tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC September 4, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT
it there. the prime minister is picked by his or her peers. it's not systematic, it's phenomenal. it's not a group decision, it's a personal one. it's why people like you and i find the topic irresistible. that's hardball for now, thanks for being with us. all in with chris hayes starts right now. tonight, we are all in. >> our objective is clear. and that is to degrade and destroy isil. >> the march to war. the president vows action on isis, as congress demands a vote to authorize military intervention. tonight we'll talk to a u.s. senator and look at the flip side of intervention. then the smearing of michael brown. who is trying to obtain his juvenile criminal records and for what purpose? >> sometime i felt like giving up and stuff. i said, i can't do that. exonerated, two half brothers spent 30 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
one even used in a republican backed willie horton style campaign ad. and with the world in turmoil, sean hannity calls on a renowned foreign policy expert. >> listen to this on this isis thing. phil robertson weighs in on isis, we'll have the full analysis. >> either convert them or kill them. >> all in starts right now. congress tonight is marching toward a vote to give president obama the authority to begin an assault on isis, also known as the islamic state or isil, in its home base in syria. the congressional push follows release yesterday of isis militants beheading a second american journalist, steven sotloff, in what isis said was a response to continued u.s. air strikes on its position in iraq. u.s. intelligence community confirmed today that video is authentic. >> we saw him brutally taken from us, in an act of medieval savagery, by a coward hiding
behind a mask. for so many who worked so long to bring steven and other americans home safely, this obviously was not how the story was meant to end. it's a punch to the gut. >> estonia today, president obama promised justice for sotloff and james foley and laid out the u.s. objective in dealing with the militant group. >> the bottom line is this, our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy isil so it's no longer a threat not just to iraq, but to the region and the united states. >> the president later offering this characterization of the u.s. strategy. >> we know that if we are joined by the international community we can continue to shrink isil's speer of influence, it's effectiveness, it's financing, it's military capabilities to
the point where it is a manageable problem. >> republicans immediately saw an opportunity to pounce, including mitch mcconnell and georgia senator saxby chambliss quickly jump on the president's description of isis as a manageable problem. we must destroy them now, so they cannot continue to carry out attacks against americans or on american soil. meanwhile, joe biden offered the kind of chest thumping the president himself generally issues. >> as a nation we're united. and when people harm americans, we don't retreat. we don't forget, we take care of those who are grieving, and when that's finished, they should know we will follow them to the
gates of hell until they are brought to justice. because hell is where they will reside. >> those comments from the vice president come amid new evidence of isis atrocities. in june, isis militants conducted a massacre between 560 and 770 mostly iraqi soldiers in tikrit, in a crime against humanity. state side, bill nelson said he would introduce legislation to give president obama congressional authority to strike isis in syria, when congress returns from recess next week. in the house, virginia republican frank wolf announced today he would address legislation against not just isis, but a range of terror groups saying his much broader authorization would allow the president to go after these terrorists, whether in syria, iraq or elsewhere. that would mean the president
could launch air strikes pretty much anywhere in the world. a reminder, the last time that congress faced an authorization vote on the use of force just two months before an election was 2002. when lawmakers voted to authorize the war in iraq, that authorization for the use of force in iraq, is still in effect today, and it provided the legal basis for the administration to conduct the current air strikes against isis in iraq without congressional approval. joining me now senator chris murphy, and a member of the senate foreign relations committee. senator, do you agree that the president needs congressional authorization for any strikes that would happen in syria? >> absolutely. congress needs to authorize any broad ranging use of military force. and i certainly argue the case for syria, but i'd also argue if there is a long term new military engagement against isis in iraq, he needs congressional authorization for that as well. my heart goes out to the sotloff
family, we are all grieving with them. and i agree with the president that it is in our national security interest to stop isis if we can. the question is not whether there is a will, the question is if there is a way. the danger here is that if we rush headlong into thoughtless military action, we could make things worse, not better, and so the president is right. to take his time, put together a coalition in the region, which is unlike anything we've seen over the last decade, which brings sunni and shiite elements together to fight this very unique force. i think that's something that republicans and democrats can come together on, but the president has got to propose a comprehensive plan first rather than congress rushing to an authorization. >> so you would like to see -- you would like to see something coming out of the white house prior to some sort of congressional resolution coming
before congress, so that the language can be specifically tailored narrowly, my fear, of course, is we still have the 2001 aumf in effect, we have the 2002 resolution for authorizing force in iraq. another authorization could be used by future presidents for a whole variety of military encounters. it seems like it's a one-way ratchet, season the it? >> over the last ten years, congress has abdicated its responsibility for overseaing foreign military operations with disastrous results, and so i just want to make sure we don't repeat the mistakes we made in iraq over the last ten years. what we proved is that military intervention alone doesn't make the situation better vis-a-vis islamic extremists. it makes it worse. i think there can be an authorization that would pass congress. i would suggest it would be limited in a way that doesn't allow for ground troops to be used, it should be time limited so we don't get into another decade's long conflict.
