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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

"CHICAGOLAND" Shows City Struggling To Make Streets Safer; "DEATH ROW STORIES" Examines Capital Murder Cases; Upskirt Photos Allowed in Massachusetts

Aired March 6, 2014 - 12:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: In CNN's newest original series, "CHICAGOLAND," we witness America's third-largest city struggle to make its streets safer.

Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy is on the frontlines of that city's war against gun violence. McCarthy says there's still a problem, but homicides and gang violence and shootings in that city are on the decline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARRY MCCARTHY, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: My biggest issue in Chicago is dealing with gangs, guns and the press. It's not cultural change in the department. It's not acceptance of an outsider.

None of those things, they all pale in comparison to those challenges right there. And the media keep talking about the rising toll of gun violence in Chicago while the numbers are going in the other direction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the press continues to focus on Chicago's violence, there's actually been a decline.

In 2012, there were 161 murders in the first quarter. In 2013, there were 93. That's more than a 40 percent reduction.

MCCARTHY: We're taking a more holistic approach to crime reduction here in Chicago than I think has been done in most places in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): What are you trying it achieve?

MCCARTHY: I'm trying to save the world. Can't you tell?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): (Inaudible).

MCCARTHY: Well, right now I'm trying to save Chicago. So here's --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): Trying to save Chicago? Any particular part of Chicago?

MCCARTHY: All of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: All of it.

CNN's "CHICAGOLAND" premieres tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, and I'm thrilled to be joined now by Chicago's police superintendent, Garry McCarthy.

Mr. McCarthy has also led the Newark, New Jersey, police department. It's good to have you with us. And also you're credited with an almost 10 percent decrease in the murder there.

And sitting directly to the right of Superintendent McCarthy is Evelyn Diaz, who leads Chicago's department of family and support services.

Superintendent McCarthy, I'd love to start with you. I seized upon what you said in the documentary, a holistic approach to this problem.

But I'm still not 100 percent clear on just exactly what that is. What is it?

MCCARTHY: So, Ashleigh, everybody wants to know what's one thing that we've done that's effecting the crime rate here in Chicago, and it's not one thing, it's everything.

We've put so many programs and policies in place, internally in the department, but the first conversation that I had with Mayor Emanuel, I had never met him before I interviewed for this job, and we had a shared vision as to what modern policing should look like.

And it should look like enforcement, taking the bad guys off the street, which is our job and law enforcement, and then following up with programs and social services to kind of fill a void to have a longer effect on the issues that we're addressing on the street.

It's really evident in our narcotics enforcement. We don't try -- I'm not trying to fix the narcotics problem in the city of Chicago, and I don't think that law enforcement can fix the narcotics problem in this country.

But what we can do is we can eliminate individual narcotics markets on street corners, and then hold onto those locations, because as long as demand exists at those locations, supply will show back up.

Hold onto those corners, clean them up, organize the community and slowly but surely back out and keep that community propped up with services and programs and law enforcement, again, when necessary. Just an example of what we're talking about.

BANFIELD: So, let me bring Ms. Diaz into that conversation, because this partnership you discuss, with child and family services such a critical part of this entire equation, I would think that schools is as important as well if not completely integral. And yet what I keep hearing, the headlines out of Chicago, is budget cuts and school closures and programs are disappearing.

So, I don't understand the disconnect between the holistic approach to crime fighting, starting at the bottom with the kids and making sure that they get what they need so they don't end up in the gangs and on the streets.

Those don't seem to match. Ms. Diaz, help me understand how closing schools and cutting programs helps with the holistic problem and helps you with child and family services.

EVELYN DIAZ, COMMISSIONER, CHICAGO FAMILY SERVICES: So, you know, part of the holistic approach is starting with youth before they get into trouble, making sure that we have a whole host of different strategies everywhere that we encounter youths, so whether that's outside of school, whether that's in school, whether that's coming out of the juvenile justice system, even when they're violating curfew.

So, first of all, it's having a whole set of different kinds of programs. And I think in Chicago we're really unique in that we've put this whole package together along with our policing strategies and have invested really heavily in funding programs that work.

So, we're looking at programs that we've tested that are shown to reduce violence, and we're investing heavily in those to make those programs available to more and more kids.

And I think it just really gets to the mayor's commitment to keeping kids safe as part of what we're doing across Chicago to make sure that they have a positive future.

MCCARTHY: And, Ashleigh, as far as -- can I just --

BANFIELD: Real quick, yeah.

