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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Controversial Clinic Closes; George Zimmerman Trial; Wanted: Border Security Beefed Up; Wanted: Border Security Beefed Up; Worst Day Of Year For Dow: Plunges 353 Points; Firm That Vetter Snowden Under Investigation; Arias Dressed In Prison Stripes At Hearing; James Gandolfini Found By Family In Hotel Room; Inmate Sentenced To Die Because He's Black?; Race-Based Death Penalty Punishment?; 3-Year-Old Boy Hears For First Time
Aired June 20, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
Good evening, everyone.
Tonight, George Zimmerman learns who will be deciding his fate, who's in the jury is raising a lot of eyebrows tonight. He says he doesn't have a problem with it, though. The question is, should the court have a problem? We'll talk about that.
And later, the best story you'll see all day. How a 3-year-old came to hear his very first words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daddy loves you. Daddy loves you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I'll tell you about the revolutionary new device that made that smile possible.
We begin, though, tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the oldest organization, the so-called ex-gay movement shutting its doors and apologizing, saying their world view has been, quote, "neither honoring towards our fellow human beings or biblical."
The organization was called Exodus International. Maybe you've heard about it. And for more than three decades now in chapters across the country they promoted what's often called reparative therapy based on representations of Christian teachings they told me people they could change their sexual orientation.
Exodus began in the mid-1970s and, even though one of its founding members renounced the organization at the end of that decade admitting that he wasn't ex-gay at all but was in fact still very gay, Exodus has continued to claim that it could help people get over their same- sex attractions.
Alan Chambers was the most recent head of Exodus International and he personally is now apologizing to gay people. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN CHAMBERS, FORMER PRESIDENT, EXODUS INTERNATIONAL: I'm sorry for the pain and the hurt that many of you have experienced. I'm sorry that some of you spent years working through shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn't change. I'm sorry that we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Alan Chambers in a documentary hosted by Lisa Ling who joins us shortly. Tonight in a long statement on the Exodus International Web site titled "I am Sorry," he elaborates, saying, quote, "I'm profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives."
Yesterday Exodus International officially closed up shop. As I said, we're going to talk with Lisa Ling in a moment and we'll talk with Alan Chambers tomorrow on this program, but first we want to show you what Exodus has been telling people for decades now. Here is a report our Gary Tuchman filed back before Exodus shut its doors back when they were still saying reparative therapy could work.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Men, women looking for a way to exercise homosexuality here at a gathering in Phoenix called Love One Out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be people there that are just, you know, searching for more information.
TUCHMAN: Christian ministries offer referrals to various treatment programs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have a good day now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. I will. I am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
TUCHMAN: With more than 120 local branches in North America, Exodus International calls itself the world's largest ex-gay referral service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to have healthy expectations.
TUCHMAN: Exodus president Alan Chambers says his own journey from homosexuality to heterosexuality followed a long and difficult path.
(On camera): How did you do it?
CHAMBERS: Well, it's not like a light switch. I didn't flip it on and flip it off. It was years of work.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Not everyone has had the same result.
(On camera): Shawn, when did you realize you were gay?
SHAWN O'DONNELL, UNDERWENT "GAY REPARATIVE" THERAPY: At the age of 6 I realized I was different from other boys, and it wasn't until later on that I actually associated the word gay with that. I was 10.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Growing up gay in Elgin, Illinois, wasn't easy for Shawn O'Donnell. His Catholic parents were loving but the kids at school were merciless.
O'DONNELL: I had a very low self-esteem. I hated myself.
TUCHMAN: It got worse when at age 10 Shawn was born again and joined an evangelical church.
(On camera): How important was religion in your life at that time?
O'DONNELL: Extremely important. It was the top of my list. I mean, I went to church four or five times a week. I mean, I was always at church. I was so involved in mission trips, bible studies, peer groups.
TUCHMAN: And if you're gay you believe you're going to hell.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): It was too much for the boy. He started cutting himself, he attempted suicide and finally at 18 he came out to his pastor.
(On camera): Did you feel like he was angry at you?
O'DONNELL: No, no, he was very compassionate with the understanding that I needed help.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Shawn's pastor referred him to therapy at a local ex-gay organization.
O'DONNELL: I thought I'd go a couple days without being attracted to other men but then -- you know, then I'd have a sexual slipup, so then I thought, you know, I'm failing again.
TUCHMAN: Five years into therapy Shawn hit another low point and again tried to kill himself. Desperate he moved to California and joined a live-in program for gay men trying to become straight.