we need to see that plan that doesn't repeat the mistakes of a past. >> as i watch, read beltway media, watch cable news, it seems to me there is tremendous consensus in the sort of foreign policy elite and think tanks and politically around some kind of military action against isis, building this coalition. i wonder if februarys of congress getting back from august recess talking to their constituents if there will be any gap between that consensus and where american voters are on the possibility of yet another war in the middle east? >> well, here in connecticut, there's still two conflicting emotions, there's still a war weariness which was expressed last summer with the proposition of using military intervention, and syria inside that civil conflict. there is an outrage over the conduct of isis. i think it's not easy to square the two. that's why it's important for the president to put forward a
plan that doesn't just devolve us into another sectarian civil war. my constituents in connecticut are not going to be satisfied if both shiite and sunni nations in the middle east aren't part of this coalition, if we're going in with the shiite nations with iran, without saudi arabia, we become another participant in the civil war. that frankly puts us at greater risk, not at lesser risk, this is a different war. this is a different fight, and here in connecticut, there's a much greater willingness to take on a fight against isis, than there was last summer to take on a fight against bashar al assad. >> they keep beheading americans on camera, that's obviously playing a role. senator chris murphy, thank you very much. the debate as the senator just mentioned right now is whether to bomb isis in syria and how to do it and when to do it and under what conditions of what kind of coalition. now, the last western bombing
campaign in the middle east with a broad coalition we should mention took place three years ago across the mediterranean sea in libya. a strikes were deployed against moammar gadhafi, during that country's civil war, with the backing of the arab league, with nato behind it, broad coalition support. khadafi had been condemned by the u.n. and the military intervention which led to his death was seen by many as a success. now fast forward to the present day, this is what libya looks like right now. >> reporter: in a country free falling into chaos, libyan gunmen celebrate. they've just taken an american diplomatic compound so they take to the swimming pool, a symbolic moment they want the world to see. >> yeah, that is islamic militants in libya jumping into the pool of the former embassy of americans. this is a recent video, a military jet crashing into a
huge inferno near the parliamentary building. libya is a nonstop gang fight between rival militias and war lords. in july, the u.s. ordered americans to evacuate the embassy in libya. last week the islamist linked group libya dawn seized the capitol in tripoli as well as the international airport. remember, the western air strikes in libya are not ancient history. they took place just three years ago. the last major air strike in the middle east before the attack on isis in iraq, now libya is in a state of utter chaos. as we march toward a new round of bombing against isis in syria, strangely, almost nobody seems to be talking about it. joining me now, mark ginsburg, former ambassador to morocco. they took place just three years ago. the last major air strike in the middle east before the attack on isis in iraq, now libya is in a state of utter chaos. as we march toward a new round of bombing against isis in syria, strangely, almost nobody seems to be talking about it.
