tv America the Courts CSPAN October 31, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
snxtd cracking turn to in the horrific rape. six men have been arrested, accused of raping a 15 and a half-year-old girl for 2 1/2 hours. what about the video and pictures? has this girl's nightmare gone viral? plus, a bitter divorce. a billion-dollar proportions. the owners of the l.a. dodgers are splitting up and you will not believe how much money the wife wants. she is demanding almost half a million dollars per month. that's more than $15,000 a day.
and too fat to kill? a man says he couldn't do it because he is too fat. what a fascinating defense. this guy weighs 285 pounds. i didn't realize there was a weight limit on guns. will the jury buy this new twinky defense? plus, another lawmaker caught with his proverbial pants down. cops say he was parked at a cemetery with a stripper, sex toys and viagra. and thought allegedly happened during his lunch break. we'll give you all the sordid details. more suspects nabbed in that gang rape. some of the suspects are juveniles, boys, ages 15 and 16. now they're charged as adults and could go to prison for lifl they are accused. raping a 15-year-old girl for 2 1/2 hours, just steps from a loamcoming dance.
>> it's something out of a hollywood movie. it's so extremely vicious and absolutely unnecessary. >> will the crowd of gawkers who did absolutely nothing to help this girl ever be punished. police say as many as 20 people, males, laughed, took photos, possibly even took cell phone video while this victim was being brutalized. what is being done to make sure those images are locked down forever. if they go viral, this girl will be victimized all over again. now, is the school going to take any responsibility for the lack of safety here? the victim's friend was at the dance and says school officials and police were completely negligent. >> i looked outside of the gym and i saw 12 to 15 guys sitting there with no i.d.s. the officers, not only did they not check the i.d.s of those students, those men outside the campus, but the security officers who are employed here did no job checking either. the assistant principal looked outside and actually saw those men and did nothing about it.
>> what? that's an outrage. i want to welcome my fantastic panel. judge karen mills-francis. clinical psychologist. curtis sliwa, founder of the guardian angels and radio talk show host of the and criminal defense attorney. got to start with the guardian angel tonight. curtis, we have both covered so many crimes, but this one seems to have crossed some invisible line. it has generated outrage around the world because of the sheer number of males involved in this brutality. as many as ten participating, as many as 20 watching. is this not the most hideous example of a hunter/prey dynamic that is somehow developing between males and females. >> no question. it's like the gal was a pass-around pack for these guys to get their jollies off, while others were passing by back and forth, and you know with the wireless technology, with their cell phones, their wireless, taking video, taking
photographs, wanting to post it out there on the internet. and nobody did jack diddly squat, to warn, to yell, scream, evade, stop that, while the authorities inside were watching the people who were obviously celebrating and partying at the dance. you scratch your head and say obviously women under siege, this is something that was more akin to a gang initiation. and that's exactly what you saw outside, in the public, for all to see, a gang initiation with a victim. and you know these guys misused it. they should lose it. castration should be their cure. they should have kept their rocket in their pocket. >> nothing, absolutely nothing can justify what happened to this young girl. but i do want to know, as a recovering alcoholic myself, and we talk a lot about addiction here on "issues," what role alcohol may have played in this crime. the mercury news cites police as saying there was drinking among the group in this poorly-lit courtyard, "the victim consumed
a large amount of brandy while socializing and then collapsed." the paper says that's when the attack began. an investigator told us, "we're looking at toxicology reports to determine if she was drugged." my question to psychologist michelle golland, if the victim was passed out, how might that influenced her attackers psychologically? could it have made them more likely to objectify her? >> it doesn't matter to me. whether she was passed out, or resisting, these men attacked her, brutalized her, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. this is horrific. and it doesn't matter to me. >> but we're trying to understand, i know it may not matter to you, but if we don't understand -- okay, because otherwise, guess what, we're all part of the pornography of violence. if we just sit here and talk
about this, as who, when, where, why, without getting to the deeper why, without trying to come up with societal solutions, then we're just part of the pornography of violence. so that is why, michelle, we're trying to understand the dynamics at work here. now, curtis sliwa said maybe this was a gang initiation. i'm saying maybe they were in some way justifying their behavior psychologically, judge karen mills francis. because she was passed out. nothing excuses this. >> you know what, the basic tenants of decency, i think we need to be concerned about what's going on with our children. it bothers me that 24 people -- 24 different people from different homes and different environments could all stand there and watch while this brutalization was going on. >> right. >> i believe it's the symbols that they see of women in videos and on tv, half naked girls that are giving up their bodies for a couple of dollars.
