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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Same-Sex Marriage Fight

Aired May 27, 2009 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, California's same-sex wedding band is under fire, challenged as unconstitutional -- and you wouldn't believe by who -- former adversaries, Ted Olson and David Boies. Remember, "Bush v. Gore?"

They're going to tell us why they're on the same side now. And they're ready to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Plus, released from prison hours ago after 22 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Eight thousand days of injustice behind him, Jerry Lee Evans is talking to us. He was 24 when he was locked up. He's 47 now -- the prime of his life stolen by a wrongful conviction. His emotional interview -- his first moments of freedom, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll get into a very meaty topic -- my new book, "My Remarkable Journey," my autobiography, is out now. And I will be in Chicago over the weekend, one of my favorite cities. And we'll be at The Book Stall at Chestnut Court on Saturday morning at 11:00. That's at 811 Elm Street in Winnetka, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court.

That same afternoon, I will sing "Take Me Out To the Ball Game" in the seventh inning stretch as the Cubs face my Dodgers. It's going to be tough singing Cubbies.

With us tonight are a couple of one time adversaries. Ted Olson, old friend, former solicitor general; and David Boies. They were on the opposing sides of the 2000 presidential recount case that decided the election. And these two legal powerhouses have now joined forces challenging Proposition 8 in federal court.

The filing is on behalf of two same-sex couples who wish to marry. They're also seeking an injunction against Proposition 8 until this case is resolved.

Thank you both for coming.

It's good to see you again, Ted.

Nice being with you.

TED OLSON, FORMER U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Larry, it's good to be here.

KING: Former solicitor general.

All right, it's not so surprising, David Boies, (INAUDIBLE) regarded in the liberal area.

What took you to this, Ted?

OLSON: Well, we don't think -- both David and I feel the same way about this. This is not a liberal or a conservative issue. This has to do with human decency, human rights and equality under the law.

For too long in this country, gays and lesbians have been discriminated against and treated unfairly. Both David and I feel it's wrong, that they should be permitted to have the same rights as other people have in this country. And the right to marriage is one of the most fundamental rights our Constitution protects.

KING: David, what about the argument that the public saw otherwise?

DAVID BOIES, REPRESENTED GORE IN BUSH V. GORE: Well, you wouldn't need a Constitution if all you had to do was look at election results. The whole point of the Constitution is to guarantee certain fundamental rights to all Americans. And that's what the Constitution guarantees. That's what the courts are there to guarantee. And that's why we're bringing this lawsuit, because there is, as Ted says, no more fundamental right than the right to marry the person that you love.

KING: This was the same court, Ted, that said it was unconstitutional, now says it's OK because the public voted on it.

Are they contradictory?

OLSON: Yes, well, I think it -- to give respect to the California Supreme Court, they initially said that the California Constitution protected the equal rights to marry of all citizens.

KING: Right.

OLSON: Then the California citizens put on the ballot on amendment to the Constitution that said a marriage shall be between a man and a woman. All the California Supreme Court said was that that Constitutional amendment could stand. So that, as a matter of California Constitutional law, marriage had to be between a man and woman.

That case did not consider the federal Constitutional rights, the rights of individuals under the national Constitution.

KING: Why not?

OLSON: Because the parties that brought the case did not mention the federal Constitutional questions. They decided, for tactical reasons, not to bring up those Constitutional issues, which we have brought in this lawsuit.

KING: So that was a mistake, in your opinion?

OLSON: Well, in our opinion, we think that these individuals lost the right to marry. And we think the federal Constitution will protect that right.

KING: All right. David, how about the courts saying that all those who got married, that's OK.

BOIES: Well, I think that demonstrates the lack of equal protection that currently exists in California. You have 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who are married. And you have everybody else who is prohibited from getting married.

That doesn't make any sense. It's not fair.

What you need to have is you need to have equality under the law. It makes no sense to say we're going to limit love to a certain class of people.

KING: In your argument in the presidential thing, one of the arguments was why would the federal government be involved in this, it's a state matter.

What about this, Ted?

Is this a state matter, not a federal matter?

OLSON: Well, we demonstrated, notwithstanding the arguments that David Boies ably made...

(CROSSTALK)

OLSON: ...it was the right thing for the United States Supreme Court to consider the issues involving the federal presidential election.

KING: And what about this?