joining me now, mark ginsburg, former ambassador to morocco. when there was broad con sensitive in should be air strikes against gadhafi. he was threatening an air strike, he said we're going to go closet to closet, may have been the term. >> yes. >> savagely killing everyone, because you've risen up against me. there was broad support, u.n. security council resolution, we even got russia to get out of the way of it. the arab league supported it, everyone was lined up, air strikes came in, gadhafi fell and a lot of people said this is how you do it. why were you worried then? >> you get rid of the dictator, and i've been to libya several times. you realize there's no order of government control that could emerge from this chaos without incubation support. nation building is not a phrase that should be tossed around lightly. the obama administration took a victory lap after gadhafi was overthrown, didn't look in the rearview mirror for years,
thinking that somehow or other, the 74 tribes vied for control over libya's wealth, which laid down their arms in front of islamists who were just waiting for the opportunity to seize power again. >> we are seeing -- we should say in libya, something that's not that different from what we've seen in syria, which is an islamist fashion and a rump of the old regime faction that are fighting each other in a civil war. they've alied in two separate camps. as bad as things are in libya it's better in syria where we haven't? >> the fwakt of the matter is, you choose your poison, al qaeda, which is a major cell has already infiltrated back into joining the libyan islamists. is that a critical concern to the united states? it all depends. does the president want to be able to take a victory lap on what he achieved in libya or as having an effect orchestrated,
tremendous chaos in a country that's going to become a state sponsor of terror. that's point one, point two, we worked really hard. and there's a great opportunity here to use the same method olgs in syria. there were 19 countries that joined this coalition against gadhafi, they included almost every member of nato, european countries as well as arab countries, sunni and shiite. well, gadhafi was a hell of a target for everybody. >> as isis is now? >> exactly. the fact of the matter is, chris, if we are going to try to in effect halt this savagery that has now taken place in libya, it can't be american boots on the ground it's got to be a combination of moroccan, algerian and egyptian forces that will in effect step in and create a police force to separate the sides. >> you're saying this in libya
right now? >> right, in libya. >> well, we have egypt bombing -- i just want to make a clear -- >> egypt is bombing the right guys in libya. >> okay. this is exactly the point, ien watt to make this clear, it gets extremely confusing, you have these two different factions, there's islamists, they're fighting each other. what you just said about this broad coalition, what i'm hearing from chris murphy, from people in washington is, we need to get a coalition together to go after isis. it seems to me the precedent here in libya is, they had a coalition, and that has not redowneded to the benefit of the libyan people or the security of the u.s. three years after. >> because chris, after everybody took the victory lap, after gadhafi went, the libyans were left to their own devices, theres with no police force or international supervision of support to help them build a government. sure, the state department and the u.s. embassy were trying the best they can to help. it takes more when you realize that what was at stake here was a fight for democracy versus islamic extremism.
>> maybe it's just the case that we're very good at dropping bombs and pursuing military aims and not very good at what comes afterwards or maybe it's not possible to do anything afterwards. and chaos is the inevitable. >> when you look at the arab world, and the american people pull their hair out, and they realize unlike japan where we stayed for 10 years, south korea where we stayed and still stay. >> we're still there? >> there are people who are willing to invest in the investment of democracy. listen, you can't basically abandon something like libya, and pretend somehow or other this is going to fix itself. there are state department officials in touch with me saying, what do we do? how do we put the coalition back together? >> marc ginsberg, thank you very much. >> thank you. should michael brown's right to privacy be protected after his death? two media outlets don't think so, and i will tell you why ahead.
things people do as juveniles shouldn't hang over them for the rest of their life. it's unclear if there's any media basis for the unsealing of them. that guy is one of the media outlets asking for brown's records, the other media outlet is the st. louis post dispatch. the juvenile court lawyer has already stated that mike brown didn't face any juvenile charges at the time of his death, and never was charged with a serious felony such as murder, robbery or burglary. those a & b level serious felonies are not confidential for juveniles. with regard to any other possible lesser juvenile infractions, ones kept confidential by the missouri law, we don't know if the court will decide if the privacy rights of mike brown extend beyond his death. however, it is hard to see what possible relevance it could have on whether or not the ferguson police officer used excessive force when he shot and killed those a & b level serious felonies are not confidential for juveniles. with regard to any other possible lesser juvenile infractions, ones kept confidential by the missouri law, we don't know if the court will decide if the privacy rights of mike brown extend beyond his death.
