CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Pope Speaks on Priest Pedophilia; New Attacks in Middle East and Latin America; Robert Torricelli goes 'On Record'
Aired March 21, 2002 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. The Pope breaks his silence about the priest sex abuse scandal. A historic move, or too little too late? We'll have a debate.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. I'll look at the way that scandal has split the Catholic Church's critics, on the left and on the right.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm John King. I'll have the inside view from the White House on new deadly attacks, in the Middle East and Latin America.
WOODRUFF: Also ahead, Senator Robert Torricelli goes "On the Record" about the investigation that is behind him, and the reelection battle ahead.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS WITH JUDY WOODRUFF.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Just about half an hour from now, jurors are scheduled to announce their verdict in the dog mauling trial in California, after reaching a decision on the fifth and final charge.
A San Francisco couple, Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel, are charged in the death of their next-door neighbor. She was fatally mauled last year by at least one of the two large dogs kept with the couple. Knoller faces the most serious charge, of second degree murder, and could face 15 years to life in prison if she is convicted. We'll carry the announcement of the verdict, live.
And now to the scandal that is rocking the Catholic Church. American Catholics today are weighing the words of Pope John Paul II, and the way he and other church leaders have responded to numerous allegations to child molestation by priests. The Pontiff briefly comments on what he calls a "grave scandal."
At the end of an annual letter to priests, he writes -- quote -- "we are personally and profoundly afflicted of the sins of the sins of some of our brothers, whom," he says, "are succumbing even to the most grievous forms of the mystery of evil at work in the world."
We have reaction now from Boston, where the scandal broke and where dozens of people are suing the church over sex abuse allegations. Here now, CNN's Bill DeLaney.
BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Downtown in the very Catholic city of Boston, where scandal in the church has for months seared the faithful. But at St. Anthony's shrine, midday mass, well attended. The shadow of suspicion, Pope John Paul II now acknowledges, is cast over the priesthood, seeming to overly darken the hearts of the faithful.
Some dissatisfaction at papal words -- only a paragraph in a 22- page letter.
(on camera): Enough?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
DELANEY: What more did you want to hear, that you didn't hear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More acknowledgement of what the victims are going through, and more acknowledgement of what the faithful of the church might be going through.
DELANEY (voice-over): But among American Catholics already used to overwhelmingly ignoring Papal doctrine like birth control, a sense faith and what the church hierarchy says or doesn't say, already separate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the pope took just the right tone, considering the gravity of the scandal, and the deep concern of all faithful Catholics who are trying their very best to separate their faith life from the administrative and moral problems of the priestly hierarchy.
DELANEY: Outside St. Patrick's cathedral in New York, similarly muted response.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could he not condemn it? This is totally against scripture.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think there has been pressure. I think it's necessary for him to say something.
DELANEY: According a new LeMoyne College-Zogby international poll, support for the leadership of the Catholic Church among Catholics is down but still high, falling 16. From 84 percent in October to 68 percent now.
For many, reaction to what the pope said begins with an awareness that the Holy Father comes from a very different time, a very different place. Chuck Colbert studies theology at a seminary in Boston.
CHUCK COLBERT, THEOLOGY STUDENT: He's 82, from Eastern Europe. We have different worldview experiences. I make no apologies for being an American, an Irish Catholic, a Democrat and a gay man. DELANEY: To the American Catholic church, the pope's words certainly welcome. Little sense either, though, that everyone was hanging on them. Bill DeLaney, CNN, Boston.
WOODRUFF: Even after the pope's statement, many Catholics appear to be suffering from a crisis of confidence in the church. Here is our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.
SCHNEIDER: A debate is flaring up among American Catholics that could be just as bitter and intense as any political debate. The adversaries: progressive and conservative critics of the church. The issue: what is to be done?
(voice-over): The Catholic faithful have been shaken by the revelations of sexual misconduct.
It is a sense of broken trust, by the leadership of the church.
SCHNEIDER: A majority of Catholics say the church has handled the matter poorly. Progressive critics claim the scandal proves what they have been saying for years: that church is too secretive, that rules against married priests and women priests are out of date. That the church is out of touch.
What is to be done? The progressive answer is, more democracy. Give lay Catholics more involvement, not in matters of faith, but in the governance of the church.
Take the incidents of alleged sexual abuse. An overwhelming majority of Catholics, 85 percent, say the allegations should have been dealt with as a legal matter, by the police and the courts. Only 10 percent believe they should have been handled as an internal church matter, which is how the church handled it, or mishandled it.
BISHOP JOSEPH GALANTE, ARCHDIOCESE OF DALLAS: We should be turning over crimes to the proper authorities. We don't -- that's not our competence.