it is the image that women aren't worth anything. >> well, guess what, you have brought me to my big issue. and we need to make this case a national wake-up call. our society is saturated in sexually charged violence. we associate masculinity with violence. teenagers are picking up on it. it's everywhere in these more error movies that are going to make millions on halloween weekend, which is coming up. it's become way more explicit. i want to cite a new study that just came out this week by the parents television council that says, incidence of violence on television against women and teenage girls is skyrocketing. okay? at rates that far exceed the overall increase in violence on television. violence, irrespective of gender on tv increased 2% from 2004 to 2009.
incidence of violence against women increased 120% during that same time. the most frequent type of violence against women on tv was beating, 29%, followed by threats of violence, 18%. shooting 11%, rape 8%, stabbing 6%, torture 2%, and violence against women resulted in death, 19% of the time. now, this is a study that just came out. it's essentially saying we are literally, tom, indoctrinating these young men who associate masculinity with sexual sadism. >> it's a two-fold problem. it's not just television. it's television in a vacuum in parenting. we have a parenting crisis in this country. look, up to close to 50% of the children now are born out of wedlock. there's a huge problem with the absence of any -- >> i don't know about the wedlock schmedlock. i don't care --
>> hold on. >> angelina jolie is not married to brad pitt. nobody says a thing about that. >> they have millions of dollars. change the environment, put them in the inner city with the absence of any sort of fatherly figure -- >> this has nothing to do with the inner cities. >> i don't know anything about these kids. >> okay. >> we're talking about the problem in general. it's not just television. kids can manage what they see on television if they're guided correctly at home. >> "the new york times" just said last week the average american family isn't the cleavers anymore. the average american family is usually headed by a single parent. and that's usually a woman. black, white, asian, latino, across the board. >> right. and there's a lot of problems in our culture because of that. i'm not talking -- >> i don't think that that's the reason. i think it's because we don't teach kids what they need to learn these days, what we teach them is precisely what they need to avoid. >> and that is parenting. >> we need to -- >> i never watched this kind of
violence. i remember when i went to see clockwork orange as a teenager and i walked out of it -- there was a sadistic scene. that would have been child's play today. the kids today would laugh at that. i was horrified. i walked out. okay? >> jane, it's one thing -- >> this is monumentally greater when we were kids. >> we're not talking about what public schools are doing for mental health professionals and teaching exactly what you're talking about, jane. conflict resolution, what to do. >> absolutely. we're going to talk about that in a second. as we try to dissect this nightmare. one man claims he couldn't have killed his son-in-law because he's too fat to kill. but first, a girl raped for two and a half hours, nobody does a thing. where was security? how can anyone feel safe going to that school from now on?
what you're seeing is people won't call the police because of fear of retaliation. particularly young people won't come forward and call the police because they're afraid of what's going to happen to them. so they develop a culture that they're not going to report any crimes, even something as horrendous as this. >> that was a criminologist describing the no snitching mentality out there today. part of the reason the gang rape
was able to go on for two and a half hours. they used their cell phones to snap photos and possibly record videos of this nightmare. that is how numb these teens are to violence, especially violence against women. curtis sliwa, you are out there on the streets dealing with the teenagers today. what is it about this whole no-snitching phenomenon that we're seeing? we've got another case we're going to talk about in a second. >> jane, it is part of the gang culture. more importantly, it's part of the hip-hop monsters that they project in their rap lyrics, in reggae tone and reggae music. constantly saying snitches get stitches and end up in ditches. you should have window shades on your eyes and zipper on your mouth. never rat anyone out no matter what the crime is. if you're the victim, instead of letting the police know, just get a gun and try to settle the score. i'll let you know, another case that recently took place. roman polanski, got a lot of attention throughout california.
