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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Shooting Incident; Interview With Judge Judy
Aired February 14, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE JUDY SHEINDLIN: There's only one attitude here and you know who's that is?
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LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Judge Judy is back, the mother of all TV judges takes no nonsense but she will take your calls, straight answers to tough questions from the one and only Judge Judy.
But first, the fellow hunter wounded by the vice president has a heart attack. Among those taking aim at the accidental shooting and the controversy it's triggered former Senator Alan Simpson, a long- time friend of Dick Cheney's, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. The 78-year-old hunter accidentally shot by Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday has suffered what doctors call a minor or silent heart attack.
Harry Whittington is back in intensive care tonight reported in stable condition. The vice president accidentally peppered Whittington with birdshot on Wednesday while hunting for quail but word of the incident didn't become public until Sunday, prompting sharp questions from members of the press about the White House's failure to disclose the facts in a timely manner.
We have three outstanding guests, former United States Senator Alan Simpson. He's in Ashland, Ohio and he is a close friend of Dick Cheney and a long-time hunter himself.
In Washington is Mike Allen of "Time" magazine, the White House correspondent has an article headlined "Slow Leak, How Cheney Stalled News Reports of Hunting Accidents." He did that on the "Time" Web site.
And here in Los Angeles, Dr. P.K. Shah, the internationally known cardiologist, director of the Division of Cardiology and Atherosclerosis Research Center at Cedars-Sinai, professor of medicine UCLA School of Medicine, member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. He is also, for the record, my cardiologist.
Senator Simpson, have you spoken to your friend the vice president? ALAN SIMPSON, FMR. SENATOR WYOMING (R): No, Larry, I haven't because I have been inundated with requests to speak and I knew the first question would be have you spoken to the vice president or in effect did he tell you what you were supposed to say? I haven't talked to Dick.
When I'm through with all this onslaught which probably I was just thinking if they'd settled the Palestinian-Israeli situation today it would probably be on the second page.
I've never seen anything like the furor about this and, of course, the sinisterness (ph) of the 20 hours delay almost matches the 18-minute delay of the Nixon tapes.
And, I just want to say that if you're a host of a ranch and you own a ranch and you have guests and a horse knocks one of your guests off and gives them a concussion or somebody has a tragic hunting accident you really don't pick up the phone and call your local news media. You don't do that. You sit down.
And I understand Dick Cheney said to the woman as to releasing the information "That's your call," so really I think maybe we hopefully get back from the high drama of it perhaps. I don't -- I doubt it because it's been a tragic thing, a hunting accident.
I doubt that Dick Cheney is sitting at home chuckling about it. Where is the feeling in this thing about what's going on? And then the jokes, the sick jokes, I mean I'm disgusted with it.
KING: But you're not saying, Senator you're not saying this is not a story?
SIMPSON: No but it isn't. The vice president didn't get shot and it's a tragic story and I'm saying the humor, the fun, the joking, the hideous cartoons about Dick Cheney I think to make fun of a tragic accident that's caused by hunting is really I think disgusting. I just want to say that and I have.
KING: All right. Mike Allen, has he made a point?
MIKE ALLEN, "TIME" MAGAZINE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Larry, I agree completely with Senator Simpson that it was not incumbent on the owner of that ranch to deal with the media or even incumbent on the vice president to do so.
He's not supposed to be an expert on media relations. We all have different gifts and that's why there are officials in the White House who are experts on media and who have plans for dealing with exactly situations like this.
Now, the vice president chose to do it his way and the consequence has been a great distraction from other issues the president wants to talk about. Tomorrow the president is going to be there with Senator Simpson in Ohio.
He wants to talk about health savings accounts. Next week he wants to talk about energy. Earlier this week he put out a rosy economic scenario. His homeland security director had a -- gave an important speech about preparedness. But instead because of the way that it was selected for this to come out there's been a lot of attention to it and...
KING: So, you're saying, Mike, that it's their fault in the way they held it back and didn't come out with it quickly and then the way they handled it since?
ALLEN: Larry, I'm not assigning fault. What I will tell you is the Republicans who love the president, who love the vice president tell me that they are very frustrated and disappointed by the way this was handled.
The vice president had professionals in this area giving him advice of how to do this. The White House, as you know, Larry, has very specific procedures for this. If you're a White House official, no matter where you are in the world, you pick up your cell phone. You call the White House operator and you say, "I need to make a wire call."