OLSON: Here, in this case, the Constitution, as David said, we don't put your rights under the Constitution to a vote. This is something that the United States Supreme Court has always been willing to do, to protect individual rights from those who would take them away.

The Supreme Court already held, a number of years ago, that Virginia statute, for example, that prohibited interracial marriage was unconstitutional.

KING: Now what about this injunction against it, David?

How is that going to work?

BOIES: Well, if you have an unconstitutional statute that's preventing people from getting married, the remedy that you have is for the court to enjoin that statute; to say, in effect, to the State of California, no, you can't deprive these people are their rights.

And as Ted says, for 42 years, the United States Supreme Court has held that marriage is a basic human right that's guaranteed under the Constitution and that states cannot discriminate in terms of who they allow to marry and who they don't allow to marry.

KING: You have, Ted, argued before the court probably more than any other living person, as both a defendant lawyer and a solicitor general.

OLSON: Well, not quite.

KING: OK.

Will this court hear it?

OLSON: We believe that it will because it involves the fundamental rights of so many people.

The California Supreme Court didn't get to this issue and the federal -- this is now the federal court's responsibility to consider whether individuals in California who want to get married.

The plaintiffs in this case have lived together -- the individuals that we're representing have lived together collectively eight years in one instance, seven years in another. They have a right to the same privileges that you and I have.

KING: How, David, did they get to hire both of you?

BOIES: Well, Ted has been involved in this longer than I have. And he asked me to join him in this and I readily agreed, because I think we both believe and we both recognize that this is a critical civil rights issue. It's important not only to gay and lesbian couples who want to marry, it's important to the entire community.

Equal protection and due process are deeply embedded in our culture. They're deeply embedded in our soul. This is what we believe as a people.

And when you begin to ration that, when you begin to restrict it, when you begin to discriminate against any class of people in our society, we are all diminished for it.

So I think this is a critical piece of judicial litigation. I think this is something that Ted and I both believe is something that is very important to get resolved.

OLSON: We wanted to send a message, Larry, to the American people and to the courts that this isn't a Republican or a Democrat issue. It's not a liberal or a conservative issue. The right of individuals committed to one another to live in a stable, committed, loving relationship is something that we should all respect and be for.

KING: Will they hear it quickly, David?

BOIES: I think they will. This is not an issue that has a lot of the factual issues. You don't have to take a lot of depositions and have a lot of document discovery. This raises some basic legal issues that I think the courts will address quite quickly. KING: Before you leave us, what do you make of the appointee -- if approved?

What do you make of her?

You've argued before her.

OLSON: I have argued before her. I have great respect for her. I can't say very much, because the case that I argued before her still is awaiting a decision. And it's probably not a good idea for lawyers to start commenting on the qualifications of judges.

KING: Good thinking.

David, what do you think of her?

BOIES: Well, I don't have any case pending in front of her so I don't have to be so cautious. I think she'll be a great Supreme Court justice. She was a great district court judge, which is where I appeared in front of her. She's been on the Court of Appeals now for a number of years and has distinguished herself there.

She distinguished herself in college, in law school. It is a -- it's a great human story -- somebody who has achieved what she has achieved. But it's also, she's just a great judge. And I think she'll make a great justice.

KING: And thank you both very much.

The dynamic duo joined together. It's going to be tough to be on the other side.

Gay or straight, if you want to look your best, check out our blog at CNN.com/larryking. We've got an exclusive from Oprah's personal trainer, Bob Greene, on getting fit and fitting into that swimsuit.

Next, we'll debate same-sex marriage.

Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Same-sex -- it stays on board here with Carol Leifer, author of "When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win."

By the way, that book is available, as well, in C.D. Fashion -- everywhere that CDs are sold. She and her partner, Lori, have been together for 12 years. She opposes Proposition 8 and supports same- sex marriage.

Also here is Pastor Miles McPherson, head pastor of the Rock church in San Diego. He supports Proposition 8 and opposes same-sex marriage. Since the early part of the show, both guests agreed. We had them on, of course, because of their notoriety.

We'll start with you, Pastor.

What's wrong with their argument that this is a civil rights issue?

PASTOR MILES MCPHERSON, HEAD PASTOR, THE ROCK CHURCH, SAN DIEGO:

Well, marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of having children and building a family. And there's no other best way to -- there's no other way you can have children. And it's the best way to raise children.

So this is really about redefining what marriage means.