O'DONNELL: Very controlling environment. We went to work. After we got home, we had dinner together. We didn't go places alone other than to work and back. We were always in groups of two or three. Sundays we went to church together. And we had curfews.
TUCHMAN: Shawn says he was totally committed to the program. O'DONNELL: My first year into it, I -- I felt great, and I thought, you know, I'm going to -- I'm going to make it. You know, this is what I've needed. You know, and -- then I had a -- I slept with one of the guys in the house.
TUCHMAN: The next day Shawn drove into San Francisco and had a one- night stand with a man.
O'DONNELL: You know what? That was it. You know, I was done. I had given it the good old college try and I decided that I was going to come out again.
TUCHMAN (on camera): This is kind of blunt but I mean, I'm curious, do you like girls now?
CHAMBERS: I love my wife. I am attracted to my wife. We've been married for nine years.
TUCHMAN: Are any feelings towards men still within you? Do you feel like it could come out again some -- in some way?
CHAMBERS: Well, again, I don't think that I will ever be as though I never was. You know, certainly I'm human. I could be tempted by a homosexual thought. I could find myself --
TUCHMAN: That doesn't go away.
CHAMBERS: Well, it hasn't gone away 100 percent with me.
TUCHMAN: Do you think programs like Exodus can work for some people?
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Shawn is back in Elgin, Illinois, now, working as a high school science teacher. He has been living as an openly gay man for six years.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Elgin, Illinois.
COOPER: And joining me now is Lisa Ling who spoke with Alan Chambers for our -- for "Our America" special on the OWN Network.
It's really -- first of all, it's great to have you back on the program.
LISA LING, HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "OUR AMERICA": Thank you.
COOPER: But did it surprise you that Alan Chambers has now apologized that they shut its doors?
LING: It did surprise me when he said that he wanted to apologize to all gay people and all people who've been harmed by Exodus because it was essentially acknowledging that thousands of people have been -- have had their lives severely damaged by Exodus, which begged the question, well, then what now?
Last year they stopped conducting reparative therapy and this year he wants to apologize to people they've harmed. So what now? And we just witnessed what now last night.
COOPER: But what does it actually mean? I mean, he still -- he's not saying being gay -- is he saying being gay is OK?
LING: So, although Alan won't directly say it, he still believes that homosexuality is a sin. He just doesn't want to be part of an organization that tries to convert people or tries to cure people of homosexuality because he in fact says it's not possible. He himself, as Gary Tuchman's report indicated, still says that he has same-sex attraction as does 99.9 percent of the people who've gone through their programs.
COOPER: Well, that's what's interesting. I have interviewed a number of people who said they're ex-gay or call themselves ex-gay. And the more you talk to them, they will acknowledge that they still have the attractions, as you just said, Alan does, I mean, that they still have the thoughts. They're just forcing themselves or trying to train themselves not to act -- I mean they're repressing.
LING: That's right.
COOPER: They're trying to not act on it.
LING: And to an extent that's how Alan is living now. I mean, I firmly believe that he has a beautiful marriage with his wife Leslie and their children, but he says that he still continues to have same- sex attraction.
COOPER: And I -- you know, I've done a lot of these interviews and I have -- you know, I -- clearly, you know I'm gay, but I don't try to force my opinion on, you know, somebody wants to, you know, thinks they're unhappy being gay and wants to change, you know, if it works for them, it doesn't.
COOPER: But it seems like there are a lot of people and in your documentary we see a lot of people who say they have been harmed by this kind of therapy. I want to show another clip from your report, "God and Gays." There is a guy name Shawn.
LING: That's right.
COOPER: Who is a so-called ex-gay survivor who's come out, you know, I guess, tried to change, has not, and he's talking to Alan about how much damage he feels Exodus has done.
LING: All the people had tried to change.
COOPER: Had tried to change. So let's hear from him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I left Exodus I had joined the military. You know, I was just at my end. I didn't realize I was going into such a deep pit of despair and anger and I woke up one day and my friend had gone to work and he had a loaded gun in his closet, and I was so happy about dying it felt like I was opening a Christmas present. That's honestly how I felt.
And I went over to the closet and I stood there, and I prayed that prayer that I had prayed probably a million times and I said, God, why will you not change me? And I can't describe it, but something from the outside, Alan, told me not to take my life. And I said God, why won't you change me? And it said to me because there is nothing that I need to change about you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The idea of suicidal thoughts, people actually even attempted suicide in multiple numbers. That's something you've heard a lot from people who've gone through Exodus.