MCCARTHY: As far as school closings are concerned, those were underperforming schools.

It's not like the mayor and his staff picked out locations randomly. It was based upon analysis of consolidation that would improve the quality of the education that the kids were receiving.

And in the first episode, you're going to see a lot about the school closings and people talking about crossing gang lines.

And we came up with the Safe Passage program that so far, and knock on wood, we're going into the last two months of the year, we have not had any sort of incidents occur where children have been injured in any fashion with that, so that's --

BANFIELD: And you know what I'll say this, as well, Mr. Superintendent. I'll say this, in 2014, we've only had a couple months so far, but your stats are looking pretty good, 38 percent decline in shooting incidents, a 40 percent decline in shooting victims, a 25 percent decline in murders and 28 percent decline in overall crime. So, so far, so good, and you know what? This is going to be a great series. I thank you both for being on the program today and also for taking part in this series.

I think it's great for our audience to get a really in-depth look at what's going on in Chicago instead of just seeing all the terrible headlines that have been coming out of your city.

So, good luck and we hope to have you back soon.

MCCARTHY: Thanks, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: (Inaudible) both of you.

MCCARTHY: Thank you.

BANFIELD: I encourage you, check out "CHICAGOLAND." It premieres tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, 9:00 Central.

And we're back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: We are very proud here at CNN to be bringing to you an original series, a new original series called "DEATH ROW STORIES." It takes a look at the back story of capital murder cases in America.

One such case begins in 1982 when this man, Edward Elmore, is convicted of murder, but there was a legal intern named Diana Holt, who wasn't so sure that he was guilty.

She's on the hunt to find the evidence to get Elmore out of jail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In order to solve the mystery of who did murder Dorothy Edwards, Diana began looking for alternate suspects. And she found one in the neighbor who discovered the body, James Holloway.

DIANA HOLT, LEGAL INTERN: I read the testimony and my head just about spun off of my little spindly neck. I was like, Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Holloway spent an unusually long period of time at the crime scene before calling the police.

HOLT: He goes inside Dorothy Edwards' house. He sees that wall of blood for the first time, but he doesn't call police. He decides that he's going to go to the other side neighbor and get her to come in the house with him.

So he's at the closet door again, and he decides to put gloves on, and then he opens the door. And, lo and behold, there she was.

Really? He put his gloves on before he went to open the door?

(END VIDEO CLIP) BANFIELD: Does Diana Holt find out who really killed Dorothy? You can find out by watching "DEATH ROW STORIES" this Sunday on CNN at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.

And, by the way, if you didn't already know it, the executive producer, one of them, is the very famous Robert Redford.

Here he is explaining why "DEATH ROW STORIES" intrigued him in the first place.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT REDFORD, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "DEATH ROW STORIES": So, "DEATH ROW STORIES" stories is not just about people who are innocent in prison falsely. It's about people who are there because they belong there, and they were guilty.

But what about their stories? When they tell you I did this, here's why I did it, I regret it or I don't regret it, that's part of the picture.

Also, there are people behind prison who say I don't belong here. I've been put here unjustly, unfairly.

But I think it's important for -- to look at the whole system of being put behind bars and then sentenced to death, what are those people thinking? What do they feel like? Even ones who are guilty?

I just think it's stories that are interesting to hear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: OK. That's the understatement, interesting to hear.

Joining me now, Alex Gibney, one of the executive producers for "DEATH ROW STORIES." He won an Academy Award and multiple Emmys for his work in documentaries.

And also joining me, on his left, is attorney Barry Scheck, who you probably well know by now is the co-director of The Innocence Project, an organization that helps exonerate people who are wrongly convicted. And the numbers just keep climbing. You do some terrific work, Barry.

Alex, I want to begin with you. This is -- you're not a newbie to this kind of material, and yet you were so steeped in these episodes. I want to know if you learned something you didn't already know before.

ALEX GIBNEY, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "DEATH ROW STORIES": You know, I think -- the series is called "DEATH ROW STORIES," and we came to them as stories, a little bit like what Bob Redford was talking about, the poignancy of these death row tales.

But what struck me more than anything was this sense that, you know, there were patterns here and very disturbing patterns about how the system was kind of deeply broken.

And it's those patterns that keep coming up over and over again that made me want to do this as a series rather than --

BANFIELD: The patterns, I think, Barry, by now you're exhausted by the patterns that you have found.