Within five minutes they call you back and they have AP, Reuters and Bloomberg on the line. In five more minutes your news is all around the world. Similarly, you can pick up the phone and say "I need to make a bureau chief call." There are very specific ways...
KING: I got you.
ALLEN: ...that this is handled.
KING: All right. Let's ask Dr. Shah about the medical situation. I know you're not with the patient, Harry Whittington. Have you ever had a case of a pellet in the heart?
DR. P.K. SHAH, INTERNATIONAL RENOWNED CARDIOLOGIST: I personally have never seen a case like that but it is not inconceivable that if a pellet strikes the chest, the heart is right behind it, the pellet may directly lodge in the heart or initially lodge under the skin and then travel to the heart or any blood vessels in the neighborhood and either sit there and do nothing or trigger some untoward manifestation.
KING: As you hear it is it a heart attack?
SHAH: From what I have seen in the news media what I understand happened was the patient developed an irregular, rapid heartbeat coming from the top chambers of the heart, what we call an atrial fibrillation.
Now that doesn't necessarily mean it's a heart attack. The way we professionals define a heart attack is when you have indication of damage to the heart muscle as revealed by sudden blood tests and so forth.
KING: From what you know of this, and he's back in intensive care, how serious is this? SHAH: Well, if it's a short episode of this irregular, rapid heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, and if it reverts back to normal rhythm on its own or with the help of medication in a few hours or a day or two it usually doesn't leave any residual effects.
Trouble happens if atrial fibrillation persists longer than 48/72 hours or reverts and comes back. Then you begin to get a complicated picture because then you begin to develop blood clots inside the heart.
KING: Do you need surgery?
SHAH: No, not surgery. What happens is then you have to use blood thinning medication because otherwise one is at risk for a stroke, so it complicates matters.
KING: That's the worst case scenario?
SHAH: That would be the potentially worst case scenario.
KING: And describing it as stable what does that mean?
SHAH: Again, it is not clear to me. What seems to have happened is that the patient developed this arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat but wasn't aware of it and didn't produce any overt manifestations.
KING: Alan, do you think that maybe in retrospect the vice president should have immediately called the White House?
SIMPSON: You know I was just thinking if that wonderful chap there is your doctor you're in good hands. You'll be around until you're about 100. I think you're going to make it.
KING: Yes, he's terrific.
SIMPSON: Anyway, well I think the White House said it best. I don't know, I think McClellan said something about there are always ways we can do something better but to remain locked in the mystery of the missing 20 hours, I mean get a new life. We're going to stay up night after night figuring out what happened.
And then they said, "I wonder why Cheney doesn't come forward or do something." Let me tell you ladies and gentlemen if Dick Cheney stepped out of his house tonight or whatever and spoke, whatever he said would be distorted one way or the other.
Did he cry? No, he didn't cry. No, he didn't cry. In fact, he looked very calm. Oh, he did, well how tragic. Or he did cry. Why would he do that? I mean this is -- this is -- this is in your head stuff. This is shrink stuff we're playing with right now.
You have a tragedy. It's a sad, terrible thing. I hope this fine gentleman recovers. Dick Cheney is getting no joy out of this. I'm sure he's in turmoil knowing him as I have for 40 years. He is -- he is deeply, deeply concerned...
KING: Let me get a break.
SIMPSON: ...because he's a crack shot and a crack sportsman. He's an amazing guy.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll pick up with Mike Allen and the doctor and Alan Simpson and then Judge Judy.
George Clooney on Thursday night; don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's important always to work to make sure you get information out like this as quickly as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vice president of the United States accidentally shoots a man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't there a public disclosure requirement that should have kicked in immediately?
MCCLELLAN: I think we all know that once it is made public then it's going to be news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was prevented from interviewing the vice president by the Secret Service. Do you know anything about that and is that appropriate?
MCCLELLAN: No, I don't know anything about that. You ought to direct that to the Secret Service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did the president know that the vice president had shot somebody?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did not know the vice president was involved?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's getting very confusing to try to figure out who knew what when and why?
MCCLELLAN: Well, I know that the vice president's office was working to pull together information and make sure that information got out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": On a quail hunting trip in Texas the Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter but when the ambulance got there out of force of habit they put Cheney on the stretcher. He said "No, he's the guy, the other guy." DAVID LETTERMAN: Number four, "I thought the guy was trying to go gay cowboy on me. Number three -- and the number one Dick Cheney excuse "Made a bet with Gretzky's wife," there you go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was last night, of course, before the revelation about the heart problem this morning.
