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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Deadly Plunge; Defending the War; Reality in Iraq; 911 Murder Call; NOLA's Paralyzed Courts; Still No Homes; Top 10 Dreams

Aired March 22, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight, at least 12 American tourists are dead in Chile, and this...
ANNOUNCER: Appealing to the nation, the president's on the road defending the war in Iraq.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I didn't think we'd succeed, I'd pull our troops out.


ANNOUNCER: Is his plea for support straight talk or White House spin?

A murder confession on a 911 call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just killed a kid.

ANNOUNCER: The victim, a 15-year-old boy. And you won't believe what drove the alleged killer to pull the trigger.

And, Katrina outrage. Months after the hurricane, victims have the trailers, but not the keys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't get through the door. It's locked.

ANNOUNCER: Why won't the government let them inside? We're "Keeping them Honest."

This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from New Orleans, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And good evening again from New Orleans.

We begin tonight, however, thousands of miles away with breaking news. Not much is known of the details yet, but what we do know is enough.

A deadly day for Americans high in the mountains of Chile. A bus driving off the road, plunges down a steep hillside in the northernmost corner of the country. Twelve Americans on a bus ride back to their cruise ship, coming back from an excursion to a national park on the border with Bolivia. They were killed -- all 12. Two more Americans were hurt, two Chileans were hurt as well. The Americans were passengers on the Celebrity Cruise Line or Millennium, which was due back in Ft. Lauderdale on the 2nd of April.

We will continue to follow that story as we get new developments throughout the hour.

To Iraq now, this week President Bush has been barnstorming the country, blitzing the media, trying to reshape the public opinion, not just on the war, but on his administration; and, this being an election year, his party.

Unlike in Cleveland on Monday, he faced not a single unfriendly question today. In Wheeling, West Virginia, though CNN's Dana Bash reports, he did come prepared with a little tough talk.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a West Virginia town hall, the president voiced impatience that Iraq's political factions can't reach agreement on a new unity government.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's time. It's time to get a government in place that can start leading this nation and listening to the will of the people.

BASH: That nudge fit nicely with the day's goal. Stand face to face with average Americans, take questions and show up close he understands their worries about the war. His overriding objective was clear before he called on anyone.

BUSH: If I didn't think we'd succeed, I'd pull our troops out. I cannot look mothers and dads in the eye. I can't ask this good Marine to go into harm's way if I didn't believe, one, we were going to succeed and, two, it's necessary for the security of the United States.

BASH: The White House hope is this, more folksy appearance, helps stop the erosion of support for the war Mr. Bush now admits is sucking up what's left of his political capital.

LINDA DIVALL, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I think what's important here is he really understands their wanting to learn from him what is happening.

BASH: Over and over he tried to prove, he gets it.

BUSH: I fully understand there is deep concern among the American people about whether or not we can win, the anxiety that a lot of our citizens feel. And I can understand why people are concerned.

BASH: The chamber of commerce distributed most of the 2,000 tickets to today's event, but Bush aides also gave about 200 to the local newspaper. Yet, if the hope was a tough grilling to show the president can stand up to criticism, it didn't happen here.

This woman echoed a Bush line that the media focuses too much on the bad in Iraq and not the good. BUSH: I know you're frustrated with what you're seeing, but there are ways in this new kind of age, and being able to communicate, that you'll be able to, you know, spread the message that you want to spread.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank God that you're our commander in chief. And I wouldn't want my boys...

BASH: This man, obviously a Bush supporter, encouraged the president to keep traveling and talking about the war.

BUSH: I'm going to spend a lot of time answering questions and just explaining.

BASH: GOP strategists like Linda Divall say they hope the president really means that.

DIVALL: Obviously, just doing one or two speeches every now and then is not the way to win the war on public opinion. It's going to require this president to be constantly engaged, continue to communicate with the public on a regular basis.

BASH (on camera): But Bush aides are quick to admit, any substantial turn around in public opinion here at home requires not just an engaged president, but an improved security and political situation on the ground in Iraq.

Dana Bash, CNN, the White House.


COOPER: Well, the question on how the war is being reported came today from Gayle Taylor, whose husband just returned from more than a year in Iraq where he covered stories for the U.S. military.

Gayle and Kent Taylor join us now from Columbus, Ohio.

We are happy to have both of you on.

Gayle, you got a lot of applause today when you asked the president how to get more of the positive stories out of Iraq out there.

Why did you feel that was so important to talk about?