And if only your organization was about 15 times bigger and better funded than it is, a press could get to the bottom of these patterns, stop the patterns and maybe right the pattern that have already unjustly incarcerated so many people.

This is not all about -- as Robert Redford said, it's not all about the wrongfully convicted, but generally speaking, that is what's wrong with the system today.

Why is there so much error in what we're doing?

BARRY SCHECK, CO-DIRECTOR, THE INNOCENCE PROJECT: Well, we are trying to get to the bottom of causes of wrongful conviction, and we know what they are.

They involve eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, unreliable forensic science, jailhouse-snitch testimony. But police and prosecutorial misconduct and bad lawyers and race, it's all tied up.

And I'm sure you're going to see all of this in the "Death Row Stories." But the issue of prosecutorial misconduct in particular, Ashleigh, when you were talking about, you know, people that deliberately violate the rules --

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: This is what I can't believe. I get mistakes. I get mishandled evidence. I get contamination. Stuff that people don't intend and the consequence is horrible. I don't get the intentional. The ones who say, to hell with it, I'm going to lie, I'm going to cheat, I'm going to put that guy away.

SCHECK: Well, this is a key thing because we just had a judge, the chief judge of the ninth circuit court of appeals, Alex Kozinski, just issue an opinion where he said he believes prosecutorial misconduct is, quote, "epidemic."

BANFIELD: Epidemic.

SCHECK: Now, I don't know if we want to go so far as to say it's epidemic, but it is certainly more than episodic. And what we need are rules. And I think there is some that we're coming up with at The Innocence Project to hold people responsible. Prosecutors who deliberately violate the rules. Not negligent, incompetent, inexperienced people. But when you deliberately hide exculpatory evidence, you should be sanctioned by the bar.

BANFIELD: That's the most egregious of it all.

SCHECK: You should even go to jail.

BANFIELD: Without question. And I think what's great about what you're doing is helping Americans understand that our system isn't perfect. And if we're going to kill people and legitimize it, we better bloody well know what we're doing and we better be absolutely perfect, which I don't know about you, last time I checked, none of us was.

This is a terribly entertaining series of documentaries to watch. It's fascinating material, but it's also extremely helpful for American jurisprudence for people to understand just what exactly we're up against and what's happening.

Barry Scheck, great always to have you. I wish you'd come on every single day. And Alex (ph), you give me (ph) great work and I look forward to the entire series running on CNN. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delighted to be here.

BANFIELD: By the way, just to remind you, CNN's original series "Death Row Stories" airs this Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Check it out for sure.

And here's a question for you, should it be illegal for someone to take a picture up a woman's skirt while she doesn't know it? It's called upskirting. And you will not believe what a judge has actually weighed in on when it comes to this. Two words, look out. Story's next.

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BANFIELD: I want you to listen to this very, very carefully, especially you ladies out there. If there's a creepy dude out there taking a picture up your skirt without you knowing it, like say on the subway of Massachusetts, that guy'd be in some pretty big trouble, right? Arrested, charged, convicted, maybe even jailed? Turns out, not so much.

In fact, it's not even a crime, because that's what a judge in that state's highest court decided yesterday in the case of this lovely species, Michael Robertson. Michael was busted for sneaking around and taking cell phone video and pictures up women's dresses while they weren't looking. But today he's a free man. He will not be charged. He will not be judged. He will not be jailed. So just feast your eyes on that one, ladies, and keep a good lookout for him. And mind your skirt. Mel Robbins, criminal defense attorney in Boston, is here with me live to try to figure this one out.

How did this -- what? What? I mean that's really what I have to ask, what? How did this happen?

MEL ROBBINS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Ashleigh, he will be judged, my friend. He will be judged. He's going to be judged right here and right now by you and me.

BANFIELD: You got that right, sister.

ROBBINS: Basically what happened is, he was charged under the peeping tom laws in Massachusetts. And during the hearings before trial, his -- they tried to dismiss the case saying, hey, listen, women that are already clothed don't have a right to privacy.

And, by the way, their clothed, so they're not partially nude. And the court dismissed the claim. It appealed, appealed, appealed. Went up to the supreme judicial court. And believe it or not, they freaking agreed with the defendant. The supreme judicial court, which is seven judges here in Massachusetts, highest court, said basically, ladies, when you're wearing a skirt, number one, you got clothing on.

And, number two, if you're sitting on the subway, there are cameras, there are people, you're in public, you've got no right to privacy. And what I say, and I'm sure you're going to agree with this is, they call it private parts for a reason. They do not call it public bits.

