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Cheney Recovering from Heart Transplant; Pres. Obama Tours South Korea; Santorum Celebrates Louisiana Win; "I am Trayvon Martin Rally"; Legal Debate Around Teen Shooting; Trayvon, Race & America; President Obama's Healthcare for Supreme Court's Decision if Constitutional
Aired March 25, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for watching. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Churchgoers in cities across the nation traded their Sunday best for hoodies today just like the one 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was shot and killed. Not your typical church attire but these were not typical church services. Many churches are urging followers to sign online petitions demanding justice for the man who admits shooting Trayvon, George Zimmerman.
Some brought iced tea and Skittles with them too. Church services here in Atlanta, that's what Trayvon had with him when he crossed paths with Zimmerman.
George Zimmerman is part of a neighborhood watch program. And when he saw Martin walking around in a hoodie, he got suspicious and started following him. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self defense but it turns out that Martin was never armed.
There is a lot of talk about Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law in this case. It allows someone to use deadly force any time they have a reasonable fear that an assailant could harm them or someone else. Initially Zimmerman's lawyer said it probably didn't apply in this case but now he is changing his tune.
I want to go to CNN's George Howell who is in Sanford, Florida right now. George, what is the lawyer saying now about the "Stand Your Ground" law.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Don, we know that George Zimmerman's attorney reviewed that law and decided that that would be the best way to protect his client if his client is indeed arrested in this case. And again, we actually heard from the Governor Rick Scott here in Florida talking about how he plans to examine this law that really everyone is talking about, Don. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: And I'm going to have different elected officials, appoint individuals but we'll look at all -- all of it. But the first thing we're going to do is really do a thorough investigation to see what happened here.
No one can imagine this happening to their family. We've got to find out exactly what's going to happen with the Florida department law enforcement state attorney Angela Corey is going to do a great job knowing what happened. And make sure justice -- justice prevailed. We have to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: So the fact that that attorney will now look at the "Stand Your Ground" law as possible defense that is really new information that we learned today.
Also today Don was about prayer services. As you mentioned many people going to church, as we know that Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother was at church today in Miami, though media was not allowed inside. But we did see inside many other churches in Atlanta and in New York City. And you see people Don wearing hoodies.
Again, the hoodie now symbolic for people as Zimmerman described in that 911 video, rather 911 audio as suspicious. People wearing those hoodies in solidarity Don for Trayvon Martin's family.
LEMON: George Howell in Sanford, Florida. Thank you very much for that George.
He waited for a donor heart for 20 months. What former Vice President Dick Cheney has begun the road to recovery after receiving a heart transplant yesterday. Cheney is 71 and has had a series of five heart attacks starting when he was half that age. He has also worn a pacemaker for more than a decade. He says he'll always be grateful though he does not know who gave him the heart.
Cheney's former boss George W. Bush sent words saying, he and Laura are quote, "Keeping him in their prayers for a full and speedy recovery."
President Barack Obama is arriving right now in Seoul, South Korea's Hankuk University. He is expected to deliver a speech this hour discussing threats to global security specifically the nuclear threat posed by nations such as Iran and North Korea.
That danger feels very real in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. The President visited there for the first time today shaking hands with soldiers. He is visiting Seoul for this nuclear security summit, a meeting bringing together the leaders of 54 countries.
Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is on the campaign trail in Wisconsin this hour.
He is holding an event in Racine, Wisconsin but he's also celebrating his victory in yesterday's Louisiana primary. Santorum got 49 percent of the vote in Louisiana to Mitt Romney's 27 percent. But Romney still holds a wide lead in the battle for party delegates. Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia hold the next contest coming up on April 3rd.
And make sure you watch the "Situation Room" tomorrow on CNN. On the heels of Santorum's victory in Louisiana Wolf Blitzer has interviews with both Santorum and Newt Gingrich and they'll break down their game plans for next Tuesday's contest in Maryland, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. "Situation Room", CNN, Monday 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
What is expected to be one of the biggest rallies for Trayvon Martin outside of Sanford, Florida is set tomorrow right here in Atlanta. It's called the "I am Trayvon Martin" Rally.
Next, we're talking to the organizer, who is one of the biggest names in today's fight for civil rights.
And every parent can feel the pain of Trayvon's mother and father. Ahead you're going to hear from the moms of young black men and the advice they give their children just to try to keep them from dying. Powerful words that you want to hear.
