tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 12, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm PDT
>> republican presidential candidate mitt romney delivering some advice to young voters today. he told graduates at liberty university in lynchburg, virginia, their convictions are important and he defended his position on marriage. >> culture, what you believe, what you value, how you live, matters. now, as fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate from time to time. so it's today with the enduring institute of marriage, marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. >> a group of civil rights leaders including receiverends sharpton and joe lowry have written an open letter embracing the president's decision. saying we cannot fight to gain rights for some and not for all. and in another part, they said
the president make clear his support is for civil marriage for same-sex couples and he's fully committed to protecting the ability of religious institutions to make their own decisions about their own sacraments. there will be those who seek to use the issue to divide our community as a people, we cannot afford such division. end quote. so the gay marriage debate is heating up across the country since president obama changed his position. wednesday, athena jones joins us with the latest public reaction to the president's decision. what more are you hearing there from that farmer's market? >> that's right. we have been here all day talking to all kinds of people, more than a dozen people about their opinions on this issue. before i get to that, i want to mention the latest national polling. gallup released a pole late yesterday, the first national pole done since the president made his remarks. that poll showed 51% approve of
the president's decision. 45% disapprove. one of the big questions being asked this week and will continue to be asked is what kind of political impact the president making this declaration, taking this position, will have on his chances of re-election and on romney's on the other site. the number of people who said they're more likely to vote for the president is 13%. the proportion, i should say. less likely, 26%, and still the vast majority of people, 60%, said it would make no difference in their vote. that's really what we found as we talked to so many different people here today over the course of a day. we talked to people young and old, many people saying why is it such a big deal? i support the president coming out on the decision. why did it take so long? we spoke with a gay couple who said they were mad it took him a while to come out, but maybe they would have supported him anyway, but now they're going to spend more time campaigning for him. i spoke with a woman who said she was all for it. i said we heard a lot of talk about the latino community being
less in favor of same-sex marriage. she said, i think that's changing a lot. a lot of different opinions. most of the people have been in favor of the president coming out on his petion. i should mention we're in a state, maryland, that has legalized same-sex marriage. governor o'malley signed a document in march that would legalize it in january of next year. there are people opposed that and they're trying to get this issue on the ballot and up for vote. most of the people are against that. they said it's not an issue that should be put to voters and they would want to see that put down. lots of opinions. most pretty much in favor of what the president had to say. >> athena jones right outside washington, d.c. in silver spring, maryland. >> thursday's bombings in syria brought out protester today. syrians mourned dozens. they carried the bodies through the streets. they blame the violence on terrorists. opposition leelders said several more were killed today.
one by a sniper. meanwhile, two turkish journalists missing for two months and feared dead were released as part of a prisoner swap deal between turkey and iran today. cnn's anderson cooper will be broadcasting from the syrian/turkish border monday night. right now, protesters in spain are facing a deadline. they were given until 4:00 p.m. eastern time to get off the streets in madrid. they took to the streets in many cities across spain. they're angry about the bad economy and calls for more cuts in government benefits there. one of the reasons they're upset is that they can't find jobs. the national unemployment rate there is 24%. and take a close look at this van as it travels through an intersection in china. yeah, you can't believe what you're seeing there. but that's a 4-year-old girl who fell out of that vehicle. and the dad jumping out to try
to grab her. the problem is the dad is also the driver of the vehicle. so what happened to that van. it kept going without him. until it hit a tree. thankfully, the taxi driver who was following the van was able to stop just in time. oh, my goodness. the child had some minor bruises. extraordinary. an abused woman is sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot. at least one lawmaker is saying the prosecutor overcharged the woman. our legal guys are really passionate about this case as well. if you are one of the millions of men who have used androgel 1%, there's big news. presenting androgel 1.62%.