an adult male, feeds qualewds and booze to a 13-year-old girl, raped her, flees. look at all the trendoids, starlets coming to his defense. what kind of message are we sending to kids out there that you can do this and get away with it. >> we know there's a double standard of justice in this country. we know the rich and famous and powerful get away with crimes that the poor and powerless don't. and that is a fact. i mean, anybody who ever sat in court waiting for a celebrity case as i have, and seeing how the public defenders will shoot through 20, 30, 40 cases, convicting and sending away people who don't even know what's going on because they don't know the lingo used by these people, and you see the celebrity case come in and -- >> i don't buy that it was about the snitching. >> i don't either. >> i do not buy that. because any of those boys or men could have walked away and called 911 anonymously. they could have found a security guard.
they could have done any one of -- numerous things. >> let me say this, okay? there's a couple of ideas here. we're trying to figure out what was going through the minds of these teens who participated in the violation of this girl. now, it could be, is it possible that it could be a case of bystander effect? sociologists say the more people who watch an event, the less likely somebody is to take action. we can remember the most famous case was -- let me just finish this -- the bystander effect was illustrated in the murder of kitty genovese. she was stabbed to death in 1974. there were several people who heard her screaming for police. nobody called police. and that's the bystander effect, was coined because of that case. anything to do with this, judge karen? >> i think that we're trying to be politically correct here. you started out, jane, talking about the -- >> i'm not trying to be politically correct.
>> but you started out talking about the rise in violence against women. we talk about these girls that are being picked up off the streets every day by men. these women that are being picked up every day off the streets by men. the fact that a woman is more likely to be killed by a man than she is to be killed by a woman. it's a fact that 24 boys, young men, can sit around and watch a girl being brutalized. what has happened. we fought 100 years for women's rights. the right to be equal. now we need to fight for our right to be safe. >> that's why i talk about a war on women in this country. it seems like every week there is a case of juvenile violence that's more hideous than the last one. i mean, i want to go to this case that we had recently. the cell phone video of darion albert's fatal beating in chicago that prompted national outrage. the 16-year-old boy was pummeled and stomped to death by a mob. this was last month. dozens of people watched.
three teens are charged in the attack. if not for the video, who knows if anybody would have been caught, because the snitching factor was at work here, as this kid was pummeled and brutalized. there was another case in florida where a young boy was set on fire because he snitched, and he told basically the adults about the fact that one of the kids was trying to steal his dad's bike. and he was set on fire. so i don't understand what this snitching thing is. tom, weigh in. you're the former prosecutor. >> absolutely. the problem isn't simply violence against women. it's not simply television. it's a culture of youth violence. and that violence derives from the lack of proper parenting. i'm not talking about simply single parenthood. i'm a single parent myself. i know what it's about. but you have a whole generation of young, mostly inner city, but it's rural and suburban, too, of young males and young women who are being raised without any
sort of effective role models in their life, without any sort of effective parenting. and there could be plenty of single parenting that goes on out there. >> it is ruled as well. there was a case the other day, i think it was in some rural state, very, very rural area, i think it was new hampshire where these kids came in and they beat this mother to death with an ax and then they set on the daughter with an ax. and that was in the rural wilds of -- >> it goes on everywhere. kids turn to street violence, street gangs to find a family. they're looking for a street family. >> of course. they travel in packs. got to leave it right there, panel. sorry. we're out of time. we're going to stay on top of this. we've got to. you know, societal pressure comes in all forms, whether it's to drug, alcohol, violence, even food. i struggled with so many addictions myself. i'm sharing my battle with alcohol and other substances in my new book "i want."