however, it is hard to see what possible relevance it could have on whether or not the ferguson police officer used excessive force when he shot and killed the unarmed brown on august 9th. joining me now, anthony gray, the attorney for the family of michael brown. your thoughts. >> i'm amazed by the effort. i'm still trying to reel from the reality that they were trying to actually go back two years into his juvenile life to somehow green a personality of a man who is now two years removed from being a juvenile. they have a two-year window to look at mike brown jr. as an adult, to kind of assess, the kind of personality he had, and the kind of guy that he was. but they weren't staphed with that two years not showing anything that now that they
engaged in this effort to dig up some juvenile records. i thought it was appalling. >> what you're talking about is, there would be criminal -- for whatever record he would have as an adult, starts at 16 for the last two years of his life, is that correct? >> absolutely. >> and that is -- there is no record, there's nothing that came up. that's immediately reported. and there's also nothing known of a serious felony before 16. what possible reason is there to get this information? >> well, the only thing i can think of, to be honest with you, i just have to be blunt and speak my mind as i see it, it looks like a further attempt to assassinate the character of a young man who's already dead. as he attempts to lay in peace as most people do after they're buried, they're still trying to kill a man who's already in his grave. that's the only ration el i can come up with this for this move, is indicative and similar to the moves with the videotape and
some of the other things they said about mike brown jr. there seems to be this kind of push to demonize him, in an effort to justify what happened on that saturday. and no amount of demonization is going to achieve that goal in my opinion many. >> are you a party to this, is the family's attorney at all active in how this is being litigated? is this simply between the juvenile court and the st. louis post dispatch and the other media outlet? >> because the juvenile court is the depose tory for this information, they are the ones that have the standing to argue against any disclosure or any unsealing of any records. i was in court today, i was next to the juvenile officer as she made her arguments, so i'm actively involved in all of the proceedings but i have purposely decided not to have a voice, because i think the juvenile officer is covering all the legal basis in her arguments before the court. >> do you worry about the jury
pool. when the surveillance videos were released, that showed michael brown on the day he was shot and killed. apparently taking some cigars. there was concern that that video may or may not have been admissible as evidence in a trial, as possible defense for the officer in question. should he be charged, should he face trial. of course, now, it was out there and potential jurors can see it. do you have concerns what might happen to a jury pool were these records to be released? >> absolutely. i think the potential jury pool, the jury of public opinion can be tainted and these same individuals that are watching this on television and reading it in the paper are the potential individuals that show up in our questioning during voir dire. i'm concerned about them being poisoned before they even get to a courtroom, and hear any
evidence at all. and i believe that that's a part of the underlining effort, can't be sure, but i just have to call it the way i see it. >> we're just getting some breaking news here, that the justice department intends to launch a civil rights investigation of the entire ferguson missouri police department. according to administration officials, we're expecting an announcement planned for thursday. what is your reaction to this news. the department of just is is going to launch a civil rights investigation not just into the shooting of michael brown, but into the department of ferguson police as a whole. >> i think that's refreshing news, chris. i mean, not just for me personally, i think for the community at large. there's always been somewhat of a dark cloud that loomed over the city of ferguson, much like the police department before it was dissolved. now with the justice department getting their hands around the department and looking into certain matters, i think that the public is probably put at a little ease by that move, and i welcome that decision by the justice department. >> the jennings police department we should note was the place where officer wilson got his start in law enforcement before coming to ferguson.
indeed get the exclusive, no one else asked the duck dynasty patriarch to talk about isis. i don't know why. obviously phil robertson is your go to. believing all homosexuals are sinners, if you thought you were going to get a smart take on this isis thing? well, robertson delivered. >> in this case, you either have to convert them, which i think is -- would be next to impossible. i'm not giving up on them, i'm just saying, convert them or kill them. one or the other. >> i will give sean hannity this, he has been in this game long enough to know that convert or kill would set off some alarms. the man doubled down. >> i know there are going to be people who are going to jump on you and say convert them or kill them, and they're going to say, there goes phil robertson again.
