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tv   Inside Story  ABC  March 8, 2015 11:30am-12:01pm EDT

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hiladelphia district attorney seth williams is our guest this morning. let's get the inside story. good morning, and welcome to "inside story." i'm tamala edwards, and, indeed, district attorney seth williams is our guest. good morning. >> good morning, tamala. how are you? >> i'm good. we've got a number of things to talk about. first up, you took on governor wolf on the issue of moratorium, essentially, on the death penalty, and, in fact, you filed suit over this issue. the governor said, "listen there are a lot of questions. it takes forever for appeals to get through. we wonder, is the process fair? let's let a panel finish its work." he's not saying, "your sentence is over. you guys can walk free." why not let that happen? >> well, i think reasonable people can differ on whether or not we should have a death penalty. that's fine, but what the governor did was illegal. in pennsylvania, the lawmakers the legislators, they decide what is a criminal law, what the
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punishment is -- not the governor. the judges, they decide if there's enough evidence and what's constitutional -- not the governor. in pennsylvania, the governor can't individually pardon someone. he can't do what he did. he granted a reprieve without a time period for every defendant on death row. that is unconstitutional. that is illegal. now, what could happen is that the pardons review board can meet, and they have to vote unanimously on an individual case, if there's new evidence, if there are new facts, and they have to have a time period for it. the reason why i had to respond was because the first defendant that this affected was terrance williams, who was scheduled to be executed on march the 4th. >> a local case right here from germantown. >> he had killed brutally by bashing the heads of two gay men that he had provided services to and tried to extort them for money. a jury unanimously said that he should be found guilty, that he
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should get the death penalty and while, yes, there is racism in the criminal-justice system while, yes, many defendants can't afford the best attorney every appellate court since 1992 has said none of those problems exist in this case, and that's how we have to look at criminal law -- case by case. so, the governor acted unconstitutionally. >> a lot of people will hear what you're saying and they'll go, "that's great," but listen to this stat -- the innocence project is saying since 1989, 325 exonerations post-conviction. every time people see somebody walk out of jail, and it turns out the average tenure was 14 years in jail for a crime you didn't do, they say, "unless you're telling me this guy is out of here, you're just saying, 'let him sit there for a little while, while we make sure.'" what's wrong with that? >> we continually have to look for best practices in the criminal-justice system and make things work, but terrance williams is guilty. no one, not even terrance williams or his attorney, say, "he's innocent." we have to look at criminal law on a case-by-case basis. and there is no reason for terrance williams not to have
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his destiny with the death chamber. >> let's talk about something else. chief ramsey sitting on the president's panel, taking a look at things after ferguson -- dozens of recommendations. and the two he seemed to point out for philadelphia were this -- independent investigations and prosecutions when there's been a police-involved shooting. you said, "do what you want on investigations, but not prosecutions." why not? why not take that question away, since we know prosecutors and the police often work together closely? when people have questions, like in the case of brandon tate-brown, let somebody else look at it. why oppose that? >> well, i applaud president obama for starting this commission. i think selecting commissioner ramsey was wonderful. he demonstrated such grace and leadership after the murder of police officer wilson. i just can't say that enough. but in this situation, of course, we have to do all that we can so that the public trust what law enforcement, what prosecutors do. but i am not going to abdicate my responsibility of
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investigating everyone. that's the function of the d.a. if police do wrong, i'm going to investigate them. if priests abuse children, i'm going to investigate them. if state lawmakers take bribes i'm going to investigate them. and if the public feels i'm not doing my job, then the check is for them to get rid of me. if we create a special prosecutor, who's gonna pick that person? the attorney general? and are they gonna just pick some random attorney off of a wheel? and if they don't do their job what's the check on them democratically? >> speaking of attorney generals, what happens to kathleen kane? what's just your read of where this situation's going? does she resign? does she stick it out? >> well, i believe that there is a grand jury that has made a recommendation in montgomery county. we will all await risa ferman to decide if she's gonna prosecute the attorney general. >> what do you think happens? >> well, i... >> it's just your opinion. >> my opinion is that she will most likely be prosecuted for leaking information to a daily news reporter in hopes of getting back at political
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enemies. >> and, also, we have to ask you about you. it's come out that some people are saying, "hey, seth, would you like to run for u.s. senate, take on pat toomey?" is this something you're interested in, or would you rather be mayor one day, attorney general? when you grow up district attorney, what would you like to be? >> i'm here to announce i'm running for mayor of key west, florida. >> [ laughing ] that'd be a great job. >> but, no, i'm very flattered that people continue to throw my name out for things, and it's a result of the great reforms that we have made at the district attorney's office in philadelphia. i love being the d.a. i love serving the city of philadelphia. i hope to do it as long as the people will have me, but, again, i have to recognize that i will grow. there might be other opportunities that i'll have to consider. >> what's the metric? what would make you say, "it's worth the race"? >> if i thought i could make a greater impact than i'm making as a district attorney in philadelphia. >> all right, we could talk to you about so much more, but the time is up. thank you... >> thank you. >> ...for stopping by. we're going to take a break, and then our "inside story" panel will join us. >> "inside story" is presented by temple university. temple fuels students with
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academics and opportunities to take charge. plugged into the city, powered by the world.