LING: Absolutely. I mean, I don't think the numbers are quantifiable. How many people have attempted suicide who've gone through these programs, but so many of the people that I encountered said that they had entertained suicidal thoughts because when you're told from a young age that you are a sinner for doing nothing but having thoughts -- same-sex attraction and you go through these programs and you try and you try and you can't change, what is your purpose?
What is -- what are you here for? And so a lot of the people that I've encountered have said that they have definitely thought about suicide.
COOPER: Alan Chambers spoke to -- I guess, it was -- I guess it was last night to a grouping from Exodus International.
LING: The annual conference is going on right now.
COOPER: Right now. Wow.
LING: And he announced that Exodus was going to be shutting down last night.
COOPER: So let's play some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAMBERS: I believe we've come to a time in the church when it's time to lay our weapons down. We fought the culture, and we've lost, but I think we've lost for a good reason because it time for peace.
We are the culture. Culture doesn't exist without people. God doesn't want us to fight people anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And again, I'm not clear on exactly where he goes now, where the organization goes now.
COOPER: I mean, it's officially shutting its doors but it sounds like he feels they're shutting because they lost a culture war.
LING: Well, he does say that we lost the culture war and when you think about it, gay rights, marriage equality, these issues are the civil rights issues of our generation. I mean, it's -- the Supreme Court is going to decide on DOMA and Proposition 8 in California, and I think that, Anderson, the board of -- I'm sorry, Alan and the board of Exodus started to think, well, what side do we want to be on on the civil rights issue?
COOPER: It's interesting that in one of his statements he was saying that he feels that their world -- world view has not been fair to our fellow human beings, to quote him, and also has not been biblical. That it sounds like he wants some sort of an organization that is more welcoming, whatever that may mean.
LING: So Alan -- I don't know that they can even define what the next chapter is going to be for them, but he has mentioned to me that there -- there is a place -- or there are people who are struggling, who may want to remain celibate, or may want to work on their relationships with their spouses, even though they still have same-sex attraction. But moving forward, they would like to have an organization that's much more conclusive that anyone can come to, he said.
COOPER: Right. I look forward to speaking to him on the program last -- tomorrow, tomorrow night.
Lisa, thanks very much. Look forward to the documentary.
LING: Thanks, Anderson.
As I mentioned, Alan Chambers has agreed to come on the program. Look forward to that conversation. We hope you'll join us tomorrow night for that.
Let us know what you think. You could follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting about this right now.
Just ahead, after nine days of questioning an all-female jury has been chosen to decide George Zimmerman's fate. The murder defendant told the judge that he's fine with the jury selection but it's got a lot of people talking tonight.
Also ahead, it's not just a battle over this fence but how the fight for and against immigration reform may reshape at politics for years to come. We'll be right back.
COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight the jury has been selected in the George Zimmerman trial. And the makeup of that jury caught a lot of people by surprise. Five jurors are white, one is black or Hispanic and all are women. Zimmerman told the judge that he's fine with the makeup. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the jurors that I announced, were you able to hear the six members of the jury and the four alternates?
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: Yes, your honor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And is this jury panel acceptable to you, sir?
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now under Florida law all criminal cases except capital offenses are decided by juries -- of just six people not 12.
Zimmerman, of course, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He said he shot the teenager in self-defense but prosecutors accuse him of unjustly profiling and killing Martin. In a statement, Martin's family said they expect the jury to do their duty and to be fair and impartial.
Now opening arguments are set to begin on Monday.
Senior legal correspondent Jean Casarez joins me now.
So what do we know about the six women.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know quite a bit because there was individual questioning. First of all, Anderson, five out of the six are mothers. Two of them have just come into the area in recent months from living out of state.
What's interesting, one juror used to have a concealed weapons permit for a gun, a female did. And she doesn't have anymore because she doesn't carry her gun anymore. Her husband still has a concealed weapons permit. Quite a few of the jurors do come from gun families. B 29 who was the juror from Chicago, she has been arrested.
So a lot of diversity and -- I think a lot of life experiences, but we were all surprised when it was a total female jury.
COOPER: I mean, clearly, they selected these people so the prosecution and defense both seem happy with the jury they got, correct?
CASAREZ: They did. And the way they did it was in order of that individual questioning, that's how they went and here is what's very fascinating. There was an African-American male who should have been on the jury but the prosecution exercised a peremptory strike which can be for whatever reason.
