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California Freeway Inferno; Former Iraq Commander Blasts War Leadership; Pace's Tribute To Fallen Vietnam Soldiers; Gore's Nobel Prize.

Aired October 13, 2007 - 14:00   ET


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Susan Roesgen filling in today for Fredricka Whitfield and you're in the NEWSROOM.
Straight ahead, a freeway inferno, a blazing big rig pileup turns L.A. traffic into a real mess, possibly a dangerous mess. We'll take you there live. Also ...


RICARDO SANCHEZ, LIEUTENANT GENERAL (RET.), FRMR. CMDR. OF COALITION FORCES: There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight.


ROESGEN: He used to be in charge of the coalition forces in Iraq, the top guy. Now he's slamming a strategy, he says, leaves no way out.

And if you are the parent of a young girl, then you know who she is. Hannah Montana, the hottest ticket in the country right now, but why are her fans furious?

We start with that fiery inferno after a big rig collision in southern California. Major freeway I-5 shut down now and rescue crews still can't get close enough to assess the damage.

Peter Viles is as close as you can get. He is live in Santa Clarita, Peter?

PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Susan, this is a real headache right now. Not a huge fire, maybe 10 to 15 big rigs colliding in a chain reaction about 11:00 last night. You wouldn't think a fire like that would burn for 12 hours. The problem as we look at this fire, is it's a tunnel. It's in a very short tunnel, maybe about a quarter of a mile long at most. It goes under Interstate 5.

Because this blaze was in a tunnel, firefighters have not been able to get in there and one of the major concerns is that there has been some structural damage to this tunnel and it might not be safe to go in there. The problem is you can't get engineers in there to determine whether it's safe until they get the fire out. So, they're in a catch-22 situation right now of exactly how to fight this fire.

Here's how fire officials are describing the challenge they're facing right now.


JOHN TRIPP, DEP. FIRE CHIEF, L.A. COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: We have not entered the tunnel. We're not going to be able to enter the tunnel until we can ensure all the fire is out. We're using high expansion foam from the north portal and we're using hose lines with some hose streams into the tunnel to try to extinguish the fires.


VILES: So, two problems here now. One is the fire and what's inside of there. We have originally heard maybe 15 big rigs involved in this collision and now officials are not giving any estimate of how many trucks but the question is how many trucks are still inside there and were there any people, any of the drivers trapped last night? Originally officials said one person was unaccounted for and ten suffered minor injuries but walked out of the tunnel and one was unaccounted for and now they're backing off that. They are saying they just don't know if anyone is unaccounted for and they don't know how many trucks were involved.

The other major concern, this is a tunnel that runs Interstate 5, Interstate 5 is the main north/south route in all of the state of California. It is completely shut down because they don't know how secure, how strong this tunnel is and they don't want traffic going over it. They not going to be able to determine if the tunnel is safe for quite a while. It's snarling traffic and a pretty wide area, Susan, in this area north of Los Angeles.

ROESGEN: I think, Peter, the other main concern is were there hazardous materials on those these trucks? I see you in the smoke and the firefighters are in the smoke, do they know what the dangerous materials are in the freight of those trucks?

VILES: The short answer is they don't know for sure but at this point they don't have any information to lead to believe there is something extra hazardous. I can't remember the exact term for it but there are certainly things that are hazardous when they burn the fuel is not good to breathe and the metal is not good to breathe. These are toxic if you breathe them in large amounts.

But is there something that is a particular hazardous threat? They don't know that yet. It's something they're not going to find out right away because they can't get in there to find out. I know a couple of the trucks were empty and one was carrying lettuce and another one, we've heard was carrying paint, or paint products. That could be toxic. How hazardous it is, they haven't been able to determine yet.

ROESGEN: OK, Peter, we'll check back with you as we get more information. Again, that's I-5, the main interstate, main north/south interstate there heading into Los Angeles. If you are in the area, maybe you're stuck in traffic trying to get around it or watching it nearby, you can be one of our I-reporters. Send us your pictures or your video to On the Iraq war, you know the Bush Administration always insists that American forces are making progress in Iraq. But the former top commander now in Iraq says it's a nightmare with no end in sight.

The story from CNN's Senior Pentagon Correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Ricardo Sanchez was brimming with optimism when he was the top commander of U.S. troops in Iraq. He is retired now, his career cut short by the fallout of the Abu Ghraib scandal that happened on his watch and he has turned into one of it biggest critics of how the Bush Administration managed the war, calling it a catastrophic failure.

SANCHEZ: Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory. The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat. The administration, Congress and the entire inner agency must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable.