SCHNEIDER: Conservative critics claim the scandal proves who they have been saying all along: that church authority has broken down. That standards of behavior have become lax. That the church has been corrupted by the secular culture of anything goes.
What is to be done? The conservative answer is, more authority. Conservatives are calling for a reformation of the church. A return to the traditional church teachings and standards that prevailed before the Vatican Council of the 1960s. They believe the church has been damaged by what they call...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A capitulation to the culture.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): The danger is that the church will suffer from the same affliction politics suffers from: pervasive cynicism. That could damage the church and public officials who align themselves with the church. Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: And with us now, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, and former Mayor of Boston, Ray Flynn. And former Catholic priest, Dan Maguire, who is now with the multi-faith network called Religious Consultation.
Ambassador Flynn, to you first. The pope's message today, among other things, called this a scandal, casting a suspicion over the rest of the church. Is this an expression conveying sufficient concern about the gravity of what's happened here?
RAY FLYNN, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO VATICAN: Well, if you follow the messages of the Holy Father, as I've tried to do, over the past 20, 25 years, and actually have written about them, you'd categorize this as an ultimatum to the hierarchy to the Catholic Church throughout the United States, saying that they want changes, that he wants changes.
Reform, so never again will this kind of a situation, that children would be unprotected from pedophile priests in our society. No, I put this in the category of a historic ultimatum by Pope John Paul II, to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America.
WOODRUFF: Dan Maguire, a historic ultimatum, is that how you see it?
DAN MAGUIRE,FMR. CATHOLIC PRIEST: No, I think it's pathetically too little and pathetically too late. This is not new news. Everyone has known about this for years. I've observed this kind of behavior.
The real culprit here are the hierarchy who have succeeded in hiding these crimes for years, and aiding and abetting them. Could you imagine a day care center where the CEO of the corporation would move a pedophile from one place to another, and not be taken into court and charged with criminal charges?
I think we have allowed the bishops to create a sanctimonious veil between them and criminal liability. And that's the issue I wish the holy father had really addressed with some vigor and with some prophetic spirit, and not with this hedged apology.
WOODRUFF: Ray Flynn, how do you respond to the notion that this is "pathetically" too little too late?
FLYNN: I think that's sort of shortsighted and misguided. I think for those people who really value the church as an institution, and the wonderful work that so many faithful priests and nuns have done in helping educate our children, dealing with people living with AIDS, the homeless or the poor -- as I have, Judy, as mayor of the city of Boston.
I can tell you this honestly: There is not one institution that has been more on the side of poor, needy and working families than the Catholic Church. That's why people are willing to give the church the opportunity to make these changes.
WOODRUFF: Dan Maguire, why isn't that at least partly sufficient, for the church to say, we have done this, therefore -- yes, we are concerned. You can't hold us totally responsible?
MAGUIRE: You have demonstrated that you're willing, over a very long period of time -- and I've observed this practice and these cover-ups ever since I was a priest in Philadelphia, 50 years ago -- when you demonstrate that you're willing to sacrifice people for institutional image.
And let's face it, that's what's going on here, even when the pope uses the word scandal. In Ecclesiastical language, that tends to mean an image problem, more than anything else. This should call for the prophetic rage of the profits of Israel to scream out, when those who have the greatest power imaginable, that supposedly representing God, use it to exploit children. I haven't heard nearly enough outrage from the Catholic hierarchy in this regard.
WOODRUFF: Mayor Flynn, what about that? I mean, there is the impression on the part of some, that the pope, by talking about the scandal, casting suspicion over the rest of the church, that he was really dealing more with an image, the perception problem here, than with the problem itself.
FLYNN: I think the holy father understands that the wonderful work that the Catholic Church certainly does in the United States, and he wants to put his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on this now, to make sure there is a fundamental change in church policy.
Look, churches change. Society has changed. We've become more promiscuous. The issue of human sexuality is an issue that the entire society has to deal with, not just the Catholic Church. I would bet you society at large has a much serious problem to deal with around human sexuality and some of those changes, than just the Catholic Church.
WOODRUFF: Dan Maguire, what more would you look to Pope John Paul II to do, or is this something that can come from him? Should it come from elsewhere in the church?
MAGUIRE: I would recommend that he become a better theologian, and recognize that one of the sources of truth in the Catholic tradition is what was called the census de galian (ph), the sense of the faithful. The faithful are way out front on this, as they are in a number of issues like contraception, abortion, and these pelvic issues that have overly absorbed the Vatican in recent decades.