You know, I played in the NFL. And you have 11 guys against 11 guys. And when you start saying it's going to be 12 and 13 guys, you're changing the game.

So this is about really changing the definition of marriage, changing the structure of the family and changing the message to kids.

KING: Carol?

CAROL LEIFER, HAS BEEN WITH PARTNER 12 YEARS: Well, let me just say, this has been a tough week for the gay community, Larry.

First, Adam Lambert loses "American Idol" and now this.

(LAUGHTER)

LEIFER: You know, this is tough.

(LAUGHTER)

MCPHERSON: Which I think he should have won, in my opinion.

LEIFER: Right. Exactly.

MCPHERSON: (INAUDIBLE) he was good.

LEIFER: Yes. Everybody is up in arms about it.

I do agree, it's a civil rights issue. I don't think we're redefining anything. We're just making marriage equal to everyone.

The American family has changed. My partner and I, we have a son together, a 3-year-old. And every family should be protected. I should have the same rights as anybody else. It's a rights issue.

And I'm confident that if it's on the ballot again, which I think it will be, in 2010, we will be victorious.

KING: Why deny them this which they -- which they want, Pastor?

I mean they're -- well, who's -- all right, who's going to be hurt?

Who's going to be harmed if they're allowed to marry?

MCPHERSON: All the kids in the next generation that are going to grow up without a dad. You know, if you go back 10 years ago, when black kids going to jail was a big thing and they started all these mentor programs. And the big thing was these kids didn't have a dad.

And so -- and you see all these kids now growing up in jail, growing up depressed, low self-esteem with girls. They don't have a dad or a mom. And what we're going to do is make a structure of marriage where they don't have a mom or a dad.

I don't believe that a mom -- a woman can take the place of a man. And I don't believe the man can take the place of a woman.

KING: So you think -- you don't think a gay couple like Carol and her partner can raise a child well?

MCPHERSON: I think they're probably doing a great job with their child. But I think children need a mother and a father. That's how it was made.

KING: What's wrong with that argument?

LEIFER: Well, look at the American family.

How many single parents are there out there?

There -- you know, in straight couples, people get divorced. They get separated. There are so many children being raised by single parents. I think it's slightly insulting to the single parents out there.

A good parent is a good parent. Our child, we've given him a foundation of love. He has a lot of male role models around him -- you know, relatives, friends, good friends. And he's very capable to go on and, you know, be a productive, wonderful person in his life.

And, I mean, I think the good news, too, is that time is on our side. The majority of younger voters, it's a non-issue.

KING: Do you think it's going to happen?

MCPHERSON: No.

KING: You don't?

MCPHERSON: No. And there was a poll today -- a Gallup poll today came out and said that the people that are for traditional marriages is the highest it's been since 2005. So the trajectory is going the opposite direction.

Even in California, 52 percent won the vote. Now it's 53 percent for traditional marriage.

So I don't believe that at all. KING: All right. We'll take a break and come back with more. We'll have -- we're going to meet a couple that are married for quite a while.

"Star Trek's" George Takei married his longtime love last year. He and his husband, in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was disappointed that it hasn't (INAUDIBLE) yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's ridiculous (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What makes a family?

That is the question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I'm angry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was some celebrities protesting in favor -- they want gay marriage -- protesting last night against the decision of the court.

Actor George Takei married his husband last year. The two of them have a few things to say about Proposition 8, the ruling yesterday, today's legal challenge and their lives together.

What have your lives together been like, George?

GEORGE TAKEI, IN SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Well, we've been together now for 22 years. We got married last year, so we had been together...

KING: You're legally married now, then?

TAKEI: Legally married, yes. September 14th, a day we'll never forget.

KING: What do you think, Brad, of the two lawyers who opposed each other in the year 2000 now combining together?

BRAD ALTMAN, GEORGE'S TAKEN HUSBAND: What Ted Olson said was brilliant. He's -- he took the words out of my mouth. I'm not a spokesperson for any cause. I just know that George and I love each other. George is the love of my life. And I think everybody should be allowed to get married.

KING: Were you angry, George, at this... TAKEI: The ruling?

KING: And the vote.

TAKEI: Well, the vote -- I was disappointed. I really thought that we might prevail last November. And I thought we might prevail yesterday, when the California Supreme Court...

KING: So you were disappointed rather than angry?

TAKEI: I was disappointed, but I know that, ultimately, we will prevail. So it just galvanized us.

