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Gitmo Showdown; Should Driving While Texting Be Illegal?

Aired May 20, 2009 - 20:00   ET


ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANCHOR: Folks, we have got some incredible video to show you, but I need to warn you, it is extremely graphic. And, tonight, because of it, five Alabama cops have been fired.

Take a look for yourself. What could have provoked this? I will be talking exclusively with the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, where all of this happened.

It's just one of the stories we're talking about tonight with CNN anchor and correspondent Erica Hill, CNN legal and political analyst Jeffrey Toobin, national political correspondent Jessica Yellin, and Lisa Bloom, "In Session" anchor and CNN legal analyst.

Now, let's get back to that video, folks. We have seen police use excessive force before, but never quite like this.

Erica Hill takes us through the whole story -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Roland, I do want to reiterate once again -- you mentioned this off at the top of the show, but I want to warn you before we show you this video, some viewers may find it disturbing.

All of this was captured on a police cruiser's dash-cam. Now, it started out as a car chase. This chase reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour at some point. So it gets to the point where the police officer is ready to throw down what's called a spike strip.

You're going to see this man in the center of your screen there throws down the spike trip. Then you see the suspect hit the officer, sideswiping him. Well, about 30 seconds later, the van driven by the suspect is getting off the road, actually flips over.

The driver, Anthony Warren, appears to be ejected here. And we're told, when he landed on the ground, you can see the man's body there -- we're told he was unconscious. But then you see what happens next, and this is the controversy. Five officers appear to jump on him, start beating him.

The other issue here is not just that beating, but the fact that this happened in January 2008, and the tape has apparently been floating around, seen by multiple police officers, even some supervisors. But the chief of police says his office didn't know a thing about it until the DA contacted him three months ago.

Now, Warren, the suspect here, said he didn't even realize he had been beaten until he saw the tape. This is his mug shot, which was taken five days after the chase. All this time, he said had figured any injuries suffered happened when he was thrown from the van.

Now, as for the man and his involvement in that car chase, he had pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in March and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The big news now is those five officers, Warren -- Roland, who were shown jumping on Warren today were fired.

But, still, a lot of questions about this tape, obviously.

MARTIN: Well, and one of the folks who could answer those questions right now exclusively is the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, Larry Langford.

Mayor, thanks for joining us.

LARRY LANGFORD, MAYOR OF BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA: I appreciate the invitation. Thank you.

MARTIN: Now, this incident happened, as Erica said, in January of 2008. Why did it take so long to have these officers fired?

LANGFORD: Well, we -- I didn't know about it as mayor until Thursday of last week, when it was brought to our attention what had happened.

Apparently, those tapes have been floating around, but this particular tape you showed was used in the trial of the guy. But, apparently, they didn't show the last part of it, so we found out about it Thursday of last week.


MARTIN: Mayor, Mayor, Mayor, I must interrupt you. That camera, that is from a police cruiser.

LANGFORD: That's exactly right, yes.

MARTIN: So, how in the world can video from a police cruiser, you never see it? Chief of police, did he see it? Did any other cop see it? How is it floating around when it was coming from a police officer's car?

LANGFORD: OK. Let me answer your question this way.

I was elected November of last year. I took office late November, had been in office about a month. The -- the new police chief we have now didn't come on until a month after I took office.


LANGFORD: So, neither -- neither one of us saw it. It was under the previous administration.


HILL: Sir, even though it was under the previous administration, though, there are reports that several police officers and even perhaps as many as half-a-dozen supervisors may have seen this tape.

I understand that there can be this unwritten code where you protect your brother, but the fact that this tape could have been floating around and no one brought it to the chief of police's attention, is that concerning to you at all, in terms of those folks who are still on the force?

MARTIN: Right.

LANGFORD: Well, those individuals who did the not come forward who knew that the tape was out there, the police department right now is going back to ascertain how many people knew about this. And they will be dealt with appropriately.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Mayor Langford, will there be an investigation into the actions by these police officers with an eye towards possible criminal prosecution?

LANGFORD: Well, my understanding, after the tape came out today, that the investigative agencies are already on top of it to look at it, yes.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Mayor, there's also a long history of police brutality in Birmingham. I wonder if you think the entire police department needs an overhaul.

LANGFORD: Well, let me say this to you.

I grew up in Birmingham during a time when police brutality was rampant. And this city has come a long, long way. And this city didn't just come a long, long way because of black folks. Blacks and whites worked together to change the mind-set and mentality of the city.

We still have some vestiges of that around. But, in this particular case, I was called today and a guy said, well, is this a racial case? Well, if you look at that tape, the very first person who approached this guy and beat him was black.


LANGFORD: So, you know, I -- this wasn't a racial matter. It was just police brutality.


MARTIN: So, it wasn't black or white; it was blue.

LANGFORD: Yes, they just crossed the line. They absolutely crossed the line.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: But does this -- does this tape and the way the tape was treated for all these months and months suggest to you that maybe Birmingham hasn't made as much progress as you're saying it's made?

LANGFORD: Well, let me say this to you.

You know, there is this unwritten code, as you know, within these departments, but the fact of the matter is, yes, this department has made tremendous strides. But you're dealing with human beings, who, in many cases, try to protect one another.

