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Is Sex Offender Involved in Girl`s Disappearance?; O.J. Simpson to Appeal His Conviction

Aired May 27, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a terrifying discovery as cops furiously search for adorable 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan. She vanished outside her Michigan home on Sunday. Now, cops reportedly find a bloody knife. Could it be connected to a registered sex offender who cops say is the mom`s boyfriend? Is it the big break in the case?

Then, the Juice wants to be loose. O.J. Simpson, behind bars for armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas, is appealing his conviction. Just wait until you hear his reason.

And Casey Anthony`s defense team circles the wagons. The accused killer will be dragged into court tomorrow. That`s when a judge will decide if you get to see the intense videotape of Casey`s jail house meltdown after remains were found near her home, but before they were I.D.`d as little Caylee. I`ll preview the courtroom drama.

Then, yet another disturbing development in the case against Melissa Huckaby, the Sunday schoolteacher accused of raping and murdering little Sandra Cantu. Weeks before that killing, a man Huckaby once dated passed out and crashed his car. He was never charged with DUI. Was it because he was drugged by Huckaby?

Plus, the "Jon & Kate" great debate: is the couple exploiting their eight children? That`s what Kate`s own brother says. With the marriage falling apart on national TV, I`ll examine what sort of long-term damage their kids could be facing.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Terrifying developments tonight as cops make a gruesome discovery in the search for adorable 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, who vanished outside her Michigan home on Sunday. Police reportedly find a bloody knife inside a tackle box. They allegedly discovered that blood- soaked knife while searching the home of registered sex offender George Kennedy.

Authorities say he is the mom`s boyfriend. The missing child`s mom insists they`re just friends. However, she admits she knew about his criminal history, but the mom stresses she did not let him spend time with her daughter alone.

Why any parent would let a convicted sex offender near their daughter under any circumstances whatsoever completely boggles my mind.

So who is the sex offender? Boyfriend or friend? And did he and the girl`s mom have an argument just hours before little Nevaeh disappeared? This is what a cousin now claims.


SHAHN LAWSON, COUSIN OF NEVAEH J. BUCHANAN: She talked to him before the disappearance. They had a conversation on the phone. And supposedly, as I hear, they got in some sort of dispute, argument. And they hung up on each other. Then a couple hours later, she`s missing. You know, I mean, put two and two together.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police now have that convicted sex offender -- you`re looking at him right there -- behind bars. They are holding him on a probation violation. He is considered a person of interest, not a suspect. We have to point that out.

Let`s remember mom`s distraught explanation the very day little Nevaeh went missing.


JENNIFER BUCHANAN, MOTHER OF NEVAEH: The little girl came in, and she said, "Nevaeh is playing outside in the road on a scooter." So I go outside, and I go to tell her not to play in the road, to stay on the sidewalk. And I couldn`t find her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, the FBI is following up on a tip that a girl with the same name and description was spotted just three hours away at a mall in Ohio on Monday. Is this a ray of hope for the family? We hope, we hope.

I want to know what you think. Give me a holler.

Now, straight to my fabulous expert panel: Don Clark, former special agent in charge of the Houston FBI; the one and only Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor. And joining me by phone, Ron David, news director for WWJ-950 AM.

Ron, you`ve been tracking this case. What is the very latest?

RON DAVID, NEWS DIRECTOR, WWJ (via phone): Well, we can tell you that they just spent, they being the investigators, the police, the FBI, the county sheriffs down in Monroe County, just spent the last eight hours searching a couple quarries, a man-made lake about a mile or two from the apartment complex where Nevaeh Buchanan disappeared from. They searched a couple miles wide. This lake is a couple square miles. Didn`t come up with anything at this point.

From what I understand, they just ended that search just a short time -- just a short time ago.

Some family members are out searching again tonight. There`s going to be a candlelight vigil, as well, from what I understand, at 9 p.m. tonight for the little girl.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, police have questioned, but not charged, this George Kennedy, the registered sex offender who`s a friend of Nevaeh`s mom. Listen to the mom explain his access to little Nevaeh.


J. BUCHANAN: He had had contact with her before. But I`ve never left her alone with him. There was always another parent with her and him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis Sliwa, mom admits this guy was in her little girl`s life. Police reports say a 13-year-old girl once claimed he forced himself on her and kissed her with his, quote unquote, "tongue down her throat."

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: And by the way, he got a rap of 2 to 15. He was out in 5 on parole. And the mother knew this.

Now, Jane, maybe if the mother hadn`t known this, and this guy was a romantic, you know, the flowers, he was nice, he was paying attention, you might understand a little bit how she could be bamboozled.