The defense did not challenge it so he was not on the jury, but then when the prosecution exercised four peremptory strikes for white females, the defense actually exercised the constitutional challenge saying you are trying to discriminate based on gender white woman and do you know that the defense got two of those jurors back on the final jury.
One had said innocent people go to prison which favors the defense. Another had said that her daughter had said what's a young kid like that out buying candy at the time of night, got her back on the jury, and remember, it was 7:00 in the evening, not real late.
COOPER: The judge is going to rule or expected to rule tomorrow on whether an expert can actually testify on a crucial piece of evidence about who is screaming on the 911 tape. Tell us about it.
CASAREZ: You know, this is probably the most important piece of evidence in this trial because you hear a voice and it has been described as a death cry, somebody believing they're going to die. Prosecutors want to put expert testimony on to say they can't conclusively say but they believe based on the science that it is Trayvon Martin.
Defense put on really renowned experts saying there is no credibility in these experts and the science at all. The voice is so far away, the instruments, spectrograph and thing that they're using are outdated and there's just no way to tell with any type of scientific certainty who was crying out.
COOPER: Yes. I think I interviewed Trayvon Martin's mother and she said she was pretty sure that was her son's voice.
CASAREZ: That's right.
COOPER: But again we'll see what the experts say.
Jean Casarez, appreciate the update.
Let's dig deeper now with Mark Geragos, criminal defense attorney and author of "Mistrial." Also joining me is Marcia Clark, former Los Angeles deputy district attorney and author of "Killer Ambitions."
So, Marcia, you say you can see why both sides might want a jury made up entirely of women. Why is that from both the defense and prosecution standpoint?
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER L.A. DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, Anderson, there's something in it for both sides when women are involved. From the prosecution side, women, especially mothers, and five of the six are mothers, are going to -- the hope is that they will feel somewhat invested in Trayvon Martin as someone who could have been their son out there that night. By -- conversely but from the defense point of view, they like the idea of women, especially women who have had guns in their -- in their lives and their family because women are more likely to identify with the fear in a neighborhood that's been victimized by burglaries frequently and therefore feel like George Zimmerman is kind of a protector of theirs, and so appreciate what he was trying to do.
So women actually have something to give for both sides of this lawsuit. At the end of the day I'm not surprised to see that it was an all-female jury.
COOPER: Mark, what do you think? Because I've heard some people say that because most of these women, five out of the six, are moms, they might be more sympathetic to Trayvon Martin.
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. And if they say that they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. This could not be a better defense jury if you had dreamed of it. The fact that they did -- you know, when Jean did that package about the constitutional challenge, that's called a Wheeler motion -- we call it a Wheeler motion but it's a Batson motion, and basically they got put back on two jurors that are a prosecution's worst nightmare.
Remember the prosecution has to get a unanimous verdict in this case or unanimous jury. The defense only has to have one hold-up. At this point, I think the prosecution would be holding on for dear life to try and get one person to vote for them. I think that more importantly than the gender here is the race composition and I think this is a grand slam homerun for the defense.
COOPER: Mark, you also say that jury selection is the most important part of a trial. Do you really believe that?
GERAGOS: Absolutely. I've tried hundreds of cases, and I can tell you based on all of those cases, the cases were won or lost 99.9 percent of the time in jury selection. That's why this case other than Mark O'Mara falling and tripping and knocking himself out, this is his to lose at this point.
COOPER: Marcia, you know, Mark brought up the racial makeup of the jury. It's relatively homogenous. Does it -- does it play one way or the other? Does that -- does that matter?
CLARK: Of course, it always matters, especially in a case like this where race is squarely on the table. In this the prosecution's theory is that George Zimmerman -- racially profiled Trayvon Martin and reacted to him and behaved the way he did because he was African American, and so having a white set of jurors more likely to identify the theory that they're more likely to identify with George Zimmerman.
That true, Mark is right about that. And the fact that -- so the race factor alone does play in his favor. I disagree a little bit with Mark about the mother issue. I think the mother issue can play in the prosecution's favor but what worries me the most is the "Batson versus Kentucky" challenge, that's what Mark was referring to, where a prosecutor or defense attorney has excused someone of a -- number of jurors of a given race, and the other side can say, hey, that wasn't fair, it was a race-based excusal. And then they can put the jurors back on.