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>> welcome back to "inside story." i'm tamala edwards. let's introduce you to the panel. first up, attorney and former src chief pedro ramos. good morning. >> good morning. >> foreign policy analyst ed turzanski. >> morning. >> journalist larry platt. >> morning. >> and columnist christine flowers. we just spent a little bit of time with philadelphia district attorney seth williams,
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and he was talking about the recommendations made by chief ramsey, one of which, for police departments, might be independent investigations when there's a police-involved shooting. also, independent prosecutions knowing that police officers and the d.a. have to work together so closely so that people could feel, "this has been impartial and been fair." seth's saying, "that doesn't need to happen because i'm elected." is he right on this, or should he reconsider the idea of an independent prosecutor on police shootings? >> i think, first, we have to appreciate that we're at a moment in philadelphia where we probably couldn't have a police commissioner and a district attorney that are more credible... >> mm-hmm. >> ...independently and together. but i think there's something to the idea of an independent body. i don't think the police advisory board has necessarily worked in this city, and, you know, i guess the question i would have for the district attorney is how he would feel if the district attorney were the one to appoint a special prosecutor
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or special investigator, whether that sort of is more philosophically aligned. but i do think there's some merit to the idea. >> and we also asked him about his own political future. do you think he's serious about this talk about u.s. senator? just, it's nice to be invited to the ball. there's something else he's got his eye on. >> well, he's certainly -- he's had a successful run as district attorney up until this point. and i think his name recognition and his general positives among the electorate are such -- >> can he win in penntucky? >> oh, i think he could. don't forget, this is a man -- he was doing a program with us and he had to run out to do his national guard obligation. >> and i think -- and ed is right. i think he's got -- and pedro, as well -- he's got credibility. i think he's got bipartisan credibility because he had no problem whatsoever going after kathleen kane. he has no problem challenging governor wolf in the supreme court, so i think that
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he has name recognition, and he has cred, and he's young, so i think that those are all good things for him in his future career. >> i don't disagree with any of this love fest. [ laughter ] but i will say, there are a couple of red flags. one is the civil forfeiture issue. the other is a story out this week by rolling stone magazine about a case in which someone -- tony wright, who was convicted in 1991 of murder and rape. turns out, the innocence project -- barry scheck -- has exonerated him with dna, and, yet, this district attorney refuses to let the guy out. the guy is still imprisoned. it's a really damning piece. i just read it last night. it's out this week, and raises a lot of questions not only about the current state of the d.a.'s office, but law enforcement in philadelphia over the last two decades. >> you know, larry makes a good point, but really quickly i just want to say, you know, we look
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at this dna as a silver bullet in that, you know, someone's exonerated, they're actually innocent, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the system is completely manipulated or messed up. you know, this whole idea of actual innocence, therefore you must immediately be released -- you have to go through the proper procedures. i haven't read the article about seth in rolling stone. >> we'll come back to it. let's take a look at this. this was huge this week. governor tom wolf presenting his budget and when you talk to lawmakers in the city, they just go, "wow." i mean, he really -- breathtaking. he really went out there. taking a look at some of what's in it -- raising the state income tax a little bit, raising the sales tax, taxing cigarettes, a tax on marcellus shale, but a huge investment in education. we're talking community college, state schools, pre-k, trying to do a 50% funding formula wanting to give about $200 million to philadelphia, raising minimum wage, dropping property tax and corporate taxes. you sort of go, "is there anything he didn't do? you know, maybe you get a pony as well." the question being, how much of