GAYLE TAYLOR, WIFE OF MILITARY JOURNALIST: I felt it so important because it seems that every time we turn on the TV, we just see something negative. We see someone else who's been killed. We see another car bomb. We see something that I know is happening and needs to be reported, but I don't see that balance with all the good that's going on.

COOPER: How would you -- on any given day, how would you balance? I mean, if there is a bridge being built in one town and a bomb blast in another town, where do you see -- where do you make that balance? I mean, these are the questions all of us face every day. G. TAYLOR: I would make that balance by making sure and going out, and again finding out the things that are going on that are good. There are schools being built. There are children that are being educated and fed and clothed -- and not just in the major cities. It's out in the outlying areas. Places where my husband was that they just don't seem to get that kind of coverage. It doesn't seem to draw an audience for some reason.

COOPER: Kent, you worked in Iraq as a broadcast journalist for the Army.


COOPER: And we have some of the video of some of the stories that you shot that we're going to be showing as we talk about the rebuilding of a bridge in Tikrit. Tell us about that.

K. TAYLOR: That was a joint effort with the Ohio Army National Guard, one of the engineer units and Marine reserve engineer unit. The bridge had been destroyed earlier during the war. And they had put up some Mabey Johnson bridges to span the gaps.

Well, they had contracted with Iraqi officials to repair the bridge and it was time to move the temporary spans to the other side of the road, so that they could continue using the bridge across the Tigris River and then get back into rebuilding the bridge to very safe operation.

It was a good operation. It was a good mission with the soldiers and the Marines that worked very well together. It's hot on the bridge, but they got in and did their job.

COOPER: Now, Kent, why do you think -- I mean, do you think the coverage that people see here focuses too much on the negative? And if so, why do you think that is?

K. TAYLOR: I do think that. I agree with my wife on that issue. I was there and I know that a lot of the reasons that -- or some of the reasons are politically motivated. Perhaps an agenda might be one to be pushed. I know it's easier to say that bombs and death and destruction and failure draw ratings better than a young boy getting shoes for the first time ever in his life, courtesy of an American soldier paying for them out of his own pocket.

I can't say why the media decides that death, destruction and failure and bombs and all that stuff is more important. But obviously 2,000 people in the civic center over at West Virginia today agreed with us that there's too much of it. There's not a good balance of what the good things are happening.

COOPER: Kent and Gayle, we appreciate you being on the program tonight. Appreciate you speaking up today. And Kent, appreciate your service. Thank you very much.

G. TAYLOR: Thank you.

K. TAYLOR: You are certainly welcome. Thank you.

COOPER: We want to spend more time on this question. Now, this picture we're getting from Iraq -- we spent time on it last night. We wanted to bring back our same panel from tonight, with an addition.

With us now in Baghdad, "TIME Magazine's" Michael Ware and CNN's Nic Robertson. Also Radio Host and Blogger Hugh Hewitt. He is in Orange County, California. And in Seattle, Michael Yon, a retired green beret, a frequent visitor to Iraq and the author of "Danger Close."

Good to see you all.

Michael, let's start off with you. We just heard Gayle and Kent talk about stories from the war, acts of heroism and kindness, rebuilding bridges that soldiers are doing every day. What did you see while you were there? And why don't you think those stories are getting told?

MICHAEL YON, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED): Well, Gayle and Kent told the truth. That is absolutely the truth. There are a lot of bombs, of course, and a lot of shootings and whatnot -- a great deal. But it's much easier to tell the bad news. It's easy. The strobe light flashes, you know, the bomb goes off, you take a picture, you have a story. It's easy news. It grabs people's attention. And it makes money.

COOPER: Wait a minute. Actually, let me ask you about that. Because what is easy about going, hanging out with insurgents or going out on patrol? Isn't it easier, frankly, to go -- I mean, if reporters are looking for the easy thing, wouldn't they be going to a hospital opening and giving out toys to children and showing that?

YON: Well, yes. That's true and Michael Ware, I'm sure, and Nic Robertson will take issue when I said it's easy, because I spent my time over there, as well, and I'm about to go back. It's certainly not easy, but it's quick.

But Michael Ware and Nic Robertson do dig in. A lot of people don't. And they get in there and they just tell the quick, easy story of what's going on; or the stringer takes a photo, you know, of a car bomb, and they report the story and basically all we get is day-to-day body counts.

COOPER: Michael Ware, what about that? You're the bureau chief for "TIME Magazine." You spent a lot of time with insurgents. You put your life at risk. Do you also tell what, I guess some people would call positive stories?

