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There has been some question as to why Warren Jeffs is on the FBI's top 10 list when there are so many offenders out there with similar and even more charges pending. Yes, he is charged with very, very serious crimes... but why Jeffs and not someone else? How is one chosen for that list?
I hope you watched last night and heard guest Chip Burrus, the acting assistant director for Criminal Investigation at the FBI. I booked him so we could find out how the FBI decides — with so many dangerous people at large — who gets on the 10 "Most Wanted List." I also wanted to know why it mattered if someone is on the list or not. Like you, I am hopeful that all law enforcement is going after all the dangerous people who are at large, not just the 10 on the list.
Among other things, our guest told us that if someone is on the list, that person is likely to get more media attention and this helps the FBI get fugitives. If more people know about the person, it is more likely the FBI will get a call that the person has been spotted. That seems like a good idea, but then I wondered, how come most of us only know two people on the list: Usama bin Laden and now Warren Jeffs? Does making the list really mean that person gets lots of media attention? Can you name the other eight without going to the FBI Web site?
It is estimated by the DA and other lawyers in Durham, that if the Duke lacrosse players under indictment go to trial, that trial will not occur until next spring. There is no state speedy trial law in North Carolina forcing an earlier trial (of course there is the clause in the U.S. Constitution, but it has little effect on someone who is not in custody pre-trial). Usually defense lawyers are content to have their "on bond" clients' trials delayed, since witnesses can get tired of pursuing the matter, die, move away, commit crimes themselves, etc., making it very difficult for the prosecutor to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The result can be that the prosecutor must drop the case or go to trial with a weak case.
In the Duke lacrosse case, I suspect that the lawyer for Reade Seligmann might want to get his client's case to trial fast — if the timeline is as good as he promoted in the beginning. Why? Because his client is a student and this is a terrible charge to hang over anyone's head — especially a young person in college. If that timeline is solid, I would do whatever I could to force the case to trial ASAP. This is a serious case, but not a complicated one. It should try in less than a week and shame on North Carolina if its court system is so backed up and congested that it can't accommodate a trial earlier. (And yes, shame on every other state with a similar problem and there are many.)
Under the headline "Never Dull," I just got a hot tip: There is a chicken pox alert in a federal trial in Los Angeles! Apparently a juror in a federal criminal trial has come down with chicken pox. The sitting juror was diagnosed about a week ago and this happened amid a long and complex criminal trial.
The federal judge has had to put the trial on hold until the juror gets better, which is expected to be a few weeks. Chicken pox has an incubation period of about three weeks, which means the juror was contagious for three weeks prior to the diagnosis. One other thing — and I am sure the answer to the question you have: Three other jurors on the panel have not had not had chicken pox and are sweating it out... yes, never dull!
And, speaking of chicken pox, can you think of any place that is more of a human Petri dish than a jail housing thousands? Well — again, never dull — I am also told there are a few cases of chicken pox recently diagnosed at the MDC (the jail in Los Angeles). Stay tuned!
While I am on a roll with hot (and I mean hot!) tips, here is another: My picture is in this month's Playboy Magazine. OK, now for the whole story: There is a great profile of my colleague Shepard Smith and there is a sidebar in the article with a picture of me. I must confess, I thought my "chances" to make Playboy were over. And to Shep? Thanks.
Now for some e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
Every time I see or hear the words "Dr. Phil," I fall down laughing. I am unable to hear the name or, worse yet, see Dr. Phil without collapsing in fits of laugher. You see I have a deep, dark secret: I went to high school with Phil. He graduated in 1968 and I graduated in 1969. The only reason I knew who he was at all was because he was a football player. I had a crush on another player.
We had very large classes — mine had over 900 students. If I were only a few years older it could have been Gen. Myers, a much better one to remember. I have Phil's yearbook pictures — pretty funny, he was follicle challenged even back then!
Trust me when I tell you I wouldn't take any advice from any of those people, no offense.
Class of 1969
Shawnee Mission North
E-mail No. 2
Bernie's lookalike is the real bad guy on "24." I have thought myself that he resembles Bernie. I know I should know the man's name but I don't. But, trust me, this dude is not a nice man. Of course we all know that Bernie is! (Except when he got so heated up about Rush Limbaugh. That was overkill).