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this gets by harrisburg? i mean, they came out immediately saying no, and i wondered, is it smart for harrisburg? because a lot of this -- property-tax relief? people like the sound of that. >> except if you do on balance what he wants to give you and what he's going to take, people who are still in their productive years may not think that's a good exchange. so that's where the details become very important. it certainly looks like he's giving something with property tax, but with all of those other taxes that he wants to increase or implement, you're in a different situation. >> but one of the reasons he was elected is, governor corbett did all those education cuts. you got to get the money somewhere. people didn't like marcellus shale not being taxed. he's done that. do people instinctively know "well, he's got to get the money from someplace"? >> did corbett really cut education? because corbett maintains that there was a one-time stimulus from the federal government, and
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because that wasn't replicated by the governor's office, that's counted as a cut. >> that's a debate we can have but that was the impression that voters had when they turned him out of office. so, how much of this does governor wolf get? >> yeah, i mean, first of all, to answer that question, he didn't cut it by a billion dollars. he cut it by about $300 million. so, he did cut education, but it's amazing that we had a governor's race and the debate centered on a verifiable fact. did he or did he not cut? >> right. >> but the bigger question for me is -- look, i agree with the political principles of this budget -- education and so forth, as you outlined. the question is, is it just for show? because what it politically doable? is this -- you know, i think the president has governed this way, also. "let me propose things, and then set up the opposition by being able to blame them." >> right. tam, it's aspirational. it's aspirational. it's exactly what larry said and you said, "well, the voters
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voted him into office." well, they also voted in a majority g.o.p. legislature, so that doesn't necessarily mean that they want governor wolf to start raising the income, the personal income tax. as ed said, these are people who are working. this is gonna cut deeply into the income of the people who are working. >> it's also comprehensive, and it's values-driven, so if you care a lot about education recognizing that there's give and take, you have to be thrilled that it's the number-one item. i'm not sure that it will be the number-one item in the city council debate over the budget. it is the number-one item in harrisburg, so i think he's lived up to what he said he would do. he put forth something that is holistic, has gives, has takes. he inherited a $2 billion deficit, which, you know, after all the years of governor corbett saying he wouldn't do it on his very last year, is when he decided to do what was done to him. >> right. >> so, i think that you can't --
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one thing that i think is clearer is that schools, that education, at least in terms of funding, will be better off than it would otherwise be because it's his number-one priority. >> larry, do people believe anymore when somebody says, "i'm not gonna raise your taxes"? does it almost inspire trust that he says, "okay, here are the taxes i'm gonna raise"? >> well, that's the concern here, which is that he's playing into the stereotype of the big-spending, high-taxing democrat, right? he's increased spending 16% here. i would like to -- my question about governor wolf has always been, can he do the political deal? and i would have liked to have seen -- maybe it's still to come -- a deal on pensions and liquor control because that shows you're seriously bargaining with your opposition. >> speaking of political deals we also, this week, had mayor nutter come out and put out his budget, you know wanting to put money in a lot of places -- l&i, body cameras for
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police, parks and rec, community college, the free library -- things that many people support. but a lot of people talking about an almost 10% increase when it comes to the property taxes in the city of philadelphia. and already you've got city council saying, "i don't know about that." is it the same thing again? he said, "i want to do it to give $100 million to the school system." you aim up here in hopes of aiming here, or does he really think he can get that 9%? >> he hasn't been able to get anything from city council for eight years. what makes him think he can get a tax increase on property taxes in an election year? >> well, also, the one good thing about wolf's budget is that he wants to reduce property taxes. nobody likes that way of funding education. it's antediluvian. it's backward. it's devolutionary -- if that's a word. and so, i don't think that mayor nutter is gonna get anywhere with this, with people, especially those who no longer have children in the public-school system or never did have children in the public-school system. >> well, except the harrisburg argument's gone in city council this year... >> right. >> ...because you have the argument that, you know, "go to