MCINTYRE: Sanchez told the group, military reporters and editors that he had reservations about the strategy while in Iraq back in 2003 and 2004, but he felt he could not resign without jeopardizing his troops. But now retired, he says the current strategy is too little and doomed to fail.

SANCHEZ: There has been a glaring unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders. As a Japanese proverb says, "Action without vision is a nightmare." There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight.

MCINTYRE: Sanchez was in line for promotion to Four-Star General until tarred by the Abu Ghraib scandal while officially cleared of any wrongdoing he had fierce critics in Congress. For a while, he sat quietly in a job in Europe waiting to see if the furor would blow over but the controversy essentially made him unconfirmable and he retired. He now plans to write a book.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, Washington.


ROESGEN: So now, let's get a little more on this former commander General Ricardo Sanchez. He was the top general in Iraq from June of '03 to June of '04 and American forces captured Saddam Hussein and killed Hussein's two sons. But as Jamie just mentioned, General Sanchez was also in command when Iraqi prisoners were abused at Abu Ghraib and Sanchez, himself, calls his career a casualty of that scandal. He retired in November of last year after 33 years in the army.

Now, the story of a general who has experience in two wars; Vietnam and Iraq. Recently retired Joint Chiefs Chairman, General Peter Pace, was closely linked to the Iraq war but CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has uncovered a poignant story from the Vietnam War. On the general's last day of active service, General Pace visited a memorial to an earlier war.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: On the day his 40- year military career ended in part because of the war in Iraq, General Peter Pace remembered the first men he lost in combat in another unpopular war long ago.

CNN has obtained photos from a private moment, the day General Pace retired as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 1st. After this farewell ceremony with the president, the secretary of defense and the new chairman, Pace went to the Vietnam Wall and left some notes. Each was addressed to one of the men who died during his command in Vietnam in 1968.

Look closely. Each note has a set of his four stars pinned to the card. This note to 19-year-old Lance Corporal Guido Farinaro reads, "These are yours. Not mine. With love and respect, your Platoon Leader, Pete Pace." He remembered those same men and others when he closed his farewell speech just an hour earlier.

PETER PACE, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS (RET.): I made a promise about 38 years ago to Guido Farinaro, Chubby Hale (ph), Whitey Travers (ph), Mike Witt, "Little" Joe Arnold, Freddy Williams, John Miller that I would serve this country in whatever capacity I could for as long as I could and try to do it in a way that would pay respect to the sacrifice that they made following Second Lieutenant Peter Pace in combat.

STARR: Pace, of course, did not get a second term as chairman because of the Iraq war. But we now know he left office that day making one last private stop to say good-bye one more time to the men at his platoon in Vietnam.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


ROESGEN: And while we're talking about people who fight our wars, with the support for the Iraq war lagging, the armed services is getting a little less selective about who they recruit to fight it. They have achieved their goal of signing up 180,000 new recruits over the past year, but this group of new recruits includes fewer high school graduates than the Pentagon says they would like. And, get this; the percentage of new recruits needing waivers because they have past criminal activity is up from 15 percent to 18 percent.

And on Iraq, a new roadblock on the path to peace in the Middle East in general. Iran's Supreme Leader is calling on Muslim nations to boycott the U.S.-sponsored peace talks. Ayatollah Ali Hammani(ph) made his remarks during his speech to mark the end of Ramadan. He says the international dialogue would only help Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.

And the Empire State Building is glowing an emerald green today to honor the Muslim holiday. The holiday of Eid which follows Ramadan. The color green symbolizes happiness in Islam.

Again, this is the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In Iraq, violence marred the worship services there, but in Pakistan, it was festive and colorful and markets were jammed after a month of fasting and prayers. People celebrated to buy clothes and fruits and gifts.

Could be more bad news for O.J. Simpson. The former football star is facing robbery charges, you know that. Now, one of his co- defendants makes a move that could damage Simpson's defense. We'll get the legal low down.

And what happens when the water starts to run out? It's a political water war and that story is ahead in the NEWSROOM.


ROESGEN: It's a new wrinkle in the O.J. Simpson case. One of O.J. Simpson's co-defendants is expected to plead guilty on Monday and an attorney says Charles Cashmore will testify that Simpson came into a Las Vegas hotel room with two armed men. But Simpson's attorneys claim no guns were involved. Simpson says he went to the hotel to retrieve memorabilia that belonged to him. Prosecutors call it an armed robbery.

Eight months after her death, Los Angeles police are going after Anna Nicole Smith's doctors. They raided the homes and business of two doctors, one a psychiatrist. Anna Nicole, you know the former model, reality TV actress, tabloid topic number one died of an accidental prescription drug overdose back in April. Investigators found 11 prescription medicines in her hotel room the day she died and they couldn't account for more than 600 of the pills. Those pills might have come from the California doctors who are under investigation.