J. Gayle Kretschmer
E-mail No. 3
We watch you regularly and appreciate much of what you do. But I take very strong exception to your use of the word "fundamentalist" in reference to alleged child molester, polygamist, etc., Warren Jeffs.
Using that term in such an erroneous manner means you are joining the ranks of typical liberal media who never miss an opportunity to bash Christians who hold to a historical biblical view! I don't think you really want to join them.
The media have done this with respect to Islamic extremists as well, calling them "fundamentalist," when in fact the Islamists are using the smoke screen of a religion to cover their dastardly deeds. But the guilty media then use the term "fundamentalist" in what appears to be a move to blanket all who are serious about their faith and make it synonymous with terrorists, child molesters, etc.
Jeffs apparently does not hold to any serious biblical Christian viewpoint. He can claim anything he wants, but he appears to fail the test of "Christian" by any stretch of the imagination. And he is not a "fundamentalist," except as applied to a fugitive child molester, polygamist, etc.
Please check your vocabulary on this matter.
ANSWER: Ron, the name of Warren Jeffs' church is Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are not using the term "fundamentalist" as an adjective to describe our view of the church, but rather to report the name of his Church. Jeff's Church split from mainstream Mormonism after the broader Church renounced polygamy in 1890. The mainstream LDS (Latter Day Saints) church excommunicates members found to be practicing polygamy.
Incidentally, we must be careful not to insult others' religions or violate others religious rights — whatever they may be. We must always juggle the First Amendment against any crimes and polygamy is a crime.
E-mail No. 4 — this article was sent to me in an e-mail:
AMC Wants Teachers To See Spelling Bee Movie For Free
Teachers Must Present Valid School ID
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — AMC Entertainment Inc., the nation's second-largest movie theater chain, is once again trying to help a struggling film.
The Kansas City-based company said Wednesday that any teacher presenting valid school identification or a pay stub at one of its 419 theaters this weekend can see the spelling bee movie "Akeelah and the Bee" for free.
Company officials and representatives for studio Lionsgate Theatrical Films characterized the promotion, good through May 12-14, as a way to honor teachers.
"Akeelah and the Bee" tells the story of an inner-city girl in Los Angeles who uses an innate grasp of language and the help of her teachers to make it to a national spelling bee. It stars Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, as well as Keke Palmer as Akeelah.
"The film underscores the tremendously positive effect that educators can have on our children, and it is our hope that this small gesture lets teachers know how much we appreciate them," said Peter Brown, AMC's chief executive, in a news release.
But the film's ticket sales in its first two weeks have been lackluster, grossing $10.6 million and falling to ninth place this past weekend, according to boxofficemojo.com, an online tracking service.
AMC is showing "Akeelah" in its theaters as part of AMC Select, the company's effort to introduce smaller, independent movies into its menu of commercial blockbusters.
Last year, AMC was the first to offer refunds for anyone who saw the Russell Crowe boxing movie "Cinderella Man" in certain cities and didn't like it. Company officials said they wanted to help what they saw as an outstanding movie that had been overlooked in the summer blockbuster season.
Cinemark USA Inc. later offered the same money-back guarantee.
ANSWER: By the way, this press release was forwarded to me on Wednesday. If you saw the movie, you know why the congressman did this:
May 4, 2006
Hollywood Gets Nod From Congressman
WASHINGTON, DC — Hollywood, usually the recipient of the ire of Congress, gets a pat on the back for celebrating students who overcome immeasurable adversity to excel academically.
A heartwarming drama, "Akeelah and the Bee" released by Lionsgate films, is an inspirational story of an 11-year-old girl who advances from the inner city of South Los Angeles to the National Spelling Bee. The story unites her family, friends and neighbors in a story of courage that highlights the unlimited talent and perseverance of the youngster.
In recognition of the positive influence the film will have on school children, Congressman Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives congratulating Hollywood for its positive portrayal of young people and commending students in the nation's public school system who continue to work hard and strive for academic success.
"'Akeelah and the Bee' will become the catalyst of an era of academic achievement expected of all America's children," said Congressman Fattah. "This movie emphasizes that we can all be triumphant over life's numerous impediments to succeed at attaining our most lofty goals."
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