And I wish Catholics would grow up and not simply act like sheep in a flock, and really exercise their baptismal duty to grow into adults and the very image of God, and to call down their wrath of God, as it were, upon hierarchs, who simply have behaved atrociously and, in my judgment, in many of these cases, criminally. WOODRUFF: Gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there. Dan Maguire with the group religious consultation, Ray Flynn, former ambassador to the Vatican. Gentlemen, thank you both. We appreciate it.
We hope you'll stay with us for our live coverage of the verdict in the dog mauling trial in California. That will be at the bottom of the hour.
Up next, we will go "On the Record" with Senator Robert Toricelli of New Jersey. How does a Democrat who has been investigated feel about his possible race against a Clinton investigator? This is INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: "On the Record" this afternoon, New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli. He is just completing his first term and Republicans are targeting him for defeat this fall. Among the six candidates hoping to face him, former Independent Counsel Robert Ray. A few hours ago, Ray kicked off his campaign, just one day after he released the final report on the Whitewater investigation.
Joining me now to discuss his race for reelection and other issues, Senator Robert Torricelli. Senator, it's not only Robert Ray, but five others. There are now six Republicans who want your job. Are you worried?
SEN. ROBERT TORRICELLI (D), NEW JERSEY: Well actually, Judy, contrary to your introduction, in fact Republicans have not targeted the race. There was an effort to recruit several very well known Republicans in New Jersey and they all declined the race.
There are six people running, some more able than others. But in politics, it's a compliment of sorts, when first tier candidates choose not to run. And I accept the compliment.
WOODRUFF: So you're complimented. All right.
Senator Torricelli, one of your colleagues, Senator Pat Leahy, has asked the attorney general and the General Accounting Office to look into any improper behavior by Mr. Ray, that had do with preparing for a Senate run at the same time he was serving as independent counsel.
Today Mr. Ray reacted to that. He said this was done on behalf of an ethically-challenged senator. Presumably, he's referring to you. Did you have anything to say to Senator Leahy about this?
TORICELLI: I did not. The only person who's ethically challenged here is Mr. Ray. I'm not the one with charges filed in the Justice Department. Mr. Ray was an employee of the Justice Department. He was given the enormous responsibility of investigating the president of the United States.
Whatever the lack of merit, wasting $65 million investigating the personal life of the president of the United States, while we now know there were terrorists awaiting to attack our country. Regardless of the merits of the investigation, to be a professional prosecutor planning a political campaign and using a report of this magnitude in order to launch a political career, is not only unseemly and unethical, it is potentially illegal.
And Senator Leahy is not the only one who has raised this. Independent watchdog groups, from the left to right, Republican and Democrat, have all criticized Mr. Ray.
WOODRUFF: So, when Mr. Ray says this was a -- quote -- "bitter, partisan political attack," what do you say?
TORICELLI: Well, Judy, I don't know what to say. He has now had independent groups from the left and the right in both political parties. Members of the House, members of the Senate. If Mr. Ray is suggesting that there is some enormous bipartisan conspiracy against his candidacy?
I think people are legitimately startled, that someone has such extraordinary bad judgment, that when they are writing the concluding Whitewater report, and an employee of the Justice Department of the United States, they're funding a political campaign. I'm not sure I'm aware of any precedent for it. It's extremely bad professional conduct.
WOODRUFF: Senator, we know that the federal prosecutor's office there in New York did conclude their investigation. They spent some three years looking into your financial dealings. They wrapped it up. The matter, however, is still pending before the Senate ethics committee. And my question is, given the fact that the standards of wrongdoing are different before this ethics committee, how concerned are you?
TORICELLI: Well, it's the same facts. As happened with the southern district of New York, allegations from this man, who was a contributor, who has pled to -- previously been charged with perjury, who made allegations that he gave improper gifts to me.
WOODRUFF: To what extent is this whole ethics investigation, do you believe, going to be a factor in your race for reelection?
TORICELLI: Well, Judy, I think it's actually quite simple. If whoever the Republican nominee chooses to run their campaign against me, based on a closed investigation, in which I was vindicated by the Justice Department in a Republican administration, that's their choice. It wouldn't be my political advice if I were their consultant.
The people of my state, like people across the country, are concerned about educating their children. We still haven't gotten a prescription drug benefit for people. There are still many people in our country without basic health insurance. We've stopped making progress on lowering class size, to improve quality of education.
I want to talk about how we get those things done. And obviously, now that I have a record, I'm going to some credit for things. This April 15th is going to be one of the proudest days of my life. We're going to start, for the first time in American history, people can start deducting the cost of a college education from their taxes. That's something I take a lot of pride in, because I offered it. And the deduction, by the way, of interest on student loans.