KING: Why, Brad -- you know, I guess a lot of people on the other side would say this -- why is it so important?

You're living together. You're happy.

So what?

ALTMAN: The day before we got married in September, I woke up in the morning and got -- I got George a big pot of hot tea -- green tea. I do that every morning. When we went to bed, we kissed each other good night. We've done that for 22 years.

The difference is, Larry, when we got married, it -- it made all the difference in the world and it's hard to put it in words, but it made a big difference.

KING: What difference did it make to you, George?

TAKEI: Well, you know, I owe a great deal to Brad. When my mother got ill with Alzheimer's, we had to move her in with us. And he helped me care for her until the very -- her very last day.

And we have -- we bought a cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona, because his mother lives there. And she's rather frail.

We have a bond, a union. And our marriage is profoundly important to us.

KING: Are you going to be active in this attempt to throw it out, whatever it may take?

ALTMAN: Absolutely. Ultimately, we want marriage protection for everybody. It's something that's a fundamental right and I hope it happens sooner than later.

KING: And having it, you say, has changed your relationship, in a sense, even though you...

TAKEI: It's made it deeper, more profound. And I think it's changed the people around us. Some people -- our more conservative friends know our relationship. They would just you talk about our relationship. But after we got married, we -- every -- they say Brad is my husband. Or when they're talking to Brad, they talk about his husband, George.

KING: So you're two husbands?

ALTMAN: That's right, husband and husband.

KING: Did anyone take another name?

ALTMAN: No, because that's complex. That has to do with when you get a passport, when you go to foreign countries. There's a lot of technical problems with that.

But George is my lawfully wedded husband. I'm the luckiest guy in the world. And it's George Takei and Brad Altman, husband and husband.

TAKEI: I feel just as much Altman-Takei as he does Takei-Altman.

KING: Where was the ceremony held?

TAKEI: We were married in the Democracy Forum because it was democracy that made it possible. We're Buddhists, so we were married by a Mexican-American Buddhist minister.

And we are divers. The religion issue was important to us, too, because we have religious diversity. And no religion should be written into civil law that applies to everyone. And that's the argument that the proponents of Proposition 8 backed their argument with.

KING: Thank you both.

An eloquent expression of what you do.

TAKEI: Thank you.

KING: You've got a great voice, George.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: You ought to take up radio.

If you've got something to say about this topic or any other, go to CNN.com/larryking and let us know.

We're back with Carol Leifer and Pastor McPherson after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Carol Leifer and Pastor Miles McPherson.

Now, Pastor, how could you look at those two and have any harsh feelings?

MCPHERSON: I don't have any harsh feelings toward them. It's about the definition of marriage. Let me ask you, if a bisexual man has a girlfriend and a boyfriend and they're in love and they're living together and everything is fine, do they have a fundamental right to be married?

KING: The three of them, you mean?

MCPHERSON: The three of them.

And if not, why not?

Because if this is all about love and union and feeling good, then anybody should be able to marry. I should be able to marry a minor. I should be able to marry my relative.

Where do you draw the line?

KING: Carol?

LEIFER: Well, I know that's the rhetoric always that's presented to this question. It's pretty simple. I want to marry my partner. I don't want to bring a third person in. You know, marriage is hard enough with two people or a minor or anything like that. It's about love and equal rights.

And I actually think we gays, we should really get tough. If we can't have a wedding, we won't cater a wedding. Good luck with a straight caterer, OK.

KING: (INAUDIBLE).

LEIFER: Corn dogs and pizza bagels.

(LAUGHTER)

LEIFER: We won't do hair and makeup for weddings.

KING: Wait a minute. You just changed Miles' mind.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: In one second, the man just took the other side.

LEIFER: That's good, you see?

I'm working on him.

KING: He's going to go to the Supreme Court with the lawyers.

LEIFER: He's softening.

MCPHERSON: I think it goes back to the definition. You know, the definition...

(CROSSTALK)

MCPHERSON: Why is it two people? Where did that come from?

The same place it came from to be a man and a woman.

KING: The governor's -- the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has weighed in.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, first of all, we respect the decision of the court and we will enforce and uphold the law. And, you know, when it comes to my personal opinion, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. But I, at the same time, believe very strongly that I should not -- we should not enforce my opinion on other people. But we respect the court's opinion and -- and so we're going to move forward based on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Do you think, Pastor, there's going to be a travesty if this happens, I mean society is going to run amok?