Extreme drought threatens much of the south now and in some places it's the worst drought since the 1930s. Literally reservoirs are drying up and cities like Atlanta are starting to panic. Telling people to turn off the sprinklers take shorter showers and let the cars stay dirty. Some cities are afraid that they're really going to run out of water and they can't count on help from their neighbors. CNN's Carol Costello has a look at the politics of water.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Beautiful, sparkling water. It's a resource that's becoming so scarce it's sparked a new kind of war. The latest bomb thrown by New Mexico Governor and presidential candidate Bill Richardson who told a Las Vegas newspaper, "I want a national water policy. We need a dialogue between the states to deal with issues like water re-use technology, water delivery and water production. States like Wisconsin are awash in water." JENNIFER GRANHOLM, (D) GOVERNOR, MICHIGAN: The minute somebody starts talking about your national water policy, watch your lakes. That's all I can say.

COSTELLO: Them's fightin' words. Michigan's governor says what Governor Richardson really means is "my state needs water, give me some."

GRANHOLM: Hell, no. That's my response. This is exactly why we need someone in the White House who understands Michigan's concerns.

COSTELLO: Her mission is to keep the water in the Great Lakes in them. She fears water-needy states like Governor Richardson's New Mexico will raid Lakes Michigan, Superior, Erie, Heron and Ontario, siphoning off huge amounts of the Midwest water for themselves. This fear of western American cities coveting someone else's water has long been an issue. Remember the movie "Chinatown"?

"CHINATOWN" MOVIE CLIP: We need to bring the water to L.A. Or you bring L.A. To the water.

COSTELLO: It was about Los Angeles' secret attempt to siphon off water from unsuspecting farmers. Some say that's a scenario not so farfetched when you consider persistent water shortages out west and severe droughts in states like Georgia. Lake Lanier, which supplies water to metro Atlanta's 5 million citizens, will run dry in three months. But if it wants help from Michigan, forget it. If Atlanta or New Mexico wants to dip into the lakes...

HUGH MCDIARMID JR., MICHIGAN ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL: We invite Governor Richardson and his constituents to come to the Great Lakes and, you know, share the water but to do it within the basin where it is not being lost forever.

COSTELLO: In other words, move on over to Michigan where drinking water is plentiful.


ROESGEN: And pray for rain. Let's go to Bonnie Schneider in the Weather Center, Bonnie?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Susan, unfortunately we don't have any rain in the forecast. We don't have any right now looking at the radar pictures in and around Atlanta. One of the cities under this huge drought across the Southeast and looking at the extended forecast for the next four days, no chance of rain, it's not until you get to Wednesday where there is a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms, but that doesn't bring about much in terms of measurable rain and the reason why it's been so dry across the Southeast, as we've seen a persistent weather pattern occur that will stay like this straight through tomorrow.

High pressure dominating over the Southeast, so what happens is any moisture that comes up from the Gulf of Mexico goes around this region and does it does get locked up here into parts of the Central Plains and areas of the Midwest where we've seen a lot of rain and even right now we're seeing heavier downpours and this is going to affect your weekend travel. A lot of the rain is pushing further across Kansas City right now, some heavier thunderstorms towards St. Joseph and to the south.

So, we've seen moderate rain in St. Louis, but look what's coming. All of this rain that is right along I-70 coming through Columbia and Jefferson City and this is all sliding further to the east. So, St. Louis light to moderate rain right now, but as you head farther to the west that rain will get heavier. So keep that in mind if you're going to be driving. As we zoom into this region, we'll see the heaviest rain working through this area now and not too much in the way of lightning but it's something to keep in mind because severe storms in the forecast today and, once again, dry weather for the Southeast.

The rest of the country, though, is looking pretty good. We don't have too much in terms of airport delays. We do have, finally, that feeling that fall has finally arrived. Look at high temperatures in the 50s in Boston 59 degrees for a high there, 63 in New York City, Atlanta 77 and even off to the west, temperatures have cooled down quite a bit. Las Vegas will see a high of 76 today, 83 in Phoenix. And, I mentioned the airports; we only had one delay that's been coming up on the map. A ground stop for JFK until 2:30. That's not too bad. So far a good Saturday for travel -- Susan?

ROESGEN: OK, thanks, Bonnie.