I've got things to talk about. Our state is a better place to live. Even to the tragedy of September 11th, the millions of dollars we brought back for new roads, railroads and schools. We're making it a better place. I want it to be a positive campaign about what we can do, and not about Mr. Ray's beliefs about Bill Clinton's private life, or somebody else's views about my former campaigns. I want those matters settled.
WOODRUFF: Well, Senator, we're going to have to leave it there. But we'll be, I hope, talking to you often throughout this year, and throughout the campaign. We appreciate your joining us today.
TORICELLI: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Thanks very much.
We do have a quick program reminder, and that is that Senator Torricelli's potential opponent, Robert Ray, will be among my guests tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS.
Our campaign news daily begins in Wisconsin. That's where GOP Governor Scott McCallum is showing signs of weakness in a new poll matching him against potential Democratic rivals. McCallum is trailing the Attorney General Jim Doyle 42 percent to 36 percent in a new survey by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. McCallum trailed Congressman Tom Barrett 39 to 36 percent. The governor leads two other potential challengers by six points or less.
In Massachusetts, a report says Democratic Senator John Kerry will join the battle to defeat Republican Mitt Romney's quest for governor. "The Boston Harold" is quoting sources who say Kerry is concerned that a Romney victory could overshadow Kerry's potential run for the White House in 2004.
You can join the almost 3,000 viewers a day who have already gone on line to vote for this year's IPYS. There's only one day left. Tomorrow our Bill Schneider will announce his picks for best performances in the political world. You can do that too.
And right now we are standing by for the verdict in the California dog mauling trial. That's expected just minutes from now. Up next, meanwhile, the INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," including details on the rules for military tribunals.
WOODRUFF: Checking the INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of a couple whose dogs attacked and killed a neighbor. If convicted, Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel both could be sentenced to prison. We'll have live coverage of the announcement of the verdict. That's expected in the next few minutes.
Pope John Paul II today described the allegations of sexual abuse by priests as -- quote -- "a grave scandal." The pope said recent events have cast what he called a "dark shadow of suspicion" over other priests who act with honesty and integrity.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today outlined the rules for military tribunals. Rumsfeld said defendants will be presumed innocent and will be provided the help of attorneys. The rules also allow for a limited right to appeal and the use of hearsay evidence against suspects.
Officials at the White House are keeping a close watch on several hot spots around the world. Perhaps first and foremost, the middle east. A Palestinian suicide bomber set off a massive explosion in downtown Jerusalem today. At least three Israelis were killed and about 40 others wounded.
The attack scuttled the latest U.S.-sponsored cease-fire talks between Israeli and Palestinians. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat says that he strongly condemns the attack and will -- quote -- "take all immediate measures."
Our senior White House correspondent, John King, is here. John, tell us, is the White House, at this point, angry? Is that how you'd describe it, with Arafat? And what does all this mean for Vice President Cheney's moves toward trying to have a meeting with the Palestinian leader?
KING: Judy, you hear words beyond angry. You hear "disappointed," you hear "frustrated," you hear "furious," if you ask about Mr. Arafat. They do not believe that he has kept his end of the deal.
The president made a major concession putting the prospect of the Cheney meeting on the table. They do not believe Arafat, in the 48 hours since, has done enough to crack down on militant Palestinian groups. Indeed, the one blamed for this attack today is linked to Mr. Arafat's fatah movement.
So note the sequence of events today. First, tough talk from the president in the Oval Office. He said Mr. Arafat must do more. Then the State Department publicly said it is putting this military brigade on the list of terrorist groups. Now, that denies fund raising in the United States, denies travel to the United States.
But more significantly, we are told, it is giving a green light for Israeli military response if Mr. Arafat does not do what Secretary Powell told him he must do, in a phone conversation from Air Force One today: dismantle the group immediately. And the president reinforced that point by saying again, in his speech in El Paso, Texas, not only that Mr. Arafat must do more, but there was a decision, we are told, abroad Air Force One, to go beyond that.
So Mr. Bush, right after he criticized Mr. Arafat, repeated the Bush doctrine: if you harbor a terrorist, you're as guilty as the terrorists. Tough talk decided to make clear. They have about 24 hours, in their view, for Mr. Arafat to do his part, or there will be no Cheney meeting.
WOODRUFF: John, let me turn you now to Iraq.
When the vice president briefed the president this morning about his trip that he just came back from to the Middle East, the president was asked about Arab opposition to a possible U.S. military action against Saddam Hussein. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is an administration that when we say we are going to do something, we mean it, that we are resolved to fight war on terror. This isn't a short- term strategy for us, that we understand history has called us into action, and we're not going to miss this opportunity to make the world more peaceful and more free.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: John, was that a stronger statement by the president. And, if it was, why is he doing it now?