you can order a copy at cnn.com. or go to your local bookstore. i want to thank my fantastic panel for that healthy debate. a hefty defense, a man accused of murdering his former son-in-law. he said he couldn't do it because he's too fat. a super expensive divorce battle between knowledge toers' owner and wife jamie. this is so ugly, and you won't believe some of the details. we're going to tell you after the break.
too fat to kill. a man accused of murdering his former son-in-law says he couldn't do it, because he's too fat. oh, really? this guy weighs 285 pounds. i didn't realize there was a weight limit on guns. will the jury buy this new twinkie defense? another lawmaker caught with his proverbial pants down. caught in a cemetery, with a stripper, sex toys and viagra. we'll give you all the sordid details. just when you think you've heard it all. a new jersey jury is being asked to swallow a super-sized defense, 62-year-old edward is accused of murdering his former son-in-law.
he said he couldn't have done it, no way, no how. why? because he's too fat to kill. i'm not making this up. in just a moment i'll be cross-examining his lawyer about this new variation on the twinkie defense. prosecutors say the 300 approximately pound man wanted his former son-in-law dead because of tensions between the accused killer and his victim were strained after a bitter divorce settlement between his daughter and the victim. on the stand, he nixed that theory. >> did you care about him one way or the other? >> no, sir. >> did you murder paul? >> no, i did not. >> according to the cops, the victim was talking on his cell phone when he was shot six times. his fiance was on the other end of the line. this clip from abc news. >> suddenly he started to scream. he said, oh, oh no.
and then he stopped speaking. >> the weighty question for the jury, could this obese man manage to do a flight of stairs, clean up the crime scene and then hustle off in a quick getaway driving 21 hours to his mom's house? if the jury says yes he could do that, even though he's overweight, he could get up to 20 years in the slammer, where i hear the food ain't so great. so a lot is at stake here. we do have serious matters. tipping the scales of justice. joining me now, the very creative defense attorney representing edward ates, as in i ates too much. your client is accused of shooting the victim with a gun. how is his weight a factor in his ability to pick up a gun and fire a weapon. >> it's not just his weight. it's everything that goes along with being morbidly obese. diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, physical movement restrictions. he was 62 at the time, 5'8" and
almost 300 pounds. the killer shot upstairs and fired two shots, straight into the victim. the coroner testified to this. he then put four more shots straight in. never missed. a man of ates' body mass, going up four stairs, is going to have some heavy breathing. he's going to be going -- and that gun's going to move. to hold it perfectly straight and not miss seven shots is impossible. >> can i say something. you're a good attorney. if i ever get in trouble, i'm calling you. >> but the doctors say -- >> i'm calling you, my friend. >> we have medical testimony, unrefuted, unrefuted internist. and this isn't subjective. ates spent three nights in the hospital tested overnight for sleep disorder, sleep apnea. >> you say he was too sleep -- judge karen? >> this is michelle.
>> oh, michelle, okay. somebody. >> thank you. we also know that people who are small and weak can lift up cars when they get an adrenaline rush. our bodies take over in moments of stress, fight or flight, and will do what we need to do to get done. and literally this could -- i find it very interesting. >> like sumo wrestlers -- >> the doctor addressed exactly that issue. the doctor said, you can lift up a car, an old lady can lift up a car to free her child. but she cannot hold the car up for 21 hours. >> isn't there somehow evidence against the defendant in this case, isn't there some computer evidence that he was searching on how to commit the perfect murder, how to pick a lock on a sliding glass door? don't they also have some wiretaps where he's talking to
his sister and his mother and saying, let's make sure we all have our stories straight? isn't there some evidence that his sister lied to the police about where he was the day before? and his 83-year-old mother -- >> okay. walter, answer those -- answer briefly. >> circumstantial evidence. there's no eyewitness, no fingerprints, no dna. there's very good circumstantial evidence. there's also medical testimony, unrefuted, that he physically couldn't have done it. and there's an unrefuted eyewitness who saw ed's car in louisiana a half hour after the murder in new jersey. could not have happened. >> i want to say one thing, please. he's got good enough facilities to drive 21 hours to visit his mother, okay? and drive a car but he doesn't have the facilities to hold a gun and shoot it? give me a break. >> hold on, hold on. we have heard of the abuse excuse, but now we're hearing the obese excuse.