LEMON: His face is on posters all across this nation right now at rallies. His story is on the cover of newspapers in countless states, but the death of Florida teen, Trayvon Martin has sparked so much more than headlines. In Atlanta, students and activists will hold a rally and march tomorrow evening.
Joining me now is Reverend Markel Hutchins and Morehouse College Senior Class President, Jonathan Howard. They organized something called the "I am Trayvon Martin" Rally and March. And it's going to be held here in Atlanta and you think it's going to be one of the -- one of the biggest right outside of Sanford?
REV. MARKEL HUTCHINS, ORGANIZER, "I AM TRAYVON MARTIN" RALLY: I think so, Atlanta has a rich tradition and legacy of activism and civil rights and social change. And so when the call went out, every organization that is prominently known in Atlanta as a civil rights group came running. Saying we want to be a part of this.
So we think it's going to be a very successful.
LEMON: Why do you think this has caught on so much, as this resonated so much around the country?
HUTCHINS: Well really Don I think that this has everything to do with many black and brown and other Americans really understanding that this is not just about Trayvon. It's about our son, it's about your son and my son. It was Trayvon in Sanford, Florida but unless we really call into account some of these what one might consider regressive pieces of public policy that were really short-sighted to begin with, it could very well be someone else's child in some other state.
And so I think that that -- it is for that cause that people really have come -- come running. LEMON: Jonathan what are you? A senior now --
JONATHAN HOWARD, STUDENT CO-ORGANIZER: I'm a senior.
LEMON: You're a senior.
HOWARD: Yes, sir.
LEMON: Usually when you think of college students, you have to give everyone a bad reputation. You think you know college students are consumed with themselves, with studying, with partying, with dating and those sorts of things, but why has this caught on among college students? Why did this get your attention?
HOWARD: Well, this is frightening for students like myself who are just a little bit older than Trayvon Martin. And we just feel that we need to take a stand, we need to stand behind this family. Let them know that young people that are just a little bit older than Trayvon are behind this cause. And we're going to -- we're going to be here behind them until justice is served.
LEMON: What is the mission, here? What's the purpose? Is it just to show outrage? Is it to change? What's your mission?
HOWARD: Well, one thing and I think our president Dr. Robert Michael Franklin (ph) put it -- put it best, it's not just to -- to be angry, it's not just be outraged but also we need to move beyond that. We need to show love, we need to show forgiveness and we also need to make sure that our voices are heard concerning the injustice.
LEMON: You said love and forgiveness. Do you mean, are you meaning for the shooter as well?
LEMON: Why do you say that?
HOWARD: I say that because -- like I said we definitely have to move past the issue.
Yes, we want justice. Yes, we want him arrested. We want justice to be served. But past that as a people and just as a society we need to be able to forgive and to show love so that hate crimes like this one won't happen all over the place.
LEMON: Do you think this is a rush to judgment? Because we've had people who would say you know what there is no, right now we don't know the full investigation, it hasn't played out? Do you think it's a rush to judgment?
HOWARD: I am not sure. And I'm not sure if I'm -- I have the right to speak on that but I do know that, I do feel that there is an injustice that has been done.
LEMON: Do you think this is a rush to judgment? HUTCHINS: I don't think it's a rush of judgment at all because what we do know so far is that Trayvon is dead. George Zimmerman is walking the streets. What we know is what we heard on the tapes. What we know is that law enforcement essentially told Zimmerman to cease and desist. He was clearly the aggressor.
And there is a lot of conversation going on around the nation now about whether or not George Zimmerman was, in fact, a person who violated the law given the "Stand Your Ground" public policy. But the reality is George Zimmerman was the aggressor.
And I think Don, one of the reasons why people are feeling so much outrage is because we still have unresolved issues in America around race.
HUTCHINS: It is just that simple. And one of the reasons why I think black families and parents are now having the talk with young black men is because we realize that even if others in America don't know it, if Trayvon had been Trevor, someone would have gone to jail on the spot right then and there. And then had to prove -- then would have had to prove that it was not in fact cold-blooded murder.
LEMON: What if it turns out that in this case that Trayvon was the aggressor in this circumstance?
HUTCHINS: Well, we know that that's not the case. Because the fact of the matter is Trayvon --
LEMON: Because that's not -- we said, because the attorney is saying that his -- his client in fact was the one who was a victim here and that his nose was broken and it was bloody and bleeding and what have you, that Trayvon actually came back that's what -- that's what the attorney is saying.