KING: Well, it certainly was quite a strong statement by the president, especially given the fact that Mr. Cheney was at his side. In the media, especially among the punditry, there had been criticism of the Cheney trip as a failure, because, as he quoted the Arab leaders, their public comments were all very critical of the U.S. military posture.
The president coming to the aid of his vice president and also making clear what he thought was the single most important part of the Cheney trip: that Mr. Cheney made clear to these Arab leaders that the United States is serious. It will confront Saddam Hussein. Here at the White House, they say the military decision is a few months away still. What they wanted to make clear was that administration is, to quote the president, not posturing.
They believe, once they make that clear, eventually those moderate Arab nations will come around. And, in fact, senior officials tell us they were much more supportive, or at least understanding, in private than they were in public.
WOODRUFF: And, John, different subject: The president is saying he still plans to visit Peru this weekend in spite of that car bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Lima that killed at least nine people.
Inside the White House, John, are they saying who they think is responsible for this?
KING: Well, it was quite interesting this morning, Judy.
In the Oval Office, the president said two-bit terrorists would not deter him from going on to Lima. Then aides were ushering us out of the room and the president walked over. I was standing with an old colleague from the AP, Barry Schweid. The president approached us as we were trying to get out of the Oval Office at the request of his aides. And we asked him, Barry and I did, "Do you know who is responsible?" And the president said -- quote -- "We might have an idea. They've been around before."
I mentioned the Shining Path. The president nodded his head. Top aides here at the White House say they don't have any hard evidence yet, but all indications are it is a resurgence of the Shining Path, the leftists guerrilla movement in Peru responsible for many deaths in the '80s and '90s. Still, they say the president will go forward. They also say they are double-checking all their security precautions.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King at the White House, back today -- or just last night, we should say -- from that trip through the Middle East with Vice President Cheney. Thank you, John.
Well, as we've been telling you, the dog-mauling trial verdict is expected to be announced any minute now. We will bring that to you live from Los Angeles when it happens.
WOODRUFF: We believe we're just moments away from the announcement of a verdict in that dog-mauling trial. The trial has been taking place in Los Angeles, but, as we've been reporting, the woman who was mauled to death lived in -- it happened in San Francisco. The couple accused in her death were her next-door neighbors.
CNN's Charles Feldman is outside the superior court in Los Angeles.
Charles, the jurors announced several hours ago they were ready to give a verdict. Why have we had to wait to hear it?
CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as typically happens, Judy, there's a lunch break. And it takes time to get everything together.
And I keep glancing down at the monitor. So, as soon as I see the judge come in, that means that everything is ready, and I promise I'll shut up.
But, at a very fundamental level, Judy, this isn't, of course, about the defendants, Marjorie Knoller and John Noel, and the dogs. The trial was about them. But the story is about Diane Whipple, the young woman who was tragically mauled to death by a huge dog up in San Francisco, an animal that there was no way she could have defended herself against.
So, the story is really, at its most fundamental level, about Diane Whipple. But the trial, of course, and the verdict that we're waiting to hear is about the two defendants, because the issue in this case, as you know, is about whether or not people who own a dog -- in this case two dogs, Presa Canarios -- these are very large animals, weighing in excess of 120 pounds -- whether they can be held legally responsible, up to and including the charge of second-degree murder -- that's the charge against Marjorie Knoller -- whether they can be held accountable for the actions of their animals.
And I should point out that, should the jury decide that Marjorie is guilty of second-degree murder, it would be the first time, in the state of California, anyway, that anybody would have been convicted on second-degree murder charges in connection to the killing by their own pet, in this case the two presa canario dogs.
Now, this trial has gone on, Judy, for about five weeks. The highlight was probably the testimony by the defendant herself, Marjorie Knoller. She did take the stand in her own defense. And, basically, her position has been all along that -- she said: "Look, I did the best I could. I tried to intervene when I saw my dog pouncing on Diane Whipple. I threw myself on her. I tried to get the dog away. I wasn't able to. I sustained injuries self."
That's the fundamental argument, Judy, that she made to the jury. The prosecution says nonsense, that the couple were well aware that these two animals were bred to be attack dogs, that there was a long history of these two dogs, if not attacking, at least making ominous gestures to other people in the apartment building that everybody lived in up in San Francisco. And, therefore, they should be held, says the prosecution legally liable for the actions of these two animals.