But she lets this sexual predator into her house. And clearly, he has access to the child. I mean, this woman is as culpable as whoever it is did this to her child. And I`ve got to think, man, this is the primetime suspect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey Honowitz, you`re the Florida prosecutor. You`ve got a bloody knife that was, according to published reports that we cannot independently confirm, found in this guy`s tackle pox. He`s a convicted sex offender. There`s a cousin who`s now claiming that he and the mom had an argument shortly before the child went missing. How do you add it all up when there`s a child that has vanished?

STACEY HONOWITZ, PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, certainly these are fabulous leads. I mean, it`s bittersweet when you think about it. But thankfully, there are some leads to go on.

And really, what I have to say is, that this mother really, the culpability of this mother needs to be looked at. Because the fact of the matter is, he`s back in jail now on a probation violation, because there are certain requirements that sexual predators must meet. They are that they cannot have contact, live near or be near any children. So that`s why he`s in there now.

So hopefully, with these leads: the bloody knife, the conversation with the cousin, all these things tied in. Maybe when they process the knife to see if, God forbid, anything from her is on there, then we`ll know more.

But right now they`re just trying to put it all together. They`re trying to do everything in that area: drawing from the quarries, processing the knife, talking to any leads, talking to anybody in the compound that saw these people together.

But it`s interesting for the mother to say that he`s never had access alone with this child. You and I both know, a sexual predator knows exactly what they`re doing. They can befriend a child without a parent even being around.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Ryan Duvall, you`re a private investigator and a friend of this family. Apparently, this -- OK. Ryan Duvall, this -- no Ryan. OK, we don`t have Ryan right now, but we`re going to get him in a little bit.

Police are playing their cards close to the vest on the reported finding of a bloody knife. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us about the bloody knife that was found. Where was it found?

SHERIFF TILMAN CRUTCHFIELD, MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: During the course of the investigation, we`ve collected different articles, conducted numerous searches, and submitted various pieces of property to the crime lab for analysis, for various reasons. I`m not commenting any further on that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don Clark, former special agent in charge of the Houston FBI. The knife reported with human blood on it, allegedly found inside this tackle box in the home of this registered sex offender, who is the friend or boyfriend of the missing child`s mom. How soon are we likely to learn if this is little Nevaeh`s blood or not?

DON CLARK, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT: I think it`s a good thing that this person is in custody because of his parole violation, because they`re going to be testing that real quickly. Because that`s the best lead that they`ve got going right now.

But you know, Jane, the real crime -- well, the crime could be if something happened to this little girl. But it all started when this mother allowed this little girl to be out on her own and not supervised. And then you add to that the relationship with this boyfriend, knowing that he`s a sex offender. What are you doing? You`re just offering up your kid for something to happen. And that`s what we`re facing right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me tell you something. The mom spent 11 months in jail after a conviction on a charge of home invasion that stems from a drug problem. We`re going to talk more about that.

Stay right there, panel. More on this frantic search for an innocent little child, caught up in a big mess created by adults. The mom says her daughter was never left alone with a registered sex offender. Should he have been part of all of their lives at all? Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1- 877-586-7297.

And then, a creepy development in the case against Melissa Huckaby. I will tell you why the accused killer allegedly had a pattern of drugging victims.

But first, it is a race against the clock to find this precious, adorable, beautiful little child. Here`s her grandma begging for her return.


SHERRY BUCHANAN, GRANDMOTHER OF NEVAEH: Just bring her back to me. That`s all I ask of you. And I won`t ask no questions. I just want to hold her and keep her near to me.




LAWSON: I don`t know what to do. If there`s anybody out there that knows anything, please, just bring her home. We`ll do anything. Take me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The family`s adorable 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, pleads, begs -- begs -- for her safe return as cops make a gruesome discovery. Published reports say they found a bloody knife in the tackle box of a registered sex offender who they say is the mom`s boyfriend and a person of interest in this case.

I get so angry. I can barely, barely, barely stand it when I hear the idiocy that adults display with their choices when there are kids at stake. We`re going to go to the phone lines in a moment. They`re lit up.

But first, Michael Rosenfield, reporter from CNN affiliate WXYZ in Detroit.

Michael, what have you learned?

MICHAEL ROSENFIELD, REPORTER: Well, as you know, Nevaeh Buchanan was last seen in this very parking lot where I`m standing here at her apartment complex, last seen Sunday afternoon, riding her scooter. There`s been a massive search since then and so far, no sign.

Here are some new developments. We have learned today that police have actually executed a search warrant at a motel not too far away. At a motel room, where this person you`ve been talking about, George Kennedy, a friend of Nevaeh`s mother, he`s been living over the last few weeks.