The fact of the matter is, they shouldn't have tried it in this particular case. You have a new mayor and a new police chief, both who grew up during the '60s, were in some cases victims of police brutality. We won't tolerate it. And everyone responsible for covering it up will, in all probability, need a job.

MARTIN: Mayor, have we heard at all from the previous mayor, from the previous police chief? Have they owned up to their responsibility here as well?

LANGFORD: No, in this particular case, I got the whole deal on Thursday. Today, the tapes were released. And so, the police department is conducting a full investigation to -- to ascertain who knew what when and why we -- it's just now surfacing as of Thursday of last week.

BLOOM: Mayor, is there any defense being offered by these officers in defense of their behavior, such as that it was a 100-mile- per-hour chase, went on for 22 minutes, that they thought, perhaps, that the suspect was a danger?

LANGFORD: Let me be very candid with you.

That tape runs almost 30 minutes. They led the police on a 20-, 30-, 40-mile chase. Now, if you watch the whole tape -- and I want to be real honest with you, OK? Excuse me. When I saw the first part of the tape, I was saying, why on earth is he being allowed to travel 100 miles an hour, endangering that many people? I thought he should have been stopped way before then.

And so, in my own mind, not having seen the last 11 seconds, I was thinking, boy, something ought to happen to this guy, until I got to the last 11 seconds of the tape. The man was ejected from the car. He was totally unconscious. At that point, it should have stopped right there.

MARTIN: Got you.

LANGFORD: And, so, guys, let me tell you something.

You know, I grew up in this city. We have a police car in this city, Car 13, had a black cat -- had a black cat on the back.

MARTIN: About 15 seconds, Mayor.

LANGFORD: And this guy would -- would terrify the community.

But our police department is not that department today. These guys crossed the line. And, unfortunately, I'm here on CNN trying to defend a city who has really matured and grown, because some officers crossed the line.


Well, Mayor, we certainly will be watching this case to see what happens next. And, certainly, we will welcome you to come back to keep us informed of the next steps.

Mayor Larry Langford of Birmingham, Alabama, thanks a bunch.

LANGFORD: You're welcome.

MARTIN: Folks, you can watch the video from start to finish on our Web site,, again,

President Barack Obama said it as soon as he took office: Close the Guantanamo Bay prison. Well, easier said than done. The commander in chief blocked by his own party today, amid real questions about what to do with all of those terror detainees. How can the president turn the tide?

And you might call it multitasking, but our panel calls it dangerous.

Neva from Maryland telling it like it is.


NEVA, MARYLAND: There's no way you can text, dial on your phone and pay attention to the road at the same time. It's very dangerous. And I would agree that it should be illegal.


MARTIN: No texting during the show, Jessica.


MARTIN: Should driving while texting be illegal nationwide? Call 1-877-NO-BULL-0.

TOOBIN: Busted. Busted.

MARTIN: That's 1-877-662-8550. Or drop an e-mail on Twitter or Facebook.

And, yes, do not hit me from the car, please.


MARTIN: Folks, this just in: An Obama administration official is telling the Associated Press that the first detainee from the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is coming to New York City for his trial. And we're certainly working to get more details and we're going to have those for you hopefully by the end of the show. The news comes as President Obama finds himself in the middle of a standoff over Gitmo. Today, both Democratic and Republican senators voted overwhelmingly to block the president's plans for closing Gitmo.

They're worried about where the 240 or so war on terror detainees will be sent.

Our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry joins us right now.

Ed, the president loses a vote 90 to 6. Last time I checked, this was a Democratic Senate, so what in the world happened?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: These things are supposed to be a slam dunk for this president. You're absolutely right.

And, instead, with a lot of Democrats on the Hill, they still did not support this president. They're running scared, frankly, politically, Roland. A lot of these Democrats see Republicans exploiting fears in Middle America about, as you said, what's going to happen to these 240 detainees at Guantanamo Bay? Are they just going to be dumped on Middle America? Are they going to go to U.S. prisons?

That's one option. And while the White House keeps saying, look, in these maximum security prisons in America, they will be kept under lock and key, the president's own FBI director, Robert Mueller, today was on the Hill undermining that case by saying he worries that, if some of these terrorists wind up in U.S. prisons, they will wind up collaborating with folks in America, they will wind up fund-raising for terrorist organizations, and it could blow up in the U.S.' face.

That's not good, for the president's own FBI director saying that, and that's why he's having a hard time.

YELLIN: Ed, the president's giving a big speech tomorrow and we know he will be talking in part about detention policy and these military commissions.

But do you expect him to also address how he actually plans to close Gitmo without the money to do it?

HENRY: Yes and no.

I think there will be some details, but the White House seems to be very carefully walking this line where Robert Gibbs yesterday said there would be a hefty amount of details about Guantanamo, the kind of details that Democrats want right now on the Hill. But, then, today, Robert Gibbs was sort of shifting and saying, well, the president will lay out a framework, not necessarily a lot of details.

And I think that's also because they want to make this speech not just about Guantanamo. What top aides say is, they want to make it a broader look about the president's thinking on why he won't release those prison abuse photos, why he banned the so-called torture tactics. And they don't want it just to be about Guantanamo. The other potential problem for the president, who else is giving a speech tomorrow about half-hour after the president? Former Vice President Dick Cheney. He will be in Washington laying out his case. He's been a gnat for this president, going out there making his own case. And he's going to try to step on the president's message tomorrow.