Well, if he needs more publicity, Senator Larry Craig will be inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame tonight. And critics say it should be the 'Hall of Shame' since Craig was arrested in a men's room sex-sting back in June. He said that he would resign from the Senate, but, as you know, he changed his mind and the Hall of Fame organizers say Senator Craig was nominated back in March, well before his current troubles.

This year's Nobel Peace Prize winner is getting cheers from some and boos from others.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, I'm Josh Levs. Coming up, we are going to be taking a look at this question. Are the Nobel prizes really about peace or are they about politics? It turns out we know the answer. One of the heads of the committee has actually told us this, that plus the story of someone who turned down a Nobel Peace Prize. You've got to hear this. That's coming up from right here and there and over where Susan is. It's all in the CNN NEWSROOM.

ROESGEN: Boy, what a difference a few years make. Remember the hanging chads that hung the Al Gore presidency? Well, now, the former vice president is sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a big honor. They will split the $1.5 million that goes with that. Gore says he plans to donate his share to a non-profit alliance that he leads. But the real prize here is much-needed awareness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: Tipper and I will go to Oslo and I will accept this award on behalf of all of those who have been working so long and so hard to try to get the message out about this planetary emergency.


ROESGEN: Well, is the Nobel Peace Prize really about peace or is it about politics? You know Al Gore has gained international respect in most quarters for his environmental work, but is it one of the biggest peace efforts of our time? Would you call it a peace effort? And, just how does the secretive Nobel Committee choose the winners? Keeping them honest for us, Josh Levs.

LEVS: You know what happened yesterday after he won this. Everybody started asking this question, is this really more about politics right now or is it really about peace right now? So what I started to do here was look through history and see what we actually know for a fact. Just this committee, this incredibly secretive committee, look for just peace efforts or are they also looking to make a political statement. The truth is, we know the answer. One of the leaders of the committee made clear that politics are absolutely involved.


GORE: It is the most dangerous challenge we ever faced.

LEVS: Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize puts him in the company of such human rights activists as Iranian Shirin Abadi(ph) and more controversial winners like Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat. In 1973, Henry Kissinger won along with North Vietnamese Leader Lai Doctoa (ph) who turned down the prize saying his country was not at peace. But is the prize principally about peace or is the committee also making a political statement? The answer, politics play a big role.

In 2002, when Former President Carter won the Nobel Committee Chairman said the award should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current U.S. administration has taken in international politics. In selecting Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the committee wants to increase focus on efforts to protect.

OLE DANBOLT MJOS, CHAIRMAN, NOBEL COMMITTEE: There was future climate and, thereby, to reduce the threat to security of mankind.

LEVS: Many environment experts do see these efforts as critical for peace.

ROGER HIGMAN, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH: The committee has recognized that climate change, if unchecked, will be a cause of conflict in the future.

LEVS: The British newspaper, "The Guardian" says drought helped spark the conflict in Sudan making it likely the first climate change war. Still, there are plenty of peace activists worldwide. Who was Gore's competition and how does the committee decide? They don't want us to know.

GORE: ... again, thank the Nobel committee.

LEVS: You have to be invited to nominate someone and the five- member panel appointed by the Norwegian Parliament keeps its work top secret. Including, the committee says, investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.


LEVS: And, while that prize is a huge honor, the Nobels do not necessarily add fuel to the efforts that they're highlighting and one really good example of that is from 1991 when a Burmese Opposition Leader won that award, but if you look at what's happening today, Susan, they're still fighting right there for peace, freedom, for basic rights and you can see other examples of that. People get the award but it doesn't necessarily lead to change in the world.

ROESGEN: And if you believe that Al Gore invented the Internet, what are people on the Internet saying about his award now?

LEVS: I forgot about that. That was one of the popular things about him. OK, so here's the deal, we're getting a lot of people weighing in all over the place and I want to share a couple with you, just to show you the extent of the opinions that we're getting, people are all over this.

Here's the first one from someone named Subhojit Roy of Marietta, Georgia. He writes, "This is as deserving an award as one can be. Al Gore is the undisputed champion of raising awareness about global warming and other environmental hazards."

Now a more negative remark, this one, one of our favorites from the day from Mark Green of High Point, North Carolina, he says, "If his efforts had resulted in the sweeping policy change across the globe, then maybe I could see it. Gore's role has been more of a spokesperson. Maybe the award should be the Nobel Prize for the Most Prominent Politician as a Spokesperson."

And you know, it's interesting Susan, when these things come up and people say not just who won, but what is a winner. What are we even looking at? And that's what we're taking a look at here.

ROESGEN: OK, thanks Josh.

LEVS: Thanks.