HUTCHINS: There is a difference in whether or not an assault occurred.
HUTCHINS: That's a different conversation. The fact of the matter is we don't know whether or not there was an assault.
HUTCHINS: But we do know that there was aggression and the aggression was on the part of Mr. Zimmerman. Because there again, the law enforcement told him, essentially, cease and desist and he failed to do so.
HUTCHINS: And that is what has caused so much outrage across the country. LEMON: And the interesting thing is when people, if -- if someone -- if I am walking down a place where I have the right to walk, I'm invited to and someone says what are you doing here and I look at them and go, "What are you doing here?"
LEMON: What the heck are you doing here?
LEMON: What -- who are you without a badge and what have you. So that's the interesting part of it that -- that no one is talking about. You would expect to be in the biggest rally and it's tomorrow at what time?
HOWARD: In front of the state capitol.
LEMON: Who've you invited?
HOWARD: We've invited members of students from the Atlanta University Center, Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, Speldman, Morris Brown, we've invited the NAACP, the SCLC --
LEMON: I think what's interesting Jonathan and Reverend is that it's not just -- when I look at these rallies, and if you look at the "New York Times" there's a picture of -- these aren't just African- Americans who are showing up at these rallies.
HUTCHINS: Absolutely, absolutely because I think many Americans of every race, color, creed and age recognize that this was an issue -- and this is an issue that should break (ph) the hearts and minds and conscience of all people.
There are some unresolved issues and I think until we as a nation come to grips with the fact that we still have to deal -- even with an African-American man in the highest office in the land, when we have African-American mothers who still in 2012 have to have "the talk" with their young black men about what it means, the impediments, the injustices that they can necessarily expect as a matter of their culture and their race. We have a long way to go and because of that, I think that thousands will come in Atlanta tomorrow.
LEMON: Reverend Hutchins, Mr. Howard, thank you both.
HUTCHINS: Thank you.
LEMON: We appreciate you joining us.
The admitted shooter of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, is not under arrest perhaps in part because of Florida's "Stand your Ground" law had. We're looking at whether the law really applies in this case? And Trayvon Martin's death is sparking outrage among Americans regardless of race or ethnicity. As we've just said here we're going to talk about that with anti-racism writer and activist, Tim Wise.
LEMON: So we had been looking for your views on the Trayvon Martin shooting and we asked you to tweet us starting yesterday at hash tag CNNTrayvon on Twitter and you gave us some of your thoughts.
Here are just a couple of some of what people said. This is from Kid Benjamin, he tweeted, "Trayvon Martin's attorney said, I don't believe race played a part in the shooting. So he must have gotten killed over his candy."
And then Anita Rene Bell writes, "This is inequality, injustice, inhumane and immoral, not racism. Fear started the ball rolling. Faith wins. Fear started the ball rolling, faith wins."
So very interesting comments that are coming in. Thank you very much and we're still checking them -- hash tag CNNTrayvon.
And beyond the Twitter community, right, people are talking about the man who shot the Florida teen. Police have not arrested neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman who said he acted in self-defense.
I spoke with criminal defense attorney Holly Hughes and as well as Alex Manning, she trains citizen police at Georgia Public Safety Training Center about all of this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX MANNING, SENIOR INSTRUCTOR, STATE POLICE ACADEMY IN GEORGIA: The Neighborhood Watch and the Citizen (ph) Police Academy are really set up to bridge the gap between citizens and police agencies to let agencies know what we can do for our citizens and citizens tell the police agencies what we need from you. It's the familiarizing with police procedures and things that police officers do on a day to day basis and also when they're investigating a crime.
When you set up a police academy, there's familiarization at the end of every day no matter what topic you cover the last thing you say is, you are not a police officer. You do not have the powers of the arrest and basically don't do this on your own. Call us.
LEMON: Which is -- which is essentially what the 911, the person on the other end of the 911 call said, are you following him? He says yes. "We don't need you to do that." Is that correct?
MANNING: Exactly. And if you see someone driving drunk on the road, get the tag number and the description of the car and tell them which direction you're going then back off. Your safety is important.