TOOBIN: Ed, it seems like there's a sort of zero sum game here. On the day he was inaugurated, President Obama said, I'm closing Guantanamo. Now Congress is saying, well, they can't come to the United States. So, where do they go? Where will these trials take place? In the United States? In Cuba? Somewhere else?

HENRY: That's why you have some of the president's own allies saying, Democrats on the Hill, wait a second, maybe the executive order came a little too soon. Maybe it shouldn't have been on that first week.

And I in fact asked Robert Gibbs today that at the briefing. I said, do you have any second thoughts? Maybe you should have studied this for 120 days? And then do the executive order around now, after you have a plan.

He said, absolutely no second thoughts.

But when you hear some Democrats on the Hill in private, some of them in public, maybe there are some second thoughts, Jeffrey.

MARTIN: Ninety to six? Yes, second thoughts, that might be -- might be smart.


MARTIN: Ed Henry, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks a lot.

HENRY: Thanks.

MARTIN: Folks, we want to get a better feel for what it's really like inside our nation's prisons. Could they really be turned into breeding grounds for terrorism?

Ted Conover worked at the famous Sing Sing maximum security prison outside of New York City. He's also been on the inside of other highly secure lockups, like the supermax federal prison in Colorado, as well as Gitmo himself. He's written about his experiences in his book "Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing."

Ted, exactly what is supermax like? Because these senators are saying we're worried about then mixing with other terrorists -- I'm sorry -- other inmates, but supermax is not the most, you know, happy- go-lucky place.

YELLIN: Social.



TED CONOVER, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: There's not a -- in a supermax, you don't have a prison yard where people can lurk in the corner and conspire. You don't have a gymnasium. You don't have a cafeteria where people -- it's all individual cells, like seven-by-12 feet. The idea is sensory deprivation.

A lot of them have soundproofing, so you can't communicate across the hall or even shoot a little message, a kite, to somebody in another cell.

I mean, there are moments in the day of a prisoner in a supermax when they're outside, say, in the cage, just like at Gitmo, and they might be able to talk to somebody in another cage. In -- in many cases, they're like there.

But the whole idea that they could effectively organize while a prisoner at a supermax is a little hard to understand.

MARTIN: So, maximum isolation?

CONOVER: Exactly, yes.


And, Ted, our prisons right now are filled with people who have been involved in criminal conspiracies, I mean, gang members, up to and including terrorists.

MARTIN: Domestic terrorists, yes.

BLOOM: You have got serial killers, so this wouldn't be the first time we got really, really bad guys behind bars in our prisons, right?

CONOVER: No. I mean, I remember Vice President Cheney said, these are the worst of the worst. But I think you could have an argument with some of the people who are already in the supermaxes about who's the baddest guy there.

And, frankly, I think it would be a little scary to be from Guantanamo and sent to an American prison, because everyone there would want to kill you.


TOOBIN: Ted, when I was in Guantanamo a couple -- I have been there twice.


TOOBIN: And one of the things they do...

MARTIN: You were visiting, Jeff.


TOOBIN: I was visiting, just to be clear. And I was doing journalistic work.


TOOBIN: And they say that the two new facilities there were actually built, brick by brick, copies of maximum security prisons, one in Indiana, and one in Michigan.

CONOVER: Exactly.

TOOBIN: So, if they're safe enough for Indiana and Michigan, why is it dangerous to bring them there? I mean, what was Robert Mueller talking about, about the danger? It seemed nonsensical to me.


CONOVER: I think it's this -- it's this emotional resistance to letting the bad guy in your house in some figurative, metaphorical way, right?

Like, Gitmo's across the ocean a little bit.


CONOVER: But, once they're here, everyone thinks, well, that's very frightening.

But I haven't heard any suggestion that, having been incarcerated, they would ever be released into the United States. I think that's an impossibility. And the same people that built those supermax prisons at Gitmo, you know, reservists mainly from military police companies in the Midwest, are the ones who would incarcerate them in the United States. I mean, they're corrections professionals, those people, and I think they would be treated a lot in the same way.

HILL: The only other concern that seems to have been brought up -- I know it's been brought up by Representative Boehner -- is the fact that there's this concern by some folks that the prison itself could become a target and perhaps a target for terrorists or even someone looking to be martyred.

I mean, is there -- is there reasonable concern there?

CONOVER: Well, you don't want to just discount that off the top of your head. But I imagine they would not all be together. There are -- we have many, many supermax facilities. They all have...

BLOOM: And they're heavily fortified, aren't they?

CONOVER: They are. Even Sing Sing, which is -- has a max -- a isolation component, like a lot of top security prisons do, has a plan about what to do if a helicopter approaches.

HILL: Right.

CONOVER: They have all these contingencies laid off.

HILL: And I would imagine, too, they wouldn't all be -- like you said, wouldn't be in the same place.

And, Jeff, I'm sure that we wouldn't know where they all were, most importantly.

TOOBIN: No, they would not...


BLOOM: Well, that's true.


MARTIN: Ted Conover, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks a lot for the insight.

CONOVER: Very welcome.