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after the sentencing. >> my feeling is that your office initially overcharged her in this case. this is my feeling. this is my feeling. let me -- >> we can't try it here. >> that's why we're asking that it not be tried now and that the facts are going to be put out, and i told mr. lincoln alexander i wanted to sit down with him. you can't tell people -- i understand, madam. >> there's no justification. >> it's a tough case. let's bring in our legal guys. avery freeman, and richard herman. good to see you as well. all right, this is something else. this is a different standard your ground kind of case taking place in florida. marissa alexander said she fired the warning shot to scare her husband. then she ended up facing aggravated assault charges. was convicted, sentenced to 20
years for that act. avery, what went wrong here in the case of her defense? >> oh, my goodness. you want a laundry list? fredricka, this is terrible. number one, it does call into question the issue of stand your ground. i mean, if stand your ground has any meaning at all, it is when a dejenerate husband or man decides to beat up a woman, that is when in this case, mrs. alexander did what she should have done. she didn't shoot the guy. she fired at him as a warning, and now she's convicted of attempted murder. because of mandatory minimum sentencing in florida, this is a 20-year sentence even without any prior conviction. is really is a miscarriage of justice. >> richard, why was this a failure in a stand your ground defense? why is this not working in her case, even though it had already been substantiated she was abused. even the husband admits to abusing ler and others several
times. >> right, fred. the biggest failure here was her lawyer. horrible legal representation. stand your ground says that you do not have to withdraw. you do not have to withdraw. if you are in serious fear of imminent harm or death, you can stand your ground and shoot. what happened here, fred, was she had walked out of the house with the gun. went to her car, realized she forgot her keys, went back into the house, and that's when she did that. that was the problem. the jury did not believe she was in reasonable fear of harm because she actually went back into the house, and that's why this jury came back fast. 12-minute verdict here, fred. there was no discussion. horrible. she had a three-year deal on the table. she rejected it. horrible legal representation, i think. >> is there any recourse? you heard the congresswoman who said this was a case of being overcharged. this woman, marissa alexander was overcharged from the start.
can that be enough or can that be grounds for an appeal, avery? might her attorneys be able to argue that e or is it just too late to argue overcharged after the fact? >> yeah. it's too late. she was convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. i understand what the congresswoman did, that perhaps it was an overcharge, but it doesn't matter. whether it was lousy dfrs work, whether the prosecution did a great job, whether the witnesses were credible orinate, on the facts, the chaase has very litt chance of reversal on appeal, and the legislatures from tallahassee has taken away discretion from the judge. it shouldn't be that way. >> i wonder, richard, quick on this one, because we have another case we want to get to, the john edwards trial, but in this case, this was perhaps a prelude to what is going to be another high-profile case of stand your ground involving george zimmerman, the tre'von
martin case. is this a prelude about the appetite, the feeling of the stand your ground defense in the state of florida or in the courtroom. >> i don't think so, fred. at the end of the day, i don't think trayvon martin is going to be a stand your ground case. i think it's going to be a self defense case. here, all they charged was aggravated assault, the shooting of the gun was the aggravating factor. that brawn ten years for assault, 20 years if it's aggravated. it's aggravated by the use of a gun. they didn't charge her with murder or attempted murder. that's the problem in this case. >> okay, now let's talk ability the john edwards case and now indefense is gauche oing to be presenting its witnesses next wiebe. john edwards' attorneys tried to get this case dismissed. the judge said no, forget about it. we're going to continue on. i have to wonder, does even that refusal of a dismissal, does it in any way impact the jurors' point of view or how the case will move forward at this point? >> fred, the jury probably does
not even know that they made a motion to dismiss the case. that's a motion that is made every time the government rests their case. but john edwards must make a deal. he must cut a plea deal right now. he is going to be convicted if he does not. i believe that. and if he doesn't make a deal, fred, i think he is such an ego maniac, i think he will absolutely get on the witness stand and try to persuade the jury. >> you do? that will be something else. avery, do you believe that the prosecutors have done a good job trying to establish proving that he misused campaign funds, that he should be cutting a deal at this point? he has no recourse? >> well, on the one hand, i think they're missing pieces. the key evidence, the attorney who said that bunny mellon gave him money for personal reasons, not for the campaign. should he cut the deal? the evidence has really made the jury hate john edwards. but if abbe lowell, the
attorney, makes the argument to the jury in summation that look at what this is. the pieces are missing. now, the defense is coming up this week, fredricka. so we're going to learn a lot more. and i have to tell you, honestly, i have flip-flopped on this case. first i thought not a chance. the past week was good. let's see what happens this week when we review this next saturday. >> interesting. prosecutors didn't call rielle hunter. would the defense? >> no, i done think so. list listen, the entire defense was this was to protect his wife from knowing. he got wind of this through the iowa caucuses. he gave the word, shut her up. move her, get rid of her. that's because he was running for president. had nothing to do with his wife. >> she knew about her. >> it's not right. >> the defense failed. his wife knew all about reielle hunt hunter. the defense fails, fred. i'm telling you, the jury is not going to buy it. this guy wanted to be president. he wanted to be supreme court
justice. he was using that. he wanted to shut her up because he knew that information would destroy his presidential run. >> all right, we're talking about another case, avery and richard have thoughts on another case. a woman is suing southwest airlines a second time after she claims she was told again that she was in their words, too fat to fly. and tomorrow, dr. sanjay gupta is looking at the buzz about urban bee keeping on his show, "the next list." >> many, many businesses have approached me to put bees on their roofs. but i only work with those whom i feel truly embrace the concept of wanting to be greener, wa wanting to help the environment. wanting to raise awareness. of the environment, and bees seem to be a very good way to do that. >> today, this is the first phase in the chef's garden. we're installing six beehives today and hope to be harvesting
honey in a month. knl i have wanted to have bees on the roof and harvest for years. when city counsel finally rep l repealed the law, i was like, i don't know how. that's how andrew and i got connected. >> can't wait to find out, how do you do that. tune in tomorrow to watch the next list or set your dvr for 2:00 p.m. eastern time. and 2:30 eastern time, i'll be ginned by pastors who have different views on president obama's support of same-sex marriage.