That sends message to the jury that can be very damaging to the prosecution because not only did those two jurors know why they were excused and somehow it was improper to excuse them, but the rest of the jury is going to know it, too, so this prosecution starts out with -- this kind of taint of having done something improper. The jury knows it.
COOPER: How long do you see this going?
GERAGOS: Right, and that's exactly what's going to happen.
COOPER: How long do you see this trial, Mark, going on for?
GERAGOS: I don't know. I mean I don't think this is a case where you want it to go on longer or drag it out indefinitely. I think if you're in the defense camp on this case, you want to get this over as quickly as possible. And I think it's to the prosecution's advantage to drag it out ideally so that they can get into some of these alternates that are there.
I'm telling you, I cannot emphasize enough the idea of placing two of those jurors who the prosecution had excused back into that jury box, and those jurors are going -- have already thought about it. I guarantee you. They've all -- it's crossed all of their minds in a case here which is so racially charged, I can't even imagine what is going through the prosecutor's minds at this point.
COOPER: Mark Geragos, Marcia Clark, good to have you on.
As always, you can find out more on this story on CNN.com. There's a lot more there.
Next, the fight behind the fight over immigration reform and how it may reshape the Republican Party. Some interesting insight ahead.
Plus new word on the circumstances surrounding the terribly premature death of James Gandolfini. It is still so hard to believe he is gone as well as late word on determining exactly what killed him.
COOPER: "Raw Politics" now and the fight that only affects millions of people, not only could reshape the economy and the job market, and not only could reshape America's border with Mexico, but on top of all that is also a battle in many ways for the future of the Republican Party. We're talking immigration reform.
Today in the Senate two Republicans with bipartisan support offered an amendment calling for 20,000 more border agents and completing a 700- mile border fence. The idea to beef -- beef up Republican support so if the larger reform bill passes the Senate, Republicans in the House will support it. Now that, however, is a big if.
Chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is here to explain why.
So, Dana, it always seems to come back to border security every time especially for Republicans. Does it look like this bill, at least as it now stands, is tough enough on border security to get more Republican support?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's certainly tougher and it looks like it could. Look, it's not a question in the Senate of whether or not immigration reform will pass, it's a question of whether or not it will pass by a lot of votes. And talking to Republican sources, they think that this beefing up the border security will bring maybe 10 to 12 Republican senators who wouldn't even have come near it beforehand.
And the reason why this matters is because supporters say that they need maybe up to 70 votes in the Senate to give this issue momentum heading into the Republican-led House because of course there, it is a whole different ball game.
And just anecdotally, Anderson, talking to members of Congress and Republicans, it seems as though positioning are hardening more against immigration reform than softening towards it.
COOPER: How much of the bill -- how much of it is about politics?
BASH: How much time do you have? Look, I mean, it is -- of course, everything is about politics but this in particular is so fascinating because it was dead for five years.
BASH: Because this was kind of a third rail particularly for Republicans. What happened was the 2012 election. Mitt Romney got 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, plummeted since the last Republican president, George W. Bush, who got 44 percent for his reelection, and Republican leaders looked to the future of the Republican Party and said, we don't really have one if we continue down this road because the Hispanic vote is getting bigger and bigger.
So that's why they said we've got to deal with immigration reform, get it off the table. The problem is that not everybody in the party agrees. A lot of people in the base say that it's amnesty no matter how you cut it. When you look at giving a path to citizenship.
And I talked to one of the leaders on this, Marco Rubio, about that very issue. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I can tell you politically this is as much a negative as it is a positive. People are really upset. And I respect it and I understand it. By the other token, though, this is hurting America. This should be about helping the United States and if nothing passes then this disaster we have now that's what's going to stay in place.
BASH: It's a negative as much as a positive. Is it a risk for you politically?
RUBIO: Well, I don't know about for me. Certainly, there are people that are upset. I mean, there are people that I agree with on every other issue who are mad at us for having gotten involved in this issue and primarily they are distrustful that the government will do its part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: A big part of the issue for the Republicans is that those from more diverse states or higher ambition like Marco Rubio, they are much more interested in getting immigration reform done because they are worried about being beaten by Democrats that get more Hispanic voters, but then you have the House where it's very polarized.
You have people from red, red districts. Their concern isn't Democrats. Their concern is getting primary challenges from the right, from conservatives so that's why they don't want to do this. I got to tell you that John Boehner, the House speaker today compared immigration reform to Obamacare, which is a four letter word for Republicans, that kind of says it all.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Dana, thanks, interesting. We'll continue to follow it. Let's get caught up on some other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks has the 360 Bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Wall Street plunged today. The worst day of the year for the Dow Jones, it dropped 353 points, more than 2 percent. Investors are unnerved about the fed's plan to phase out its stimulus program that pumps billions of dollars into the economy every month.