no, no, i know the media, i know how they react. >> i'd much rather have a bible study with all of them and show them the error of their ways and point them to jesus christ. however, if it's a gunfight and a gunfight alone, if that's what they're looking for, me personally, i am prepared for either one. >> now, hannity then gently moved on which is in marked contrast to the last time he had on a hair suit religious zealot who he was determined to get answers from. >> do you support an islamic califate of convert or die? i'm just asking for a simple answer. >> can i answer the question without interruption? >> do you support convert or die? >> religious fundamentalists of all stripes have more in common than they care to mention. if you're the right kind sean hannity will happily sell your book for you.
here, we have just learned that the justice department is going to launch a civil rights investigation of the entire ferguson missouri police department over the past several years, according to the administration officials. joining me now on the phone is pete williams. can you tell me what we know about this? how common this sort of thing is? what kind of investigation of this nature would entail? >> sure, these things are relatively common. the justice department's done about 20 of these similar investigations in the last five years. the law was changed in 1994 to give the government power to do these investigations, whether the law puts together a pattern or practice of civil rights violations by a police department. they tend to have a couple kinds of outcomes, when the department as in the case of new orleans agrees that changes have to be made, they can end in an agreement, a consent decree, when law enforcement organization is resistant to it,
they go to court and try to work out what changes should be made. but it's an investigation that will look not just at last month's shooting, but it will look at allegations of civil rights violations, use of excessive force that kind of thing, for the entire ferguson missouri police department over the past several years. >> this is your scoop, you were the first to report this. >> i'm not sure about that, i think it may be a tie between me and the washington post, but thank you for the pat on the back. >> well, the tie goes to the in-house correspondent. >> okay. >> do we know what -- this is under the agess of the civil rights division? >> that's right. these are not criminal investigations this is the justice department coming in and saying look, there have been allegations and this can rage from large police departments
like los angeles, miami, new orleans, chicago, to smaller county sheriff's offices. these investigations get done all around the country. and there have been hundreds of them since this law was passed in 1994. and there will be a companion investigation that will look at the county police department. it will probably be done a little differently, it will be a little more of a cooperative venture there. >> in the case of new orleans. that was the most high profile example in recent memory, there was a consent decree in which there are some sort of policy. what happens, though, if the department fights it, are there civil sanctions? is there a policy that can be implemented against the will of that local police department? can it be disbanded? >> no. no. because police departments are set up by the states and the federal government can't come in and say that they can't exist any more. the government doesn't have that authority.
but yes, if it did. i don't know how this one's going to go, this one might go very cooperatively, but in the past, when there has been a real difference of opinion, when the justice department says you ought to be making these changes and the police department resists and says, no, we're doing just fine, then the justice department in essence sues them and goes to court. and then it's up to a judge to decide whether to order the police department to make changes. and then, of course, if the police department doesn't make changes, it's in contempt of court. >> nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. thank you very much. joining me now is dedrick mohammad. this is very big news, there were a lot of people when i was in ferguson who were calling for this action. one of the department has to focus on this area, our local leadership, lewis, the president of the chapter there, watching what was happening in ferguson, it seemed to be clear, there
seemed to be a pattern in that week or two weeks, whether it was press or protesters, highlighting different irrational responses from different types of police officers in the stories you're hearing about about past cases of abuse, i think one of the most prominent ones was the man who was charged with a crime for bleeding on a police officer's uniform. whether it's military examination of police. it seems like police misconduct. i'm glad the justice department is going to investigate. >> we have two numbers that are worth noting here. i believe, if i'm recalling this. i had 55 officers there, only 53 were white, i believe. >> that's right, and so that's a massive mismatch. >> that's right, between the population and so just that as a start, that isn't just by itself a civil rights violation alone.
it doesn't make you think they're doing a great job in terms of things like diversity and so forth. at least five ferguson officers have been named in lawsuits. that's one tenth of the department. i mean, that's a very high number for a department that's only got 55 -- and some very serious claimings, some internal affairs investigations. it seems to me, my question to you is, how many fergusons are there out there? >> i think that's what we see across the country, right? and it's like people who focus in on this one case or eric garner, the reason people react the way they do, is not because this one thing of injustice possibly occurred, because it's something that people are seeing systematically, and this is the straw that broke the camel's back, i know our new president and ceo has been talking to the department of justice about trying to look at ways to best investigate and deal with these issues, and hopefully this type of investigation is a step forward. >> there's also the unique role the federal government has played here. there's an old question about who polices the police.