ROESGEN: We're talking about the environment and help for the environment, it is our world and we're bringing you the story behind the stats. So, tune in for CNN's worldwide investigation, "Planet in Peril" with our own Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Jeff Corwin. It's going to air Tuesday October 23rd at 9:00 Eastern and Wednesday, October 24th. And, you can get a preview of "Planet in Peril" online. Just go to

A verdict in the boot camp death of a Florida teenager. Why so many people are angry.

And our CNN "Legal Eagles" weigh in on the Pennsylvania boy who apparently gathered an arsenal with the help of his mother.


ROESGEN: And time now to update our top stories. This huge fiery truck pileup has closed a key California freeway, maybe for some time. We know that at least ten people were hurt and one may still be missing after last night's wreck here that involved 15 trucks. Some of the fire is still burning, they haven't been able to put it out inside this tunnel on Interstate 5.

The National Security Council insists that progress is being made in the Iraq War, contradicting stinging criticism from this man, the former top commander there. Retired general Ricardo Sanchez calls the war "a nightmare with no end in sight."

A not guilty verdict is bringing outrage in the case of a black teenager who died at a Florida boot camp. Protesters have been hitting the streets after an all-white jury acquitted eight defendants in the death that you see here. The defense blamed the boy's death on an undiagnosed medical condition and the boy's family says what these staff members did was murder him.

We get more from reporter Ferdinand Zogbaum of CNN affiliate Bay News 9 in Tampa.


GINA JONES, MARTIN LEE ANDERSON'S MOTHER: How in the hell are they going to let him walk away?

FERDINAND ZOGBAUM, BAY NEWS 9 REPORTER (voice-over): It was a very emotional Friday afternoon for the parents of Martin Lee Anderson. The seven guards and one nurse charged with his death are free.

MICHAEL OVERSTREET, CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: As to the defendant Joseph Walsh II, we, the jury find as follows. The defendant is not guilty.

JONES: I won't see my son no more. They will see their family members. Mine was 14-years-old . At least we do know you can kill a young black male and don't do time for that right there.

ZOGBAUM: Benjamin Crump is the Andersons' attorney. Throughout the trial, he said he would be surprised if the verdict came back guilty.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ANDERSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: You kill a dog, you go to jail. You kill a little black boy, nothing happens.

ZOGBAUM: Throughout the eight-day trial, a small group of demonstrators gathered across the street from the courthouse. Bridget Smith thought the video of Anderson being manhandled by the guards would be enough to send them to prison.

BRIDGET SMITH, DEMONSTRATOR: Yes, I am shocked because the video showed everything. You know, and I'm just here to get a family support because I have three boys of my own and it could have been one of them.

ZOGBAUM: Hoot Crawford is one of the defense attorneys, he says he's glad the trial is over and he's happy with the outcome.

HOOT CRAWFORD, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's been a long three weeks, it's been a long six months that we've been working on this case.

ZOGBAUM: A long ordeal that still has this family searching for answers.

(on camera): Now, Benjamin Crump did tell us that he hopes a federal investigation will be launched to take a look at this case.

In Panama City, Ferdinand Zogbaum, Bay News 9.


ROESGEN: And we have late word from the Justice Department that the Feds are reviewing the way that case was prosecuted.

A stunning end to a police standoff in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and you're looking at it. After nearly seven hours, a man with a gun got around a police blockade in a high speed chase and then drove into this lake after shooting himself fatally in the head. The man was 32- year-old Arthur Jackson. He had already killed his estranged wife and two children.

You know, gunfire in schools is way too common these days. We've had several incidents recently and more often than not, a student who's been bullied, somebody who feels like an outcast plots revenge.

Now usually, the student somehow gets a gun on his own, but in Pennsylvania this week, a parent is involved. The police have charged this woman, the mother of a 14-year-old boy, with buying weapons for him. This is what they found, an arsenal in the boy's bedroom, grenades, air guns, a handgun, two rifles.

So, we're wondering now what our legal experts have to say about cases like this and this one in particular. Avery Friedman is a civil rights attorney and professor, and Richard Herman is a criminal defense attorney and professor.

Richard, nothing happened in this case, if you will. They found this arsenal, but there was no verbal threat, apparently, against the school. Nobody was hurt, the kid never walked into the school with any of these weapons. So, what sort of charges could he be faced would?

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, not yet. Unfortunately, that -- this guy had some kind of Web site where he was soliciting people to join him and one of the individuals who was solicited actually made a report to the police.

Now, the majority of this arsenal consists of BB guns and air guns, but there was an assault rifle there and there was a .9 millimeter pistol and there were some homemade grenades there, and with a lot of goth material and Nazi memorabilia in his room and, apparently, this kid has been an outcast and he's been bullied and he's just not in the best kind of emotional shape here.