They executed that search warrant, and they confiscated several items, including a bloody pair of shorts, a bloody towel, and they took a sample of blood from the wall in the bathroom above the bathroom sink. They also took some hair and fibers and some photos of a girl that police say resembles Nevaeh Buchanan. All of that stuff is being tested right now.

Now, we also know that they searched his van that was parked not too far away at a friend`s house. And inside that van, they found fishing weights and a silver tool. I know a lot of people have said it`s a knife. But I myself have read that affidavit and the search warrant today. It says a silver multi-tool that did have blood on it, and it has tested positive for human blood.

All of this being tested to see if it has any connection to the disappearance of Nevaeh Buchanan.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent report, Michael. I just want to confirm these horrible, horrible facts that you are telling us now. You`re saying they found in this creepo`s motel room, bloody shorts and a bloody towel? Michael, is that what you just said?

ROSENFIELD: Yes, in the same motel. It`s called -- I did.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The bloody shorts and a bloody towel? Yes?

ROSENFIELD: Yes, bloody shorts, a bloody towel and a bloodstain from the wall above the sink.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy`s living in a Motel 7. This -- honestly, when I hear this stuff, I -- it just -- it`s beyond comprehension to get this stuff live, where you realize the implications of it.

Robin in Louisiana, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: I`m sick right now.


CALLER: I am really sick. I have an 11-year-old boy that my husband and I watch like a hawk. We don`t let him go with nobody, nowhere, that we do not know and trust beyond a shadow of a doubt.

How can this woman date somebody that has been a sex offender? And shouldn`t she be charged with -- I mean, child neglect? Something?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Stacey Honowitz, should she?

HONOWITZ: I just want to tell your caller, you know, you think this is out of the ordinary. I see it all the time, because I`m involved in the sex crimes unit. We see women all the time that allow sex offenders to come live in the house, because they`re more concerned with their lives than they are their child.

And yet there is a movement now to try to charge these women with neglect, because basically it is neglect. It`s neglecting the well-being of your child. And so if, in fact, it turns out that something happened with this child, and it was the sex offender who has, in fact, committed this crime, if this child is no longer with us, then the mother should be charged.

But you`re looking at it`s a lesson in futility. If the child`s gone, you`re charging the mother. It has to be preventive. There has to be something on the books that tells these women, or men, because sex offenders are both, that if you put your child purposely in danger, by allowing a sex offender to have visits with your child, then you yourself are going to be charged. And maybe there`s got to be something where people -- it`s a deterrent that they know they can`t do this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis Sliwa...

HONOWITZ: Might be a little too late.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m wondering about this mom. Cops say she flunked a portion of a polygraph test she took Monday. Now, at first, she was quoted as sort of admitting that and saying she was tired and stressed. But then, she was later quoted as saying she believed she passed the lie detector test.

She told the "Detroit Free Press" that Nevaeh`s dad`s side of the family is spreading word that she flunked and it`s all lies. What about this flip-flop? What do you make of her?

SLIWA: What a dysfunctional human being she is. Her child, the reverse of the words, I mean, the letters means heaven. And yet clearly she has subjected her to total hell.

Imagine, I mean, think of it, Jane. We have registries now. You can go online. You can see...


SLIWA: Bizarre. And she knows it. And there are other people in the neighborhood, little Shelley, little Johnny, stay away from that man down at the cul de sac. And she knowingly, willingly allows him to come into her house and exposes her child to this.

As far as I`m concerned, she`s as guilty as the individual who is responsible. Let`s hope that she`s not in heaven, hope she`s alive. But it`s certainly not looking that good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Nancy...

CLARK: And Jane...


CLARK: Jane and when you start talking about the polygraph, what is this thing, "I think I passed"? I mean, if you`re taking a polygraph, there`s yes and no answers. You know if you lied to them or not. You don`t have to think whether you passed or not.


Nancy in Ohio, your question or thought?

CALLER: Yes, I love your show, Jane. Never miss an episode. I live in Ohio. And I`m wondering: has the family cooperated with giving any of Nevaeh`s personal belongings to match the blood to the knife that was found?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Rosenfield, what do you know?

ROSENFIELD: Yes, police have been in and out of the home, which is right behind me. They`ve spoken to family members repeatedly over the last 72 hours. Police say they have been very cooperative, handing over whatever has been requested.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Cardoza, we`re delighted to have you. You`re joining us in progress. Let`s give you an update.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A very, very sad update. We just heard from this reporter that authorities found bloody shorts and a bloody towel as well as something that was initially believed to be a knife, but it`s some other kind of tool with human blood on it.

And that is connected to the hotel room, or the Motel 7 room of this convicted sex offender who was friends, or in a romantic relationship -- we`re getting conflicting reports -- with the mother of the missing child.