A criminal investigation is under way into USIS, the private firm that vetted Edward Snowden's background. The leaker of NSA documents had top secret clearance. It's not known if the investigation was prompted by Snowden's leaks.
Jodi Arias was in court today for a hearing this time dressed in prison uniform instead of civilian clothes. A retrial of the penalty phase of her case is set for next month, but her attorneys have asked for a delay. In May, Jodi Arias was convicted of murdering her ex- boyfriend.
We have learned that James Gandolfini collapsed in his hotel room in Rome around 10:00 last night and was found by his family. The head of the hospital emergency room where he was pronounced dead said a heart attack was the likely cause. An autopsy is planned for Friday -- Anderson. COOPER: Still so unbelievable. I was really shocked by that. Susan, thanks. We're going to have more on the life of James Gandolfini later on tonight.
Up next, controversy over decision to sentence a murderer to death not because he's innocent, but because he may have been sent to death row because he's African-American.
Also ahead, an incredible moment, a 3-year-old boy born deaf hears for the first time. This video is definitely going to put a smile in your face. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the medical breakthrough that made it possible.
COOPER: Welcome back. A Texas man, Duane Buck, convicted of murdering two people has been sentenced to die. He asked an appeals court to grant him a new sentencing hearing and Buck's appeal supported by a broad of coalition of individuals and organizations including a former Texas governor and one of the prosecutors who actually helped convict him.
Not because there were any doubts that he committed murder instead supporters argue that Buck is on death row because he's African American and they point to testimony that jurors heard from an expert witness. Ed Lavandera reports.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is no question Duane Buck is guilty of murder. In 1995, he shot and killed two people including his former girlfriend and wounded his stepsister in this Houston house. The controversy started after a jury convicted him. That's because during the sentencing phase, former Texas prison psychologist, Walter Quijano, was asked this question by a prosecutor.
Quote, "You have determined that the race factor black increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons, is that correct?" Quijano responded yes and later in asking the jury to sentence Buck to death rather than life in prison, the prosecutor told the jury quote, "You heard from Dr. Quijano that there was a probability that the man would commit future acts of violence."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so clear that the testimony shouldn't have been put before the jury.
LAVANDERA: Linda Geffin was an attorney working the case, but not just any attorney. She was one of the prosecutors and now pushing to get Dwayne Buck a new sentencing hearing.
LINDA GEFFIN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: The idea that he would be walked to the execution chamber without this simple hearing boggles the mind. It just doesn't make good sense.
LAVANDERA: Walter Quijano became a lightning rod figure 13 years ago when the death sentences of six inmates were overturned because of Quijano's controversial testimony that race is one 20 factors that can determine if someone is likely to be a future danger to society. All of them were given new sentencing hearings and all were sent back to death row.
Duane Buck was denied a new sentencing hearing, but he's appealing that decision. From jail Dwayne Buck remembers what it was like to hear Quijano's testimony.
DUANE BUCK, DEATH ROW INMATE (via telephone): He said basically because he was black he needs to die and I felt that was strange because nobody else, no prosecutor or the judge, nobody didn't -- it was like it was an everyday thing in the courts.
LAVANDERA: Another member of the prosecution's team Roe Wilson says Buck doesn't deserve a new sentencing hearing because Quijano's testimony had little impact on the jury. In fact, Wilson noted Quijano was called as an expert witness for the defense and testified that the convicted killer should be spared the death penalty.
ROE WILSON, HARRIS COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Was it right? Should you ever link race to why is judgment is reached no. But in Buck's case that's not what happened and in the cases where that happen, it was reversed.
LAVANDERA: After days of calling Walter Quijano, we tracked him down at his suburban Houston psychological clinic.
(on camera): Hi. My name is Ed Lavandera with CNN and we've been trying to get a hold of you to talk to you about your testimony in several death penalty cases.
DR. WALTER QUIJANO, PSYCHOLOGIST: Sure.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Quijano invited us in. He says to clear the misconceptions over his testimony, he says over the years he's received death threats.
(on camera): The allegations that -- allegations that you are racist, allegations that you are racist and that your testimony is racist, what do you say to that?
