Return to Transcripts main page
CNN RIGHT NOW
Alabama D.A. to Announce Decision in Case of Pregnant Woman Shot Then Indicated in Baby's Death; Trump: "Absolutely Moving Forward" with Census Question on Citizenship; Justice Ginsburg Speaks Out on Women's Equality & Justice Kavanaugh; Hundreds Gather for Funeral of 9/11 Hero Luis Alvarez. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired July 3, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:33:43] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: In Alabama, the state of a pregnant woman shot and then indicted in the death of her unborn child will soon to be decided. Today, prosecutors are set to announce their decision on whether they'll drop or lessen or proceed with a grand jury's recommendation of a manslaughter charge against 27-year-old Marshae Jones.
Police say Jones, while she was pregnant in December, started the fight that led to the shooting that ultimately killed her unborn child. And if convicted under manslaughter law, she faces up to 20 years in prison.
Joining me now is CNN's Martin Savidge, in Alabama. And here in studio, we have former federal prosecutor, Joseph Moreno.
Martin, this story has sparked national outrage. Are there any indications where you are about what prosecutors might do?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. I mean, there's a mixed feeling, on the street at least, that people seem to think that the mother bears some kind of blame. Many others find it shocking to believe, especially since she was wounded, she wasn't armed, and she lost her child. But she is the one that has been charged by a grand jury in this case with manslaughter.
What going to happen is the district attorney says she has the final say in all of this. She could prosecute on manslaughter, on a lesser charge or could decide not to prosecute at all. We'll hear from her in a short time.
[13:35:06] But this is a state that obviously puts a very high value on the unborn. Many people believe -- this is also a state that just recently passed the most-strict anti-abortion law in the country -- that somehow that sentiment plays into things here. Officials deny that.
It's really the telling of the story. It's only been the police who have recounted what happened. And they say it was Marshae Jones who started the argument. That's what many people point at. Well, she started this, is usually the first response you get when you talk to people on the street, as if she does bear some blame here.
But others have pointed out, well, what about the woman who fired the shot that killed her unborn child? She's not been charged with anything.
Emotions and passions have been stirred greatly in this case. Whether the D.A.'s ruling will tamper that down, we'll have to wait and see -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Joseph, to be clear, Marshae Jones has suffered punishment here for sure, not in a court of law, but she's lost her baby. Do you think the prosecutors will proceed or lessen charges? Would you be surprised if they move forward with this?
JOSEPH MORENO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Brianna, it's a tragic case, as you pointed out. It would be even more tragic if it's followed by a criminal prosecution of Miss Jones.
The manslaughter laws are typically used in cases like driving while intoxicated, where it leads to a death, discharging a firearm into a crowd of people and you shoot someone and kill them. That's the intent of these manslaughter laws.
To use it in this way, with this exaggerated argument with another person that led to a shooting that, led to the death of a fetus, is convoluted. It would be a difficult case. It would be a politically charged case.
Most importantly, is it how we want to use our justice system? I think a lot of people would feel strongly this is not the intended use of those laws.
KEILAR: As Martins said, when you look at the most restrictive abortion law just passed in Alabama, it's almost impossible not to conflate sort of what's happening here with that.
MORENO: The prosecutor is saying one has nothing directly to do with the other. But it's hard to separate the fact that Alabama now has this extremely restricted and, no doubt, unconstitutional abortion law, mirrored up with this case where the victim here is effectively an unborn baby. It's really difficult to separate them.
But it's clear to see the direction the state is going. What the prosecutor decides in the next couple of hours will say a lot about the direction of the state and what the state's residents and the American public are willing to put up with here.
KEILAR: You hear Martin say he's talking to people on the street and they say, she started it. If it does go to trial, and she is before a jury of people from that community, what do you think might happen?
MORENO: If the case was an assault case -- so let's say, you want to charge Miss Jones with assaulted Ms. Jamison and that's who started the fight, that's different. I think a jury could come to that conclusion. Here you're saying perhaps the start of this fight led to this outcome of a shooting that ricocheted and killed Miss Jones' fetus, that's really a tough case, I think, to sell to a jury.
I think there's a very case, if this case does go forward, not only will it be super-charged politically, super in the headlines, there's a good chance it also loses.
KEILAR: Joseph Moreno, thank you so much for your perspective.
MORENO: Thank you.
KEILAR: Martin Savidge, thank you for your reporting.
Amid a setback for the Trump administration, the Justice Department says it will not include a question on the 2020 census about citizenship, something President Trump argued for. This move coming after the Supreme Court refused to clear a path for the question to be included.
[13:38:55] Also, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her own words about equality for women and what she thinks about the newest justice on the bench, Brett Kavanaugh.
[13:43:40] KEILAR: President Trump is refusing to accept defeat in yet another Supreme Court battle, creating confusion in the process. The president appears to be contradicting officials regarding the administration's plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
He tweeted this, "We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question."