CARDOZA: Yes. Interesting. But let me address when you were talking about the polygraph test. And one of the guests said that, you know, they should know, the mother should know whether she passed the polygraph, if she told the truth. I don`t necessarily agree with that at all. I`ve had clients and know people who have told the truth in polygraph exams, and they`ve failed it, for one reason or another.

Remember, polygraphs are not allowed into our courtrooms. And they`re not allowed in for a reason, because they`re not reliable. So to put...

CLARK: That`s not true. That`s not true that they`re not reliable.

CARDOZA: Sure it is.

CLARK: We know they`re not allowed in court. But they are a great -- they are a great investigative tool. And they`ve been proven more times than not to be accurate than they are what you just said.

CARDOZA: No. The reason they`re not accurate is because polygraph examiners interpret what they see. What`s on a polygraph is open to interpretation.

CLARK: Well, this is not a discussion about...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve got to go.

CLARK: ... about the polygraph.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I agree. It`s a discussion about bad decisions by adults.

Fabulous panel, thank you for your insights.

Casey Anthony gets read for tomorrow`s courtroom showdown. I will tell you what tricks her defense team has up its sleeve.

O.J. Simpson appeals his robbery and kidnapping conviction. Just wait until you hear why the Juice wants to be loose.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, a stunning accusation by O.J. Simpson, who is now locked up in a Nevada prison, serving a 33-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping. Was the Juice convicted because all 12 jurors on the case were white? That is an argument brought by O.J.`s lawyers.

They also claim the judge, who has a tough-as-nails reputation, did not allow them to question prospective jurors about their biases.

So that was just one of their complaints about the trial, which they said was, quote, "fundamentally unfair." For his part, O.J. pleaded ignorance at his sentencing in December.


O.J. SIMPSON, CONVICTED OF ROBBERY, KIDNAPPING: I wasn`t there to hurt anybody. I just wanted my personal things. And I realize that was stupid of me. I am sorry. I didn`t mean to steal anything from anybody. And I didn`t know I was doing anything illegal.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, really? I think I`ve heard somewhere -- I don`t know where -- that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

So is team O.J. playing the race card again? Still with me, Michael Cardoza, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. And a good buddy back from the Michael Jackson trial.

Great to see you again, Michael.

CARDOZA: Good to see you, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Love to have you on the show.

CARDOZA: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why did the prosecution settle on an all-white jury, knowing that it could become a basis for appeal, especially in the wake of that racially-charged murder trial back in the `90s?

CARDOZA: I`ll tell you what, look, district attorneys, just like defense attorneys, don`t get to choose who the jury commissioner puts on that panel. Their job is to pick the best jury they can and to pick 12 people that they think are going to convict. So they did what they thought was right.

You can have a fair jury, white or black. I understand that that may be an issue. But more of the issue is what the defense is saying, that they didn`t get a chance to voir dire, to go into the biases or the prejudices of those jurors. And that was up to Judge Glass to be sure that happened. And they`re saying it didn`t happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, speaking of Judge Glass, the judge in this case, Jackie Glass has a reputation for being really tough as nails and no- nonsense.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In their motion, O.J.`s lawyers accuse Judge Glass of acting inappropriately in front of the jury. That`s a serious charge.

Listen to Judge Glass herself, and you can be the judge.


JUDGE JACKIE GLASS, CLARK COUNTY DISTRICT COURT: The last thing you want me to do as the judge is to start losing my temper in front of the fine ladies and gentlemen of the jury and having to deal with all of you. You`ve been warned.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, by the way, somebody sent me this the other day. I`m not a judge, but I got it. I`m going to use it when I can.

Is being brassy, tough and no-nonsense really solid grounds for an appeal? Or are they just -- is this just a "hail Mary" pass?

CARDOZA: It`s a "hail Mary" pass in that sense. But I think they have some other grounds, because this judge was condescending in the courtroom.

Those attorneys would walk up to the bench, and when she was through with them, she`d go, "Back, back, back. Move back, move back." That`s not how you treat attorneys in the courtroom. It should be professional. And that type of attitude can get to a jury. Her attitude can get to a jury, and, you know, intimate to a jury which way the judge is thinking. So I think they do have a good ground for appeal.

You know what`s interesting here, Jane, is that Judge Glass, from my understanding, was a TV reporter before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, no wonder she...

CARDOZA: And I think she was playing to the cameras in this case. I`m telling you, that`s what she was doing.


CARDOZA: You know what? The best thing I heard was O.J. got convicted of robbery, theft, but mostly murder. That`s what happened there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Michael, we`ve got to leave it there. Come back soon. Love to see you.