MARTIN: All right, folks, you can catch President Obama's speech on the future of Guantanamo Bay tomorrow morning on CNN at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, 7:00 Pacific, of course to be followed by former Vice President Cheney's remarks on national security at 10:45 a.m. Eastern.

A personal health crisis has pulled one of golf's biggest names away from the game, at least for now -- that news straight ahead.


YELLIN: All right, let's see it, Jeff. Bring it.


MARTIN: Come on, Jeff. This is where we show a little rhythm.

TOOBIN: I'm new here. I will just follow along.

BLOOM: This is where Roland and I dance and everybody else rolls their eyes.

MARTIN: Oh, man.


MARTIN: Jeff Toobin, straight from rhythmless nation.


MARTIN: All right, that was "Get Down on It" from Kool and the Gang, a special Facebook request from Regina E. (ph), because you know I'm not lying.

(LAUGHTER) MARTIN: All right, folks, tonight's question sounds like a no- brainer to me. Should driving while texting be illegal nationwide? I say, hell, yes.

But not everybody agrees with me. Here's Bella on Facebook -- quote -- "Even though it's dangerous, government shouldn't outlaw a whole set of behavior unless they're going to also outlaw doing your makeup while reading the newspaper, while eating, while et cetera."

BLOOM: Uh-oh.

MARTIN: "It's like everything else. Be aware and safe."

All right, Bella, you threw me there for a bit.

All right, panel, what do you think?

HILL: There have been a number of studies that have shown...


MARTIN: Hey, I'm sorry. We have a show going on.


MARTIN: Stop texting.


HILL: There are a number of studies that have shown that listening to the radio, talking to somebody else in your car are actually just as distracting as, say, talking on the phone. So...

YELLIN: Yes, whenever I at in the car, I always almost get in a crash, right? I hate that. I hate that.

HILL: For me, it's the mascara.


MARTIN: All right, folks, hold tight. We're coming back on that.

And we will want to hear from you as well, 1-877-NO-BULL-0, 1- 877-662-8550.

And, Jeff, of course, gets in trouble while dancing in the car.


MARTIN: E-mail me, folks, or find me on Twitter and Facebook.


MARTIN: You can thank Samantha for that one. That's "Naive" by The Kooks. YELLIN: Huh.

MARTIN: Yes. There you go. I said the same thing.

All right, folks, here's our question tonight: Should texting while driving be illegal? We want to know what you think. The number to call, 1-877-NO-BULL-0, 1-877-662-8550.

But, first, Erica Hill with the briefing.

HILL: Yes.

And we start off with news out of Iran, which is, it successfully tested another long-range missile today. Now, this follows a missile test in November. According to Tehran, the missiles have a range of over 1,200 miles. That means they could hit not only Israel, but also Moscow, Athens and southern Italy.

We also want to update on a story we brought you last night, former NFL star Michael Vick now out of prison, released before dawn today. He will serve the final two months of his sentence under home confinement in Virginia.

Police in Minnesota say they think Colleen Hauser and in her son are in the Los Angeles. They are believed to be headed to Mexico to seek treatment for the 13-year-old's cancer. Now, you may recall the family refused a judge's order for their son to have chemotherapy.

And in a seemingly strange twist to the story, the Associated Press is reporting a man who may be traveling with this young man and his mother also ran away from home to avoid chemotherapy treatments when he was a teen.

Golfer Phil Mickelson taking an indefinite leave from the PGA Tour after his wife, Amy, diagnosed with breast cancer. Mickelson, who is ranked number two on the tour, has 36 career PGA Tour victories and was closing in on Tiger Woods' number-one ranking.

The home of a second child star of the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" demolished. The shanty where Rubina Ali lived with her family was one of 18 homes bulldozed today. Now, authorities say the shacks had been illegally built. Last week, 20 homes were razed for the same reason, including one belonging to the family of another child in the film.

And, obviously, gotten a lot of attention because of that.

MARTIN: All right, then.

Folks, Steven Spielberg wants to make a movie about the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So, why do two of Dr. King's children want to put a stop to it? We will talk to them about the feud that is tearing their family apart just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MARTIN: The three living children of a man of peace clearly have no peace in their own family. And Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter and two sons have been battling over his legacy for years.

Tonight, the fight is boiling over in public and it all comes down to money and power. The latest drama involves the movie company DreamWorks and director Steven Spielberg. They announced yesterday the first major motion picture on the life of Dr. King.

Dexter King, who runs the King estate, said in a news release that he hopes the movie will be -- quote -- "the definitive film on his father's legacy."

But Bernice and Martin Luther King Jr. III are objecting. They say they had no say in the deal and weren't even made aware of it until they saw it in the newspaper.

Bernice King and MLK III join us right now, along with our panel, Erica, Jeff, Jessica, and Lisa.

Now, Martin, the three of you are entrusted with preserving your father's legacy. And we're continually hearing about lawsuits over book and movie deals.

What in the world is going on with the King children?

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Well, first of all, it's not about money, I should say. I noticed that that was the first notion. It really is about how the legacy is fostered in the future and all of these deals.

Certainly, there is an entity called King, Inc. that we are involved in, the three of us. However, only one person has been making all of the decisions as it relates to the company.

MARTIN: So the three of you are involved.