QUIJANO: Well, it's not true but of course, I have never been that type of person who will argue for me.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Quijano says his testimony has been misunderstood. He argues that some 20 social factors can be used to determine if someone is likely to repeat violent behavior, things like age, sex, economic background, education, drug use and yes, race.
QUIJANO: They pick that one piece of testimony and twist it and make it look like race causes people to commit crimes, which is stupid. Now no human being would say such thing.
LAVANDERA (on camera): But in some of the testimony I've read you say race is a fact tomorrow as to whether or not someone will be a future danger so it comes off that you're saying if someone is black they are more likely to be dangerous in the future.
QUIJANO: People with guns are more likely to be violent than no guns. It doesn't mean all gun owners are violent. So it's simplistically taking this and they are twisting it. I'll show a quote in a classic textbook in violence. It say if you do not factor in race, you are not discussing the problem seriously.
LAVANDERA: It's unfair that if you're a black defendant and you're being compared to what a bunch of other black people are doing, that ultimately that's not fair for you, is it?
QUIJANO: It is not fair, but those are the statistical studies, but when you say is likely to commit another crime because he's male, nobody objects to that. That's the same level of comparison.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Duane Buck has one last chance to fight his death penalty sentence, a Texas appeals court will decide any day this summer if he gets another shot in the courtroom. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Houston, Texas.
COOPER: The next time we'll hear anything from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is next Wednesday, but we don't know if there will be decision in the case. I want to talk more about it with Syracuse University Professor Boyce Watkins who is the founder of yourblackworld.com. He joins us by Skype and also here is Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst.
Jeff, let me start with you. Is there any doubt that considering race like this is a violation of this guy's constitutional rights?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No doubt. This is textbook. When I started looking into this I had to look several times because you think he didn't really say that, but he really did say that.
COOPER: And he continues to --
TOOBIN: And John Cornyn, who is now senator from Texas. He used to be the attorney general. He said that - Buck and the five others deserved new hearings, and the five others got the new hearings, as that story said. They were all sentenced to death again, but for some reason they won't give Buck a new hearings and it's just completely outrageous.
COOPER: Boyce, you say this is really indicative of a deeper infection that plagues the court system in this country.
BOYCE WATKINS, FOUNDER, YOURBLACKWORLD.COM: Yes, absolutely. You know, before we get upset with what Dr. Quijano said, which I certainly don't agree with. We have to realize that to some extent what he's doing is he is slapping the justice system in the face with well-documented racial disparities that exist across the country.
When I started working on a massive incarceration campaign with Russell Simons, one of the first things that we brought to light is that according to the sentencing project African-American males get sentences that are 20 percent longer than white males even when they commit the same crimes. So even though the professor was naive enough to explicitly mention race as a factor in sentencing, the reality is that we've been implicitly using race as a factor for a very long time.
COOPER: Jeff, what they are saying and not granting him a new hearing is that this guy was a defense witness and that makes some sort of a difference.
TOOBIN: I mean, the jury hears what the jury hears, regardless of who is putting forth the witness. The other factor here is Texas has an unusual death penalty law in that the issue of future dangerousness is important. Unfortunately, that law leads to all sorts of quackery. The idea -- I mean, the legal system has a hard enough time telling people -- determining what happened in the past. The idea that you can put a psychologist on and predict future dangerousness is just absurd --
COOPER: Like that movie about the future crime, you know, fighting future crime.
TOOBIN: Exactly and Quijano is not the only psychologist who has gotten in trouble. There is a famous Dr. Death who testified all the time, who gave similar ridiculous testimony, but the whole idea of psychologists telling juries that they can predict who is dangerous is fraudulent in and of itself.
COOPER: That was the minority report. Boyce, if this case doesn't reheard, what message does that send to African-Americans in Texas and the rest of the country?
WATKINS: Well, I think if you look at the justice system across the country, especially in Texas, we have to realize that prisons have become the new slave plantations. When you look at the racial disparities particularly what happened with the war on drugs, we know that African-Americans, particularly black men are an endangered species largely because of the prison industrial complex.
Families have been destroyed. I do cases every single day. Yesterday I read a case about an entire family that was sent to prison for drug distribution so all the children grew up without parents because of this system. So what we have to understand is that our desire to hold up the law over simply doing the right thing is really destroying the fabric of our country. We're really setting our children up for a dismal future when we decide that incarcerating people is more important than making our country safer and better in the long run.
COOPER: So Jeff, he could get -- even if he got a new sentencing hearing, he still could be sentenced to death.
TOOBIN: That's exactly what happened with the other five.