MICHAEL WARE, BUREAU CHIEF, "TIME MAGAZINE": Well, certainly one tries to, Anderson. You tell whatever story comes along. I mean, I've been embedded with the U.S. military countless times and I've produced many stories as a result of that, be it heroism in battle, be it the success of operations, be it the disruption of insurgent networks. And Michael Yon's website, I mean his reporting from within the U.S. military was outstanding. But, I mean, it comes from within a certain prism.

We face a similar constraint. We have our own prism and that is life on the street in Iraq, in Baghdad, and the good and the bad that comes with it. It means we can't travel, but it also means that we're exposed to the rural reality of what it's like for Iraqis.

COOPER: Hugh Hewitt, do you buy that?

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: No, Anderson, I don't. Although I think -- I've read a lot of Mr. Ware's work in the last couple days, it's great work. But I think you're missing the point of what happened in West Virginia today. What happened there is a public demonstration of growing contempt for elite mainstream media, because they do have an agenda. The agenda is perceived as being antiwar. It's not Ernie Pyle. It's a lot more like the Vietnam era, and the American people are growing in their conviction that not only is the media not helping win the war, but they are endangering soldiers.

And I'll tell you an important story. I ran into Ed Blecksmith last month in Los Angeles. Ed lost his son, J.P. Blecksmith, a lieutenant in the Marines in Fallujah on 11/11. And he told me that he believes reporting in the war zone is encouraging attacks on the troops because it is encouraging the insurgents to believe that they can win by hanging on.

A point made to me today by Christopher Hitchens and by many others liberal and center observers of the media. The media including the insurgent coverage that Mr. Ware's been involved in, is becoming increasingly irresponsible, and the American people deeply resent it.

COOPER: I want to let Michael Ware respond to it, but first, Nic Robertson, what do you think of that? Do you worry that you're encouraging insurgents?

NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a huge propaganda war going on here, and the insurgents are certainly very, very aware of what they're doing. They will try and put bombs in front of cameras. They will try and blow up hotels where journalists are. And if they can get something on a website, they will trumpet it right away.

The attacks on a police station two days ago, that was being claimed on al Qaeda website later in the day. Whether or not it was them, is not clear. It's very hard to verify if it was.

I think that we're in danger here of saying this is something I think we've all heard of before. Don't shoot the messenger just because what the message that perhaps appears to be coming across is a negative message, the message with a bad picture. It doesn't necessarily mean the people bearing that message have negative intentions. We come here without an agenda. Our contract, our contract and obligation is to the audience, to inform the audience. And we do nobody any favors by coming here with an agenda or with a view. And I think the reporters that I know here, that's the way we set out to do our job. And we're very aware of what the insurgents want to do. We're very aware of what the Iraqi people think about the incidents. And we do our absolute best to give a very fair, full and accurate picture.

COOPER: Michael Ware, since you spent a lot of time with insurgents, I mean, do you worry that you are just giving them a voice?

WARE: Oh obviously, Anderson. One has to be very careful. But one applies the same journalistic criteria to the insurgents that we apply to the military. I mean, there is war. Propaganda or information operations is an enormous part of that for both sides. Everyone in war lies to you. Everyone exaggerates, underplays and puts their spin.

There's a political aspect to the very nature of war that needs to be capitalized and manipulated by these players. So we need to add these filters and distill the truth ourselves. I mean, just this anti-liberal media campaign that's been driven from where? From within the political landscape of the United States.

I'm in a fortunate position. I am an Australian, writing for an American magazine. I have no stake either way. I can -- I have no agenda to pursue. I just want to know, what is really going on here?

COOPER: Michael Yon, what do Nic Robertson and Michael Ware not get? When you hear what they're saying, what do you think?

YON: Well, I'm not -- I don't think that they not get anything. They both definitely earned their opinions. I mean, these two gentlemen have been out...

COOPER: I think we just lost Michael Yon.

Hugh Hewitt, when you hear Michael Ware speaking and you hear Nic Robertson speaking, your take?

HEWITT: Well, I'm not personalizing it. I think they are fine reporters who dot no have agendas. And Tim Blair's a good acquaintance of mine, has great respect for Mr. Ware. Nic does great work.