it's used in defending edward ates, as in i ates too much in charges he killed his exxon in-law. here's a clip from abc. listen to this. >> in bright daylight in august, the fat old man's running and nobody sees him. >> i find that very difficult in someone with obstructive sleep apnea, who's morbidly obese. >> curtis sliwa, guardian angels, this man is a marksman with military experience. >> no, no, no. >> yeah. whoa, whoa, that's not true? >> not true. just not true. >> that's what's being reported. go ahead, curtis. >> jane, fat man's not nimble, fat man's not quick, we know fat man can't jump over the candlestick. but fat man can take that gun and go -- that much i know. i got shot by a guy who was 325 pounds. and he airated me with hollow point bullets.
>> i think you make a good argument right there. it's not just a matter of being too obese to carry out this crime. ates said he wasn't there because he was visiting his mama in another state. the prosecutor was not buying that either. listen to this. >> how often did you visit your mother who you cared for? >> i visited for about 30 minutes since 1999. >> so from '99 to '06 you spent 30 minutes with your mother? >> approximately, yes. >> all right. that sounds kind of like the old kitchen sink strategy, walter. i mean, if the jury doesn't believe the obese excuse, no motive, and if we don't believe that, he had an alibi. what about the evidence as we've been talking about here that he allegedly asked his sister to lie for him? >> that evidence is very, very contradicted by the next-door neighbor, who says no, i saw the car there on wednesday.
let me make a point. this is totally different than a twinkie defense of the twinkie defense in all that is, i did its but here's why. this is i didn't do it. i physically could not have done it. >> wasn't there some evidence also that -- >> hold it. one at a time. >> wasn't there evidence that when he was in louisiana visiting his mother that same year, that there was a snake in the grass and he shot him and killed him with one shot? >> hold on. hold on. we've been talking -- let's examine these kind of kookie defenses. we heard about the old twinkie defense. and that's now become sort of a code phrase for any kind of wacky legal defense strategy. it was a real tactic used in the defense of dan white, who was accused of assassinating harvey milk and san francisco mayor george moscone in the late '70s. white was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. ronnie zamora's lawyer said he
had tv intoxication from watching violent shows like kojak. and that's why he shot his elderly neighbor. the jury didn't buy that and convicted him. this is the strangest defense of all. a woman wanted in a string of defendants who claimed the movie "matrix" turned them into murderers. but the twinkie-esk matrix defense jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity. i think, walter, if your client gets off, this is really going to be a watershed moment and going to set one for the record books here. >> again, this is very different. those people said they did the act. they had an excuse. this is a case where we say the act was not committed. very different. >> i actually think it's also -- i mean, people who are overweight should be offended by this. i mean, to say he couldn't go up four steps? i personally -- my father is
overweight and has diabetes and all those things. and i think if he was vengeful and angry, that could happen. i mean, i just think it's offensive to people who are overweight, who are -- who still could be healthy and still agile, that you use this as an excuse. >> well, i think it's -- >> it's not an excuse, it's a fact. >> we should eat healthy and stay in shape. perhaps that is the lesson to take away from it. walter, you are one fantastic lawyer. big thanks to our entire fantastic panel. six black students reached an agreement with the owners of a nightclub. but the students were not after money. see what they achieved instead. it's pretty amazing. cops say a lawmaker ended up in a cemetery with a stripper. maybe he should just pack his lunch next time. we'll have all the really, really bizarre and salacious details coming up in a moment.
what a fantastic story of recovery. thank you, everyone, for all of your e-mails and ireports of the we've gotten such uplifting stories, something like 100 a day coming in. the stories of recovery that we're going to continue featuring them here on "issues." go to cnn.com/jane. you could win a copy of my new book and have the chance to win a trip to new york city and come and hang out here on the set with me. i will show you a very good time. but a sober time. all right. cops say a south carolina lawmaker took his lunch break and ended up in the car with a stripper and sex toys and viagra. we're going to take a look at that story in a second. but first, "top of the block" tonight. taking the high road in the fight against racism. here on "issues," we cover the story of the six black college students who were recently denied entry into a chicago nightclub. now we can tell you that those six young men scored a big victory.