if you're in ferguson, because they had so many complaints, it was such a basket case of the department. who's in charge of that? >> where is the accountability? and in many cases there's not, unless the federal government gets involved. >> that's why you need local protests that bring in national officials, that's why it's so important that eric holder came to let them know there is a possibility of justice and that you just don't have to suffer through a kind of -- a local injustice, and all you can do is throw a rock at a store window, there may be an institutional way to deal with these problems. the challenges we've been dealing with, i think a lot of racial police misconduct for decades. and what's really going to change things, not just one city at a time, but across the country. >> you wonder if it will be an example for the nearby other departments. there are a lot of municipalities there. there's the county, thank you so
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democratic senator mark beg itch has been forced to pull an inflammatory ad about dan sullivan's time as alaska's attorney general. the ad released this friday saying as attorney general, he let a lot of sex offenders off with light sentences, one of them got out of prison. he's charged with breaking into that apartment building, murdering a senior couple and sexually assaulting their
2-year-old granddaughter. he was convicted of attempted sexual assault back in 2009. he was let out in prison in 2013 because the state did not identify a prior felony conviction that should at least have doubled his sentence. he is now charged and facing a trial. ten felony counts related to a brutal double murder and sexual assault. republican senate nominee dan sullivan was attorney general at the time of the plea bargain that sent him free. the campaign attempts to link sullivan to the horrific crime. attorney for the victim's family said they were shocked by the ads. interfering with the prosecution, this guy hasn't been tried yet. the family called for the begitch campaign to unconditionally remove all ads. the campaign has removed all the ads at the request of the victim's family. as like the ad they ran, they're a staple of the american political culture, ads anyone
involved in the criminal justice system fears. joining me now, tara row del. where is the line on these? clearly it was over the line here, from a management standpoint. i don't think they had sufficient buy-in from the family to do this. >> right. >> and now it's blown up in their faces, where is the line? >> there is no line nowadays, there's no line. i can tell you from personal experience, i worked on a campaign, where literally they made these fake newspapers, and the cover story on the newspaper was all of the slaves on the plantation of my candidate who was running. and they put pictures of all the black people who worked for this particular candidate. that was the strategy and it looked like a real newspaper. and they stuffed them in the mailboxes all over black precincts in the city where i was working on this campaign. >> the question is, there's a distinction usually between the mailer and the tv ad, part of the problem is this was a tv ad,
part of the issue here to me is, there is -- the reason that i want to do this story is, there's something sick in our political culture in which everyone involved in politics worries about that kind of ad, which is the ad you were too soft on criminal acts, you let a person go. it has the result of everyone in politics, they have that sitting on their shoulder when they think about how they conduct themselves as a prosecutor or whether to be a defense attorney, when they think about whether to offer clemencies, as a judge, any point, they're thinking about that ad. >> that's the problem, you're right. and it really penetrates our system, it infiltrates our system in a negative way. everyone still does it, you want to know why they do it, there's a lot of mixed results out there about whether these ads work in terms of studies, if you look at the studies that seem to parallel reality the most, it shows that these ads do in fact work. this one typically, they say, they suppressed turnout. no, actually amongst republicans
and independents there's a scholarly work called going negative. it found that among republicans and independents, negative ads are more persuasive. and that among partisans, whether republican or democrats, it doesn't suppress turnout. >> that's interesting, i want to play this, this is the michael dukakis, famous weekend guest pad ad. >> dukakis not only opposes the death penalty, he allowed first degree murderers to have weekend passes from prison. one was willie horton. horton received 10 weekend passes from prison. horton fled, kidnapped a young couple, stabbing the man and repeatedly raping his girlfriend. weekend prison passes, dukakis on crime. >> that is how crime policy gets made in america.