I mean do you think it's going to be terrible, terrible if gay people are married?

MCPHERSON: If you start teaching kids from kindergarten and first grade that you don't have to have a dad, you don't have to have a mom and a family can be whatever and then this -- and then you go from two people to three people, you're going to have chaos.

But I think it goes back to the family structure. When you don't have a mom and a dad and you -- and I go back to a point about single parents. Single parents do a great job. But single parents will tell you that it's hard. And those kids who don't have dads want a dad.

And so if you create a system where kids don't have a dad and a mom, you are setting it up for failure. And you're setting them up to have a harder toe to hoe.

And I'm in jails, I'm in juvenile hall. I see kids all the time. I see grown adults who didn't have their dad when they were kids and they still hurt from that.

KING: How do you respond to that?

LEIFER: Well...

KING: I mean, you must admit -- you have a son, right?

LEIFER: Yes, a 3-year-old.

KING: You must admit a father -- a male father would be helpful?

LEIFER: Well, look, our son is three. He has two mommies. He has two Jewish mommies. You know, if this kid is ever hungry, it will be a -- it will be a miracle.

KING: And he's going to get a lot of guilt.

(LAUGHTER)

LEIFER: Right. A guilt overdose.

A good parent is a good parent. Our son is exposed to so many male role models in our family and our friends. It's the structure and the foundation of good parenting that's important.

KING: But marriage doesn't say...

LEIFER: And love.

KING: Marriage doesn't say, Miles, that -- when you look up marriage in the dictionary, it doesn't talk about parenting.

It talks about marriage, right?

What was that...

MCPHERSON: The best (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Do you think people get married -- what if people get married and don't want to have children?

MCPHERSON: They don't have to have children.

KING: Yes.

MCPHERSON: But that doesn't mean -- that's the only place you can have children is between a mother and a father. The best place to raise...

KING: And they don't have to be married biologically, right?

I mean you don't have...

MCPHERSON: Do you mean to have a baby?

KING: They don't have to be married.

MCPHERSON: Well, we all know that.

KING: Right. OK.

MCPHERSON: But the best structure to raise children, if you want to raise children that are going to be responsible, that are going to stay out of jail, that are going to stay off drugs, not get pregnant, the statistics prove -- and I think common sense proves, as well -- that the way God designed it for a man and a woman to be united and for kids to see a commitment between a mother and a father and see how they get along is the best structure for a kid and it's the best structure for our society.

KING: Do you ever have second thoughts?

LEIFER: Second thoughts?

KING: About the -- about the whole marriage. Do you ever say to yourself, well, look, if they have to treat us this way, we'll just be ourselves. That's it.

LEIFER: You know, my...

KING: Stop the fight, in other words.

LEIFER: No. I -- you know, things are changing. That's the good news. There's been so much progress with marriage equality in Maine, in Vermont, in Iowa. Things are changing.

You know, the beautiful thing about it is gay marriage is legal in Canada, in so many countries in Europe.

And you know what, guess what?

The sky didn't fall down. I don't think my being married would affect the pastor's marriage in any way. It's -- it's just a matter of civil rights. And time is on our side.

KING: The battle will continue. We'll have you both back.

MCPHERSON: Thank you very much.

KING: Thanks, Miles.

MCPHERSON: God bless you.

KING: Thank you.

God bless you.

Pastor Miles McPherson and Carol Leifer.

What's it like -- if you can even imagine this -- to spend 22 years in prison for a crime you didn't commit?

We're going to find out from a man who tasted freedom and his first steak just hours ago, for the first time in more than two decades.

He's here next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We go now to Dallas, Texas, where we meet Jerry Lee Evans. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1987, after being convicted of aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon. DNA test results have cleared him of the crime. He walked out of court a free man a few hours ago.

Michelle Moore, Dallas county public defender, is his attorney. Also with us in Dallas is Craig Watkins, Dallas County's district attorney, who established the Conviction Integrity Unit in July of 2007. The CAG's work is the focus of a TV series, Dallas DNA. The season finale airs Tuesday on Investigation Discovery.

Here's a stupid question, Jerry Lee, how do you feel?

JERRY LEE EVANS, WRONGLY CONVICTED: I feel great. I feel great. Happy to be out of prison.

KING: What was it like, day by day. I could only imagine this, to know you're there for something you didn't do?

