Did the Amber Alert System Fail Carlie Brucia?

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, February 9, 2004.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN. HOST: A disturbing new surveillance tape surfaces in the deadly kidnapping of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia. The tape shows her alleged killer, Joseph Smith, driving near the Florida car wash before he snatched her.

Carlie's father spoke out just a few hours ago.


JOE BRUCIA, CARLIE BRUCIA'S FATHER: There's been some criticism as far as the Amber Alert, and I don't feel that way. I think they acted responsibly. I don't think it would have helped my daughter.


VAN SUSTEREN: Did the Amber Alert system fail Carlie Brucia, or is Florida's probation system to blame? Here's what Florida's governor said today.


GOV. JEB BUSH, R-FLA.: If repeat violators, repeat offenders that are on probation, aren't penalized, then probation has no meaning. And many communities around the state get it right. Many don't.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us from Tallahassee is Florida attorney general Charles Crist. Welcome, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: I'm told to call you Charlie, too, so for all the viewers who think I'm being disrespectful when I don't call you General, that's your fault, OK, sir?

CRIST: That's fine. I've been called a lot worse, so Charlie's just fine with me, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Good. All right, let's talk about Joseph Smith. Why was he on the street?

CRIST: Well, that's a good question. That's one we're trying to analyze and come to a reasonable conclusion about what we can do, in terms of a policy change to maybe correct that. As you said in the lead-in, he had been on probation. He had violated that probation and was not incarcerated. One of the things we're looking at -- and I want to commend Governor Bush because I think he's exactly right. Somebody who's violated their probation, they've done so repeatedly, and in this instance, also has the background of a criminal history of a conviction of a violent crime, we think is the kind of person who probably ought to automatically be reincarcerated when they commit that probation violation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this case different, though? I mean like -- I mean the judge in this case apparently did not violate and put him in jail because the violation was a failure to pay court costs and fines, which is a little bit different than being picked up on...

God knows, you know, I -- it's terrible that this man was out on the street, but when we look at the judge's decision, should the judge be criticized or was the judge following the law?

CRIST: Well, I think the -- it's difficult to criticize the judge because judges make hard decisions, that's what they do each and every day, and far be it from me to Monday morning quarterback what a judge was doing in this situation.

But I do think it important for all of us to look at the policy that exists in the State of Florida, see if there's a responsible, prudent way that we can sort of fill the gaps, if you will, to make sure that, if this does happen again, a reincarceration is one of the first answers that we're taken to, almost making it mandatory.

We're reviewing it with our legal team in the attorney general's office. We're working in conjunction with Governor Bush's staff and members of the Senate and the House.

The good news in Florida is that we have a legislative session that's coming up very soon, giving us the opportunity to change and do a fix to the law so that, if somebody does violate their probation and they have a violent past, we can automatically reincarcerate them, put them back in jail, make sure that we make our children safe and our citizens safe in the process.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Charlie, thank you very much for joining us. Obviously, a terrible case and terrible tragedy for this family. But thank you for joining us, sir.

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