Mike Allen, are you saying you agree with Senator Simpson that this is the press' fault?
ALLEN: Well, no, and I don't know that Senator Simpson said that but...
KING: Well he said they're piling on. They're jumping on. They're making a big federal case of it. It's more...
ALLEN: Right, well, Larry, I can tell you the vice president's view of this was that by waiting and having this ranch owner put out the statement that that was a more credible and complete way to put out the statement.
And, Larry, the vice president and one of the staff members actually had worked up a statement that they considered releasing on Sunday morning but it was so obtuse and elliptical that it was decided that that would just cause even more of a frenzy, so they waited to do it this way.
And the problem, Larry, is that this instead of making it simply a story about the vice president has raised a host of other questions about the White House operation.
Larry, as you know, the vice president is prepared at any moment, whether he's at Duke or in Doha to take over the country and he has all this communications with him and so the question is why a simple message was not able to be transmitted from Texas where this accident occurred to the White House situation room where they were trying to tell the chief of staff what was going on?
And so, by doing it this way now people are looking at how this White House operates and I think the vice president had good intentions. He thought he knew what he was doing but he didn't take advice from people who practice in this area.
KING: Dr. Shah, what's the role of the...
SIMPSON: You know that's...
KING: I'll come right to you Alan.
SIMPSON: Yes, great.
KING: What's the role of the hospital now? Should they keep us constantly informed? SHAH: Well, I think, you know, there has been concern about whether this arrhythmia is persistent, whether he has reverted back to normal rhythm and all of those are important issues and I think it would be useful to allay any anxiety or prevent a miscalculation to keep the public informed.
KING: Can the pellet stay in the heart forever?
SHAH: Yes. There are many instances where pellets and even shrapnel from injuries and accidents stay inside organs for 30, 40 years without causing any particular harm.
KING: And his age is not a factor here?
SHAH: Not particularly, not in this instance.
KING: Alan, you were going to say, I'm sorry?
SIMPSON: Yes, I was just going to say what Mike is saying, the American people and I travel a lot too out here among the unwashed in Ohio and Wyoming, they're not really puzzled about the operability and how the White House is operating. They're wondering how the press is operating. That's what they wonder about.
If they could ever step back and look at the absurdity of this situation and then the harshness of Jay Leno and Letterman, I would say how would you feel if this were happening to you?
The humor that comes out of that is not gut, belly laugh humor. It's that uncomfortable humor where you savage another human being. I say I think it's disgusting and sick.
KING: Alan, can you honestly say that you'd feel the exact same thing if this were Vice President Gore?
SIMPSON: Let me tell you, you're missing the point. The people in the real world think that the media -- that AP and Reuters and Bloomberg all of them are irritated because they called the Corpus Christi Call Gazette and they're furious that they didn't get them in the game.
I mean this woman running her ranch trying to have a wonderful opportunity for her guests was not about to call AP, UP, whoever is left. She wasn't about to do that and I do not see what this great furor is about the missing 20 hours. It makes no sense. It looks absurd. In fact it looks stupid in my mind.
ALLEN: All right, Larry.
ALLEN: Yes, Larry, of course the concern is what if this were a national security issue would similarly the vice president be unable to communicate with the White House situation room? Would the White House...
SIMPSON: He'd have done it in a minute.
ALLEN: OK but see that...
SIMPSON: He would have done it in a minute. What was national security about this issue?
ALLEN: Right and so the point is the White House will tell you that if it were a national security issue it would be different but it's the issue that rose with Katrina. The White House was unable to assimilate information that was coming in from different places.
And, Senator Simpson is right that they say that national security and I have dear friends who have spent their lives being wired into this and they say that if something like that happens and a whole bunch of things kick in and they know what they're doing. But we're left to take that on faith and people in the White House are left to take that on faith.
ALLEN: I can tell you the people inside are surprised by the way this happened because this president insists on perfection in the mechanics of his White House.
KING: Gentlemen, we will do more on it. I think you all very much. Alan, it's great seeing you.
SIMPSON: It's been fun. Good luck to you all.
ALLEN: Happy Valentine's Day, Larry.
KING: The vice president has a good friend in you. Same to you, Mike, and Happy Valentine's Day to you all, thank you.
SIMPSON: OK, thank you Mike. Thank you, doctor.
ALLEN: See you, Senator.
KING: Thank you P.K. as always.