EVANS: Well, at first, when I went in, it was a big shock. But as time went by, though, I never gave up that I was going to be exonerated, because I knew that DNA technology was advancing to a stage that one day it would free me and stuff.

KING: So you always had hope?

EVANS: Oh, yes, sir. Yes, sir. I never gave up.

KING: Michelle, did you defend him initially?

MICHELLE MOORE, DALLAS COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER: I did not. In fact, he was sent to prison in 1986. So the crime that he was accused of was in 1986. I think the trial was in 1987. I was actually appointed to his case in 2007.

KING: When you looked at the files, was he poorly represented?

MOORE: They could have done a much better job. So -- and I do think --

KING: Obviously.

MOORE: -- that in his case, there was a lot of -- there's probably a lot in the police report that we'll never know. We'll never know how the detectives ran this case, how they functioned.

KING: Let's take a look at some of what happened in earlier today in Dallas County's Criminal District Court Number Five. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go on the record. This is cause number F-86-92048. Having examined the DNA in this case, that had these test results been available at the time of the trial, you would not have been convicted in this case. Further, the court is going to proceed to order your immediate release from custody.

OK? It's the court's hope that your next 23 years are happier than your last 23 years. Further, on behalf of the citizens of the state of Texas, the court would like to apologize for the wrong that's been done to you in this case.

EVANS: It's good to be free, you know. That's -- 23 years, you know, it's a long time, but I -- it honestly seems like yesterday, now. It's good to be free, though.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Craig Watkins, Dallas County district attorney, you were not the DA that prosecuted this case, were you?

CRAIG WATKINS, DALLAS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: No, Mr. King. I actual became the DA in Dallas County in 2007.

KING: What went wrong here?

WATKINS: Well, I think there were several things that went wrong in this case. And I think the judicial system across our country, as a prosecutor, as an elected official, I feel that we have a responsibility, to take a close look at what we've done over the past 30 years as it relates to justice in this country.

Unfortunately, what we've seen since 2007 is that we have failed the citizens that we represent as it relates to dispensing justice. The job of a prosecutor has been lost on the American culture. And until we regain what it really means to be a prosecutor, then we will forever be riddled with cases like this one that we're dealing with today.

KING: First role of a prosecutor is not just to convict, but to bring away charges from people who are falsely accused, isn't it?

WATKINS: That's right. Our job is to seek justice. When we do that, we have to follow the truth. Because most DA's are ejected, a lot of time we get away from the truth because we have to get reelected. For the longest time, we have been dealing with this idea of being tough on crime. And sometimes that means we throw this whole idea of justice out the window.

KING: Can Jerry Lee Evans be compensated in any way for the 22 years of his life that were taken away? Find out right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Here's Jerry Lee Evans eating his first meal as a free man. What did you eat, Jerry?

EVANS: T-bone steak, sir.

KING: They don't serve that in prison, do they?

EVANS: No, sir, no, sir.

KING: Was it at a restaurant?

EVANS: Yes, sir.

KING: Michelle, how will Jerry Lee be compensated for his wrong- doing that he didn't do?

MOORE: We just heard that the governor signed a new bill that would compensate him 80,000 dollars a year for every year he was in. And that would come in a lump sum, and then 80,000 dollars a year that would come in an annuity form after that.

He also can go back to school if he wants to do that. So it's a great bill that's just passed.

KING: Small price to pay. What do you plan to do with it, Jerry?

EVANS: Well, initially, I probably put some in the bank, get -- I -- you know, I really ain't thought about it yet. I'm just glad to be out.

KING: I understand. Do you have family?

EVANS: Yes, sir, I do.

KING: Michelle, have they caught who really did this?

MOORE: They have not caught them yet. However, what the DAs have done, they've filed this -- they sent it through the CODIS System, which is the national database, in the hopes that they can find out who the real rapist was in this case.

KING: Jerry, were you anywhere near the crime?

EVANS: No, sire, I was basically on the other side of town when it happened?

KING: How were you even identified?

EVANS: Well, the young lady said that the guy that attacked her had a black Michael Jackson glove on. I was known to wear two spike gloves that was like wrestling related. They went to the neighborhood round where I was. They asked a bunch of individuals, do you know anybody that wear a black glove. They said that sound like Jerry Lee Evans, but he wear two gloves, though.

So the detectives told me that they showed her a picture of me and she said that he looked kind of like me, but my hair was different, though. That was enough to hold me on.

