for a tough re-election bid, the incumbent Democratic Senator. She may not want to be overly seen with the president throughout the state. But in certain parts of the state, go to Charlotte, for example, where there's a significant African-American community, a big Democratic base there, the president could go there and try to energize the base to show and vote for Kay Hagan. That would be helpful to her. Other parts of the state wouldn't be helpful to her. It's not as easy going, it's not as black and white, shall we say, as it may appear.
BANFIELD: I know this is not unusual. It's not as though other presidents in the past have been faced with the same kind of thing. Has to have these very difficult conversations with their party. It's just that you don't usually hear about it or you don't maybe have the candor. Do I have that right?
BLITZER: Well, there's usually -- in the second term of an administration, when the second term president is -- job approval numbers are relatively low -- let's take an example of George W. Bush. In 2006, when he was in his second term, his job approval numbers were roughly the same as President Obama's are right now, in the 42, 43, 44-percentage area. There were a bunch of Republicans not all that eager to be seen with George W. Bush either. He wasn't necessarily going to be helpful to them in some close competitive races where Republicans were facing strong Democrats. So it's not all that unusual.
BLITZER: But in this particular case, this president was just re- elected, re-elected pretty impressively in 2012. What a change a year has made between then and now.
BANFIELD: Yeah. And while George Bush's numbers may be very similar, that re-election was a bit of a squeaker.
Wolf Blitzer, thank you. It's always good to see you.
A reminder to all of our viewers as well, they can watch you every afternoon at 1:00 eastern time and then again at 5:00 eastern time as well. One of the best in the business right there.
The newest chapter in the saga that is Justin Bieber. Allegedly, both that pop star and his dad were asked to stop smoking dope on a flight from Canada to New Jersey. And supposedly, there was so much dope smoke in the air the flight crew had to put on oxygen masks to protect themselves. The LEGAL VIEW on this one just ahead.
BANFIELD: Justin Bieber may have been flying high on his trip to the Super Bowl last week. Real high. In fact, there are so many puns about the mile-high club, I can't even begin. A police source is telling CNN that the pilots told the singer, who was with his dad on the plane, to stop smoking pot. In fact, they said they told both of them to stop smoking pot. That's his dad on the right hand side of your screen, Jeremy Bieber. The father and son team allegedly did not listen to the pilots. And the pilots said, reportedly the smoke was so thick on the plane that the crew had to put on oxygen masks. Now, the report is that they didn't want to test positive, you know, with the secondhand smoke, as opposed to maybe the danger that might impose to them flying the plane. When they landed, the plane was searched and the pop star questioned for several hours. No drugs were found on board. And it seems no charges will be filed. But is that the end of the story?
I want to bring in Paul Callan and Joey Jackson on this.
Paul, let me start with this. I always assumed that the pilot on any aircraft is god. You may not say no to anything a pilot says, like put down the Martini, you've had enough, or I'm going to call the police when we land. Isn't that right?
CALLAN: Well, I'll give you one exception to the rule. It's when you're buzzing around in one of those little private jets that cost about a zillion dollars to rent. It's not like United Airlines or Delta where the captain exerts control over the passengers. This is a private jet. And who knows what happens. But, yeah, you're right. He's the captain of the ship. I'm shocked he didn't force the plane to land. But probably they're afraid to lose the business of Justin Bieber, a celebrity --
BANFIELD: Good point.
CALLAN: -- so they cut him some slack. And we got to get you one of those jet planes so you know how it works.
BANFIELD: I'm not going to sit here and --
JACKSON: Ashleigh already has one.
BANFIELD: Yeah, whatever. Clearly, you don't know I work for CNN.
I'm not going to besmirch Justin Bieber for having a private plane. He deserves it if he earns the money and he's got to be all these places and going to be everywhere, like all of these court hearings, et cetera, in a hurry. Here is where I will besmirch someone. If you are smoking dope on a plane and the secondhand smoke can reach the crew, doesn't that only endanger the people on board and down below. Because there's a reason pilots aren't allowed to smoke dope and fly.
Joey, where am I wrong?
JACKSON: It's a wonderful argument to be made. It would be a question certainly as to whether or not -- you know, just backing up a bit, they said when they came on to the plane they needed to wear oxygen masks because it was such a strong odor of this marijuana that they just couldn't take it. So it leads to the question as to whether or not that secondhand smoke could have been so strong and so pungent as to perhaps affect the people driving the plane. I think it's a stretch though.
BANFIELD: Wait, wait, wait. I got to clear the air here. Sorry, got to have a pun.
JACKSON: No pun intended.
BANFIELD: Right. The way this is being reported is that the crew in flight needed to put the oxygen masks on and that the belligerence of Justin Bieber and his father actually directed the pilot to say, stay close to the cockpit, just to stay safer. But those who came on board to search on the ground, customs officials, they just reported a very, very thick heavy smell of marijuana. But I hadn't heard they needed to wear the masks. So I don't want to report anything that isn't, you know, vetted and cleared.
But here's the other question, are you allowed to smoke marijuana in the sky? You know, it seems like it's illegal to me.
BANFIELD: I know it's legal in some places, but Paul Callan, is it legal in the skies?
CALLAN: No, it's not legal in the skies. It's not legal in Canada where the flight emanated from. And it's not legal in Teterboro. What is with immigration authorities who know this is going on, who know this kid has been arrested in Florida for substance abuse in connection with driving a car? Apparently, he's using drugs on a plane. And they let him into the country. I mean, don't we have laws about this?
BANFIELD: OK. Good question, Joey.
BANFIELD: It's not illegal to be high, is it? It's illegal to be in possession of actually something tangible, which they did not find. But it's not illegal to smell like marijuana or be high as a kite, is it?
JACKSON: No, absolutely not.
JACKSON: You're absolutely right.
CALLAN: If it's in his bloodstream, it is illegal. But --
BANFIELD: But hold on. No, no, no. I don't think it's illegal to be high. You can't go out and be a public nuisance or do something like drive, but Joey --
CALLAN: No. No, no. But immigration authorities, if you are actually under the influence of drugs when you try to enter the United States --
CALLAN: They have the --
BANFIELD: But, Paul --
CALLAN: -- the discretion to stop you from coming in. JACKSON: Yes --
CALLAN: Try it some time, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Really quick. I have 10 seconds to the end of the show.
Joey, real quick.
JACKSON: Very briefly, the fact is that he was in the United States. He was at Teterboro Airport. I don't think Immigration is going to interfere --
CALLAN: Yeah, that's where he was clearing --
CALLAN: That's where customs was.
JACKSON: But there has to be an adjudication of guilt or anything else before Immigration is going to ultimately --
BANFIELD: I could go on and on.
JACKSON: -- deport anyone.
BANFIELD: I could go on and on but --
CALLAN: I disagree.
BANFIELD: -- there's another show that is going to take over my airways in just a matter of seconds.
JACKSON: Innocent until proven guilty, Mr. Callan.
CALLAN: Straight until proven high is what I say.
BANFIELD: You got to stop. My show is over.
(CROSSTALK) BANFIELD: By the way, a reminder again. This Monday, this program is moving to noon, folks. I'm going to sleep in an extra hour. No more bags under the eyes. My crew couldn't be happier.
AROUND THE WORLD starts right now.