CNN Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic, is joining me now to talk about this.
OK. The court ruled last week, right --
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Right.
KEILAR: -- the question could not be added. The case was sent to a lower court. Could not be added as it was sent. Justice Department announced yesterday the question couldn't be added. What happens now?
BISKUPIC: The mantra of this whole ordeal has been, what can we believe? The Supreme Court said the reason has been contrived, Secretary Ross. But the court did give the administration a chance to go back and justify it.
But what the administration told us yesterday and, more importantly, not just said publicly but said to courts yesterday, was that there was no more time and that the citizenship status question would not be on the printed forms. And it was Wilbur Ross himself who said that the priority now would be a full and accurate count. Not the citizenship question.
It doesn't appear there's any turning back, given what the Department of Justice and Commerce secretary have said publicly and, again, to judges.
So, apparently, it's rolling off the presses soon without that question on it.
[13:45:12] KEILAR: OK. All right. We'll wait until the papers -
BISKUPIC: That's right. That's right.
KEILAR: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg complementing Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This happened. You were there. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUTH BADER GINSBURG, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: It's very important, first, on the Supreme Court this term. And it's thanks to our new Justice Kavanaugh, whose entire staff is all women.
It's the first time in the history of the United States that there have been more women working at the court than men.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: She says there's more to be done but it's a noteworthy moment that she's complementing him on this.
BISKUPIC: It is. She said this publicly in June, but not on camera. She was talking to judges and lawyers in New York when she said that.
I think that was saying, look, Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Ginsburg rarely agree on the law in the tight cases and certainly her idea of equality for men and women has a much broader concept than Justice Kavanaugh's would. But she's saying look what he has done in practice, and that's important.
You might remember when he was nominated and he vowed to have four female clerks and has made that a point of pride. I've seen him speak himself and he brings that up.
I thought it was good to give him credit for that, especially when his confirmation hearings still cloud where he's at.
Let's talk big picture about the Supreme Court. It has this conservative majority. When you look at the recent rulings, it appears at least on a number of cases that the chief justice, John Roberts, is trying to make good on this vow that he's going to keep the court apolitical.
BISKUPIC: Yes. We saw that particularly in the census case where, even though he had a very narrow reasoning, he joined with the four liberals to temporarily, and what looks like now permanently stop the secretary of Commerce from adding the citizenship status question. I think he's the one to watch.
Justices Justice Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, the two Trump appointees, at times, voting with the liberals but not in cases that are ideologically charged as the census case.
I think for the future, going forward, it will be the chief who inches more to the left to steady this court.
KEILAR: Joan, thank you very much.
KEILAR: New York City saying good-bye to an American hero, who, days before his death, implored Congress to give more financial support to 9/11 first responders.
[13:50:57] KEILAR: Hundreds of people gathered in New York today to honor 9/11 first responder, Luis Alvarez. The former NYPD detective made headlines when he testified before Congress to call for the extension of the 9/11 victim compensation fund just days before he died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUIS ALVAREZ, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE DETECTIVE: This fund is not a ticket to paradise. It is there to provide for our families when we can't. Nothing more. You all said that you would never forget. Well, I'm here to make sure that you don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Alvarez died last week from complications of cancer linked to his time searching for victims at Ground Zero.
And our Miguel Marquez is at the funeral.
Miguel, tell us about the scenes and the emotions there today.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is so difficult to watch these things when they are emotional to begin with. Hundreds of police officers and law enforcement from around the area lining the streets outside the church here in queens.
And inside, his sister speaking in very sort of -- very emotional and very sort of specifically about her brother and the sort of public servant that he was his entire life.
She said, at one point, toward the end, in his last couple days, he was very tired, he was sleeping a lot. He got up at some point, was very cranky. They referred to him as their little 1044, their suspicious package.
But said he kept telling her that I was walking and walking. The nurse said, where are you walking to. He said, I was walking to find first responders to see if they needed help.
To his very last breath, this was a person who cared about others, who cared about first responders, who cared about public service.
The police commissioner saying that there was nothing that he wanted more than to see that victims' compensation fund for workers at 9/11.
[13:55:00] Alvarez spent three months down at the 9/11 site looking for survivors and the remains of his friends, colleagues and others who were down there. It is that time down there that was linked to his colorectal cancer that eventually killed him.
He went through 59 rounds of chemotherapy. They said he didn't have to, he wanted to because he didn't want to leave his three sons without a father. They hope now that there will be a vote on that victims' compensation
fund and funding it properly, and in perpetuity through -- after 2020 when it is due to expire -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Miguel, thank you so much for bringing that report to us.
And coming up, a New Jersey judge is facing fierce backlash for refusing to allow a teen accused of raping a girl on videotape to be tried as an adult. Wait until you hear why.