KING: But there is the issue.

MARTIN: Martin, the three of you are involved in King, Inc., and you and Bernice contend that you have no role in the decisions, that Dexter is making all the decisions himself, correct?

KING: Absolutely. We are officers, shareholders and directors of an entity called King, Inc. But we've not had a meeting in five years.

MARTIN: Now, we reached out to your brother, Dexter, and, Bernice, I want to go to you next.

And he said, "I've always upheld my duty as CEO of the family corporation to communicate with my fellow shareholder, director, family members. Although my communication with family members has been somewhat stymied by the current litigation, I have continued to reach out and I remain committed to working together with my siblings on projects to educate people about the life, leadership and teachings of our father, Martin Luther King, Jr. I sincerely believe that the film project we have been working on with Dreamworks offers an unprecedented opportunity for educating the largest possible audience about our father's legacy as the leader of America's greatest nonviolent movement. I sincerely hope my brother and sister will join us in supporting this urgently-needed project."

How do you respond?


M. KING: Well, first of all --

MARTIN: Bernice, go right ahead.

M. KING: Bernice --

BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: Well, I think in the first place, we have to understand that we have been involved in this lawsuit for a year and a half. Well, not quite a year and a half, but about a year. And I'm not clear that Dexter has upheld his duty, his fiduciary duty, in terms of the corporation. That's one of the reasons that we are in court today.

But please note that there is a technicality in our bylaws that prohibit us from having a meeting unless Dexter shows up, and only a court of law can resolve that. And it came about as a result of the death of our mother and sister.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Can I just ask, it seems to me there's actually a potentially very simple solution to all this. We're talking about arguably the greatest man of the 20th century whose writings and possessions are of interest to millions of people. Why not give up your copyright, put it in the Library of Congress, and make it freely accessible to everyone?

B. KING: It's not quite that simple, sir, with all due respect. There are many issues involved in our lawsuit. Some of which --

TOOBIN: OK. Let's start with one.

B. KING: Some of which -- let me say this, some of which we cannot discuss because some of our -- some of what we are in court about is under a confidentiality order and I'm sure you can appreciate that.

But really, this has less to do with the movie deal and more to do with the globalness of what we've been dealing with and you can't piecemeal this behind just the movie deal. You have to start -- the foundation has to start correct and this was done incorrectly. We were not --


You know, many people are surprised to learn that substantial amounts of money are being made from the licensing and exploitation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and likeness and image. What happens to all of that money?

M. KING: That's a good question. I mean, that is a very good question. Maybe there is money that's being made. We -- part of what we need -- we need to understand what is happening in this entity called King, Inc. that partially is established to do licensing.

TOOBIN: But why does King, Inc. have to exist? Why not open up these papers, let people see them, put them in the public domain, and let millions of Americans who want to learn more about Martin Luther King do it for free?

B. KING: It exists because Dr. King protected his own copyrights. Dr. King sued himself over his "I Have a Dream" speech that a record company was trying to exploit back during his lifetime. He contained his writings, some of them, in books.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATL. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: All right. But clearly, you should have thought (ph) and let that copyright go. You could release it to the public.

B. KING: Well -- you know, I don't think that's fair for you to put that standard on our family when you would not want to put it on other families.

YELLIN: Let me ask you this, your brother there said that...

M. KING: Including yourself.

YELLIN: ... this is all about how the legacy is preserved for the future. The "Associated Press" has reported that you charged the National Mall $800,000 to use Dr. King's likeness in a memorial on the National Mall. What better way to preserve his legacy than to be memorialized in the middle of Washington?

B. KING: I think that's the question you need to ask Dexter Scott King, who was a part of brokering that deal. That's one of the reasons we're in the lawsuit because we're trying to understand what's going on in our own corporation. But again, if we could have a meeting to be able to establish all of this, and the governance of our corporation, maybe we could make some progress.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do want to read one quick statement that we did get from Steven Spielberg's company, Dreamworks, which is what launched the segment today was this news about the movie.

"The purpose of making a movie about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to tell a great story which could bridge distances and bring people together. We remain committed to pursuing a film chronicling Martin Luther King's life provided that there is unity in the family so we can make a film about unity in our nation. We believe this is what Dr. King would have wanted."

We really only have time for a yes-or-no question. Bernice, I'll start with you. A yes or no answer, rather.

Do you believe, though, that making a film -- let's put your money issues aside -- would making a film like this be a good way for you to get your father's message out?

B. KING: Well, let me reiterate, I put money issues aside from the beginning. Again, this is not about money for me. If it was about money, it would be a simple solution.

HILL: Yes or no, though. Would you like to see a film made? We're not talking about money, but yes or no, would this be the best way?

B. KING: You mentioned money so I had to put it back at you. But let me just say, I think Mr. Spielberg is a great producer and we look forward to hearing from him about the scope of this agreement.

We know nothing about the agreement. We have no details about the agreement to say whether or not this particular one is a good idea. In general, yes, it's wonderful to do a film about Dr. King, but how the agreement is fashioned is another issue.

MARTIN: Bernice King, MLK III, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks so much and we'll be watching this, and hopefully you guys can have that meeting and get this thing resolved.

B. KING: Thank you very much.

MARTIN: Thanks so much.