CARDOZA: Thanks, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Disturbing new reports claim Sunday-school teacher Melissa Huckaby drugged a grown man. We`ll tell you about it next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yet another disturbing development in the case against Melissa Huckaby, the Sunday schoolteacher accused of raping and murdering little Sandra Cantu. Weeks before the murder a man Huckaby dated passed out and crashed his car. Was it because he was drugged by Huckaby?

Plus, the Jon and Kate great debate: is the couple exploiting their children. With the marriage falling apart on national TV I`ll examine what sort of long-term damage their kids could be facing.

More on the Jon and Kate debacle in just moments.

But first, Casey Anthony gets ready to head to court just hours from now. The judge expected to decide whether the public should be allowed to see Casey`s intense breakdown. Remember, she rocked back and forth reportedly and had hyperventilation after she saw a TV news report that a child`s remains were found near her home but long before the coroner revealed that the body was that of little Caylee Anthony, her daughter.

And this just in, Jose Baez has just filed a motion to seal that video. If the judge rules against him, the video could prove to be another devastating blow to the defense.

Also tomorrow, we will learn the identity of the next mystery crucial member of the defense team. Lead attorney Jose Baez was forced to add a death penalty qualified attorney to its roster after the state decided they will indeed seek the ultimate punishment against his client, the death penalty.

Just who will it be? And will this new lawyer change the game?

Joining me, fabulous guests, David Schwartz, criminal defense attorney and former New York prosecutor plus, Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor.

All right, David Schwartz, get out your crystal ball, my friend. Tomorrow, big day in court: Casey right now, is probably trying to figure out what she`s going to wear. We have to watch that very carefully as well.

How do you believe the judge will rule on this crucial, possibly damning video of Casey having this freak-out meltdown after watching TV news that showed remains being found? Will he let the public see it?

DAVID SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I believe he should rule that the tape should be sealed, that the public shouldn`t see this. There`s no reason to taint the jury pool at this point with the tape. You don`t have to make any evidentiary rulings right now.

But all Baez is asking to do is to seal this tape. And of course, you want to seal it. Of course you want to preserve the evidence. And of course, you don`t want to taint the jury pool.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t understand that. I mean...

SCHWARTZ: Well, what don`t you understand?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think it`s something that happened. It`s part of the evidence they`ve collected. It could be relevant, because it could show consciousness of guilt. Because she`s freaking out, even before we know that it`s little Caylee`s body, which would -- the prosecutors could argue -- well she`s freaking out because she buried her there.

SCHWARTZ: But Jane, this is not a "Real World" episode. This is not having a tape, a camera following around a criminal defendant while they`re in jail. This is just totally over the line, post-arrest (ph)...

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: They have every right to see it...

SCHWARTZ: No, I understand they have a right to...

HONOWITZ: There`s a difference, I think, Jane, I think what with David is trying to say, and I actually have to agree with him, which is killing me right now, but, I think the bottom line is, he`s talking about having it sealed so that we don`t see it right now pretrial.

As far as what you`re talking about, will it come into evidence in court? Well, what you`re saying makes perfect sense. We have every reason to see her demeanor. Every time we have a criminal trial, inevitably a prosecutor will ask the police officer after an arrest, what was the reaction? What were they doing? And that`s the same thing in this case.

You as the jury have a right to see what happened when she learned about this evidence. So about sealing it now, the possibility could be we don`t want to taint a potential pool.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: By the way, Jose Baez, we`ve got some new information just in, Jose Baez just filed a 17-page motion arguing against this being released.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he said essentially that it was orchestrated in order to get a reaction from Casey by the powers that be, that it would cruel, that it violated her rights to counsel and it also invades her rights to medical records privacy.

SCHWARTZ: I think these are valid arguments, Jane.

HONOWITZ: I know, I know.

SCHWARTZ: I really do. These are valid arguments. We have to see exactly how this thing was set up. But at a minimum right now we`re not...


HONOWITZ: They didn`t tell her how to react here, David. They might have put the cameras there, but they certainly didn`t tell her how to react.

SCHWARTZ: You know what this case should be a bad...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, order in the studio. All right, no, somebody sent me this. And I`ve been trying to use it, because it`s so much fun. I`m not a judge, actually though, as you both know.

Stacey Honowitz, though, seriously, these are the arguments that Jose Baez made in a huge, thick motion just filed. Do you think he`s going to win?

HONOWITZ: No, I think the prosecutor has counterarguments that are just valid like -- he`s got to make an argument to try to get this evidence out.

That`s what defense lawyers do. It`s totally proper. Try not to get this evidence in front of the jury because it could be prejudicial to their client. Of course, they don`t want the jury to (INAUDIBLE).


HONOWITZ: The prosecutor will say it`s valid.