COOPER: So nobody is arguing --
TOOBIN: Go home.
COOPER: Go home. It's a question of he should be sentenced without race in mind.
TOOBIN: It just so happens, as I understand, Buck is an absolutely model prisoner, talks to others on death row. There does seem to be a chance that a jury informed of that would take that into consideration and maybe not sentence him to death, but this is no chance that a jury could say he is not guilty. He can go home. That would not be on the table in this case.
COOPER: Boyce Watkins, it's good to have you on, Jeff Toobin as well.
Just ahead, a 3-year-old boy who was born totally deaf is making medical history. We'll show you the technology. It's an amazing story and it will put a smile on your face to see this little boy, a 3-year-old, hearing his dad's voice for the very first time. That's ahead.
COOPER: Most of us, of course, don't remember the first time we heard a sound, none of us do. It's impossible because it happens in the womb, but a 3-year-old boy named Grayson Clamp was worn totally deaf and will never forget that moment when he first heard sound and was captured on video. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daddy loves you, daddy loves you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's incredible moment obviously for Grayson and his family. He was born without the nerves need to process and hear sound. He's the first child in the United States to get what's called an auditory brain steam implant, a device that's being studied in clinical trials across the country. He had the surgery in April in North Carolina.
Joining me now is our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So I mean, it's remarkable to see his face light up like that. How does this implant work?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I can't stop watching this video. It's amazing when he hears that sound for the first time. Let me show the way this works and again, it's just -- it is remarkable. We're looking at a true medical sort of first hear. As you pointed out, Anderson, the nerve that goes from his ear to his brain stem is what he doesn't have and that's a very specific kind of hearing loss.
So what they are trying to do is basically recreate part of the nervous system. Let me show you on my brain model. So this is the right side of the brain. This -- you see the microphone that's sort of sitting around his ear, that takes sound, processes, distils it into frequencies, Anderson, and then literally there is a wire that goes straight to his brain stem.
Know this, that it takes that sound that he's hearing and sort of shuttles it all throughout the brain allowing him to have that reaction you saw there, just one of total surprise and what is that, as he heard his dad's voice for the first time.
COOPER: This is different than the cochlear implant?
GUPTA: It is different than the cochlear implant. With cochlear implant, you're essentially have something that's defective in your inner ear, but the nerve that goes from your inner ear to your brain, your brain stem that's working so you don't need to replace that. In a very small percentage of people including Grayson, they don't have the nerve at all so it's a much more difficult problem in some ways to tackle, but the way they tackle it was to essentially create a part of his nervous system. It's just an unbelievably remarkable thing.
COOPER: You know, watching the whole video he seems confused or thrown by it. I can't imagine what it's like to live that many years of your life without hearing any sound and all of a sudden, hearing sound. Do the doctors know how much he can hear and exactly what he hears?
GUPTA: It's a great question and it's difficult to know and we asked the same thing. They say they know he is sound aware. He's clearly hearing sounds. How much he can actually process and recognize as language that's harder to tell. One anecdote they shared with me is that he seems to love music.
In fact when he hears music, he will go over and turn it louder. He seems to enjoy that. He's 3 years old and we talk about this idea that your brain is pretty plastic at that age. He's probably going to grow and learn very rapidly what to make of the sounds and transmit it into something actually useful for him.
COOPER: Will he be able to speak at some point?
GUPTA: That's what they say. Again, we asked the same thing. They think he will be able to hear the language, understand it, and then be able to express himself through spoken language, as well. The doctors seem pretty convinced. This is the first time it's been done on a kid in this country.
It's been done in adults before but again, kids' brains are still developing so it's a little unclear how much the brain has already developed and what it will adapt to specifically, but the doctors seem very, very optimistic that he's going to be able to do that.
COOPER: So this is for a child just a testing -- it will be available to anybody with his condition?
GUPTA: Yes, right now it's very much in testing phase. He's the first child in America to have this done. It's been approved for 10 children, five of whom don't have that nerve at all from the ear to the brain. Five who have the nerve, but the nerve was traumatized in some way, damaged. So it's not useful. But, you know, this seems to be working so far with Grayson. He's sort of the first patient, but if it continues to work and that's the goal to make it much more widely available.
COOPER: We wish him the best and his family. Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Grayson's parents will be on NEW DAY tomorrow morning starting at 6:00 a.m. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We run out of time for the "Ridiculist" tonight. That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10 p.m. Eastern another edition of 360. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts right now.