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arpaio over alleged civil right violations. according to the civil compliant, the slefr's office has displayed a pattern of discrimination against latinos which includes racial profiling, unlawful detention and surfaces and unlawful targeting of latinos during raids. he said the lawsuit is politically motivated. >> 30 years of my life fighting the drug traffic with the justice department. now they're going after me because i'm following the law, took an oath of office to do, and they want to get rid of this sheriff, want to monitor my office, take over my office for political reasons, and i'm not going to stand for it. >> sheriff arpaio and the legal maneuvering around him has been a keen interest to our legal guys for some time now. avery and richard, back with us. so e er ee arpaio's best defe going to be against the u.s. justice department?
>> his best defense is he's f l following the letter of the law. he's not going outside the boundaries of it. everything he did was consistent with the powers he has. and he did nothing wrong. immigration is a very difficult situation in his state. and he's doing everything he can to enforce it and make the people of arizona safe. that's what his defense is going to be. >> avery, what do you see? >> yeah, even richard doesn't buy that one. look, the fact is that the statistics really make this case. joe arpaio better hold on to some of the pink underpaints he goes out and buys and look due west, because that's where the sun sets. this is a dead bang winner for the department of justice. it's the end oof sheriff joe arpaio. >> really? >> that's it, finished. >> we're still at the tip of the iceberg on that case. >> absolutely. >> let's move on to something else. this involves a too big to fly case. the woman's name is kimly.
she said i have tried to fly southwest a couple times and they have diskrminated against me because they say in their words, she's too fat to fly. she's suing the airline because it's happened more than once, but the airline says, we have a policy. a policy on the customers' size. so avery, she's asking that they change their policy. what are the chances of that? >> yeah, you know, i wonder how many guys from the nfl and nba get tossed off southwest when they fly. maybe it is because she's too heavy. she claims her lawsuit filed that her constitutional rights have been violated. unfortunately, there is no constitutional right to be on an airport if you're heavy. even southwest, i don't think, knows what they're doing. they let her on, let her off. apologize, denied her. the bottom line is this case has about as much chance as sheriff
joe in federal court. it's going to be dismissed. >> and richard? >> yeah, if you close your eyes, fred, that's what she's going to receive in this case, nothing. she's getting nowhere on this. southwest, look, they have policies in place. they try to enforce these policies. you have to buy a seat next to you, they'll give you a discounted fare. if the plane is not full, they'll give you the seat for free. you have flown, you know what it's like when you're being encroached. and look, i don't know what to say here. maybe some of the policies, you know, it happens when they're checking on, when the woman goes to sit on the plane and runs her ticket and the agent stands there and sees ler and has to confront her in front of everybody. that's kind of humiliating. >> embarrassment. >> southwest has released this statement saying, quote, we realize it's a sensitive conversation and we train our employees to approach the situation as discreetly as possible. the policy is designed for the safety and comfort of all passengers onboard the aircraft and the best case scenario is
for the customer to notify us of any special needs ahead of time. what would be the modifications. if they were to change their statement or their policy, what would it be? what do you suppose would, you know, apiece the passenger? >> only to be more discreet, i think. you could only be more discreet. the fact is that how are you going to judge everyone coming on. if it's an nba player or a woman who is 5'4" and weighs 400 pounds. it's not going to work. it's just not going to. >> i love the legal guys every weekend. they're a dedicated duo. >> a campus mystery. >> good boy. >> toughy may be a good dog and a great mascot at north carolina state, but someone is poisoning his relatives. and if you're leaving the house right now, just a reminder, you can continue to watch cnn from your mobile phone.
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>> good boy. >> two dogs related to tuffy, the woufl pack's official mascot were poisoned last week and had to be euthanized. a year ano, someone poisoned his parents and two of his siblings. i talked to sheriff randy cart writhe about the troubling case. >> there's more than just because of being a mascot of the university. it's the heinous crime is to anyone who would poison an animal. >> it is a heinous crime. are you finding that other dogs are being targeted like the mascot dogs? >> we haven't had dogs targeted like this family has in our county. >> what are the circumstances. what is your understanding to what the family is experiencing? >> what they have had happen is there's someone actually in the dark of the night is going into the backyard, dug a hole, and buried a bowl with fish