I'm talking about what happened in West Virginia today. And it ties in back to, for example, the "New York Times" leaking sensitive information about the NSA wiretap of al Qaeda conducting contacts with their agents in the United States. It goes back to what I think was generally perceived as overkill, extreme overkill on Abu Ghraib, the refusal on the part of the American media to ever come to grips with the fact that those were rogue elements in the American military representative of nothing. I hope you can get Michael Yon back on because I think what I would like to ask Michael to confirm is what I've heard time and time again, is the great contempt among American military serving abroad for what they see when they get home or what they see on CNN when they watch it in their bases. They don't believe the media's doing a good job of portraying what's happening there.

And I think the denial and elite media leads to a kind of reaction, counter-reaction so that the contempt grows and disdain for the media grows deeper and deeper.

COOPER: Unfortunately, Michael Yon -- for some reason our satellite is down. So, but Hugh, I want to stick with you on that point.

You know, in the times that I've been in Iraq and you talk to soldiers, sometimes they will say to you, look, you guys aren't showing the full picture. But, one other soldier said to me, you know, everybody sees their own slice of the war. And when you're a soldier and you're in one unit, you're living on a base, you don't really see much about life on the Iraqi streets. I mean some of them obviously do. But often, you're very isolated in what you see.

Is it possible that some people who feel that their viewpoint is not being reflected, maybe they're not seeing the full picture?

HEWITT: Anderson, that's possible. But that's not their major complaint. Their major complaint is that the insurgents are playing the media like a bongo drum and that they have become to become enamored with the idea that they can drive America from the field by creating enough chaos and enough media shots to weaken the will of the American people to persist in the liberation of Iraq.

And that's what Ed Blecksmith was saying. That's what I've heard echoed time and time again, is that the American media is getting Americans killed. They don't care to understand the insurgent point of view. They're terrorists. They don't care to understand what the Baathist or rejectionists believe. They are people who kill civilians and innocent. They certainly don't give a damn about what Zarqawi thinks because he's a cold-blooded killer.

I think this is the message that the media does not get out or is missing.

COOPER: It is a good discussion to have and one we hope to continue to have. We had it last night, tonight and we hope to just keep going with this.

Hugh Hewitt, we'd love to have you on again.

Michael Yon, I don't know what happened with our satellite. Not a plot, I promise. But we will have you on again.

And Michael Ware and Nic Robertson, as always, thank you very much, gentlemen. A good discussion. From combat now to Capitol Hill. She almost died serving in Iraq. Now she is gunning for a seat in Congress. Coming up, will the war give her an edge in the midterm elections?

Also, an unbelievable story -- a man shoots and kills his teenage neighbor for simply walking on his lawn. Just ahead, the chilling 911 call he made after the boy was dead.

And another victim of Katrina, a broken justice system where people languish in jail without being charged. Who's to blame? And what's being done about it? That is coming up on 360.

As you listen to the sounds of Washboard Chaz and the Palmetto Bugs inside Vaughn's lounge.



COOPER: And we are coming to you live tonight from Vaughn's Lounge, where Washboard Chaz -- that's Washboard Chaz right there and the Palmetto Bugs are performing. He actually plays the washboard with a little bell on it. The Washboard Bugs play here every night.

The great thing about Vaughn's Lounge is it's a real neighborhood bar. And this is in the Bywater here in New Orleans. It's a bar where people come, kind of a meeting place. And after the storm, these last couple of months people have come here just to find out if they're alive, if they're coming back. It's a real meeting place. And every Wednesday they have live music. We also -- they also have a group here called the Rollergirls. I'm not quite sure what they do.

Well hey, so what does -- how do you become a rollergirl?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, in New Orleans you become a rollergirl by skating through hell and high water.

COOPER: So you've skated through hell and high water?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. And we lost about 20 skaters during the storm and now we're reforming. So we're having tryouts on April 9th and we're looking for more skaters.

COOPER: So they actually are wearing skates there.

So do you actually skate around?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. We have two practices every week and we're going to have our first bout in September.

COOPER: Is New Orleans coming back? I mean, how is it being here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's fantastic to be here. It's coming back. There's a lot of debate nationally about whether or not we're coming back. And I think that time has past because people are already building their homes. They're already here. They're already making it happen.

COOPER: We discovered Vaughn's last time we were here. It seems like a real neighborhood place where people kind of come. And especially now, it's more important than ever for people kind of to check in with each other and see that they're all right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh yes. One of the things New Orleans is known for is its neighborhood bars. Every neighborhood has a spot. Vaughn's is one for the Bywater. Even the French Quarter has neighborhood bars down on Bourbon Street. And people who live in the French Quarter, know to go to those bars.

COOPER: How cool is Washboard Chaz?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, immensely cool. Like cool to dance.