instead of suing the company, the students will join together with the bar to fight discrimination. the club has agreed to apologize to the students. the club owners are also joining the students in a rally against discrimination, and the club will take part in four, count them, four fund-raisers. it's refreshing to see these six young students come up with a creative solution that will help prevent something like this from happening again. instead of suing the company to get a quick payday, they're actually turning this fiasco into a teachable moment. i think this is a 21st century way of treating the problem. this is tonight's "top of the block." whoa, this one is a shocking scandal. sexcapades in the cemetery of all places? a politician caught with his proverbial pants down in a graveyard. with him, an 18-year-old stripper. deputy assistant attorney
general roland corning was on his lunch break when he met up with a stripper from the platinum plus gentleman's club. a cop spotted the pair on a deserted road at the edge of an empty cemetery. the cops searched corning's car. straight out of the police report, inside the car, the cop found viagra, and several vibrating sex toys. corning's explanation? i always keep them with me just in case. what a practical guy. the scandal has already sparking the late-night jokes. listen to this clip from nbc's "the jay leno show." >> well, i love this story. a 66-year-old deputy u.s. attorney general in south carolina, home of governor mark sanford, you know him, the guy's name is roland corning. he got fired after police discovered him at a cemetery with an 18-year-old stripper, a bag of sex toys and a bottle of viagra. to be fair, people do grieve differently, okay?
okay. everybody grieves differently. some bring flowers, some -- you know, we all -- yes. we all grieve in our own way. >> that's pretty funny. as if this story couldn't get any tackier, there's another twist. the officer realized his wife worked with corning in the attorney general's office. so, hey, honey, he calls her from the scene. she spoke to her boss and allegedly told her husband, let him go. corning and the stripper then went on their merry way. was this an attempt to cover it up? the scandal soon broke in the media. corning was soon fired. police say they did nothing wrong. even though in some published reports this teenage stripper is being described as a prostitute. roland corning was a republican south carolina legislator in the '80s and '90s. what is it with the politicians and sex scandals. straight back out to my expert panel.
also joining in, meg kinnard in south carolina. dare we ask what else is happening with this case? >> well, jane, i tell you, it's definitely been -- it's definitely been an interesting year here in south carolina. one thing we're waiting on now is the dash camera video, and those phone calls that you mentioned that go along with this police report. that we got from the columbia police department. like you said, corning's out of a job. and we still have a few questions that we'd like him to answer. but he hasn't called us back. >> so judge mills, judge karen, one of the questions is, should the cops have treated this differently. i don't know if it's appropriate, i certainly don't think it is to make a phone call to your wife when you find out the person you stop in a car works with her. and take direction from her about what to do about the case. >> you know what, it's totally improper. the attorney general is the chief prosecutor for the state.
the chief legal officer for the state. and there are codes of conduct. they are supposed to avoid the appearance of impropriety. i read in one report, the first thing he did when the cop came his badge and said, hey, i'm with the attorney general's office, trying to use his influence. what's going on with south carolina? i love south carolina, but they have problems with the governor. remember, he was supposed to be somewhere on the appalachian trail, and he was in argentina with his mistress. now the chief prosecuting officer for the state is with an 18-year-old hooker? a cemetery? >> and this is also very embarrassing because this south carolina attorney general, in other words this guy's boss, has tried to make a name for himself cracking down on online prostitution, so once again it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. >> i don't understand, you know,
in south carolina you go to the drunk of the car, the black & decker, the wrench, the flares for emergencies and the viagra, too. it's one-ston shopping. whenever you need it, it's available to you in south carolina. >> unbelievable. >> stay right there. we're going to have more in a moment. they said it would never last.
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