SCHWARTZ: There is no jury now, though. That`s the problem. There is no jury. Where is the jury?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I hope tomorrow`s arguments are as interesting as this conversation.

Thank you, Stacey.

Turning now to bizarre, disturbing new details in the rape and murder of 8-year-old California girl Sandra Cantu. Her accused murderer, Sunday schoolteacher Melissa Huckaby, was slapped with new charges for allegedly drugging both an adult male and a 7-year-old girl.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her speech was slurred, she could barely walk, she could barely stand so they took her to the hospital and the hospital told -- told us that she had muscle relaxants in her system.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Muscle relaxants in her system. That was the family of the 7-year-old victim.

New revelations tonight suggest the male victim was 36-year-old Daniel Plowman, who some claim once dated Huckaby. Plowman was reportedly arrested on suspicions of a DUI just hours after Huckaby allegedly drugged him.

Nevertheless, the 36-year-old was never charged with any crime. Why not? Did authorities suspect at that time that Huckaby was responsible for his woozy condition? If so, why didn`t they charge her back then?

Meantime, the family of the 7-year-old girl, Huckaby allegedly took to the park and drugged way back in January, is also criticizing cops saying if authorities had taken that incident more seriously and arrested Huckaby back then, little Sandra Cantu, who was murdered months later in March, might be alive today.

Did cops repeatedly drop the ball when it came to this allegedly cuckoo Sunday schoolteacher?

Straight out to my fantastic panel: back with David Schwartz, and joining the conversation, investigative reporter Angie Crouch. Angie, you are in California tracking this case. What is the very latest?

ANGIE CROUCH, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, Jane, here`s what we know about 36-year-old Daniel Plowman, the man who was allegedly drugged by Melissa Huckaby. He apparently went to the same church as her and may have even dated her for a short time.

The Tracy Press cites police reports saying that in the early morning hours of March 3rd, Daniel Plowman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The story goes he was driving through a drive-up window at a McDonald`s right near the trailer park where Melissa Huckaby lives.

People at the McDonald`s reported that he fell asleep at the wheel, he woke up, he got his food and then he apparently drove into a wall. They got concerned, they called authorities.

Authorities came in and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence. But he was actually never charged with that crime. And apparently police later came to believe that he had been drugged by Melissa Huckaby during a previous event -- the evening before.

Now, we`ve been unable to reach Daniel Plowman. But today I spoke with his father and his sister. And his sister tells me that he is lying low. And does not want to get involved in all of this media attention and will not be speaking with the press due to the gag order in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: David Schwartz, you just heard all of that. We also heard the family of the 7-year-old who said the child came home from the park with this woman. Clearly drugged up and they determined that in the hospital. Why didn`t cops back then do something about this?

Is it because this woman, it looks like, oh, she`s a Sunday schoolteacher and a mom, and how could she do anything?

SCHWARTZ: No, that`s not the reason at all. I think it depends on what you want your police department to be doing. I think sometimes it does take a village...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want them to enforce the laws. You`re not allowed to drug kids.

SCHWARTZ: Well, no. And I agree with you. However, if there was no evidence of that, if they did an investigation, and there was no evidence...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There was evidence.

SCHWARTZ: You can`t just start arresting people without probable cause.


SCHWARTZ: So there has to be an investigation. And we don`t know what the facts were in front of the police. I`m not defending the police here, because they could be culpable in the sense that they could have stopped this by earlier actions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, I think the police did an incredible job actually tracking this woman down, and finding the suitcase, and doing all the work after little Sandra Cantu was murdered. And there`s the suitcase in which that precious child`s body was found.

But I guess my point is that there was all this stuff going on months earlier that wasn`t taken seriously -- seriously enough. And just to clarify this, Angie, didn`t the family say that the little girl herself, the 7-year-old, said that when she came back from going to a fast-food restaurant, that the woman gave her -- this woman gave her allegedly water that tasted like medicine?

CROUCH: Yes, the 7-year-old`s mother told the Tracy Press Newspaper that Melissa Huckaby took the little girl to a Wendy`s restaurant and the little girl told her mom that Huckaby gave her some water that tasted like medicine.

This mother apparently went to Huckaby and was outraged by this and told her she never wanted to speak to her again, didn`t want her around her daughter. And the parents also told the police this information.

Police went to Huckaby, and interviewed her that night. But apparently never conducted a search warrant and that`s one of the questions that people want the answer to. Why didn`t they search Huckaby`s house at that time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, look...

SCHWARTZ: A search warrant? I mean, you can`t be a Monday morning quarterback here. The police, they never issue a search warrant, someone makes a complaint that the water tasted funny?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, but then they went to the hospital and it was determined at the hospital, reportedly, allegedly that the child did have muscle relaxants in her system.