COOPER: Cool to dance -- let's show you -- let's take a shot of Washboard Chaz as we go.

When we come back, we're going to have more from New Orleans, the broken justice system. We're going to take you an inside look at what is going on with the justice system. Here in New Orleans, take it away to Washboard Chaz.



COOPER: Well tonight, you're going to hear an Ohio man confess to murder. His victim, 15-year-old boy who made the mistake of walking on his lawn. That's right, walking on his lawn. Today the defendant was indicted for killing the teen. A cold-blooded crime he calmly recounted to a shocked 911 operator.

CNN's Rick Sanchez has the report and the tape.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll call State of Ohio v. Charles Martin. The matter...

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police say they first learned of the crime Charles Martin is now charged with from this startling 911 call placed by Martin, himself.

CHARLES MARTIN, MURDERED 15-YEAR-OLD: I just killed a kid.

SANCHEZ: The kid, as Martin refers to him, is his next door neighbor, 15-year-old Larry Mugrage.

MARTIN: I shot him with a (explicative deleted) .410 shotgun twice.

DISPATCHER: You shot him with a shotgun? Where is he?

MARTIN: He's laying in his yard. SANCHEZ: Martin's own yard is his pride and joy.

This video shows his lawn on the left, his neighbor's on the right. See the difference?

According to police, Martin allegedly shot and killed the boy because he walked on Martin's grass.

What kind of neighbor is Charles Martin?

"SKIN" BUERK, NEIGHBOR: Everybody speaks to him and he speaks to everybody, but the only time he gets unglued is when the kids are around that yard.

SANCHEZ: Here's how Martin, now charged with aggravated murder, explains it to the 911 operator.

MARTIN: It's been something going on for five years.

DISPATCHER: What's going on?

MARTIN: It's -- you know, I've been being harassed by him and his parents for five years, and you know, today just blew it up.

SANCHEZ: Harassed? Neighbors are shocked it came to this.

BUERK: He's mad at her because -- that she used to go out and cut the grass and cut in his yard maybe a foot. He was really warped on that stuff.

SANCHEZ: In other words, if a neighbor inadvertently crossed his lawnmower into Martin's yard, he became irritated.

But listen to how matter of fact he is as he ends his call with the 911 operator.

MARTIN: Now, you know, I'm going to unload the gun, I'm going to lay it on the floor.

DISPATCHER: All right, I want you to stay on the phone with me.

MARTIN: I'll be outside. And I don't want the cops thinking I'm going to take anything to them. I'll be outside. I'll be unarmed, OK?

SANCHEZ: In Martin's first appearance in court, he was denied bond. Prosecutors characterize his actions this way.

MARK TEKULVE, PROSECUTOR: Frankly, I don't know that I've seen a more cruel or cowardly act than perpetrated by this defendant here today.

SANCHEZ: Prosecutors say Martin faces life in prison because they say he actually planned and then carried out the 15-year-old's murder.

As for trespassing as a possible defense, because the boy walked on his grass, prosecutors call it no defense.

Ohio law prohibits using deadly force unless someone's life is threatened. And they say, by Martin's own word, that was clearly not the case.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: It is a shocking crime, to say the least.

Earlier, I spoke to CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin about it.


COOPER: You know, Jeff, when you listen to that 911 call, he seems fairly calm, very matter of fact. Do you think he's looking for an insanity defense?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Anderson, insanity defenses are often discussed, rarely attempted and almost never successful.

Here, I think it's extremely remote. An insanity defense has to have someone who literally does not know what he's doing, who thinks he's stomping on a coconut, not killing a person. He seems to know what he did. He knows he shot this kid. And even though his reasons are totally irrational, that's not legal insanity.

COOPER: Let's play some of that 911 call again.

MARTIN: It's been something going on for five years.

DISPATCHER: What's going on?

MARTIN: It's -- you know, I've been being harassed by him and his parents for five years, and you know, today just blew it up.

COOPER: What does that tell you about his state of mind or premeditation?

TOOBIN: Well, it tells you that he knew he was attacking, killing, shooting this poor kid. So I think insanity is just not applicable in a situation like this because even though his reasons are twisted and bizarre, he knew what he was doing, which was attacking this kid who was on his property.

COOPER: Well, the boy was on his property. What about that trespassing? I mean, prosecutors say it's not a viable defense. You obviously agree with that?