So it is a very interesting case in terms of case law. But, again, I emphasize that what it's really about is that tragic death up in San Francisco of Diane Whipple -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Charles Feldman is outside the courthouse in Los Angeles. And of course we'll come back live there to that courtroom just as soon as the verdict is announced.
With me here in the studio in Washington: legal analyst Cynthia Alksne.
Cynthia, what is different about proving a murder or involuntary manslaughter charge in these instances, where it is an animal that actually did the killing? How is the burden of proof different in this case?
CYNTHIA ALKSNE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. That part stays the same.
In this case, the theory is, there was an unlawful killing of Diane Whipple with malice. And that malice has to be implied. And so what the jury has to find was that the defendants were so -- the female defendant knew how dangerous these dogs were, and she so disregarded that risk that she knew somebody was likely to get killed, that she disregarded it with a malignant heart.
It's a very high standard and very difficult. And that's perhaps why we've never seen a case like this before in the United States.
ALKSNE: If they don't find -- sorry -- if they don't the implied malice, then just the recklessness will be the conviction for the manslaughter.
WOODRUFF: We should say there are three counts here. Murder in the second degree is one. Involuntary manslaughter is another count, and the final: being the owner of a mischievous animal who kills.
In California, there's the mischievous animal who injuries somebody. And then there's a separate section if somebody dies as a result. Also...
WOODRUFF: Cynthia, her husband was not at home when this attack took place. How is being charged -- why is he being charged along with his wife?
ALKSNE: Well, he's being charged because he also knew of the risk of the dogs and continued, with her, to keep these dogs.
You know, they not only just sort of owned these dogs, but they were breeding them. They were part of this business, Dogs of War. They regularly took them out without muzzles. They knew, because there were over 30 incidents of times when they were warned and different dog bites, that the dogs were dangerous, and yet they did nothing.
So, he is not charged with the murder because he wasn't the one in the hallway -- one dog not on a leash, the other dog not muzzled, both dogs not muzzled -- when she actually died, but he is also, according to the state, responsible for the manslaughter.
WOODRUFF: And, Cynthia, we heard Charles Feldman saying that much of this case, if not most of this case, has been about the victim, Diane Whipple, 33 years old. If that's the case, has she come across sympathetically here?
ALKSNE: I think she has come across very sympathetically. Here's a case that has everything. There is this tragic, tragic death, very graphic...
WOODRUFF: Cynthia, I'm going to interrupt you because we're told that Judge James Warren has entered the court.
JUDGE JAMES WARREN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
COURTROOM: Good afternoon.
WARREN: All right.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to face you today for the last time as a judge facing the jury in this case. I understand, Mr. Foreperson, that you have reached verdicts on the five counts that are before the jury?
FOREPERSON: Yes, we have.
WARREN: All right.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me explain to you the procedure. I'm going to ask the foreperson to hand the envelope that has the verdicts in it to Deputy Langel (ph). He will give it to me. I will review the verdicts only to ensure that they have been properly filled out, just to make sure there aren't any blanks or something like that.
Once they have been, I will ask my clerk, Ms. Mary Melvin (ph), to come forward to the podium. And I will hand the verdicts to her. Ms. Melvin will read the verdicts out loud. When the verdicts have been read, I will ask counsel if they wish to have the jury polled, which is, as I said before, starting with juror one and going through to juror No. 12, asking them if the individual verdict reflects your individual vote. That's the way we ensure unanimity.
Once that has happened, assuming that the verdicts are indeed unanimous, as they must be by law, the verdicts will be entered. Once the verdicts are entered, technically, that is the end of the case. I will speak with the jury then about your rights and obligations as jurors after the trial is over and let you know what we're going to do from that point out. But that's the proceeding that will go from this point to the entry of the jury's verdicts.
At this point, Deputy Langel, would you please get the envelope from the foreperson?
All right. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the verdict forms appear to be in order.
Ms. Melvin, would you please come forward?
I'm presenting the indictment -- I'm sorry, the verdict forms to the clerk in the order in which they were presented by the jury. We will start with the jury's verdict on counts three, count two and count one.
Incidentally, I believe Deputy Langel has already advised everybody. This is a court. When the verdicts are read, it is very important that we maintain respect for the proceedings. Please let there be no outbursts in the audience.
Ms. Melvin, would you please read the verdicts?
MARY MELVIN, CLERK: Verdict as to Marjorie Knoller count three: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Marjorie Knoller, guilty of the crime of being the owner of a mischievous animal who kills in violation of section 399 of the California Penal Code, a felony, as charged in count three of the indictment, dated March 20, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. and signed by the foreperson. Verdict as to Robert Noel count three: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Robert Noel, guilty of the crime of being the owner of a mischievous animal who kills, in violation of Section 399 of California Penal Code, a felony, as charged in count three of the indictment, dated March 20, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. and signed by the foreperson.