KING: Dr. P.K. Shah, Mike Allen and Alan Simpson.
And Judge Judy is next. Don't go away.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly welcome to the Hollywood Walk of Fame Judge Judy Sheindlin, right there, good job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Having known that feeling myself eight years ago what was it like for you? You made it Judy.
JUDITH SHEINDLIN, TV'S "JUDGE JUDY": I was more excited than I really anticipated that I would be.
KING: You looked it.
SHEINDLIN: I was very excited, you know. I had certain high spots in my life, the day that I found out that I passed the bar exam, professionally, I'm talking about only professionally, the day that I was sworn in as a judge in Family Court was an exciting day.
And, I didn't think that I was going to reach any other of those kinds of moments so when this was coming along and then the kids, all my kids came out, aunts and uncles and good friends, it got very exciting and became infectious. And, when I saw it there on the ground...
KING: Yes, I know.
SHEINDLIN: ...it looked beautiful.
KING: And then they give you a little...
SHEINDLIN: Then they gave me one to take home.
SHEINDLIN: I'm going to have it duplicated and put in every bathroom, every living room, every bedroom in my house.
KING: Well it's a great sign for you, you know, to know this little girl from New York, you've come a long way baby.
SHEINDLIN: Right, this was a -- this was an adventure that had a fairytale ending.
KING: Do you ever miss the Family Court?
SHEINDLIN: I miss it all the time. I don't...
KING: Because what you do on television is not what you do in Family Court.
SHEINDLIN: That was -- what I did in the Family Court was the meaningful part of my career, that 25 years, but this has been a fantastic fantasy ride and if you have the opportunity to do both, to do really what I consider meaningful work, making a real contribution in a civil service venue and then being able to transpose some of what you learned, some of what -- some of your messages into a much wider audience, not everything because what I do in addition to everything else is entertainment. But I think that there is a substantive quality that I like to think comes with the program, the messages of responsibility and stuff.
KING: But there are moments where you'd like to go back. SHEINDLIN: There are moments when I say when this gig is over I wonder if someone would give me a last few years of a hurrah on the Family Court bench.
KING: You would go back then?
SHEINDLIN: I don't know. I don't know. You know I always say you're supposed to know when to say goodbye to whatever, wherever you are. I know that there will come a time in this job when it will be time for me to go. I don't know if I'm going to be ready to say goodbye to working. I'm not sure.
KING: Why do we need a Family Court? Why not just courts, guilty, innocent?
SHEINDLIN: Well, for some it may be appropriate. For some of the cases that family courts deal with it may be appropriate but I would say probably 75 percent of the cases that family courts deal with involve children, children who have been neglected and abused, children who are looking for a home, children who are looking for the right to live in a house with at least one normal parent who takes care of them.
KING: And that needs special judges in special situations?
SHEINDLIN: Well, I don't know if it needs special -- it would be wonderful if it needed special judges. When we choose judges who sit in Family Court based upon their expertise in family law that would be wonderful. Unfortunately in this country we don't always do that.
But there is an infrastructure that's in the Family Court of bureaucracies and I don't say that in the pejorative. They're bureaucracies that are supposed to serve the court to see to it that children are serviced and kept safe, children at risk, children are kept safe.
Unfortunately, as you know, based upon what's happened in the last several months, especially in New York and I'm sure all over the country, those systems have not worked right but I think we do need a Family Court. It may be a section of another court but a special place.
KING: Why in so many there seems a spade of cases involving children harmed by parents or stepparents? Is this new?
SHEINDLIN: No, it's not new, Larry.
KING: Do we just know more about it?
SHEINDLIN: It's not new but I think more people who shouldn't have children have children and they have them in greater numbers than those people who put some thought into having a family.
One of the cases that happened unfortunately, tragically in New York recently was a little girl who was I think six or seven years old and she was one of five or six children. The mother is 26 years old and had an 18-year-old boyfriend living in the house and this little girl was brutally treated for a very long time and finally succumbed to those injuries. Now...
KING: There she is.
SHEINDLIN: Yes, there she is. Where does a 26-year-old woman with no source of income, no stable relationship have the right to bring into the world six children whose lives are going to be miserable, miserable?
And, one of the things that struck me when I read all of the articles about this little girl was that everybody was blaming the bureaucracy that was invested in her care, child welfare, Division of Family Services. They were supposed to protect her and they knew the family.