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harrisburg first." that argument is gone. the fundamental issue in philadelphia has been that we rely on our wage tax rather than real-estate tax to fund the city. most jurisdictions, you know, in our viewing area pretty much rely on their real-estate tax. the local government gets some the school gets some, and that's how they fund themselves. because of the city's own financial history, it pretty much relied -- you know, it had moved away from the real-estate tax. we have years and years -- we hear about the funding that went to schools over the last several years and the tax increases. well, a lot of those tax increases were required because assessments weren't being done. the schools never benefited from all that growth in equity in homes, and while many people had their taxes go up, they implemented avi in a way that was revenue neutral, so they had, correspondingly, people whose taxes were going down. so, you are sort of between a rock and a hard place, where some people did have their taxes go up, and they would go up
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again here. but that doesn't mean that that money has gotten to schools. >> now, one thing council has to do is it's got to consider how much gets through harrisburg that could ease the burden, in terms of what they've got to try to pass, but as somebody pointed out to me this morning, they've got to get their work done before harrisburg gets it done and they don't get to go back and reopen it. so, how does that affect what they choose to do? >> i think what the mayor and city council have to do is say to all of us, "we're gonna solve our problems first and thereby show harrisburg our good faith," and that's where i'd like to see some innovative revenue plans, whether it's pilots -- payments in lieu of taxes for nonprofits -- whether it's selling off city assets. you know, we sort of had this debate about the gas works, but the city should not be in the gas business. the city should not be in the airport business, should not be in the water business. these should be revenue sources, but they're just not part of the political equation.
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>> let's take a turn, yet again, and talk about somebody who wants to get into a somewhat-new business, though i guess it's still politics -- hillary clinton. you know, the expectation is that, you know, within the next few weeks, we're going to see her big rollout. she's doing a lot of speeches, getting a lot of rewards, but nobody's talking about that. they are talking about a scandal over her e-mail. turns out, while she was secretary of state, she wasn't using the government e-mail. she was using a private e-mail set up for a server in her home -- and they don't have a record of those e-mails. they have to ask her to turn them over. a lot of people saying this is stupid on two accounts security -- could people hack into that? -- and number two transparency. an unforced error. you're making everybody go back to the question of, "what are you hiding?" a question that has dogged the clintons from the very beginning. are we starting to think somebody other than hillary out of this, or this is going to blow over and she'll keep moving? >> this is great news for martin o'malley and elizabeth warren because right now they have to like their chances better if they decided
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they wanted to get in to pursue this nomination. it is bad on multiple fronts but here's one that's not quite been discussed. you've pointed out, tam, the reason you want this on the government server -- it's two-fold, really -- to protect the e-mail from unwarranted exploitation so the chinese, the russians, someone else can't be peeking, and second that you can preserve this in the event of need. well, if she feels that she had nothing that could be compromised on her e-mail system, she must not have been doing very consequential work. that's a very unfortunate conclusion people can and will draw. she better watch it. she's put herself on the horns of a dilemma in a number of cases. >> it's true, but, you know, tam -- and i agree with you 100%, ed, but this is so far back, we're 20 months out, and
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i'm wondering if this is peaking at a time where she's gonna be able to recover, because look at benghazi. i mean, there are people who are still talking about benghazi -- >> and this has brought it back. >> exactly. it'll play into it, but it seems as if hillary clinton is teflon tessie right now, and i don't know whether or not this is going to -- regardless of my personal hopes and opinions on it, i don't know if this is strong enough to really derail her nomination. >> well, let's talk about somebody who may wish they were wrapped in teflon, depending on how their decisions have gone. that's chip kelly, who has decided to trade running back lesean mccoy to the buffalo bills to get alonso and bring him here. good idea? bad idea? i mean, he's clearly trying to build a dynasty in a different direction and maybe looked at shady and said, "you're gonna be 27, probably coming down the hill." >> when did that become old?! >> listen, let's not talk about my age. but at any rate, "i'm looking for younger guys in a different dynasty here." was it a good call or a bad call? >> i put my faith in chip.