So, it looks like this was a preemptive strike. The charge is solicitation, solicitation to commit terror.

ROESGEN: Well, wait a minute, wait a minute.


ROESGEN: I think Avery wants to jump in here because I heard the word preemptive strike, that's not really allowed, is it, Avery? I mean, just because somebody is goth and is into Nazi stuff, I mean that's weird, it's strange.

HERMAN: With guns.

ROESGEN: Well yes, OK, with guns. But he doesn't use them.


ROESGEN: Is there a grounds to have a preemptive strike?

FRIEDMAN: Well, it's not really a preemptive strike at all, Susan.

What we have is a conspiracy to commit murder and also, a conspiracy to engage in terror. That's what this young 14-and-a-half- year-old is going to be facing.

But more than that, Susan, there are crimes allegedly committed by Michele, his mother. And she's charged with three major felonies, along with misdemeanors and, believe it or not, the father, a convicted felon, lied when he tried to buy a gun for his son, also. He's actually sitting in jail right now, over a multitude of crimes here.

ROESGEN: OK, well, let's -- yes, let's talk about the mom for a second.


ROESGEN: I mean, she looks pretty sad in our video, we've heard that she indulged the boy in buying weapons. But if she really didn't know that he was planning to do anything besides shoot tin cans in the backyard, what charges is she going to face?

HERMAN: That's the thing, Susan. And that's what the district attorney said the other day, that he has no belief that she had any knowledge that the son's attempt to go wreak havoc at the school there. And that is a devastating statement by the district attorney and I don't know that the charges against her are going to stick. You can buy ...


HERMAN: ...rifles and it's not illegal to buy a rifle and these are, I don't believe these charges are going to stick against the mother.

FRIEDMAN: Well, wait, wait. But I think we have to keep in mind that you were right, Richard, that there was a MySpace page that said, basically, that this 14-year-old was a member of the Imperial Cobra Army and the homeschooling that was supposed to be going on is -- the kid's watching in front of the computer and mom's out buying weapons. So, the reality is much more investigation is required.

I agree, right now the district attorney may have a problem, but there is a great deal of work that remains to be done and I think if the investigation proceeds, they're going to be able to show that mom and dad knew very well what this young man was doing.

ROESGEN: OK gents, we'll stop it there for just a second. But what I want to remind everybody, of course, that MySpace pages can be faked, you know.


ROESGEN: Whether that was legit or not, we don't know.


HERMAN: That's a great point, Susan, that's a great point.

ROESGEN: We're going to touch back in -- check back in with you on another case, coming up. This is a case of a Mexican sentenced to death row in Texas. But an international court says, wait a minute, how did this become a battle over state's rights? We'll find out what Avery and Richard have to say about that, just ahead.


ROESGEN: A Mexican killer on death row in Texas is now at the center of an unusual appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court. This is being closely watched around the world because other foreign nationals on death row here in the U.S. could be affected by the outcome.

You'll hear our legal experts' opinion in a moment, but, first, the background on the case from CNN's Brianna Keilar.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jose Medellin, a Mexican national, was 18 when he took part in the 1993 gang rape and murder of two Texas girls. He was convicted and sentenced to death. Now, he's at the center of a case before the Supreme Court. A complex appeal that pits states rights against executive power at the crossroad between foreign treaties and the death penalty. Medellin was never given access before trial to Mexican officials who could have helped him get legal assistance. The International Court of Justice at the Hague ruled it was a violation of the 1963 Vienna treaty.

President Bush disagreed with that ruling, but complied, ordering his home state to revisit the Medellin case in light of the international court's ruling. Texas, which executes about four times as many inmates as any other state, refused.

David Rivkin, a lawyer who served in the Reagan and Bush 41 administration, says the Constitution makes it very clear that the president's power to uphold an international treaty trumps state law.

DAVID RIVKIN, FMR. REAGAN-BUSH LEGAL COUNSEL: Who would want to sign a treaty with the United States if their perception is that international obligations of the United States are not going to be complied with. You know, and if a president wants to comply with them, you're going to have states that would not respect it and there's no way to bring them to compliance.

KEILAR: But Douglas Kmiec, also a former Reagan and Bush 41 administration official calls the president's order an extraordinary act of presidential power.

DOUGLAS KMIEC, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: States are allowed to have their general rules of criminal procedure apply to everyone who comes before it and here, the president of the United States was kind of selectively intervening in the criminal process of a given state. That hadn't been done before, and I think the court's going to be skeptical about it.