Folks, California voters have given their governor a message loud and clear. No more money. So now, it looks like the state is going to Washington for a bailout. But should the rest of us have to foot the bill for California?

And tonight we're talking about texting while driving. It's been blamed for some major accidents, but should it be illegal?

Listen to this from Raquel in Pennsylvania.


RAQUEL, FROM PENNSYLVANIA (via telephone): I think texting while driving should be illegal, even though I do it all the time, but it is quite dangerous. I can vouch for that.


HILL: I like the honesty.

MARTIN: What do you think? Should driving while texting be illegal nationwide?

Give us a call, 1-877-662-8550. Or follow the board with the rest of the details of how to reach us. Back in a moment.


MARTIN: California loved that from Tupak.

Folks, a handful of voters showed up for the election yesterday in California and they voted down -- they voted down the various initiatives that would have raised some revenue instead of bail the state out of a $21 billion deficit. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger supported those initiatives, but he now says he's gotten the message from the voters.


GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: We have to go and sell off our motorcycles and our boats and our cars, second cars, and shrink and have yard sales and garage sales in order to make ends meet. You do the same thing with government. Don't come to us for extra help. So that was the message. It was very loud and clear.


MARTIN: Last week, the children (ph) of California State wrote a letter to the federal government saying, we need a bailout. So the question we've been asking, should the federal government and, yes, you, bail out California like we bailed out big banks and car companies?

Joining us now from San Francisco, the city's former mayor, Willie Brown, who also was California's longest-serving assembly speaker. Also joining us from Washington is Stephen Moore. He's a senior economics writer for "The Wall Street Journal."

Now, Mayor Brown, why is this a simply California problem? Why in the world should California get federal money from the TARP funds as the state treasurer is asking when it's their problem, their budget?

WILLIE BROWN (D), FMR. SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: Well, I think there's some misunderstanding about what the treasurer is requesting. He is not requesting money. He's requesting an insurance policy similar to the one we would ordinarily get from AIG, if that was available. And he's not simply requesting it from California. He's requesting it for all municipalities and states all over this nation.

When that kind of guarantee is put in place, then the cost of that paper, the cost of that debt, will be substantially less than it is today.

MARTIN: But Stephen, if you have a budget gap, $21 billion, of the making by the folks there in California, shouldn't they have to do like me or Erica or the whole panel, we're sitting at home, we don't have the money, you cut from your budget and you live off of what you have?

STEPHEN MOORE, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, Roland, I think that was the message, clearly, of the vote yesterday. And, by the way, I think this is a really important political development. I think this was a thunderbolt message that California sent not just to Sacramento but I think to Washington, that voters are just fed up with the overspending and overtaxing and too much debt.

And this issue that the mayor was talking about, you know, do we really want to encourage states and cities to take on even more debt right now when they are really up to their ears and eyeballs in debt? I think most federal taxpayers would be very reluctant to see federal guarantee on debt that may be defaulted on. I mean, this isn't free.

When the federal government provides an insurance umbrella on these loans, if the loans go bad, who picks up the tab? Uncle Sam.

HILL: Mayor, you wrote in last Sunday's "San Francisco Chronicle," "As for the legislature ever taking on real spending reform, forget it." And then you noted, "No matter where you cut, someone screams." But something does have to be done, as we know.

So let's say you're back there in leadership in the state of California. Where do you cut? How do you make this better?

BROWN: There is no question cuts will come. This is not about cuts when it comes to the question of what the federal government should do. State of California has to put in place a proper spending program. On top of the spending program --

HILL: But things have to be cut first right now.

BROWN: Absolutely.

HILL: So, if you had to make cuts today, where do you go first?

BROWN: Well, you start, clearly, you start with the document you call a budget. And you've got to make sure that that budget reflects only what you have coming in. When you figure that out, then you go next to where can you go to make it work?

One place you can go, we have 20,000, 30,000 people in jail out here that will be deported the day in which they are released. We need to turn them over to the federal government now and let them take them. Obviously, this 20,000 to 30,000, that reduces the population. That's the first place we cut.

Secondly, we say to those persons who have been administering the jails, we don't need as many people doing that anymore. We also do the same thing with reference to every other program and policy in the state of California instead of local government.

YELLIN: Mayor, let me ask Stephen Moore a quick question here. I'm sorry to interrupt you.

But, Stephen, you say, that Californians should have to just deal with the problem of their own making. But let's be honest, these aren't isolated states.

MOORE: Right. YELLIN: California provides fire department services to many states across the west because they have the firehouses. They have an added burden of millions of undocumented workers who aren't paying taxes because federal law won't recognize them, and are in the state because federal government didn't shut the borders and keep them out. So, the federal, the rest of the nation relies on California. Why not offer them a helping hand?

MOORE: Well, I think immigrants are a benefit to California, not a burden. But to answer your question, I think there's no question that California's financial problems are vastly their own making. I mean, this is a state, for example, one of the few states in the country --

YELLIN: But that's not the question. The question is, they're in this position partly because of what they offer the rest of the country and because of the position they're in because of the rest of the country.

MOORE: Yes, but the main reason --

YELLIN: So why can't the country bail them out?

MOORE: Because I live in Virginia, I don't want to pay for the excessive spending in California. Why should I?

