Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 11, Episode 10 - Law & Order - full transcript

An AIDS researcher is killed by a monkey released in a lab by animal rights activists. The subsequent trial turns into a test case on the ethics of using animals as test subjects.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
In the criminal justice system

the people are represented by two
separate yet equally important groups,

the police
who investigate crime

and the district attorneys
who prosecute the offenders.

These are their stories.

Since when are you
such a financial wizard?

Because I have a 401 k?

I have a savings account,
I have life insurance,

and my brother-in-law just
put me in a mutual fund.

I don't want to hear
about anything else.

When it comes time to retire,

you're gonna be
crying in your beer.


What the hell is this?

There's one of 'em...

But where are the rest of 'em?

Oh, God.


Who is he?

According to his ID,
his name is Ronald Lee.

He's a molecular biologist.

Any idea what he died from?

Not really.

All I can see is the one
bite mark on his hand.

Must've bitten clear
through the glove.

Forcible entry?

Not to the doors,
not to the cages.

The monkeys were infected
with something, right?

They weren't here to learn
how to ride unicycles.

According to what
the lab people said,

half of them were infected
with a recombinant AIDS virus.

Any sign of them?

Only the one.


This the perp?

Two guys who work here
got him back in the cage.

And what's your story, huh?

They said one of 'em gets out

they fight like hell
to not get put back in.

So would I.

TONG: Seventeen
monkeys were taken.

Eight of them were infected with a
strain of Simian immunodeficiency virus

that's been genetically
modified with human AIDS virus.

How likely is it that they'll
infect anybody else?

Suffice it to say that
anyone who gets near them

is at risk of being
bitten and infected.

We have no idea
where these monkeys are?

Not as of yet.

At this point, I think it's inadvisable
to go public with the fact that

the Center for Disease Control
is involved.

All it's going to do is
create unnecessary panic.


If we don't manage to locate these
monkeys in a reasonable period of time,

I'm derelict in my responsibilities
if I don't go public.

What's reasonable?

Seventy-two hours.

We'll do the best we can.

I want updates.
Yes, sir.

Uh, Dr. Tong, could you just
stick around for a minute?

We need to ask you
a few questions.


Have we heard
from the M.E.?

Well, they put the
preliminary cause of death

as anaphylactic shock,

probably brought on
by an allergic reaction

to something in
the monkey's saliva.

Well, if the guy
was allergic to monkeys,

what was he doing
working in the lab?

According to the M.E.,

anaphylactic shock doesn't
require a pre-existing allergy.

Well, what are you
thinking for motive?

The monkeys go for between
five and eight thousand per,

and there were 18 of 'em.

Robbery would be a possibility.

Another possibility is if
they were making progress

on an HIV vaccine,

it could have been a case
of industrial espionage.

Well, has anyone received word

of an animal rights
group being involved?

Not so far.

Because there was a fatality,

most groups that would
do this sort of thing

might not be quick
to claim responsibility.

Has this particular research
facility been the target of protest?

We'll let you know.


People find out we use
primates, we catch heat.

Well, what kind of heat?

Oh, protests.
Nasty letters.

Some threats.

Any, uh, threats
against specific people?

Oh, yeah.

I had someone call and say
they were gonna stick a needle

in me like we do
to the primates.

Sounds like you don't
take it too seriously.

I just lost a close friend
and a gifted bio-chemist.

I also lost, potentially,
years worth of research.

I take that very seriously.

What I won't do is be
intimidated by these people.

Can you give us any specifics
on who these people are?

Talk to my head of security.
He knows who they are.

The last demonstration
we had was in September.

Like, 20 people walking around

in front of the entrance
with signs.

A couple of 'em got inside and
poured blood on the floor.

My guys detained them
until the cops got here,

and we pressed charges for
trespassing and criminal mischief.

What kind of a security
system do you have in place?

Electronic key access to
this wing of the building.

Separate access to where
the monkeys are kept.

Any history of electronic keys
falling into the wrong hands?

Well, it's been
known to happen.

Computer hackers figure out
how to replicate the code,

they can fabricate something
that fools the scanner.

But did it ever happen here?

It happened at a research
facility in Wisconsin.

Um, from what I understand,

they had a break-in,
some files were destroyed,

and they never
apprehended who did it.

This last protest,
where they broke in

and poured the blood,

what was the name
of the organization?