LEMON: And let the people who are licensed to do it handle it. I want you -- speaking of the 911 call, I want you to listen to a quick sound. It's from George Zimmerman's 911 call. Many people at CNN have repeatedly listened to this part of the 911 call. We've had the sound enhanced but there is no consensus on whether Zimmerman used a racial slur. It may be offensive to some people but we're going to play it. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I have not listened to this portion of the 911 tape at all. I just want to hear it raw right now. If you can play maybe ten seconds before and let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Down towards the -- other entrance of the neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok which entrance is that that he's heading towards?
ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LEMON: Ok. That was it at the very end. The sound has been enhanced. Again, if you hear it, some people are saying that it's -- he's saying f-ing boons, or it -- just f-ing coons. Because that's what the people are saying. Yes, just say it.
HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Just say it. Yes. I mean it is what it is. If that's what you think he said, it's offensive but it comes from him.
LEMON: Does that change it in any way what kind of case this makes it?
HUGHES: Well, of course, it does. You know why, Don? Because here's the thing, whenever you have a crime, we always want to know, what did the defendant do? Did he shoot this person? Did he -- you know, what was the act he committed?
When you attack somebody based solely on their race, religion, sexuality, that puts you in a whole different ball game. That is a hate crime. And at that point we are asking a jury to get into the mind of the defendant, not just what did he do but why did he do it? Because it is so much more insidious -- you know, you're in a bar fight, things get mad, you punch somebody, that's one thing. But when you go out looking to victimize someone simply based on the color of their skin that is a hate crime.
We could see federal charges here if, in fact, the prosecutors agree that they heard the same thing you did on that tape.
LEMON: And Trayvon Martin's death is reviving some difficult, even painful questions about race in this country. I spoke about this with anti-racism writer and activist Tim Wise. He is author of "Dear White America: Letter to a new minority". I started by showing him what a witness to the shooting told CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO LIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": What was your impression of the police's attitude toward this? Do you feel an impression?
MARY CUTCHER, CALLED 911 TO REPORT SHOOTING: They were siding with him.
COOPER: With Zimmerman?
CUTCHER: Oh, yes.
COOPER: What makes you say that?
CUTCHER: I guess, just their nonchalant attitude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does what she say surprise you, Tim?
TIM WISE, ANTI-RACISM ACTIVIST: Not at all. Look, I've done trainings with law enforcement around the country, and I've spoken to lots of officers. And of course, they are good conscientious officers. But I've asked them in those trainings, you know, what's the first thing you think when you see a young black male driving a nice car in your community, and inevitably they say "drug dealer" or some other kind of criminal.
When I say about a white male, same age, driving the same kind of car. They say "spoiled little rich kid, daddy probably bought them a car". If law enforcement has those biases, we ought not be surprised that they then enforce the law in a differential way when something like this happens.
LEMON: Tim, George Zimmerman's dad has issued a statement pointing out that George Zimmerman is a Spanish-speaking minority as if to say, "Hey, this isn't strictly a black and white issue.
How does that fit into the discussion. Just because you're a minority doesn't mean that you can be biased. Just because you're gay doesn't mean you can't be homophobic. How does that -- that even make sense?
WISE: Right. It means absolutely nothing. Research for 20 years now has found that large numbers of white folks and Latino folks, for instance have anti-black bias. The fact that a person of color may have the same bias against black folks or other people of color that a lot of white folks have means nothing. There were black slave owners, that doesn't mean the institution of slavery was not anti-black racism in this country. That means absolutely nothing at all.
LEMON: Next, reaction to the killing of Trayvon Martin from some people who can relate to it more than others. They are the mothers of young black men.
LEMON: We have seen widespread outrage over the killing of 17-year- old Trayvon Martin. Much of that has been directed at the shooter, George Zimmerman. But those speaking out don't mince words about how they feel about investigators have handled the case.
We heard from this man on our Trayvon Martin special.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Sanford Police Department's initial investigation was ridiculous. Here's a man standing with the weapon in his hand and they take his word that he's never been arrested. Then they do not do a background check on Mr. Zimmerman. How is that possible when they stop me at a traffic light and do a background investigation on me?
If Sanford Police had done what they were supposed to do initially, we would not be here tonight, because Mr. Zimmerman would have been arrested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The Trayvon Martin conversation continues straight from the moms who live it day in and day out. How have they shared their concerns with their sons? I spoke with Natalie Brown and her son Nicholas as well as mom Deetta West.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What went through your head when you heard about the Trayvon Martin killing?