You know they had been told. They had been called. Case workers went out and found nothing wrong. The truth of the matter is we pay case workers who are supposed to be charged with seeing to it that these children are safe, minimum wages.
We expect them to do a Herculean job and the truth of the matter is there's only one person responsible for beating that child to death and that's the person who beat her to death.
And until we put the blame squarely where it belongs and see to it that people like that don't see the light of day, the message will not get across that when you injure a child who can't fight back, a 5- year-old, a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old, a 2-year-old, you will forfeit your right forever to live outside.
KING: We'll be right back with Judge Judy Sheindlin on the occasion of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We'll take some calls for Judy later too. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: I don't believe you. You want to know why I don't believe you? Because if you rent a car and you have a contract the car is supposed to be returned on the 14th, by the first of the next month I would start to question it if I hadn't heard from anybody and hadn't paid anything because as far as you...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well I thought the...
SHEINDLIN: Don't tell me what you thought, what she believed. This is a business person who was trying to help you and you stiffed her because you had the car in your...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I feel she made the choice to extend it for me.
SHEINDLIN: Grow up. Accept responsibility for your own stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Judge Judy. Last week a New Jersey mother who starved four adopted children -- four adopted children -- was sentenced. Vanessa Jackson and her late husband charged with 28 counts of child endangerment. How could you starve children?
SHEINDLIN: I don't know what the pathology is. But the -- from a court perspective, when children -- the children were placed in that home, they were placed in that home as foster children.
And Mrs. Jackson got money for taking care of these foster children. And they were in the house for a while. And then because there was some thinking that it's very important for children to have a permanent place, they were adopted by this lady because the state says it's very important for permanency planning of children, that they be adopted by these foster parents.
So the foster parents are forced to adopt them. Once they adopt them, the money that they get continues. The money that they would get, were getting as foster parents, continues through the adoption. But the oversight by the courts, by the bureaucracy, by the infrastructure, stops.
So that it's very possible that at the time the children were placed there as foster children and they were making periodic reports to the court, everything was OK. But clearly as soon as those children were adopted, and nobody's minding the store, for some reason, this nut decided she didn't like these four children because she had other children in the house that she fed, but not these children.
I mean, it was heartbreaking to see this little boy, this little boy, a big boy, he was 16-years-old or 17-years-old, when he was found eating the garbage and weighing 40 pounds. Now he's taller. But you know, you can't grow in a year what you're supposed to grow in 10 years. So he's grown a little but I think he's 5'2 now, and I think he's put on 85 pounds, so he looks a little more generous than he did when he was taken into care. How many other children like this are there out there? That's what we have to be asking.
KING: Why do they insist on being -- why do they want them adopted?
SHEINDLIN: Well, I think that the security of a child is based on the fact that they live in one home, that they're going to grow up and be raised in one home. That's a good thing.
KING: As opposed to getting moved around.
SHEINDLIN: That's a good thing. Sometimes foster children get moved around. Years ago when you and I were children, there was -- there were orphanages, there were institutions that took care of children. And they had their own negative pathologies.
KING: A dreaded word, the orphanage.
SHEINDLIN: It's true. But you know, perhaps we should be revisiting alternatives to placing children in the homes of marginal people. Because the people who were taking these children in as foster children, especially in big cities, some of them are wonderful.
But all too often, they are -- their income is derived, the family income is derived from the money that's received for taking care of foster children. Either foster children, day care whatever -- whatever modality you're using to take care of children and get paid for it.
That's not being done primarily by people who are college educated, who believe that children -- the children are the most important things in the household. That's what you're supposed to do when you are a parent, whether a biological parent, foster parent, or adoptive parent.
And unfortunately, that doesn't happen often enough. So maybe we've got to revisit an idea of having group homes, even for small numbers of children rather than foster care facilities. Because there are too many of these deaths. And you can't monitor every home. When you have tens of thousands of children in foster care, you can't monitor all these.
KING: There is parental responsibility, you don't blame child agencies as much, they get overwhelmed, right?
SHEINDLIN: I'm blaming the people who abuse the children. And I'm -- you know, I think that we're not doing enough to see to it that young girls who are 14 and 15-years-old don't have children.
KING: How do you stop it?
SHEINDLIN: Well, first of all, you remove any economic incentive for them to have children. And you make it uncomfortable for them to have children. I remember when I was a sitting judge and high schools were forming -- in the high school setting, they were making a separate high school for people who had children when they were 13, 14, 15-years-old, to enable them to bring the children to school so that they could continue their education.