TOOBIN: I really do. I mean, there have been laws in some states -- Florida got a lot of attention -- where they limited -- where they basically gave a homeowner additional rights in his own house. But those kind of cases only apply when the homeowner is being attacked, is being threatened. The mere walking on someone's property, annoying though it may be, is no threat to the homeowner. So the use of deadly force in response to trespassing is totally indefensible, as far as I understand the law.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, thanks.



COOPER: Well, in New Orleans tonight injustice. Coming up, a look at how the legal system, crippled since Katrina, is still in shambles, leaving people behind bars without ever being charged in some cases.

Plus, for some here along the Gulf, finally they have trailers, but where are the keys? Why won't FEMA hand them over? Tonight we're "Keeping them Honest," when 360 continues.

And Washboard Chaz continues to play with the Palmetto Bugs.



COOPER: And welcome back. We are live outside Vaughn's Lounge in the by Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans.

When Hurricane Katrina slammed here in New Orleans, it not only ruined homes and businesses, it also destroyed the city's justice system. We told you about it last month, how the paralyzed courts are preventing any trials from happening of people arrested before Katrina. They were kept behind bars several months after the storm, well beyond the legal limit, without ever facing a charge.

CNN's Randi Kaye has been closely following the story and brings us the latest tonight.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hurricane Katrina turned New Orleans into a jigsaw puzzle.

By the time the storm was over, few of the pieces were where they belonged. Including hundreds of prisoners from the Orleans Parish Prison, left scattered throughout the state. Those who would rely on a public defender, left with no access to a lawyer.

NEAL WALKER, ATTORNEY: This is our Bayou Guantanamo. As with the alleged enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay, we have prisoners here who are being held without lawyers for six, seven months, without having been in court, without knowing anything about what's going on with their case.

KAYE: Attorney Neal Walker knows by law the state of Louisiana has no more than 60 days to charge a suspect. So why was Ace Martin arrested for an alleged fistfight three days before Katrina hit, still in jail five months later and never charged?

(On camera): Do you feel like your rights were violated?


KAYE (voice-over): Little did Martin know, Walker was working behind the scenes to free thousands of inmates just like him, imprisoned illegally.

Because the courthouse is destroyed and just six public defenders are left in the city, poor defendants had nowhere to turn.

(On camera): Rick Tessier has been appointed by a district judge to figure out if rights are being violated.

RICK TESSIER, ATTORNEY: We are hearing stories of people that were in jail for failing to return a rental car and they're still in jail.

KAYE (voice-over): Just weeks after Martin read about it and contacted Neal Walker, he was released. Walker also helped free more than 1,000 other inmates.

WALKER: It's a constitutional crisis of unprecedented dimensions.

KAYE: Why was Martin freed? Neal Walker convinced the Louisiana Supreme Court to set a deadline, forcing the district attorney by January 6, to either charge or release.

WALKER: I'm afraid that the D.A.'s office is asleep at the switch. And I think we saw an inefficient effort to screen those cases.

KAYE (on camera): New Orleans District Attorney Eddie Jordan refused to charge Martin, citing lack of evidence, but still defends holding prisoners longer than legally allowed.

EDDIE JORDAN JR., NEW ORLEANS DISTRICT ATTORNEY: No prosecutor in his good mind would simply say release all the defendants. That would have been totally unacceptable to the citizens of New Orleans and that would have resulted in an impairment of public safety in our city.

KAYE (voice-over): So what's being done about it? And who really has the power to do it?

(On camera): It wasn't easy, but the Louisiana attorney general says he has secured $155 million from the United States Congress.

Now, not all of that money will go to the public defenders in the city of New Orleans. It will be divided up between the criminal justice systems of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama -- all states in need of help after the storm.

(Voice-over): How much of that money will help defend others like Ace Martin? It's unclear. What's also unclear is how many others are still waiting to be defended.

(On camera): It's months of your life that you can't get back.

MARTIN: That I can't get back, it was wasted.

KAYE: What is wrong with the justice system in New Orleans right now?

TESSIER: I think eventually people are going to look at this issue and say Saddam Hussein had six lawyers in Iraq and 4,000 people in Louisiana have no lawyers and they're going to say that's not fair.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, New Orleans.


COOPER: Well, Louisiana's attorney general is taking action. In addition to securing money for the public defender system, he's also launched an investigation into how it's being run in New Orleans.

More outrage here in the Gulf. What they thought was help, was nothing more than a tease.

We're going to get the latest on the many, many problems with those trailers for hurricane victims. Why won't FEMA hand out the keys? Tonight, we're "Keeping them Honest."

Plus, the top 10 dreams. Find out why people all over the world same the same visions. Did you know that? When they go to bed at night -- part of our special series on sleep.

