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CNN NEWSROOM

Arias Juror Number 5 Returns; Arias Visitors List; Shooting Inside Police Station; Majority of Americans Say Legalize Pot.

Aired April 5, 2013 - 11:30   ET

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


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: But then she came back to watch in the courtroom. It's really hard to miss considering she has such a specific hairdo. You can't miss her in the gallery. Jurors probably noticed her. too. She got the most difficult and onerous case you would have to struggle with, a death penalty case. And instead of leaving it behind her, she came back for more. This is so unusual, folks, so much so that the judge had to actually talk to the jury about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE SHERRY STEPHENS, MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: Ladies and gentlemen, juror number five is in the courtroom to observe as a member of the public. I want to remind you of the admonition. It continues to apply, and you should have no contact with juror number five until the trial is over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Kind of awkward, having to sit there and listen.

In the meantime, HLN's Nancy Grace got this video. It is Jodi Arias as a bridesmaid. So unusual to see the murder defendant in a different role in life. This was certainly a different time. Her childhood friend, Patti, has known Jodi since sixth grade. She spoke to Nancy Grace, and this is what she told her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATTI, CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF JODI ARIAS: Somebody that you grew up and you love so much, you know -- I'm sorry. It's just really heart- breaking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: So that friend has been one in a steady stream of people who have come to visit Jodi Arias while she's been locked up and awaiting trial.

In fact, we just got the visitor list, and here it is. These are the people who have visited her most often. Her mother, 40 visits. Her dad, only two, though. 60 visits by attorneys, 51 by friends. This is a little unusual. Four visits by people called supporters. I don't usually see supporters on a jail visitation list. And then take a look at that one at the top, mitigation, 45 visits. What is that? That's a woman named Maria de la Rosa. She happens to be the woman building the mitigation case. That is the case to save Jodi Arias' life if, in fact, this jury finds her guilty and they go to another phase. The question then becomes for the jury, is Jodi a life worth saving, and yes, that's a case you have to make.

Back with me now, "In Session" correspondent, Jean Casarez. And we want to bring in defense attorney, Danny Cevallos, as well.

Danny, let me start with you.

Some people might be surprised to hear there's a whole other case being prepared while this guilt and innocence case is ongoing. What is the mitigator doing and what has she been doing all this time in those visits?

DANNY CEVALLOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: OK, Ashleigh. In capital cases in Arizona, there are phases. There's the guilt or innocence phase. After that there may be an aggravation phase where we have to find out whether or not there were aggravating factors that justify phase three, the penalty phase. Will she get the death penalty or not? That's what a mitigation specialist does. They're not an investigator. They serve a different role. Their job is to develop the humanity of this advent. They're more like social workers. They have to interview people and ask very personal, very uncomfortable questions about this defendant's history. They are absolutely critical, constitutionally required. And the fact she's been 40 or so times, absolutely acceptable. Nothing strange about that. In fact, the more, the better. If there is a conviction and if there is a death penalty, it is important that the death penalty mitigation specialist has been out there as many times as possible to develop the mitigation phase, which may be longer than the guilt phase we're watching now.

BANFIELD: Good point. So 45 visits that she's been combing Jodi Arias' mind for other people who feel the same way that Patti felt about her.

Jean, if we end up in a death penalty phase, what kind of people might Jodi have supplied to this litigation specialist to speak on her behalf, and what kind of things would she say?

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, IN SESSION: Let's start with her mother and father. Ashleigh, we together covered a death penalty case out of Mississippi, Kharla Hues. Her mother and father took the stand and literally begged the jury to save their daughter's life. Her father has only been to the jail a couple of times because he's not well. He's on dialysis. He is in California. Will he be here and take the stand? Also, schoolteachers, pastors if she went to church when she was younger, people growing up to talk about the person she was, the person she is, what she can contribute to a prison setting in the future, the good influence she can lead and the good life she can lead, and that she should not be put to death. That's what the penalty phase will be about on the defense side.

BANFIELD: I just find it amazing, Danny, that you say it can be even longer than the guilt or innocence phase because we've been at this for months. I hear you. There's nothing more important that making sure you get it right.

I have to say goodbye to both of you, but thank you, both, Jean Casarez and Danny Cevallos.

Court's not in session today, but that doesn't mean there's not a lot of material that you can't have access to. CNN.com and HLN TV have a lot of trial coverage. I encourage you to go there. Fascinating.

A police officer and a murder suspect inside an interrogation room. This happens all the time. What doesn't happen is shots ringing out that leave both people dead. This happened in Mississippi. It is a mystery. We're going to look into it in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: It doesn't get much safer than inside a police station. That's what you would think. Also what makes this next story pretty shocking. A veteran detective was interviewing a murder suspect inside the Jackson, Mississippi, police headquarters, and then shots rang out and now both of those men are dead.