DEETTA WEST, CONCERNED MOTHER: Well, I thought about my sons, because after seeing the pictures on the internet of Trayvon Martin, I thought he was a 14-year-old child not knowing that he was 17. My first reaction was to speak to my son and tell him that things like this does happen in life, and we don't know how to prevent it but sometimes they look at the way we dress, the way we walk, what we do. And we don't want that to happen. We want all that to stop.
LEMON: Nicholas, do you understand the conversation when your mom -- how did you handle it? And do you live it. If you happen to be in that situation, I would imagine it would be tough to follow every single thing that she said in your head.
NICHOLAS BROWN: Yes. I mean, I listen and I just follow my mom's wishes so I don't end up with this happening to me. And, you know --
LEMON: What did you think when you heard about this? BROWN: Well, at first I thought, like, how could this happen to somebody, an innocent boy just walking? He didn't do anything wrong. And being that his skin color is brown, he had to get shot, killed for no reason?
LEMON: Ms. West, I know that you have a son as well, and you're very passionate about this. I know that you spoke to him about it, but he also talked to you and wrote something, I think, that's very poignant. Do you want to read it?
LEMON: How old is your son again?
WEST: He's 20.
LEMON: 20. What did he write.
WEST: Well, I don't know if I have time to read the whole thing.
LEMON: Just read -- if you can read a portion of it, yes.
WEST: Ok. So he started out by saying, "What is justice, what is peace? Can you tell me? Can you? You probably could, but it's going to be a major waste of your time because I don't believe in either, anymore." Then he goes on to say "There's something seriously wrong with this picture" And another thing, "If you call the police and they tell you to stop following the person because there is a conclusion that he's a non-threat, why proceed?" Lastly, "How is it not obvious to you that he was the one that felt he was in danger because of your suspicion. Man, I don't know how I really should think, but I do know one thing. If this was my brother, cousin, nephew or son, good old Mr. Zimmerman wouldn't have made it to that prison or courthouse, for that matter. Of course, that would have caused more problems. So if earthly justice won't prevail, then it's in God's hands. Truthfully, it really is. I'm done."
That's what he said, "I'm done".
LEMON: There are a lot of shaking heads on the set right now. And what does that do to you as a mom? And to have to have these conversations?
WEST: It just totally rips my heart out because we started these conversations, my husband and I, with our son at an early age. And not to the point of just being blatant. We kind of skirted around it by building him up, by speaking words of wisdom like, you are somebody, you're going to be the best, you're going to be great without really calling the race card or going to that place. We wanted our son to grow up in a place where he would know that he is somebody. And he's special.
But as he grew older, then we had to kind of go into that place like, you know what, you're different. Just check it out, son, and avoid confrontations. When you start driving, don't reach quickly into your glove compartment if you get stopped for a speeding ticket. LEMON: Yes, ma'am. Yes, sir. Every chance you get, do exactly -- my parents had the talk with me. I don't have kids yet so I haven't had the opportunity to have that talk, but they talked with me, and my family did fairly well. And it was, where did you get the fancy car, boy? Why are you driving that car?
LEMON: Sometimes I would have to leave the car there and walk home until they figured out exactly what happened. Before we can mover -- we're going to a break quickly, but you were shaking your head as well. What does this do to you?
NATALIE BROWN, NICHOLAS HASWELL'S PARENT: It hurts my heart, because as a parent, you don't want anything to ever happen to your children. You don't want any of this. And growing up, I have an interracial family so we didn't have to play the race card because we're mixed.
LEMON: Coming up, Trayvon Martin's death has sparked some pretty tough conversations. You'll hear more from some black mothers talking to their sons about survival. That's next.
LEMON: I had a chance to discuss the Trayvon Martin with Georgia congressman and civil rights pioneer John Lewis. We talked about the effect this story is having on people across America. And I asked him if a possible arrest of George Zimmerman would mean justice had been served in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Well, the arrest of Zimmerman would not be the end. It's just the beginning. But in my estimation, there needs to be outside forces, the department of justice, the FBI, the community relations service of the department of justice should be on the ground in Sanford. This is having a chilling effect on a young African-American male, their mothers, their fathers. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And being a mom is already a pretty tough job, but imagine the difficult conversations black mothers are having with their sons in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin. I spoke with Natalie Brown and her son Nicholas Haswell, as well as mom, Deetta West.