They called themselves
All Living Creatures United.

We really take no satisfaction
in Mr. Lee's death.

Oh, I'm sure that'll be of
great comfort to his family.

Unfortunately, his job put him in
the front lines of a struggle.

We're not asking for a sound
bite here, Ms. Perlow.

We just want to know
who in your organization

was present at the facility.

I wouldn't have
that information.

Do you encourage your members

to break into
animal research labs?

We encourage our members
to follow their consciences.

Oh, so as long as their
conscience tells them to,

you'd support
an action like this?

I... I'm not saying that.

BRISCOE: You refuse to give
us a list of your members?

There is no list of members.

There are 17 diseased animals
unaccounted for, Ms. Perlow.

If you think you're gonna be able
to protect anybody's identity,

you're very much mistaken.

The two detained
at the demonstration,

one of them is Maxine Walden,

dean's list.

The other one is Barry Pratt,

previously arrested
for assault, burglary,

and possession
of burglary tools.

I'll take care of number two.

So, what's the difference
between Vegan and Vegetarian?


No animal parts of any kind.

So, what, no milk,
no eggs, no cheese?

That's right.

That's kind of restrictive,
isn't it?

Well, if you're
really interested,

I can get you some
reading material.

Uh, I was just
making conversation.

Do you know anything about this
research lab that got broken into?


Any idea where monkeys hole
up when they're on the lam?

No, I have no idea.

You were arrested
in a demonstration

at this lab a few months ago.

That's right, I was.

You been back there since? No.

Where were you last night?

I was playing basketball at the

Anybody we can
call to verify that?

Well, I have the team roster on my Palm Pilot.
You want to see?

Yes, we do.

You're here because I
have a record, right?

It isn't for the food.

His alibi checks out.

He hasn't been talking to animal
rights groups in Wisconsin?

None that we can identify.

And his e-mails
tell us nothing?

The only name that means
anything is Maxine Walden.

Who's that?

The other protester who was
detained at the demonstration.

Might be worth a visit.

The day of the demonstration was
the last time you were at the lab?


So, what? It was
just a passing fancy?

I'm involved in various actions
related to animal rights.

That was the last time I was
at that particular location.

So how come you didn't get
arrested that day at the lab?

I was let go.

I think the question is
why you were let go.

I think I was late
for a doctor's appointment.

The security guard
took pity on me.

You expecting intruders?


Then what are you doing
with a stun gun?

There were some incidents with women being
attacked on the way back to the dorm.

I got it for that.

Where'd you get it from?

A friend of mine got it for me.

I'm not going to tell
you who that friend is,

'cause I don't want
to get him in trouble.

You know, these are
illegal in New York City.

We're gonna have to take
this away from you. Take it.

We're also gonna have to
contact the D.A.'s office.

You could be
in a lot of trouble.


You know, the more
cooperative you are,

the more likely
they are to let it go.

I'll take my chances.

What are your security
officers armed with?

Nightstick and a stun gun.

And who was supposed to stay
with the demonstrators?

If I remember correctly, it
was Peavey and Castellano.

And they were supposed to wait

with the demonstrators
until the cops showed?

Peavey decided to
let one of 'em go

'cause she had
a doctor's appointment.

He came to me
with a whole sob story

about how she was
just an innocent kid,

got caught up in things.

Is Peavey working today?

Day off.

Do you have an address
where we can find him?


He lives with his mother.

He likes it here. He could
afford his own place.

Well, with rents in the
city being what they are,

time enough when
he gets married, huh?

I hope I live that long.

ED: What, no prospects?

None that he tells me about.

Do you have any idea where we
can find him, Mrs. Peavey?

Well, is... Is he
in some trouble?

BRISCOE: No, no. We just need to
ask him a couple of questions.


His friend, Alsie,

has a boat on City Island.

I think he said
he was going there.


(STAMMERS) Now, you're sure he's
not in any kind of trouble?

I ain't seen him.

His mother said he was
coming over here.

I ain't seen him
in over a month.

He's coming over here,
it's news to me.

You two have a falling out?


His mother gave us the impression
you were best friends.

(SCOFFS) What can I tell you?
I ain't seen him.

BRISCOE: What do you
go for on this thing?

Ah, fluke, weakfish.

When blues are running
we go for them.

George go out with you?