SCHWARTZ: Ok, well, that`s something that needs to be investigated.


CROUCH: About five hours had passed before they actually did the drug test, too. And so apparently the police believed that this little girl could have gotten this medicine from a variety of places.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, I just got to tell you, it`s blowing my mind these cases involving children.

David, Angie, thank you so much.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chris Brown releases a video promoting his new album. But I`ll explain the PR message he slipped in just a day before his lawyers are due back in court. He`s talking about haters and fans. And you won`t believe it.

Then are reality stars Jon and Kate Gosselin exploiting their kids? That`s what Kate`s own brother says. Do you agree with him? Give me a shout-out: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297. Please let me know what you think about "Jon & Kate Plus 8."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are reality stars, Jon and Kate Gosselin exploiting their kids for ratings? My panel will debate it.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight.

Lawyers for Chris Brown due back in court tomorrow to fight charges Brown assaulted, allegedly, fellow pop star Rihanna. So what`s Chris doing to prepare for the big courtroom showdown tomorrow? Apparently releasing a Web video to promote his new album; oh, he wants to remind everybody he`s not a monster. Take a look.


CHRIS BROWN, CHARGED WITH ASSAULT: Being on list, everybody that`s haters, they just been haters. My real fans, I love you all. I`m not a monster.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? He`s right. He`s no monster. He`s just a guy charged with assaulting, punching, choking and biting and threatening to kill his then girlfriend Rihanna. If he`s convicted, then if you want, you can call him a monster.

Brown has pleaded not guilty. We will have full coverage of the hearing tomorrow right here on ISSUES.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Tonight: Kate Gosselin`s family speaking out about the eight little children at the center of this drama. The season premiere of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" hit ratings gold Monday night; raking in more than 9 million viewers. But two of those viewers, none too happy with what they saw: Kate`s own brother, Kevin, and his wife, Jodi, spoke with "The Early Show" this morning.


JODI KREIDER, KATE GOSSELIN`S SISTER-IN-LAW: They`re being exploited. And it`s time for America to see the situation for what it really is. They don`t want the cameras around. They have told me personally, I don`t like...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your nieces and nephews...

J. KREIDER: Of course. We watch them quite a bit about a year ago. And further back. And they would say, Aunt Jodi, I don`t like the cameras on every vacation with us. I don`t like them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She says that`s the kids talking. In the meantime, rumors swirl about the state of Jon and Kate`s marriage. Will their need for ratings lead to the end of their relationship? Give me a holler; I want to know what you think.

Straight out to my expert panel: Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; Kim Serafin, senior editor for "In Touch Weekly;" and Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ.

Mike, you`re reporting that TLC is not going to do a much anticipated reality show with J. Lo, Jennifer Lopez, because she is adamant that her kids not appear on any reality show. Is this a direct response to the ratings success, the blockbuster success of "Jon & Kate Plus 8?" What do you know?

MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Yes, I think that`s exactly what TLC is saying.

We did a story this morning that basically, about a year ago, they went after J. Lo when she had the twins and thought, "What a great show." These TV shows like "Jon & Kate Plus 8" with the kids are doing very well. Look at the massive number they put up with this divorce, and the possible stuff going on in their life.

TLC decided J. Lo had some reservations about putting her children on TV which over the octo-mom and Jon and Kate, all this thing we`ve seen, whether or not it`s a good idea I don`t know. It looks like J. Lo had the right track there though and decided, "Well, I`m not sure." TLC said, "Forget it then. We`ve got Jon & Kate Plus 8 and they`re blowing up the TV screens all over the nation plus looking for us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kim, I have criticized J. Lo on many occasions, particularly for her use of fur and her insistence on wearing fur, even though people have shown her the videos of how horrific it is. But on this I`m going to give her an A-plus for refusing reportedly to allow her kids to be involved in a reality show. Even if she loses the reality show, she keeps her relationship with her kids.

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": That is true. I mean, obviously so many people watch this episode, this premiere. It was the highest ratings ever for TLC and it`s because everyone`s been reporting on it.

"In Touch" has a story on them, other outlets had been talking about them but the drama about the family has become so much more than the kids.

Look, one could argue that the kids have gotten to do such great stuff. They go to Disney World. They go to these great museums. But on the other hand, are they being exploited? That`s what Kate`s brother was saying on "The Early Show" this morning, saying that, "Look, the kids are living under a spotlight. They`re zooming in on them when they`re crying. They`re going into the kids` bedroom."

Has it crossed that line? It might have started more as a documentary, but now the cameras are just a part of their life. They`re saying the kids like don`t want them go on vacation with them. So it`s sad.