KING: And you had a trial and were convicted at a trial?

EVANS: Yes, sir, I went to jury trial.

KING: Craig, this sounds far-fetched.

WATKINS: Well, you know, we have had, unfortunately, 20 exonerations in Dallas County. And this type of failure happens within the system all of the time. We are fortunate enough in Dallas County to shine a light on it. Going forth what we intend to do is make sure that a person is never wrongfully convicted at least out of Dallas County.

KING: Former president -- Craig, Former President George Bush, on this program, told me that when he was governor, he's positive he never signed a death warrant of someone that didn't do the crime they were charged with. Can you say that you're sure Texas has never executed an innocent person?

WATKINS: I think anyone that says that, that has anything to do with the criminal justice system in this country, is very naive. When we've had 20 exonerations in Dallas County alone, obviously someone may have been executed for a crime they didn't commit.

KING: Well, we wish you -- Craig you'll stay with us, because we're discussing more of this with two other people. Jerry Lee, the best of luck to you, man.

EVANS: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

KING: Michelle, thank you for noble work.

MOORE: Thank you.

KING: There are others who have been wrongfully convicted and in prison. We're going to meet two of them and hear how DNA evidence came to their rescue. See you in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back. We're talking about DNA test result and how it has freed a number of people. It can cut both waste. On the same day, for example, that it exonerated Jerry Lee Evans, set him free, it was used to confirm the guilt of Vincent Draper in the aggravated assault of a child. He's gone back to prison to finish a 99 year sentence.

Rocky Morris is another inmate who asked the Dallas County DAs Office to conduct post-conviction DNA testing. Dallas' DNA cameras were there when he was told the results.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, rocky, how are you doing?

ROCKY MORRIS, PRISON INMATE: Not very good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not?

MORRIS: I'm just feeling terrible, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is that?

MORRIS: Depressed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. We got test results back, skin cell on that, and then a sperm fraction on that too. And both of those came out with your profile on them. And the numbers that they have are pretty enormous. As a Caucasian male, the chances of it matching anybody else would be one in 178.6 quadrillion. The Earth's population is approximately 6.5 billion. So I don't even have enough people on Earth for there to be somebody who would match this profile at present. OK? These numbers are too high. And, I mean, you're a match at every level. So, you will probably not make parole.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Probably? Do you know anyone who has been to prison? That's tonight's quick vote question. Go to CNN.com/larryking, cast your ballot. Back with two more men who spent time in prison unjustly. That's next, stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Before we meet our guests and their extraordinary stories, we have asked viewers to submit remarkable questions for me. Today's question was sent via iReport. Take a look and then I'll answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Larry, this is John Hammond from Santa Barbara, California. Thanks in advance for answering my question. I'm curious, of all of the things you've done in your personal and professional life, which one thing do you think has been most understood and still requires some explanation?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That's an excellent question. I think the thing most misunderstood, John, was the fact that I had a son I didn't know about, discovered him when he was 33 years old. How did all of that time go by? I try to explain it in the book. It's not easy. I think you'll find it fascinating reading.

John, you're going to receive an autographed copy of my memoir, "My Remarkable Journey." You can too. Just go to CNN.com/larryking. Send me a question, answer it on the air, you'll get a book, chance to come to LA, see the show live. good luck. Love to meet you John.

(NEWS BREAK)

KING: Here is Craig Watkins -- rather, he remains with us, the Dallas County district attorney. His work is the focus of the TV series "Dallas DNA." The season finale will air Tuesday on Investigation Discovery. Joining us here in LA, Steven Phillips, spent more than 25 years after being sent to prison in Dallas for a string of sex crimes he did not commit. He was released on parole in 2007 and then in 2008 DNA testing proved his innocence and he was completely exonerated.

Patrick Waller spent nearly 16 years behind bars in Texas after being wrongfully convicted of robbery and kidnapping. DNA testing done in late 2000 excluded him as the perpetrator. He was freed from prison last July and officially exonerated in September.

Before we ask them questions, let's watch a clip of Investigation Discovery's "Dallas DNA." This is from the court hearing on the day Mr. Phillips was set free. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: DNA results in this report excluded Steven Charles Phillips as a petition contributor. The court finds the test results are favorable to Mr. Phillips, and that had these results been available at the time of trial, it is reasonably probably that Mr. Phillips would not have been convicted.