Why should people in Pennsylvania or Ohio pay for, you know, the fact that, for example, California has never reformed its welfare system when most states have? Why should we pay for a system where, you know, California has the most generous public pension system in the country?

You've got people in the public pension system that are collecting $200,000 a year checks. The whole system has to be reformed.

MARTIN: All right.

MOORE: One thing I would agree with the mayor on, look, I don't think the problem right now is too much spending.

MARTIN: Ten seconds. Ten seconds.

MOORE: The problem is, you've got a tax code and a regulatory system that are chasing businesses and taxpayers out of the state.


MOORE: And the state is not collecting any tax revenues because all the businesses have gone to Nevada and Texas and Idaho.

MARTIN: Gentlemen, California is out of money. We're out of time.

Willie Brown, Stephen Moore, we certainly appreciate your time for joining us. Thanks a lot. MOORE: Nice to see you.

MARTIN: Folks, "LARRY KING LIVE" is just minutes away. He is here in New York tonight.

Larry you're following some breaking news?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": We are, Roland, my man. On the run from cancer, an ill teenager and his mother fled the country to avoid his treatment? We've got breaking news regarding the manhunt.

And Michael Vick's attorney is here. Vick was released from prison today after serving time for bankrolling a dogfighting ring. And can the former football star come back? We've got the exclusive with his lawyer, Billy Martin.

And then the beautiful Vanessa Williams will join us, all next on "LARRY KING LIVE."

Roland, I'm excited.

MARTIN: Hey, Vanessa in the studio? I'm dropping by.


KING: Hey, good luck.

MARTIN: All right, Larry, thanks so much.

Folks, she's a mom and 18 years old. Now, Bristol Palin is on the cover of "People" magazine and she's opening up like never before.

Coming up, what she says kids wouldn't do if only they knew.


MARTIN: "Mesmerized," Ja Rule/Ashanti.

All right. Jessica Yellin is here with the "Political Daily Briefing."

YELLIN: Roland, we have just learned that the president met with the potential Supreme Court nominee. He met with Diane Wood who is among the sharpest minds on the Chicago Appeals Court. She is a Federal Appeals Court judge from the state of Illinois, and the president knows her from his days teaching at Chicago University. She is 59 years old and amazingly, that is on the older side for President Obama's leading candidates for the job because he wants someone young to replace outgoing Justice David Souter.

Other potential candidates include Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, California State Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and Michigan's governor, Jennifer Granholm, who is also in Washington this week and may have just snuck in to meet with the president about the court vacancy as well. Mr. Obama is expected to announce his final pick sometime this month.

And Bristol Palin, yes, she's back and she's opening up about her life as a teenage mom on the cover of "People" magazine. The daughter of the Alaska governor is on the new cover of "People" wearing a graduation gown and holding her 5-month-old son Tripp.

Inside the magazine, a very candid Bristol talking about her love for her son, Tripp, but also how she wakes up twice a night to feed him, had to miss her prom and put aside her dream of becoming a nurse.

She says she's opening up now so that she can warn teenagers about the consequences of having sex. She says, "Nobody would have sex if they knew. I feel that might be an overstatement."

MARTIN: I'm just saying.


YELLIN: Maybe not --

MARTIN: Wow. Our panel is speechless. Shocker.

All right, folks, we're talking tonight about texting while driving. Should it be against the law?

Maggio77 on Twitter says, "No. But if you cause a traffic interruption/accident, near miss or fail to obey a traffic law, then you should get a ticket."

TOOBIN: Wow, that's tough.

MARTIN: Wow. What do you think? Should driving while texting be illegal nationwide?

Give us a call. 1-877-662-8550. Drop me an e-mail. You can find me on Twitter and Facebook. And bless you, Erica.

HILL: I'm just tired. Thank you.

MARTIN: Bless you.


MARTIN: Oh, look at you. You're coming to life (ph) from South Town (ph).

All right, folks, it's getting ridiculous on the roads. Too many people are all thumbs when they ought to be all eyes. Texting while driving. Plenty of people do it, even if they don't want to admit it.

But, folks, what's more important? Staying in touch or staying alive? Take a look.

Right now there are 20 states that have laws about in some form. Many others are considering it. So what's with the whole issue? Texting has been blamed in some really bad accidents. So keep in mind, of course, in Los Angeles, that train accident, with some 25 folks.

HILL: Right. Commuter train.

MARTIN: That commuter accident about the bus driver in Boston.

HILL: In Boston.

MARTIN: You also had taking place in Texas. And so you had all kinds of different accidents where folks have been texting and frankly have caused a lot of folks to be injured or killed.

So we've been asking this question, is it a distraction? Should they be banned?

Jeff, you're the big-time lawyer.

TOOBIN: You know, I guess I'm a big government regulation kind of guy. I think it should be.

You know, it's hard to draw distinctions. I mean, lots of stuff we do in cars can distract you, whether it's drinking a soda or changing the radio, or CD player. But texting requires so much concentration and the keys are so small that I think you really need to say --

BLOOM: But some studies say it's more dangerous than drunk driving.

MARTIN: That's my point.

BLOOM: And so drunk driving is clearly illegal because it impairs your ability to drive. You know, 43 states still it's completely legal to text while driving.