Live from New Orleans, you are watching 360.


COOPER: Well, if you didn't have a place to call home tonight, how would you feel? Tonight thousands of people along the Gulf Coast do know the feeling. They have been living with it for months now. And when you talk to them, you're amazed they can carry on.

On 360, we've been following the housing issue very closely, and still we are asking why the hold-up.

CNN's Susan Roesgen, tonight, "Keeping them Honest."


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there is one glaring example of what's gone wrong in the response to Hurricane Katrina, this may be it. Nearly 11,000 brand new mobile homes, sitting empty in an Arkansas cow pasture 400 miles from the Gulf Coast.

Since we started reporting on this $300 million FEMA staging area back in December, only a few hundred mobile homes have moved out. Now, even President Bush wants to know what's going on. BUSH: You know, how come we've got 11,000? So I've asked Chertoff to find out, what are you going to do with them? The taxpayers aren't interested in 11,000 trailers just sitting there. Do something with them.

ROESGEN: But wait, Mr. President, there's more. Remember these? Some of the 6,000 travel trailers intended for people in St. Bernard Parish outside New Orleans. The parish ordered them from a private company, hoping FEMA would reimburse the parish. But they're still empty. FEMA never did agree to buy them.

So what about people who have a FEMA trailer? Well, there's Ed Perkins, a New Orleans police officer who's got a trailer with no electricity. He uses it like a closet and lives in a hotel.

Then there's Ike Wheeler who commutes 80 miles to fix up his flooded New Orleans home. He's had a FEMA trailer in his driveway for two months, but can't get FEMA to give him the key.

IKE WHEELER, HURRICANE VICTIM: I've got a trailer. I can look through the window. I can't get through the door. It's locked.

ROESGEN: And finally, there's Carey Ronquille. She's living in a trailer in St. Bernard Parish with five other family members, but there's no room for her mother who's still an evacuee in South Carolina.

CAREY RONQUILLE, HURRICANE VICTIM: I want mom home. We've never been separated this way. And she's been wanting to come home since November. And they just keep putting her off because she's out of state.

ROESGEN: FEMA Spokeswoman Nicole Andrews says she will look into some of these individual problems, but she also says there are huge backlogs of inspections by local providers that stand between hurricane families and the homes FEMA is providing. And she says it is frustrating for the victims and it is frustrating for FEMA.

Carey Ronquille says FEMA just can't get it right.

RONQUILLE: One person tells you one thing, and you talk to the next person, and it's something totally different. You're going in circles, you're constantly going in circles.


COOPER: How many people are still waiting for trailers in the New Orleans area?

ROESGEN (on camera): About 23,000 people from what we can tell.

COOPER: 23,000, really?

ROESGEN: 23,000 people in the New Orleans area. But you know that old saying be careful what you wish for? It's tornado season now. And you can see what we saw in Kenner, Louisiana, near New Orleans, a couple of overturned trailers that were flipped over by high winds in a tornado last month.

COOPER: And that's the thing, I mean, they were only supposed to be a temporary solution...


COOPER: ... in lieu of people, you know, to help people rebuild. But it's been seven months and now hurricane season is here and so the trailers are an imperfect solution.

ROESGEN: Yes. And whether it's a tornado or a hurricane, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association says that tornadoes are -- trailers are likely to be damaged in winds stronger than 74 miles an hour.

COOPER: Really?

ROESGEN: That's a minimal category one hurricane.

COOPER: Wow. All right, Susan Roesgen, thanks. "Keeping them Honest" tonight.

A look at the top 10 dreams, part of our special series on sleep coming up.

First Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS." I was going to make some sort of dream reference, but I decided not to.

Erica, with the latest on the bus crash in Chile -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. Anderson, we are going to follow this developing story. At least 12 Americans we now know were killed today when the bus they were riding in plunged off a highway in Chile.

The victims were passengers on a Celebrity cruise ship. At this point, they were actually on a bus, to where they were heading back to the ship at the time of the accident. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

In business news now, a surge on Wall Street, the Dow closing up 82 points today, almost a 5-year high. Gains in industrial companies led that march north. And NASDAQ and S&P also ended in the positive. Many folks hoping those gains continue even if interest rates also climb.

The news, though not all rosy today on Wall Street. Mortgage applications falling to their lowest level in 12 months; 30-year fixed rate mortgages also now stand at an average of 6.31 percent.

And those are your business headlines.

Maybe it will make you dream of wheat, Anderson, I don't know.