WEST: It's very painful because you feel like our young black men are being set up to be target practice, and -- I'm sorry. I said to myself I wasn't going to go there, but as I think about these amazing young -- and I'm dealing with the senior men, the older men -- I'm nervous when my husband says he's going for a walk in the neighborhood for fear that someone is looking outside. He has to put a hoodie on if it's cold outside. He has a close cuts in his - and that make me -- my son comes home for spring break. He is a student at Georgia southern and he comes home and he says, mom, I'm going to take a walk. I don't really want to say to them don't go for a walk, but I know he needs to and he's a little overweight, and I just say that he may hate the fact I'm saying that, but he know he needs to walk and get that exercise. But here's my son walking through the neighborhood. I fear that someone is looking out their window, and we live in somewhat of a gated subdivision. I'm sorry, I just --
LEMON: There's no need to apologize because it's a very real and painful reality for -- I'm speaking as an African-American. I can't speak as a Hispanic or any other person of color. I'm an African- American and I know it's a painful reality that many of us face. And it's not only painful for the black man, it's painful for our mothers and the women in our lives who worry about us and have to have that conversation with us.
And there is a big segment of the population who don't believe it exists at all. I think Charles Blow of the "New York times" put in great perspective. Growing up, you have to - the away the tone of your voice, it's a little bit highly when you are talking to people, you speak like this instead of your natural tone.
The way you carry your body. It's something you unconsciously live with, and it can rise and make you angry and make you blow up at times and make you change the way you live. You stopped wearing hoodies. Why, Nicholas?
NICHOLAS HASWELL, NATALIE BROWN'S SON: Because of situation. It just -- I don't want to end up like or, you know, you live what is someone I'm not. I'm wearing a hoodie, walking outside at night, just going to school, going to take a jam with my friends.
LEMON: You're wearing a backwards cap and some people may see that as suspicious or whatever just like they see a hoodie as suspicious. It's fashion. I see why kids are doing that as Hispanic kids doing it. I see all kids wear their hats backwards and wearing hoodies. Do you, some wearing hoodies but do you think that has the same sort of connotation, while you wearing your cap backwards?
HASWELL: Not really.
LEMON: Mom? Have you ever thought about that?
BROWN: Well, yes. It does have -- you're still going to be looked at no matter how you dress or how you present yourself. It's still going to be a problem. And I feel that every kid in the United States, whether it's him or they dress like this. Everyone does it.
LEMON: Are you OK?
WEST: I'm OK. I was just thinking of a friend of mine who makes me stand. She has a 16-year-old son and she was telling me a story about the fact her husband, whose name happens to be Trayvon, they were going for a walk -- this was a couple weeks before Trayvon was shot and was killed. And she said as they were leaving the house, it was in the morning, and they put on their hoodies to go out, and she stopped him and said, you guys take your hoods off. And the son is saying, why? This is a student. He's 16 years old about to go to Drexler University. And now he's questioning, where are the laws to stand your ground? Is it going to be -- what state?
LEMON: Thank you, moms. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing.
We have other news to share tonight including this story. He spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. DNA evidence cleared him but all he got was a release from jail. That's next.
LEMON: A man has spent nearly two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit is now trying to rebuild his life one day at a time. He left prison with almost nothing and his future is uncertain.
Tonight at 8:00 eastern, CNN presents will have a riveting story for you. Here's Kaj Larsen for the preview.
KAJ LARSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 2010, Alan Northrop got some great news.
ALAN NORTHROP, FREED AFTER 17 YEARS IN PRISON: Men. I was jumping up and down the day rooms. And, I'm out of here, I'm out of here.
LARSEN: He was being released from prison after serving 17 years for a crime he didn't commit. Was it hard to transition to the outside?
NORTHROP: Yes, absolutely. I had a really hard time with that. And I still do.
LARSEN: What did they give you when you got out?
LARSEN: He walked out of prison with just the money he had been sent by family and the earnings from his 42 cent-an-hour prison job, a little over $2,000. But he also got something else.
NORTHROP: Yes, I got hit with a child support bill of $11,000.
LARSEN: How were you expected to pay that?
NORTHROP: Good question. I just looked at it and went, really?
There was a gut reaction that this was a horrible injustice.
LARSEN: The innocence project lawyer, Laura Zirosky, worked pho free Alan.