Verdict as to Marjorie Knoller count two: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Marjorie Knoller, guilty of the crime of involuntary manslaughter, in violation of section 192(b) of the California penal code, a felony, as charged in count two of the indictment, dated March 20, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. and signed by the foreperson.
Verdict as to Robert Noel count two: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Robert Noel, guilty of the crime of involuntary manslaughter in violation of section 192(b) of the California Penal Code, a felony, as charged in count two of the indictment, dated March 20, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. and signed by the foreperson.
Verdict as to Marjorie Knoller count one: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Marjorie Knoller, guilty of the crime of murder in the second degree in violation of Section 187 of the California Penal Code, a felony, as charged in count one of the indictment, dated March 21, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. and signed by the foreperson.
WARREN: Counsel, do you wish to have the jury polled with respect to the verdicts?
NEDRA RUIZ, ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANTS: Yes, your honor.
WARREN: Will the jury will be polled as to each verdict individually, as to each defendant individually, or summarily?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)
WARREN: Ms. Ruiz?
WARREN: All right.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to ask for the court reporter -- the court clerk, rather, is going to ask you five questions, starting with juror No. 1 on each of the five questions, and going through to juror No. 12 on each of the five questions.
The question is: As to count three as to Mr. Noel, you have -- the verdict reads guilty. The question will be, "Is that your vote?" If you voted guilty in the verdict in the jury room, you will say yes. If you voted not guilty or if you did not cast a vote, you will say no. And we will go through this five times, five verdicts, one after the other.
Would you please poll the jury?
MELVIN: As to count three, the verdict as to Marjorie Knoller, the verdict of guilty, juror No. 1, is this your verdict, yes or no?
JUROR NO. 1: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 2?
JUROR NO. 2: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 3?
JUROR NO. 3: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 4?
JUROR NO. 4: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 5?
JUROR NO. 5: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 6?
JUROR NO. 6: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 7?
JUROR NO. 7: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 8?
JUROR NO. 8: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 9?
JUROR NO. 9: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 10?
JUROR NO. 10: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 11?
JUROR NO. 11: Yes.
MELVIN: Juror No. 12?
JUROR NO. 12: Yes.
MELVIN: The verdict as to count three...
WOODRUFF: A superior court jury in Los Angeles has found Marjorie Knoller and her husband, Robert Noel, guilty on all counts in the dog-mauling death of their neighbor, Diane Whipple January the 26th, 2001 on every count, including murder in the second degree, a count against Marjorie Knoller, the woman in the light blue suit there.
You're now looking at her husband, Robert Noel. She was accused of murder in the second degree, along with involuntary manslaughter and being the owner of a mischievous animal that kills -- guilty on all three counts. Her husband: involuntary manslaughter and being the owner of an animal who kills -- guilty on both those counts.
Our legal analyst, Cynthia Alksne -- Cynthia, the jurors didn't see cause to give a break to either one of these individuals.
ALKSNE: No, they didn't at all. The prosecutor got everything they asked for.
The next step, after the jury goes, is that the defendants will go back to jail, awaiting a report from the Department of Probation. It will take about two weeks. And the judge will go ahead and sentence them.
The sentences are: for the second-degree murder, 15 to life; on the involuntary manslaughter, either two, three or four years. And the way it works in California, there's a low, medium and a high range. The judge will have to make findings about mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Otherwise, it will be the medium range.
So, you can guess that the -- Mr. Noel will get about three years. And she will get 15 to life.
WOODRUFF: We're listening to the clerk go to each of the 12 jurors, seven men and five women, and ask them to confirm that they did indeed vote guilty on all five of these counts.
Defense attorneys do that just on the off chance somebody felt pressured and would say, "No, I really didn't mean that" at the pressure of the moment. And then they could have a mistrial. It almost never happens, but that's why they do it. It's one last-ditch effort to get somebody to say not guilty.
WOODRUFF: Cynthia, we're going to listen, of course, for the judge when he begins to speak again. Cynthia, is there any precedent for this kind of verdict?
ALKSNE: No, this is the first case in California like this, but it was a very unusual case. These people, the prosecution made an all-out effort and found 30 witnesses who had warned these people. The dogs had bitten people repeatedly. They had terrorized the building. They were huge dogs.
WOODRUFF: We're going to listen to Judge Warren.
WARREN: ... on the five verdicts. Ms. Melvin, would you please enter the verdicts?
MELVIN: The verdicts have been entered.