KEILAR (on camera): The outcome of Medellin versus Texas could affect dozens of other inmates on death row, who like, Jose Medellin, were not given access to Mexican officials before their trials.

Brianna Keilar, CNN, the Supreme Court.


ROESGEN: So, let's bring back our legal experts now. Once again, civil rights attorney Avery Friedman and criminal defense lawyer Richard Herman.

Avery, does it matter where the crime occurred, not just where this guy was picked up or where he's on death row now, but if he killed these people in Texas or in any state in the U.S., why wouldn't that state just go ahead with its own justice.

FRIEDMAN: Well, that's exactly what the Supreme Court has to resolve. This is actually the legal equivalent, Susan, of Texas Hold 'em. Texas is basically saying, look it, we don't have to listen to the president who is ordering us to comply with this 1963 treaty. We have the right to make that decision.

The specific question is, did Medellin lose any rights by his inability to have counselor conduct, that is somebody from the Mexican consulate. Ultimately what I think you're going to see the Supreme Court saying is No. 1, there's no executive privilege to order a judicial branch to do what the president is saying. A new trial, essentially. They're going to say, no harm, no foul, no prejudice that conviction is going to be upheld.

ROESGEN: Well Richard, let's look at the flipside here. If an American is convicted of a felony crime in another country, do American defense attorneys come over and help them out? Is that allowed in other countries?

HERMAN: Well, they have the consulate's advice and they can send them counsel or maybe not send them counsel. I don't know, I mean Avery -- I think Avery has really crystallized the point, Susan, in this here, and I think that the Supreme Court is not going to want to divest states of the powers and the rules and laws and regulations that govern people within their jurisdiction.

But it's amazing that President Bush, when he was governor of Texas, look at how many executions went down in his state and all of a sudden now, he's showing deference to the world court or the Hague. I mean, it really is kind of preposterous. But I understand why he's doing it, he has pressure on him to do it and the test of the Bush administration, the legal tests all across the board in cases like this and with surveillance and just from A to Z, are just unprecedented in any presidency in the history of the United States.

ROESGEN: Yes, Avery, let's look a little closer at Richard's point there. Now, we've got a president who's basically expanding some protective powers to a convicted killer.


ROESGEN: And, you know, whether that is something that he believes in personally or not, he's got this situation where he ignores the United Nations many a time ...


ROESGEN: know, he goes against all kinds of other international treaties on everything from global warming to you name it.


ROESGEN: But here, he's suddenly siding with the world court?

FRIEDMAN: Yes, Susan, it's the bizarro world. This isn't even the president that we know. He's disregarded existing treaties. The Supreme Court, during arguments on Wednesday, by the way, dealt with that issue. Basically saying, look it, the treaties that we enter into are the supreme laws of the land.

The question here, though, the Supreme Court has a very easy out. Did the failure to provide counselor advice result in material prejudice? And the bottom line, Susan, is that the record shows that it did not. So, what the Supreme Court's going to do is they're going to duck the issue of executive privilege or executive power and they're going to uphold the conviction.

HERMAN: Susan, it was very telling during the course of these arguments the chief justice extended the time for oral argument ...


HERMAN: ...which I think gives you insight as to the struggle on this bench, and I think Justice Kennedy is going to be the swing vote on this. The way he goes is how the decision's going to go.

FRIEDMAN: Exactly right.

ROESGEN: OK, we'll see.

Thank you, both, Avery Friedman and Richard Herman. As always, appreciate it.

HERMAN: Have a good weekend, take care.


Now, here's a question for you, ladies, what's on your lips? We've all heard about lead in toys, that's big news lately. But there's pressure to get the lead out of lipstick. Top brands made in America sold just about everywhere.

Reporter Pam Cross has the story from our affiliate WCVB in Boston.


PAM CROSS, WCVB REPORTER (voice-over): Ask an average woman to open her cosmetic bag, and you often find lipstick. Consumer experts warn some of it contains lead.

STACY MALKAN, CAMPAIGN FOR SAFE COSMETICS: That the cosmetic companies that we trust and believe in are not looking out for our health, and some of the top major brands are not paying attention to this issue.

CROSS: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 61 percent of tested lipsticks had lead, 33 percent exceeded the lead limit allowed for candy and advocates complain small amounts add up.

DR. SEAN PALFRY, BOSTON LEAD POISONING PREV. PROG.: When you think of how many times she applies it in a day, how many times she licks her lips, gets it into her body, and it's the cumulative dose that we worry about.

CROSS: Lipstick ads are staples in fashion magazines are (ph) a big seller. Top companies like Cover Girl and L'Oreal had some of the highest lead levels.