LAURA ZIROSKY, INNOCENCE PROJECT LAWYER: My name is Laura Zirosky and I'm the policy staff attorney with --
LARSEN: Now she's working on a legislation to give him and other exonerated prisoners compensation for their time wrongfully spent in prison.
ZIROSKY: Under the bill, they would be getting $50,000 of each year of wrongful conviction.
LARSEN: For Alan, that could mean as much as $850,000, money he could really use. He works at a factory and lives here with friends because he can't afford his own apartment.
If you got that money, what would that mean to you?
NORTHROP: Some breathing space. You know, help out the family and just start over again, you know. So, I'm starting all over my normal life again.
LARSEN: Is it possible to put a price on the number of years that you spent inside?
NORTHROP: No. There's no price on that. At all.
LEMON: Tonight at 8:00 Eastern, you'll see Alan's story and three other in depth profiles on CNN presents. It's hosted by Randi Kaye and Drew Griffin. Again, that's tonight 8:00 Eastern only here on CNN.
The Supreme Court steps into the health care debate over mandatory insurance. What a reversal to President Obama's law could mean to every American and for his re-election, coming up.
But first, what en it comes to planning for your child's future, experts suggest saving sooner rather than later, but there are some who say it takes more than money to prepare.
CNN Education contributor's Steve Perry explains that.
STEVE PERRY CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: The best time to start planning for a child's education is as soon as you decide to have a child. Because it's never too early to start thinking about what you're going to need to do in order for the child to go on to college. Not just from a financial perspective, but more importantly, academically, how you at home are going to prepare your child for college.
So, I want to you start thinking about it in elementary school. But when you get to high school, that's when the real clock starts ticking. So I need you to make sure your child has four years of English, at least three years of math and preferably up to calculus, if at all possible. Three years of a foreign language, and I want them to take the highest science that they can in the school.
Now, grades matter, of course. It's also important to know that grades are not the only thing colleges are looking for, because what colleges also want to know is that your child is involved in extracurricular activities. So they should be in two sports a year or be involved in at least two activities and least they have a leadership role.
They should also participate in some sort of community base activity.
LEMON: This week the Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against President Obama's health care overhaul. The court will have to decide whether the sweeping changes are constitutional. That decision will likely affect every American and may play a role in this year's election.
Our Dan Lothian has the story now.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Don, on the two year anniversary of the president's healthcare law that was on Friday, Republicans attacked the president for not making any public comments on the matter. They suggest he was hiding from what was, in their view, a failure.
But White House aides pointed to what everything else the administration was doing to promote the health care law, and they deny that this year it was a public liability.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): It took a bruising battle to get to the signing. President Obama barely got the affordable care act, his signature accomplishment, across the finish line. But at a high cost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Barack Obama is anti-American.
LOTHIAN: The tea party found its voice and set out to dismantle what had been a cornerstone of the president's 2008 campaign.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not a mandate on government to provide health insurance, it's a mandate on individuals to purchase it.
LOTHIAN: Once in office, the president pushed hard to sell the plan to the country.
OBAMA: We need health care reform because it's essential to our economic future.
LOTHIAN: And to congress. OBAMA: The time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed.
LOTHIAN: But the time for bickering has only just begun. And begun. And in one dramatic moment, some argue reached a new low.
OBAMA: The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
REP, JOE WILSON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You lie!
LOTHIAN: Republican congressman Joe Wilson shouted the feelings of many Americans, some of whom joined the tea party in protesting what they dubbed Obamacare, as intrusive and illegal. Now the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on several parts of the new law, including the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase insurance.
WILLIAM GALSTON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Health care touches every single American, every single family.
Reporter: William Galston served in the Clinton White House and is now at the Brookings institution.
GALSTON: If the court decides to strike down even a piece of the law, we will see a replay of a political debate that we haven't seen for three-quarters of a century. This is a game for extremely high stakes not only for the president, not only for the 2012 election, but also for the institution of the Supreme Court itself.
LOTHIAN: The Obama administration's justice department plans to vigorously defend the new law in court against a coalition of 26 states that the president told American public media's marketplace, was motivated by politics.
OBAMA: Because, frankly, these lawsuits that were filed were basically uniformly filed by Republicans who wanted to score political points.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm calling in support of President Obama's campaign.
LOTHIAN: Meanwhile, the president's re-election campaign and the DNC are defending health care reform in battleground states like Ohio through mailings, online and with phone banks.