COOPER: Erica, thanks very much. You know, chances are when you hit the pillow tonight you will be dreaming, but the question is, will they be on the top 10 list of dreams worldwide? Find out when our special report on sleep continues, next on 360. Maybe you'll dream of trailers, who knows.

We take you inside Vaughn's Lounge where Washboard Chaz and the Palmetto Bugs are playing.




100,000: average number of dreams in a lifetime.


COOPER: 100,000 is the average number of dreams in a lifetime. Who knew? It is no surprise that we all dream, but you may be surprised to hear how similar all of our dreams are around the world. People of different countries and cultures have experienced the same things at night. That's fascinating.

Tonight 360 MD Sanjay Gupta takes a look at the top 10 most common dreams and explores what they can mean, as a part of a special series on sleep.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight as we dream, what we experience may seem uniquely person. But how unique are our dreams really?

PATRICIA GARFIELD, AUTHOR, "THE UNIVERSAL DREAM KEY": Whatever we have in common with other human beings, I think in part, form what I have called the universal dream themes.

GUPTA: Author and Psychologist Patricia Garfield has spent most of her career studying dreamers and dream cultures around the globe. She says the people who may be worlds apart in their waking life, share a common culture while sleeping.

GARFIELD: It's both universal and particular in the sense that everyone has dreams about being chased, for instance. It is the most common negative dream theme around the world of any age, bar none. Little kids dream more often about wild animals after them. Adults dream more often about wild people after them.

GUPTA: Garfield says it's the particulars that vary from culture to culture.

GARFIELD: I did a study of children in India, and there were -- in their dreams, many vultures were attacking the dreamer, compared to American kids who had more super heroes and no vultures at all. But if they had seen the movie "Jaws," there were many shark dreams. GUPTA: According to her research, the other most common universal dream themes include flying, transportation trouble, natural disasters, menacing spirits, falling, and being naked in public.

GARFIELD: Dreams of falling or drowning which often occur when we feel disappointed by someone or like our emotional ground has fallen out. The dreams of being naked are frequently when we're feeling particularly vulnerable. Dreams of taking a test, being back in school, being examined. That kind of dream often occurs when we feel we're being tested right now by something.

GUPTA: Testing us, in perhaps more ways than we realize.

GARFIELD: Our dreams are more negative than positive in general. It's because, I believe, that we are attempting to solve our problems and we always have new problems, so, you know, we have to keep coping in the best way that we can.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.


COOPER: Well, we'll see about what we dream about tonight.

"On the Radar," tonight, Candy Crowley's report on Democrats, especially war vets running for Congress. A lot of people weighing in tonight on our blog.

Writes Tina in Chicago, "I don't trust Democrats to handle our national security. They have a lot of collective anger, but it's not directed at the terrorists, where it should be focused."

Natalie in Wooster, Ohio, writes, "Well it's about time someone stands up against Bush -- his incompetence, corruption and general lack of concern is costing the American working class dearly!

But Jeffrey in Goodyear, Arizona, cautions, "All well and good, but unless the Democrats come up with a clear, viable, alternative strategy, they will not turn the tide decisively. Much of the work has been done by the Bush administration, (incompetence), but the Dems seem unwilling or unable to craft and communicate a compelling counter-strategy."

We appreciate all your comments on the blog. We'll meet Washboard Chaz after the break. Stay with us.


COOPER: And welcome back. We are live inside Vaughn's Lounge in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. Cindy Wood -- or would not, depending on what the question is...


COOPER: Is the owner of the bar.

Why is it so important to have this bar open so quickly after Katrina?

WOOD: Well, because if we don't have our music and we don't have our social center, this is -- New Orleans, people go to bars. They don't have parties at home. We have parties in bars.

COOPER: And people are coming back here to find out -- see their neighbors, often for the first time?

WOOD: Oh, absolutely. I mean, for the first months we didn't know where our friends were.

COOPER: We're going to -- we appreciate you letting us be -- I want to talk to Chaz over here.

Washboard Chaz.

WASHBOARD CHAZ: How are you doing, man?

COOPER: You are the man. How does this work? How do you do this?

WASHBOARD CHAZ: Well, 35 years ago I started playing, and I was just, you know, playing like a drum set, and like a little bee bop, little cans, little bell actions.

COOPER: I love that you have the bell. Can I ring the bell?

WASHBOARD CHAZ: Ring the bell.

COOPER: All right Washboard Chaz and the Palmetto Bugs. You guys are great. Take it away.