WARREN: All right, ladies and gentlemen, the verdicts in this case have been entered.
At this point, this formally concludes your jury service. You have certain rights and obligations, however. And I want to tell you what they are. It is not uncommon -- first, as of right now, the admonition not to discuss this case is lifted. You are free to talk to anybody about anything whenever and wherever you wish. You are equally free not to talk to anybody about anything that you don't want to talk about.
You're free to say, "I want to talk to somebody" and then change your mind and say, "I don't want to do it." Or you're free to say, "I don't want to" and later on change your mind and say, "You know, on reflection, I think I do." The point is, it's entirely up to you as to whether or not you talk with any person at all. That would include the attorneys. That would include the press. That would include friends, family, whatever you wish.
All of your personal records, as far as your name and address, will be sealed. They remain confidential by law. However, I need to advise you that any person has the right to have that information unsealed and to be made public. In the event that request is made, it must be made in writing to me -- even though I'm in San Francisco -- be made to me. And I will make a determination, a preliminary determination as to whether or not good cause has been shown to have a hearing on whether or not names should be released.
In the event that I determine that good cause has been shown to have names released, each one of you will get written notification of the fact that a request has been made and that a hearing will take place. If you wish, you are all welcome to come and participate at the hearing, to either state you don't care whether your name and address is released or to object to it.
After the hearing is concluded, I will make a final determination as to whether or not any personal information about any juror will be released to any person. So, there's a rather long process in place there, but it does exists. And I'm advising you of it. There is nothing unique about this case. This is the law as it applies to every single criminal trial. And I'm required by law to read that to you.
When we leave today, there are a large number of the press outside. The press has indicated that they would like to talk to you. At this stage, there's no limitation on that, other than your own. So here's what will happen. I'd like to introduce Ms. Gerryann Hacelate (ph), who is working with the press. She is a member of the superior court in Los Angeles.
She is going to meet with you in the jury room and kind of give you the ground rules for what can and cannot happen. If you don't want to talk to anybody right now, that's fine. You are free to leave and that will be the end of the matter. If you do wish to speak to the press -- and I'm talking, obviously, to all 18 of you -- if you do wish to speak to the press, even though it will not be part of the court session, I have agreed to make this jury room available -- or this courtroom, rather, available to anybody who wishes to talk to the press.
It is up to you whether you want to answer any questions or not, which I suspect will probably include your name. You can say, "I'll talk to you, but I won't give you my name," for example. Or, "My name is Joe Dokes and I'm happy to give you that information and answer whatever questions you want."
Also, there will be cameras. If you do wish to speak to the press and do not wish to be on camera -- and this is slightly different from -- initially, I said there would be no filming inside this courtroom, but I believe, under the circumstances, the prudent course of action is to allow any juror who wishes to be filmed to be filmed.
WOODRUFF: Judge James Warren telling the jurors that they are free to talk to news reporters if they would wish, as we watch a live picture of Marjorie Knoller, who has just been found guilty by this 12-person jury of murder in the second degree, along with involuntary manslaughter -- but murder in the second degree.
There's her husband, Robert Noel. He has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. They both have been found guilty of that and of being the owner of a mischievous animal who kills.
But the story out of this, Cynthia Alksne, our legal analyst, is the murder-in-the-second-degree guilty charge against Ms. Knoller.
ALKSNE: Right. It's obviously a landmark case. And now the question would be: Does it stand up on appeal? And that will be something that happens in the year or so to come.
But, in the immediate future, it's the sentencing report and the giving of her sentence. In California, she will get 15 to life plus additional time for the involuntary manslaughter. And the mischievous dog will probably be added on to her base minimum. And then she has to do 85 percent of that time.
WOODRUFF: So we're looking at how many years, Cynthia, at a minimum?
ALKSNE: Well, 15 to life is the absolute minimum. And she has to do 85 percent of that before she is eligible for parole.
WOODRUFF: And that is assuming the appeal -- we assume they will appeal -- and that that will fail. Both of them are attorneys, by the way, both Knoller and her husband, Noel.
ALKSNE: Right. This was the case with everything: attorneys as defendants, the Aryan Brotherhood breeding dogs. There were pretrial motions that were rather disgusting, things that the jury didn't get to hear about sexual acts with the dogs. It was the case of everything.
WOODRUFF: All right, Cynthia Alksne, as we look at live pictures of this courtroom in Los Angeles, superior courtroom, where Marjorie Knoller, her husband, Robert Noel, have been found guilty on these last five counts. And, as Cynthia just told you, we will hear about sentencing in the days to come.
I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" is next. Thank you for joining us.
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