And I said, that's nuts. You're not supposed to make this something that's positive. When a 13-year-old decides to have a child, there's no -- I shouldn't say that because it's not a decision- making process. It's something that happens. It's something that happens on a Saturday night, or I want to be popular, I want to take him away from Samantha, or whatever the reason.
It's not a thought-out process. And we have done a pretty good job. We have reduced the out-of-wedlock birth rate in this country over the last decade by removing certain economic incentives. I think you have to do more. I think you have to make it very unpleasant, so that women, women, young girls who are 15, 16, 17, 18-years-old, you have an accident once and you have a child, then you devote yourself to taking care of that child. You don't make another accident and have another one with another father. Father's Day should not be a revolving door in the family court.
KING: Do you see a lot of it when you were there?
SHEINDLIN: That's what we saw mostly when I was there. And that's the most frustrating. So one of the people that I thank today at the star was Ed Koch. And I thanked Ed Koch because I was pretty ballsy even when I sat in the family court.
KING: He appointed you?
SHEINDLIN: He appointed me. And I know it was a difficult call for him because there were people that said, you know, she's a renegade. Well I'm not a renegade. There is nothing renegade about saying, people should have children who are mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially capable of taking care of them.
KING: And you've had to remove children from their home?
SHEINDLIN: All the time. All the time.
KING: Sometimes is it ever a close call?
SHEINDLIN: Whenever it's a close call, I'm prepared to err on the side of the child's safety. And that's the problem with some of the laws today in this country. Because what we have to say is, a child has the primary right to live in a safe environment.
Secondly, if you're a parent and you are prepared to provide that safe environment, you can raise your child. If you're not, we're going to find an alternative. And we have to be prepared to find alternatives that are good alternatives. But right now that's not the law.
KING: We'll take a break, come back, include your phone calls for Judge Judy. Always a great guest. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: You're divorced?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am, your honor.
SHEINDLIN: You weren't divorced in August of 2004?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And neither was she.
SHEINDLIN: I didn't ask you that. Don't be a wise mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not trying to be, I apologize.
SHEINDLIN: Then just answer my question, then we'll get along just fine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, your honor.
SHEINDLIN: I don't find you particularly attractive, Sir. Maybe she did, I don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
SHEINDLIN: You get it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hear you, your honor.
SHEINDLIN: Good. This is not going to be a happy time for you, Mr. Milton (ph). I suggest that you stop laughing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Meet 40-year-old Daniel Polito. He's hoping to meet a 13-year-old girl home alone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got to finish brushing my teeth, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
ANNOUNCER: He sent her pictures over the Internet of his genitals, then asked if she'd give him oral sex. He's in for a big surprise when I walk in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you tonight?
ANNOUNCER: Like so many others he says he wasn't really here for sex. He tells me he was here to teach the girl a lesson about the dangers of talking to strangers online.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was a brilliant report on NBC's "Dateline," did a series of undercover reports on grown men who troll the Internet for sex and "Dateline" set them up in a sting operation. The men were exposed as predators, some were arrested. What do you make of the Internet?
SHEINDLIN: We didn't have the Internet. I still don't understand the Internet. I saw the "Dateline" piece which I thought was spectacular. And it was amazing to me. They caught people from all walks of life. They caught people who, you know drove cabs, they caught people who are rabbis, they caught people who were teachers. They caught a cross section of people.
KING: What's going on?
SHEINDLIN: I think that if these people did not have the Internet, they would have some other vehicle, some other outlet.
KING: Do you?
SHEINDLIN: Absolutely. Larry, you have a wide circle of friends. Right?
KING: Sure do.
SHEINDLIN: And can you imagine anyone in your wide circle of friends doing that?
SHEINDLIN: No, never. We have a relatively wide circle of friends. I can't think of most of them doing anything so stupid. But I can tell you this -- we're wrong. Because I don't think that anybody who went to the doctor who showed up during one of these sting operations or anyone who was in the congregation of the Rabbi or anyone who was the student of the teacher thought that their children were at risk because of these people.
KING: So what you're saying is, you never know?
SHEINDLIN: Right. And you have to be careful. As a parent you have to be vigilant and careful.
KING: Let's go to calls. Blacklick, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Hi Judge Judy, I want to let you know you are my idol and I tape you every day. The question I had was, when they were doing the Supreme Court nominees your name had come up a couple of times. If it would have got that far, is that something you would have ever considered doing?