Joining me now is defense attorney, Joey Jackson, also a law professor and "In Session" contributor; and defense attorney, Danny Cevallos.

We do not have all the details here yet. It's still being put together. The circumstances are odd, to say the least.

Let me just ask this first, Joey. Usually, you would think interrogation rooms have video. Usually, it is video that no one knows about. Do you think that's the case in this circumstance, we can get the answers?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's difficult to say, Ashleigh. A lot of interrogation rooms don't have them because of constitutional protections and Miranda and that sort of thing. We're unaware if there was a video. And obviously, if there is, that would shed the most light on what happened.

But it calls into question exactly what happened. And also there are protocols with weapons, when you're dealing with suspects and potential defendants, aren't even brought into the room. So it leads to wonder what exactly happened. And it's just tragic and sad, particularly where there's an officer here, veteran officer, a wife, two children, it just really sickens you.

BANFIELD: So, Danny, obviously the police department is usually the first people on a murder scene to do the investigation. This happened in the police department's home. Do they do the murder investigation, or do they hands-off right away and have state or feds come in?

CEVALLOS: That's a good question. Whatever their individual local procedure will call for, or they may be dealing with a case of first impression here. This may not have ever happened in their police station. But if I know police, they take these things personally and they're going to want to investigate their brother's homicide and keep that in-house. However, there certainly would be justification for an attorney general to come in and say maybe we should take this.

The other thing to keep in mind, these interview rooms, as Joey said, don't always have video in them. But remember, they're called interview rooms because police are pretending these are mere interviews with suspects. In fact, they like these people for a crime. So they can become very high-stress environments. And it is possible when someone, once realizing this is no longer an interview but an interrogation, may lose their temper or something bad like that might happen, and they might get a hold of a firearm. But we will have to see as facts develop.

BANFIELD: And I know the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has been brought in. Whether they end up being the lead authority on this remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Joey, if we have a victim -- I'm not sure which would be the victim, but I could only assume it's the murder suspect at this point. That's what the conventional wisdom would say -- do you have to build a case when you don't have a perp any longer?

JACKSON: No. What'll end up happening is obviously it would be a criminal prosecution in the event that there was a survivor here, but he is dead. But it's still important for purposes of attempting to know what went wrong so it could be prevented in the future. So in terms of any type of criminal case or criminal prosecution, the person is dead, so that's not necessary. Certainly, I think the police officer wants to know, the whole precinct wants to know, the whole community of law enforcement wants to know how this could happened, why it happened, so that it could be prevented forever more.

BANFIELD: And I could just hear the chorus of defense attorneys across the country saying, Ashleigh Banfield, you do not know who might be the perpetrator because there's been plenty of circumstances where a police person that you think -- until the facts come out, we don't know who the perpetrator would be in this circumstance.

Thank you, both of you, for that.

JACKSON: Thank you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: So the aging baby boomers and the younger generation and all those people in between, what are their attitudes about legalizing pot? And are those attitudes changing across the board?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: "Reefer Madness," the Wood Stock generation, the rampant use of weed during Vietnam, the war, and medical marijuana as well -- these are all integral parts of the decades-old debate over whether pot should be legal across the United States. Majority of Americans have always been adamant, no, do not legalize pot, until now. For the first time since it began polling on the issue more than 40 years ago, the Pew Research Center is finding that a majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana, 52, 45. Pew says the support for making pot legal has soared since 2010, 11 points. And this poll shows the big push is from young people. Also more than half of boomers are now favoring legalizing marijuana. Right now, here is the state of pot in the United States. 18 different states plus the District of Columbia have chosen to legalize pot for medical use. Two of those states, Colorado and Washington, have approved it for recreational use as well. That happened during the 2012 election.

Joining us for their take on the sea change of public opinion on the legalization of pot, and if it will make any difference at all, our CNN analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, who joins us by phone; and in San Francisco, Ethan Nadelmann, from the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for the legalization of pot.

Mr. Nadelmann, let me begin with you.

We've seen this before where generations of people change and attitudes change and then laws follow shortly thereafter. They change. Do you expect that will be the case here?

ETHAN NADELMANN, DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE: Well, it's definitely going to be the case, Ashleigh. Back in the late '70s, people thought we were on the verge of decriminalization of marijuana. But back then, barely a third of Americans were in favor. Most of the older generation were not baby boomers. They didn't know the difference between marijuana and heroine. Now you're seeing this Pew poll, Gallup polls, a whole range of others consistently showing a small majority of Americans in favor. So what happened in Washington and Colorado during the last election is going to happen in other states around the country. In the same way that medical marijuana was legalized through the initiative process or the legislative process in 18 states today, we're going to see that same thing happen with the broader legalization of marijuana.

BANFIELD: Let me bring in Jeffrey Toobin on this.