MARTIN: But Erica made a great point early, and that is if you're in the car, you're sitting there eating, you're grabbing for some food or you're putting on makeup, I mean, same thing happens. You are distracted. How can you regulate what somebody's doing in the car when frankly we don't have enough cops to follow them everywhere (ph)?

YELLIN: You can put your seat belt. That's regulated.

HILL: Yes.

YELLIN: There was a caller earlier who said she texts all the time but she wishes it were illegal because that might stop her. I think that's true of a lot of people, that if you knew it were illegal, you wouldn't do it.

HILL: I mean, I totally -- I think it should be outlined (ph) too. And I don't really drive very much because I live in the city. So I take the subway a lot. But, no. But when I was living in Atlanta a year and a half ago, I mean, I fully admit I knew I shouldn't be doing it. But I'd be stopped at a red light and I would check my BlackBerry. I'd be stopped in stops. I wouldn't do it with my son in the car, I will say that.


YELLIN: But sometimes while you're driving.

HILL: But, there was a temptation there. I thought, I shouldn't because just in case I have my son with me.

MARTIN: That's right. So when Jon Klein, the president e-mails us, we'll probably return it in a minute.


All right. Let's go to Yorktown, Pennsylvania.

Mary, what say you? I'm sorry, Virginia. Mary?

MARY, VIRGINIA (via telephone): Yes. I just want to say, you know, this is the most stupidest conversation I've ever heard.

BLOOM: Thank you.

MARTIN: Why? Why?

MARY: Driving more than five, ten miles an hour, shut up and drive. My God, you can kill people.

MARTIN: All right.

HILL: That's Right.

BLOOM: And, Roland, you know, 60 percent of teens confess to texting while driving. Look, and I did a lot of times.

HILL: I think that's lower than what it really is.

TOOBIN: I think Mary had the best closing argument I've ever heard. You know, I sort of changed my mind. I mean, you know, really, what is the benefit to society of allowing people to text while driving?

MARTIN: Well, again, though -- you had the base going on all across in city councils and state houses, should they make it law.

Cory in Chicago. What do you think? Legal or illegal?

CORY, ILLINOIS (via telephone): It shouldn't be illegal.


CORY: Because I think as adults they should be held to standards and know not to text while driving. Because in my state, how when the cop pulls up to you, you're at the red light. Suppose I want to dial my girl and call her, how do you suppose to know if I'm texting or if I'm calling up the line?

MARTIN: You've got a point right there.


HILL: Exactly.

BLOOM: That's an evidentiary issue. And I'll tell you how they know.

MARTIN: Now, Cory, you better call in your girlfriend.

BLOOM: Cory, I'll tell you how they know. When you get to court, there's a record of that text message when you hit send. There's a message in your phone. There's a message in her phone. That's how they know.

MARTIN: All right. Let's go to the phone lines. Alex, Salt Lake City, Utah.

ALEX, UTAH (via telephone): Yes. I think that texting and driving should be illegal. Because right now as it stands, there's 15 teens that die a day. I'm 18 years old and I'm guilty to texting and driving.


ALEX: But there is a decrease. But I think that we'll see an even bigger decrease if there are some laws. You know, a caller said earlier, you know...

MARTIN: Right.

ALEX: ... if you know that -- I think when you guys said that if you know it's illegal, you're probably not going to do it. I think that's true.

MARTIN: OK. All right. Thanks a bunch.

TOOBIN: What's interesting about some of these issues is that the culture really can change. You know, it was only mothers against drunk driving in the '70s that brought that issue to light.

Driving while drunk was American as apple pie. '50s, '60s, and suddenly the society like on a dime said, you know what, this is unacceptable. This is not something we're willing to tolerate.

MARTIN: Same thing if we were talking on the phones, all of a sudden ear pieces.

BLOOM: That's right.

MARTIN: You know, all kinds of stuff like that. All right, folks, hold tight. We'll be right back in a moment. We'll continue our conversation.

Chuck (ph), what do we say? Two and two?

HILL: They're actually (ph) two and two, Roland.

MARTIN: Two and two?

HILL: Two-two.

MARTIN: Whatever, something like that.


MARTIN: All right. Joss Stone.

Should driving while texting be illegal nationwide? Back with our panel now.

Folks, Lisa from Facebook says, "Texting while driving should be absolutely illegal. However, enforcement is a serious challenge."

That's what it was going to boil down to.

HILL: Even with a hand set, headset, that issue here is a huge challenge, I think. I can't imagine -- I can't believe the number of people, I should say, that I see on the road and especially around New York City, cab drivers -- it's amazing the number of people that just drive like this and I keep thinking, it's illegal. Come on. Get a ticket.

TOOBIN: And it's difficult to enforce drunk driving too, but doesn't really make it legal.

BLOOM: At least you can keep your eyes on the road when you're talking on the phone.

MARTIN: Great point.

BLOOM: Your eyes have to be down to be texting.

MARTIN: All right, folks, we want to thank everybody (ph) in the conversation here. Time for us to close this one out.

Stop, if you're texting out, Jessica.

We want to thank everybody who called and e-mailed. Your voices are so important. We certainly appreciate it. Thanks so much.

"LARRY KING LIVE" up next. Larry. What do we say, folks?

ALL: Holla.