SHEINDLIN: Well, thank you for what I would consider your vote. However, I really have problems ruling by committee. You know, I come from the family court where we didn't even have juries. And I like it that way. I like to be able to gather the information and make a ruling. And while I revere the Supreme Court, you have to be a real team player to be on the Supreme Court. And unfortunately, it wasn't one of those attributes that my family passed on to me.
KING: You're still an individual vote.
SHEINDLIN: You are an individual vote. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be, would be for me, to feel passionately about something and to have my individual vote be part of a majority decision? Of a minority decision? It would be very frustrating for me. Why be frustrated when you could be the queen?
KING: Who needs it? Judge Judy. Never have to worry about how she feels, saying how she feels. We'll be back with more calls. First let's check in with Anderson Cooper who will host "AC 360" at the top of the hour. What's up, Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up on "360," tonight, a killer in court. Remember Carly Brucia, the 11-year-old girl snatched off a street, the abduction caught by surveillance camera. The man who murdered her in 2004, Joseph Smith, was in court today. He now faces the death penalty.
In an amazing moment in the courtroom, he begged little Carly's family and the judge to spare his life. We'll take a look at what he said today and go beyond the headlines of the case, talk about how surveillance cameras are playing a part in catching criminals and give you tips on what you can do to protect your kids from people like Joseph Smith. All that and more, Larry.
KING: Great piece. Watch Anderson tonight at the top of the hour. We'll be right back with Judge Judy, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had it out watching movies.
SHEINDLIN: What was it? What kind of equipment was it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This PSP.
SHEINDLIN: I don't know what PSP is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A handheld game like Playstation two kind of.
SHEINDLIN: What were you doing bringing that to school, Daniel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep myself active. I have open period.
SHEINDLIN: Wouldn't your time be better spent during open period if you were, I don't know, studying chemistry or reading over your history notes? See what happens with the hair? You go like this, you get a tic, I'm telling you. I've seen a lot of people grow up with tics because they've been trying to get their hair out of their eyes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: When did you separate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We separated -- um -- probably about the middle of March.
SHEINDLIN: The middle of March. So the furniture was actually brand new.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just got there, yes. Slept on.
SHEINDLIN: You see?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Just brand new.
SHEINDLIN: He thinks this is going to help him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guess not.
SHEINDLIN: Listen. I assume you're being very honest with me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no reason not to be.
SHEINDLIN: You're not a wise guy, are you?
No, you're not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all.
SHEINDLIN: You got the furniture in March, you separated in March, you kept the furniture in March. Now you've got brand new furniture --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She took the dog.
SHEINDLIN: Just a second.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Sometimes they're funny, right?
SHEINDLIN: They don't mean to be funny all the time but sometimes they're funny.
KING: Los Angeles as we continue the calls for Judge Judy, hello.
CALLER: Yes, good evening, Larry, good evening, your honor. I like both your shows. And Judge Judy, I think you are as intelligent as you are attractive.
I am a young attorney in Paris, France. In my country and most European countries, when an attorney is appointed to be judge, they go to a special training program to learn the duties of their new role. Is it the same in the United States and if not, why not?
KING: Good question.
SHEINDLIN: Well from what I gather from what this caller says, they are appointed to the bench and then they go through a training. I think that that's a little backwards. I really believe that before you should even be considered as a judicial candidate, you should have training and have to take a test.
KING: Is that is what they do here?
SHEINDLIN: That's not what they do here. What they do here is if you can -- in many jurisdictions, if you can collect 500 signatures for somebody who wants to run for the Senate, and as a payback next time there's a vacancy in the county court or the family court or in justice court, it's yours if you're a lawyer and if you can breathe. That's not the way to select a judge. And I think that if we have professions, we have somebody who takes care of your heart, you have the doctor here. Would you say, and I know he's your doctor, Larry. Would you use him as a cardiologist if he said, "Listen, I really want to be a cardiologist, let me work on you a bit. Let me work on you a little bit. If I make a mistake, you don't have to use me anymore."
Well, that's ridiculous. You see how you're laughing? It's ridiculous. That's what we do with judges. Just because somebody lives in a house doesn't necessarily make them a good housing court judge. And just because somebody was born into a family doesn't give them the credentials to be a family court judge.
So it would seem to me only logical that before you can even apply to be considered for a spot on the family court bench, on the criminal court bench, what you have to do is you have to pass a substantive test. That doesn't always say whether you're going to be a good judge because there are all kinds of things, judicial temperament. I'm a little on short supply on judicial temperament, but at least I had the brains to know what I was doing substantively.