L'Oreal responded in part, saying, "All the brands of the L'Oreal Group are in full compliance with FDA regulations. L'Oreal confidently and proudly stands behind each and every product that we sell."

JOEL TICKNER, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS: L'Oreal says that they are following the FDA regulations when, in essence, there are no regulations on the toxic chemicals in everyday products.

CROSS: A small sample of lipsticks purchased in Massachusetts and three other states leaving consumers to ask ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, how do you decide what the ingredients are in a lipstick to find out if it has lead in it or not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very disturbing. In fact, I use YSL a lot and I know it has very high lead content.

CROSS (on camera): Oh, really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I read that, but I still use it.

CROSS: More than a third of the tested products were actually lead free. And analysts say any company that wants to can create a lipstick that's both beautiful to look at and safe to use.

I'm Pam Cross, Newscenter 5.


ROESGEN: And no woman would be caught dead without it, at least not in this job.

We want to take a minute now to recognize a CNN mentor and colleague, veteran Washington producer Fran Lewine has been awarded the prestigious Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service Journalism. It is presented annually by the University of Missouri.

Fran started in the news business 65 years ago in 1942, and she has championed quality for women in journalism. She was the first woman to work full time as White House correspondent for the Associated Press. She covered presidents from Eisenhower to Carter. And she joined CNN right at the beginning of CNN in 1980. And she is still doing great work with us today.

If there is a young girl in your family, the name Hannah Montana is very familiar. But find out why so many parents are so angry about a concert tour by this TV star.


ROESGEN: If you have to ask, who's Hannah Montana, then you don't have young daughters because her concert tour is generating three things: news, money and lawsuits.

Here's our John Zarrella.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cara, Casey, Amanda, 7:00 p.m., like clockwork, they're plopped on the sofa in front of the TV.

CARA VON MINDEN, "HANNAH MONTANA" FAN: We didn't miss, like any episodes of her, unless something really big was happening.

ZARRELLA: The "her" is Miley Cyrus, the 14-year-old star of her own Disney show called "Hannah Montana." Every parent with girls between the ages of 6 and 16 knows about it. It has exploded in popularity.

So Cara, Casey and Amanda had to have tickets to Cyrus' concert billed as the best of both worlds.

VON MINDEN: All my friends were going to come, too, but now we can't.

ZARRELLA: Can't because within minutes of going on sale, tickets at all 54 venues were gone.

(on camera): So where did they all go? They're right here. Ticket brokers using sophisticated computer programs gobbled up nearly every ticket available. And now, tickets that went for $25 to $65 face value are going for hundreds, even thousands on Internet sites and all that cash going into ticket broker's pockets.

(voice-over): Cyrus' October 25th concert in Denver, on ticket liquidators you can buy one in section 2-12 for $228 or in section AAA row 2 for $2,550 each.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's taking advantage of me as a consumer, my children and it's not teaching my children a good lesson either. That, oh, you can get what you want if you pay the right price.

ZARRELLA: After undercover investigators paid ten times face value for tickets in Kansas City, Missouri's attorney general filed suit, accusing three companies of violating local anti-scalping laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you allow the hijacking of the market, it's literally the worst of both worlds. You get too much charge for the price and no access for the locals.

ZARRELLA: Ticket brokers would not talk with us, but Donald Vacarro (ph), whose company resells tickets for brokers, says the bottom line is that the marketplace defines the price.

DONALD VACARRO, TICKETNETWORK.COM: I'd say a reasonable price is whatever a consumer wants to pay.

ZARRELLA: Thursday, Cyrus and her co-star dad Billy Ray appeared on the "Ellen Degeneres Show," saying they understand their fans' disappointment.

CYRUS: It's going to be a good show, but I don't think it's worth what it's going for.


CYRUS: All right (ph), but the people that do get it ...

DEGENERES: Right, yes.

CYRUS: I'm making it, like the best show ever.


ZARRELLA: Except in this case, the concert promoter AEG Live auctioned off select tickets at 15 venues. They went for hundreds to thousands per ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the brokers are going to end up with the tickets, the artists should get paid for them, I guess, is kind of the theory.

ZARRELLA: The fact is, no one anticipated that a ticket to see a 14-year-old might end up the most coveted concert duckett ever.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


ROESGEN: Need a pretty big allowance to pay for it.

Coming up in the NEWSROOM at 4:00 Eastern, school bullies. What can be done before bad behavior causes deadly consequences?

Then at 5:00, what does it mean when teenagers say they're flossin'? We'll tell you and it doesn't have anything to do with teeth.

Those stories and more coming up after a check of the headlines and CNN's "SIU: Narco State, The Poppy Jihad."