It`s sort of -- it`s one of those situations where, like, yes, the kids get all of this stuff. They live in a great house. They get to be taken care of but are they being exploited.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. They could go to Disneyland or Disney World without being in part of a reality show obviously.

Dr. Dale Archer, the media chairman of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is going out on a limb and calling this child abuse, according to Radar Online. Saying this experience is going to turn the kids into actors, deprive them of privacy, focus on their humiliating and embarrassing moments, give them a false sense of themselves and distort their relationship with the parents.

Do you agree with this very serious charge that putting a kid in a reality show is child abuse?

DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: No, I absolutely, completely disagree with this. Look, these kids are going to school. They are fed. They are clothed. They are not beat up. They`re not molested. And they`re clearly loved by their parents.

Now, do I agree with what...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are they clearly loved by their parents? I don`t know. They put their kids on a reality show...


ARCHER: You know, wait, Jane, there`s a big difference here. I don`t agree with what`s going on. I would not put my kids on. I wouldn`t advise my patients to do it. So I don`t agree with what they`re doing. But they`re not breaking any laws.

And to call this child abuse is doing a disservice to the patients that I have treated through the years who have survived brutal child abuse and have come through it. If they looked at this life they would think this would be a picnic. They would love to be involved in a situation such as this. So there is real child abuse out there.

I would suggest this doctor needs to focus on real child abuse and the people that really need help and not the reality TV show.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But doctor, what about the fact that according to the brother of Kate the kids themselves are saying, "We don`t want these cameras following us around." And they have no rights legally because they`re kids to stop these cameras from coming into their lives.

ARCHER: You`re absolutely right. They are being exploited. But are they being any more exploited than the mother who brings her beauty queen daughter through every pageant throughout the year to the exclusion of her social life? Are they more exploited than a young gymnast who has to train seven hours a day repeatedly throughout their life?

I mean, there is exploitation, but it`s not against the law. I don`t like it. I don`t agree with it. But we have to draw the line and we cannot call this child abuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Fabulous panel. More Jon & Kate drama in a moment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The big tease tonight: Casey Anthony. A courtroom showdown set for tomorrow as a judge will rule on the controversial jailhouse meltdown video. Tune in to ISSUES tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern for all the details on that.

But right now it`s back to "Jon & Kate plus 8." Are the Gosselins exploiting their kids? We`re debating it; fiercely debating it. Kate`s own brother seems to say yes.

What do you think? Phone lines jam packed. Jackie in Florida, your question or thought, ma`am.

JACKIE, FLORIDA (via telephone): Hi, Jane. My sister`s kind of going through the same thing and my nephew`s been telling me....

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s got a reality show?

JACKIE: No. They`re going through the same problems that the Gosselins are going through. And my nephews have been coming to me to talk about it. And do these kids have anybody else in their family they can talk to besides Jon and Kate?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that`s an excellent question.

Kim Serafin, where is the extended family because in the hour that we saw of them we didn`t see much of the extended family. It seemed weird that during the birthday party it didn`t seem like you had a lot of aunts and uncles and cousins and that kind of thing.

SERAFIN: Right. Well, we know a lot of Jon`s family is out in Hawaii which they did visit nine months ago when they renewed their vows. So we did immediate the extended family there.

And as you mentioned we`ve been talking about Kate`s brother being on the CBS "Early Show." They`re saying they`re in contact with Jon and Kate but not so much with the kids lately. They`re kind of out of the picture. But a year ago, they were saying that`s when the kids were coming to them saying we don`t like the cameras on vacation with us. We don`t like the cameras in our bedroom. We don`t like this all the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dolly in California, your question or thought, ma`am.

DOLLY, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): I believe -- I`ve got a question and a thought. I believe that they`re not exploiting those children. I believe that they needed that money financially for their educations as they get older and whatever hospital bills they had when the babies were first born. You know. I believe that they`re not exploiting those children.

But my second comment, Jane, is this. I believe that the brother and the sister-in-law, they`re doing a scam. You know, I don`t believe all those allegations of Kate. She doesn`t seem that way. She might seem harsh on Jon and like the one that cracks the whip, but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you, ma`am. Those are good observations.

Mike Walters, we`re going to give you the last word. What do you think is going to happen with this marriage?

WALTER: You know, we`ll see. And guess what? It`s really great TV. So I watch the show. I think everyone will watch it. So let`s let it fold out. We`ll see what happens.

But I think that this one`s gone, and I think it`s all going to unfold on TV, unfortunately for them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I do. When I look at these innocents and they have no idea. They don`t know from ratings. They don`t know from demographics. All they know is they want their mommy and daddy and they want attention.


ARCHER: Absolutely.

Thank you, fabulous panel, for joining me. Come back soon.

Got a question or comment? Go to E-mail me. You`re watching ISSUES.