A lot of people make the case on same-sex marriage and attitudes change, and the states started changing as well. There have been a number of states, I think nine now, that allow same-sex marriage. And yet there is this wisdom out there that drugs are different, that marijuana is different. That this maybe isn't a civil rights issue that other people think it is. Do you see the argument as being apples and oranges?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (voice-over): There is a parallel but there's also an important difference. With same-sex marriage, the federal government cannot and does not prohibit states from allowing same-sex marriage. There's the Defense of Marriage Act which limits certain benefits for gay couples who are married, but they don't prohibit it. What makes marijuana different and unpredictable in how it will work, is that even though Washington and Colorado have voted to legalize marijuana, it is still a federal crime to possess marijuana. And how federal and state law interacts as those states move towards legalization is the big question that's unresolved at this point.

BANFIELD: So help me answer that question or at least get us as close as you can to an answer, Jeffrey. Do you think that maybe the polls that are out there and the growing support for legalizing marijuana or recreational or medicinal purposes, may have an effect on whether the feds decide to ever prosecute any state where it's legal?

TOOBIN: I think that is a process that is unfolding. I don't think the political support for legalization is anywhere near the level where you would have Congress simply repeal the federal marijuana laws. But there is an ongoing negotiation process between those states and the federal government about how they will prosecute it.

But frankly, and maybe Ethan knows better than I do, but I don't know how the federal and state laws will interact as the states move to legalize. It's really a difficult question.

BANFIELD: Ethan, I know you make this your daily work.

NADELMANN: Yes. Well, I'll tell you, Ashleigh, Jeffrey's exactly right. What's going on right now is that the governors of Washington and Colorado have asked the Justice Department, Attorney General Holder and the White House, give us a chance to implement these new laws. And Holder is obviously struggling with what to do right here.

Here's the real dilemma, which is that the feds, to say to these governors in these two states, yes, go ahead, we're going to give you a qualifying green light to implement these laws is the right thing in terms of public safety, public health, finance, responsible regulation, regulating marijuana like alcohol. If on the other hand the feds say, no way, federal law just trumps, that's it, we're not going to let you do this, then what's going to happen, it's not like marijuana's going to go away. It's going to be produced and sold, but it's going to continue to be illegal and it will all be in the hands of criminals. And what that means from my perspective as an activists, is when we see the next wave of ballot initiatives coming up in legislation around the country, instead of doing these responsible regulatory models to tax and regulate marijuana, the alternative is going to be to do what Americans did in the late 1920s and early '30s with alcohol prohibition, which is to repeal the state marijuana prohibition laws and just say to the feds, if you want to go ahead and enforce these laws, go ahead and try.

BANFIELD: Remains to be seen whether that will be the pattern that will be followed. But there are a lot of people out there who disagree with you and say it's not a safety issue at all. In fact, or it is a safety issue but not for the reasons that you say.

You and I are going to have more conversations on this, Ethan --

(CROSSTALK)

NADELMANN: I know. But from a rational perspective, you want to regulate, not criminalize.

BANFIELD: Depends on what you consider rational.

(LAUGHTER)

I have to leave it there, but thank you --

(LAUGHTER) NADELMANN: Yes, that's right. I agree with that.

BANFIELD: -- for being with us.

And Jeffrey Toobin, as always, I love to have your perspective. Thanks for having a few minutes of your time as well, Jeff.

I think he's off the phone already.

OK, so this retired educator uses her retirement money not to grab a condo in Florida but to spend it on this bus, a high-tech bus to bring computers to kids. How much do you love her?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Everybody knows kids need computers. And there are a lot of kids that don't have them. That's why today's "CNN Hero" used her own retirement money to buy a bus loaded with computers and head right to the kids who need her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ESTELLY PYFROM, CNN HERO: I grew up in segregated south. I actually started picking beans in '86. But my father, I used to hear him say, if you get a good education, you can get a good job. So we knew that education was important.

In today's times, many of our children don't have computers at home. And low-income families don't have transportation to get to where the computers are.

Kids who don't have access to computers after school will be left behind.

My name is Estella Pyfrom. At age 71, I took my retirement savings to create a classroom to bring high-tech information to communities in need.

All right, let's get on board the reading bus.

(SHOUTING)

PYFROM: The reading bus is a mobile learning center.

Are you ready to get on the computers?

(SHOUTING)

PYFROM: We want to do what we can do to make things better for all adults as well.

OK, got it.

I see the bus as being able to bridge that gap between technology and the lack of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She helps by having one-on-one attention. If I don't get it, she'll help me with it.

PYFROM: How are we doing here?

It's not just a bus. It's a movement. We're going to go from neighborhood to neighborhood, and keep making a difference.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Amazing. Just, you know what, makes you think none of us really have many problems, do we?

Thank you so much for watching. Have a terrific weekend.

AROUND THE WORLD starts right after this break.

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