is the worry that you're going to be the next willie horton target? >> that's why you see them backing away from policies. you see all these people that -- rehabilitation. cleared fwro people recently, mentally ill men who have been in prison for three decades, cleared them, what you have is, that will make people less likely to support policies that can help in these types of situations. which disproportionately affect black people. >> as she just mentioned, those two people that were exonerated from dna evidence, one of them was the subject of a willie horton style campaign ad from republicans in 2010. i'll tell you that story ahead.
the you let the killer free political ad is a staple of american political campaigns, example in 2010, voters in north carolina got some mailers from the executive committee. one focused on hugh holliman's support for the racial justice act. which allowed death row inmates to challenge their sentences on grounds of racial discrimination and sentencing. it's been repealed. meet your new neighbors, you're not going to like them very much. death row inmates could leave prison early and move in next door. one of the death row inmates
featured on the flyer was convicted in the 1983 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl along with his half brother. yesterday a north carolina judge freed mccullom and his half brother based on dna evidence that exonerated them. the men arrested at ages 19 and 15 spent over 3 decades in prison for a crime they did not commit. today after decades of fighting what was always a flimsy case, they are free. >> i came here in '84, me and my brother leon brown. it was a rough experience. sometimes i felt like giving up and stuff. but i said, no, i can't do that. life moves on. i knew one day that i was going to be blessed to get out of prison, i just didn't know when that time was going to be. >> joining me now, ken rose senior staff attorney for death penalty litigation. you represented this case, you worked on this case, how is your client doing right now? >> he's doing a lot better than
he was yesterday he's relieved, he tanks god for seeing him through 30 years of very difficult times where he could not hug his family, his mom died, he was unable to have any contact visits, he had times where he was suicidal, when friends of his were executed and he had to live through 42 executions, he was on death row for 30 years. he's now with his father and stepmother and he's doing much better, chris. >> how did this happen? and how did it take 30 years to correct this? >> the basis of the -- of his conviction and that of his 15-year-old brother -- his brother was only 15 at the time of the crime were two confessions, and the confessions were essentially invented by the departments but they were spiced with details from the crime
scene and the autopsy that were provided by the agents that took the confession mr. mccullom and mr. brown were intellectually challenged and led by the law enforcement officers. they were told they would be able to walk free, if they would only admit to the crime. and in order to leave the police station mr. mccullom admitted to something that he did not do. >> justice scalia until a dissent against justice blackmon, once cited this case as an example of bar barity and why the death penalty, lethal injection was constitutional. he said justice black man did not select this as constitution, the case of the 11-year-old girl rained by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat. how enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared by that. do you have a response? >> he was wrong then, he's proven wrong now. mr. mccullom did not participate in that murder, neither did the four men that justice scalia referred to. the murder was committed by an entirely different person who is now in prison in north carolina correctional system. >> there's two ways i think when we get the news of an exoneration such as what happened to your client to receive that news one is that the system worked in the sense there is some self-checking mechanism through appeal and dna testing. the other way to look at it there's something irredeemably broken and rotten about this system that has happened.
what is your takeaway. >> this man lost the better part of their lives, they were children when they went in brazen, now one is 46 and the other 50. they were never able to get married, never able to hug their mom who's now dead and my answer is the death penalty is not a they were never able to get married, never able to hug their mom who's now dead and my answer is the death penalty is not a redeemable penalty, and we need to get rid of it, it's the only way to prevent the execution of >> there's two ways i think when we get the news of an exoneration such as what happened to your client to receive that news one is that the system worked in the sense there is some self-checking mechanism through appeal and dna testing. the other way to look at it there's something irredeemably broken and rotten about this system that has happened. what is your takeaway. >> this man lost the better part
of their lives, they were children when they went in brazen, now one is 46 and the other 50. they were never able to get married, never able to hug their mom who's now dead and my answer is the death penalty is not a redeemable penalty, and we need to get rid of it, it's the only way to prevent the execution of innocent people. >> ken rose, thank you very >> thank you, chris. >> that is all in for this evening, the rachel maddow show starts right now.