BILL FINNEGAN, OBAMA SUPPORTER: I'm helping them to understand the good things the legislation does.
LOTHIAN: But as the president visited Ohio last week, the RNC launched its own attack on health care with TV and web ads.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Higher cost for taxpayers. Another broken promise by Obama.
(END VIDEOTAPE) LOTHIAN: The affordable care act remains unpopular. But polls show support is up slightly over last year even though Americans remain divided. On the left, many believe it doesn't go far enough. On the right, they believe it goes too far - Don.
LEMON: Dan, thank you very much. As Dan said, the Supreme Court takes this on starting tomorrow. The big fight is over the law's central provision. The so-called individual mandate which requires Americans to buy health insurance. It's set to take effect in 2014 and as it's written now, those who don't buy insurance would face penalties. The justices could strike down all or just part of the law. That may mean throwing out the individual mandate, which some proponents of the law say is the linchpin that makes the whole plan work. They may not rule on everything this year, but whatever the outcome, we'll have to wait to hear their decision until June. It'll come in June, their decision.
Our top stories are just ahead, including new information about the killing of 17 Afghans allegedly at the hands of a U.S. soldier. There may have been two rampages rather than just one.
Pope Benedict's pointed message to Catholics while presiding over a mass in Mexico.
LEMON: Well, our year-long campaign to honor every day people who are changing the world begins with you. And we want you to tell us about someone you think deserves to be recognized as a CNN hero.
But right now we're going to tell you how to do it. Here's our very own Anderson Cooper to show you how.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Tonight we gather to honor the best that humanity has to offer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you join us, we'll be unstoppable.
COOPER: CNN heroes is looking for everyday people who are changing the world. How do we find these extraordinary people? Well, with your help. You can nominate someone right now at CNNheroes.com. Maybe your hero is defending the planet by protecting the environment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are people who care. I'm one of them.
COOPER: Or helping people overcome obstacles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be no man left behind as long as we are this nation.
COOPER: Or finding a unique approach to solving a problem. Whatever their cause, nominating a CNN hero is easy. First go to CNNheroes.com. Then click "nominate." We ask for some basic information about you and your nominee. Then tell us what makes your hero extraordinary?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who likes the pasta?
COOPER: How are they changing lives for the better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did a great job.
COOPER: It's really important to write from your heart. Because it's your words that will make your hero's story stand out.
A couple of tips. Please don't nominate yourself. It's against the rules. It's not necessary to nominate someone over and over. We read each and every nomination. Really, we do. Be selective. Those honored as CNN heroes are truly dedicating their lives to serving others.
After you told us about your hero, click "submit." it's that simple and that worthwhile. So, nominate someone deserving today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much for bestowing me this incredible honor. This has been the greatest night of my life.
LEMON: A look at some of your top stories right now on CNN. A look at today's top stories.
A common sight in church pews across the country today, followers wearing hoodies in honor of slain Florida teen, Trayvon Martin. Many congregations are urging people to sign a petition for the arrest of admitted shooter, a neighborhood watch patroller who hasn't been charged. Martin was unarmed and waling back from a store at the time.
Investigators for the U.S. military say the soldier accused of a massacre in Afghanistan returned to his base between two rampages in two villages. Staff Sergeant Bales could face the death penalty in a military court. He 17 counts of murder. The military is paying $50,000 in compensation for each victim of that massacre.
The brother of the French gunman killed after that long standoff this week in Toulouse, France, faced a judge today, as an accused accomplished. France police arrest Abdelkaderr Merah to Tuesday night as they closed in on his brother. Prosecutors charged him with complicity in seven murders and two attempted murders. His brother, Mohammed Merah, was wanted in the murders of three Frenchmen paratroopers, a rabbi and three school children. Mohammed Merah claimed he learned his violent ways at an al Qaeda training camp.
In Mexico, Pope Benedict XVI led 400,000 Catholics in an open air mass today. This is the Pope's first trip to Spanish speaking Latin America. In a message to the crowds he asked Mexican Catholics to boldly promote peace across the country.
And much to the onlookers' delight, the Pope later donned, there he is, a sombrero. Tomorrow he travels to Cuba. Very nice, Pope. Very nice. I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you back here at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. In just a short while, CNN presents begin and make sure you watch it. I'll see you back at 10:00.