So people had to get used to my rather brusque manner are, but at least I knew what I was doing. And that's what the public deserves, because it's a very expensive judicial system and they're not getting their buck's worth.
KING: To Apex, North Carolina, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Ms. Sheindlin, I appreciate and consider this an honor to speak with you. My question is, I know that the contestants on your show receive a fee. And I was wondering if they know coming in that the fee that they receive will cover their judgment. And that's why they're there. Also, I miss your husband terribly on television.
SHEINDLIN: Thank you. Thank you for missing my husband terribly on television. He will appreciate that. His answer would be, if you said that to him, if there were 10 million more of you, he would still be on television. That's what he would say. But he had a wonderful time. He had a wonderful two years.
KING: He was very good too.
SHEINDLIN: He had a wonderful two years. I think that the reason people appear on court programs, for the most part, is because they think they're right. And they want the experience that 15 minutes that comes along with being on television, flying to Los Angeles, because we do fly the litigants here if they come from out of the jurisdiction. We don't pay them a fee but we do cover the judgment, if there's a judgment entered in their favor.
KING: So if somebody gets $1,300, you pay?
SHEINDLIN: If a case is dismissed, they get nothing. If I order the return of property, you know, very often you will see me say, sign that title, certificate of title, that's to a car. Now it's your car. That car is transferred.
But if there is a monetary judgment, the monetary judgment is paid by us. It matters not an iota. These people are passionately invested in the right of their position. And I don't think it makes any difference. I can tell that from the way they react to me.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Judge Judy, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: Was it your book that you picked up off the floor or somebody else's book that you picked up off the floor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a book.
SHEINDLIN: You're a fibber. Now I hope your aunt knows that. And I hope your aunt knows that you have attitude. You can stand up, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well it really seems like you're all getting on her side and you're all picking on me.
SHEINDLIN: No, we're only picking on you here Roshanda (ph) because you didn't tell the truth, my dear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She didn't either.
SHEINDLIN: I told you, when we start -- get your hands off your hips. Don't put your hands on your hips. There's only one attitude here, and you know whose that is?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Judge Judy. What do you make of the flack over Britney Spears photographed driving with her baby sitting on her lap in the front seat? She says that she did it instinctively to get herself and her son out of a situation involving paparazzi.
SHEINDLIN: Maybe that's true. When you're a celebrity -- and we've had this discussion both on and off camera, you and I, over the years -- when you're a celebrity, you have a responsibility. This is a gift. You live well. You work at something that you enjoy doing. It's really a gift.
And when you have a gift, you're supposed to be responsible. You're supposed to be an example. And Britney Spears has a baby. And everybody else in this country puts a baby in a car seat, in the back, in the back, and straps them in. And you're not supposed to do anything that allows other people to say, "She can do it, why can't I? What makes her special? I can drive with my kid in the car in the front seat. It's dangerous."
So you have a responsibility as a celebrity. And that's why I think Britney Spears made a mistake. I think what she has to say is, "I made a mistake, it's never going to happen again, I'm sorry."
KING: St. Louis, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Judge Judy, I'm a big fan. Listen, I was wondering your opinions, what responsibility do parents bear for their children committing crimes, like taking guns to Columbine, and also going on the Internet and meeting adult people.
KING: We have about 45 seconds. What's the responsibility of the parent?
SHEINDLIN: A parent is supposed to know what their children are doing. And you can't know all the time what your kids are going to be doing. But certainly if a parent knows that their child is keeping certain weapons in their house, what you're supposed to do is you're supposed to see to it that your child is out of harm's way.
That's what parents are supposed to do to protect their children. And as between two people, if somebody gets shot by a pellet gun and it's a child, and there are injuries, the person who allowed their children to have possession of that weapon, they're responsible.
KING: You're a doll, congratulations on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Congratulations on 10 years.
SHEINDLIN: Thank you, Sir.
KING: You're one of my favorite people. Judge Judy Sheindlin, presiding over the top-rated Emmy nominated syndicated court show that bears her name. She's also a "New York Times" best-selling author and always a delight having her with us.
Tomorrow night an amazing program on transgenders, people who become another gender. It's an extraordinary show.
And George Clooney on Thursday. We thank you very much for joining us. Right now we turn things over to New York and "ANDERSON COOPER 360." Anderson, what's up?
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