CHARLES PHILLIPS, FALSELY CONVICTED: I would like to thank all my friends and family. Thank you very much, DA's office. That's my box beeping over there, my GPS monitor. I think the judge is going to take care of that. I appreciate the court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On behalf of the judiciary, any actions by any judge that cause any delay in your release from prison, then I want to apologize.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Oh, what was that like?

PHILLIPS: That was like, great.

KING: How did you hold up all those years? You didn't do what they were charging.

PHILLIPS: Well, that was a struggle, but honestly, got up every day and seems like every day I worked on it, whether it was writing a letter to the District Attorney's office or trying to get a newspaper reporter.

KING: What turned it around?

PHILLIPS: Honestly, what turned it around is the election that elected the new district attorney, Craig Watkins. That turned it around.

KING: He got interested?

PHILLIPS: He did. He signed off on it.

KING: Did they find who did it?

PHILLIPS: They did. Pretty incredible, because he died in prison, a Texas prison about 11 years ago, after committing another crime in Texas.

KING: Steven -- all right, Steven, what was it like for you? What were you charged with?

PHILLIPS: Patrick.

KING: I'm sorry. Patrick, it's hard for me to take, because I can't believe what you guys went through.

PATRICK WALLER, EXONERATED IN 2008: I understand. I was charged with aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated kidnapping. I was sentenced to life in prison.

KING: You know you didn't do it, right?

WALLER: Yes.

KING: What was the trial like?

WALLER: It was a circus. I went in thinking in that justice was correct. I believed in the justice system as it stood. But my belief was shattered in less than three days. I didn't have effective council to begin with. But they painted an ugly, ugly picture of me.

KING: This new DA help you?

WALLER: When Craig Watkins became our district attorney, I was almost at my wits end. I was almost ready to give up. I had fought and fought, and been denied and denied. It is just one day, I got a letter saying the new district attorney had agreed to grant me a DNA test that I had been trying to get for so long.

KING: Unbelievable why they wouldn't give it to you. Patrick and Steven have both written blog exclusives for us. Just go to CNN.com/larryking to read more about their stories. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Craig Watkins, both Steven and Patrick said if they had gone to jail for first degree murder, they would have been dead now, and the true story would have never come out, true?

WATKINS: At this point, I think it may have been correct. But I think we are making strides, at least in Dallas County, to correct the wrongs of the past. Looking forward, I believe most district attorneys in this state and throughout the country will take their oath seriously to make sure justice is served.

KING: I hope it's not wishful thinking. This is from "Dallas DNA."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a motion for Mr. Waller to be released on bond while waiting for the criminal appeals final order in this case. I asked the court to release him on personal cognizance bond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Set.

WALLER: Even my mother didn't know for sure. Maybe she questioned, did my son really do this. I knew I am telling the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Did they catch your guy?

WALLER: Yes. There was two of them.

KING: How, Steven, did you go to sleep at night?

PHILLIPS: Oh, man -- just got to do it. Just have to go to sleep, get up everyday, go to chow, talk to your celly or not. Go down to the law library, work on your case.

KING: Scream a lot, Patrick?

WALLER: The way I did mine was every night when I went to sleep, I pictured in my mind I had another day to fight. As long as I could wake up, I could continue to fight. That's what kept me going. When I first got sentenced to life, I couldn't picture it. I knew I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it.

But I heard a song once that said all you have to do is breathe in and breathe out. As long as I could breathe, I was going to fight.

KING: You guys are going to get a lot of money now. Not that it could make up for it.

PHILLIPS: A lot of money, that's a relative thing. I don't know what a lot of money is. It's going to be a lot of money to me.

KING: You know what that means. What are you doing, Patrick? Are you working?

WALLER: I'm a full time student at the University of Texas at Arlington.

KING: Majoring in?

WALLER: Criminology and Criminal Justice.

KING: Going to be a cop?

WALLER: No.

KING: Lawyer?

WALLER: Yes.

KING: What are you doing, Steven?

PHILLIPS: I'm working for Corey Press (ph) in Dallas, writing a book. We're doing other writing, too.

KING: I'll read it. Thanks to both of you.

PHILLIPS: All right.

WALLER: Thank you. KING: Lionel. This really throws me. I'm sorry. Lionel Richie and Nicole Richie are here for the hour tomorrow night. Injustice drives nuts. Time now for John King with Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." John?

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