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i think one of the things that's interesting here is, it seems clear to me he's got this emphasis on character, on guys who get his style. i remember when pat croce had the '6ers. the one time croce made a basketball decision, he banned larry brown from bringing back derrick coleman because derrick coleman had refused to go to children's hospital on a team trip, and croce said -- i think rightly -- "you can't win a championship with guys who don't go to children's hospital." and i think -- i think chip subscribes to that kind of -- he got rid of desean jackson last year, gets rid of shady. i happen to be fans of both guys 'cause of their amazing talent. but they weren't his guys, in terms of their off-field commitments. >> do we think he gets mariota? >> that's the sanguine way of looking at it. and, you know, yep, character, but it's almost like a vladimir putin-esque kind of move because the man wants what
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the man wants, and if he doesn't like you, you're gone. and that to me is -- that's not what dick vermeil did. i mean, it seemed like he gave people a chance, an opportunity, and shady mccoy was not desean. >> if he wins the big ones everything will be forgiven. >> very quickly, if he wants what he wants, does he want mariota? >> who wouldn't? >> okay. all right. we're going to take a break, and we'll come back to our insiders' inside story. trading-in or selling your car truck or suv? takes the hassle out of selling in just 3 easy steps. one, get your free online valuation. two, book an appointment. and three, pick up a check at your nearest buying center. ♪ find out how much your car is worth ♪ ♪ at ♪
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side story" is presented by temple university. temple fuels students with academics and opportunities to take charge. plugged into the city, powered by the world. >> let's get our insiders' inside story of the week. we'll start with you, pedro. >> well, this last week, superintendent bill hite released his action plan 3.0 -- a roadmap for how he would go about, really, to rebuild the school district after the financial crisis and is counting
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on the city and the state to provide new money. >> ed. >> tam, big news coming out of the former head of the defense intelligence agency, lieutenant gerald mike flynn. he said a million-and-a-half documents were taken from bin laden's compound when he was killed. the u.s. government only released 17 of them, and the d.i.a. was told not to go into the others. why? because it challenged the administration's narrative that al-qaeda was decimated and on the run. >> all right. larry. >> tam, my book with stuart scott comes out this week. stuart -- we worked on it the last year of his life. and he liked to say that life consists of two dates with a dash in between, and our job is to make the most of that dash. and hopefully this book shows someone doing just that. >> amazing man. look forward to reading it larry. christine. >> tam, archaeologists at the university of oregon have
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discovered what appears to be, quite probably, the oldest tool yet -- 15,000-year-old tool -- but the real inside story is chip kelly has decided to draft the tool for the eagles' roster next season because it's from oregon. [ laughter ] >> okay. all right, thanks to all of you, and we also want to say thank you to temple university, which is now the new sponsor for "inside story." we appreciate the support. well, we will see you back here next sunday. i'm tamala edwards. >> i'm nydia han along with eva pilgrim. >> coming up next on "action news," new details on a police-involved shooting in delaware, the suspect has died. we're learning about a deadly pedestrian accidents on i-95 in delaware. >> say goodbye to the cold, temperatures are expected to climb starting today. we have the the exclusive accuweather seven-day forecast, those stories and much more next on "action news."
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i'm the parent of a victim of sex trafficking. people need to know that even good kids from good neighborhoods are still vulnerable to this tricked environment where they're being taken off the street and put into bondage. good afternoon, it is sunday march 8. >> here's what we're following on "action news." a philadelphia police officer who was gupped down in the line -- gown gunned down in the line of duty is being honored today. we'll take you there live. police have found the driver who hit and killed a 22-year-old woman. are you ready


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