BANFIELD: That's well said. Public bits, nicely put.

ROBBINS: And, you know, this is a big story up here, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: I bet.

ROBBINS: Check this out. We're not talking Ukraine, we're talking underpants here. "Boston Globe," main story.

BANFIELD: Amazing.

ROBBINS: So people are freaking out.

BANFIELD: So, Mel, I want to bring in two guys who regularly comment on this program, HLN's legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson and CNN's legal analyst and defense attorney Danny Cevallos.

When I read this story, I immediately thought of you, but why I did was because I know that we've talked before on this program about your expectation of privacy. Mel just dabbled in that. I always assumed your expectation of privacy isn't confined to a space, like a bathroom or a bedroom in your own home, but that you should have an expectation of privacy under your clothing.

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Amen. Amen, Ashleigh. And, of course, Danny will break it down, because he's written about this piece, so he's ready.

BANFIELD: Yes.

JACKSON: But, listen, I take exception, major exception to this judge's ruling. Laws have to make sense and they have to instill public confidence, right? I mean ultimately we can interpret laws by the black letter, or we can look at the underlying intent of a statute, what it means and what it means to -

BANFIELD: Isn't that called the spirit?

JACKSON: Yes, it does. And that's exactly what this is.

BANFIELD: What happened? JACKSON: And when it's underneath your clothes, I get what they're saying, you're not technically, partially nude, as required by the statute. But, you know, women wear what they wear. Men wear what they wear. But when you're looking up a woman's skirt, I mean, I certainly think that that meets with the spirit of the statute. In addition to which you have an expectation of privacy underneath your own clothes. The court got it wrong. We need the legislature to get it right.

BANFIELD: Tell me, Danny, is this guy behind me, is he in the clear to walk amongst us? Is that the end of this?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, not so fast, Mr. Jackson. Let me tell you why.

JACKSON: I knew it.

CEVALLOS: The court -

BANFIELD: Here we go.

CEVALLOS: If you're angry at anyone, don't be - and you too, Mel, don't be angry at the court. Be angry at the legislature because they correctly applied the law as defined.

First, what is partial nudity? Well, they look to the statute and partial nudity involves the exposure of a private part. And by exposure it means open to the public. If you don't like the way the court applied the law, then get angry at the legislature because they correctly read the law and said in this case there was no actual exposure. Skirts are -- you know, skirts or kilts, Joey, I know once in a while you'll throw on a (INAUDIBLE) -- isn't that what they're called?

JACKSON: Every now and then, right.

CEVALLOS: So it -

ROBBINS: OK.

CEVALLOS: The problem with those issues is that those are not exposed to the public, your private parts, although it is horrifically private.

BANFIELD: Obscene. Obscene.

ROBBINS: (INAUDIBLE).

BANFIELD: So you know what, Mel, give me 10 seconds, talk me off the ledge.

ROBBINS: I'd say put the thongs in the drawer and get out the shape wear until they get this thing fixed. I mean any other good news that I've got --

BANFIELD: Oh, dear God, you did not. Oh --

ROBBINS: I did. It's that it's 20 degrees here in Boston, so no woman in her right mind is wearing a skirt without tights today.

BANFIELD: I know.

ROBBINS: So I -- they're going to fix this, but this is foreshadowing for major problems to come as technology creeps not only up our skirts but everywhere else in our lives.

BANFIELD: Good point. Excellent point. All right, Mel Robbins, Danny Cevallos, Joey Jackson. But, you know what, I'm not even done with this thing because I'm going to say this, the law, sure, the procedure, sure, the spirit, sure.

But this dude, he may have won the battle, but that dude -- well, I think you could say he's lost the war on dating because I am going to put that picture up everywhere I can. That guy's out there with his camera. He is not going to be behind bars, where I dare say he might get more action than he's going to get now. And I'll tell you something else, he got a shot at justice. He got a shot at you. But he's not really going to get a shot at the ladies. Ladies, I -

JACKSON: But because of him, the law's going to be changed, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: I am on his -

JACKSON: And as a result, women will be protected. And that is a very good thing.

BANFIELD: I'm on the side of the ladies on this one. Gentlemen.

JACKSON: So are we.

BANFIELD: I love you to piece. Thank you both.

JACKSON: Thank you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: And thank you, everybody, for joining me on this program today.

We have a lot more coverage on the world events, as well as what's happening right here in America. Wolf, my colleague, starts right after this break.

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