Yeah, he used to. We used to
go out together all the time.

ED: What happened?

I don't know what happened.
He, uh...

He lost his interest
in fishing.

He said it was the same
thing as hunting,

which he also didn't
want to do anymore.

He say why?

Ah, it was taking a life.

I said I ain't exactly up nights
worrying about the life of a fluke.

(CHUCKLING) What did
he say to that?

He got mad at me.
He says, uh,

"There's enough other
protein sources on the planet"

"so we don't need to
slaughter animals."

Now, I know he didn't come
up with that on his own.

Turns out,
he's seeing some girl.

She's into all that no meat,
no leather kind of thing.

Anyway, that was the last
time he came around here.

Whoever did it,

do you actually think
they meant to kill anyone?

Letting diseased animals
out of their cages?

That could be
considered a little risky.

They're diseased because they
were injected with a virus.

Where can we find George?

I have no idea.

Do you realize that interfering

with a criminal
investigation is a felony?

I am not interfering
with anything.

If you're helping him,
you're interfering.

Are you guys trying
to intimidate me?

'Cause if you are,
it's not working.

When's the last time
you saw George?

I don't know,
last week some time.

Are you two
romantically involved?

That's none of your business.

If you'll excuse me,
I'm late for class.

Hey, Miss Walden, if people start
getting bit by these animals,

your friend's gonna go to the top
of the FBI's Most Wanted list.

I don't know what friend
you're talking about,

but anyone who cared enough about
those animals to rescue them

would make sure they're
not running around loose.

They'd make sure
they were safe.

Well, we'll pass along your assurances
to the people in Washington.

He's not showing up for work.

His mother doesn't
know where he is.

Or at least that's
what she says.

Well, Maxine's the key. We
sit on her, he'll show up.

I'll talk to the D.A
about a wire tap.

We're thinking he might've tried to place
the monkeys in a refuge of some kind.

Well, we're gonna check the
tristate area for any complaints

involving non-domestic

Great. That might at least tell
us who'd be willing to take them.

Vietnamese pot-bellied
pig breeder.

Oh, now doing time
for mail fraud.

Faye Ireland.

Who's that?

One of the queens of the
tight sweater movies.

She's running an animal
refuge in Putnam County.

Had a tiger get out and
terrorize the neighborhood.

You want to meet her, Lennie?

I was thinking she might know
something about the monkeys.


I had a chimp that got
rescued from a circus,

but he died last year.

And that was it
for the primates.

We thought maybe somebody contacted you
looking to place some spider monkeys.

These were the monkeys that
were rescued from the lab?

That's right.

I'm sorry, I can't help you.

Well, where would somebody
who rescued monkeys go?

If they were responsible,
they'd find an animal refuge

run by someone who knew
what they were doing.

How many places are there
like that in this area?

Not enough, given how many animals
are out there needing rescuing.

Could you provide us
with a list of names?


These people do what they do
because of their love for animals.

We're all vulnerable to
problems with neighbors.

We don't really like to
call attention to ourselves.

You found me. I'm not going
to help you find anyone else.

Ms. Ireland, unless we find these
monkeys by tomorrow morning,

there are gonna be
men from Washington

standing right where
I'm standing now.

They're gonna turn
your place upside down

they're gonna quarantine
your animals,

and they're not gonna
take no for an answer.


BRISCOE: You're in a world
of trouble here, guys.

MAN: I have no idea what you
people are talking about.

All we were told was that
the monkeys needed a home.

ED: Where were you
told they came from?

From an animal trainer.

Is this the animal
trainer that called you?

It was someone who got them
away from the animal trainer.

Then they were stolen.

No, no, no.
They were rescued.

We didn't delve into
where they came from.

We were told they needed
at least a temporary home.

We agreed to provide them
with a temporary home.

We quarantined them away
from the other animals.

We had them examined by a vet.

We were taking care of them.

We know something about taking
care of HIV infections.

Who brought them here?

he didn't give a name.

What did he look like?

Ordinary looking. I wouldn't know
him again if I fell over him.

You two better get
your things together.

We're gonna take a little
ride into Manhattan.

Receiving stolen property.

Listen, all we do is take care
of sick and abused animals.

You can tell all
that to the D.A.

Right now, you're under arrest.

No, no. We can't leave without
providing care for the animals.

We can't help you with that.


Well, then I hope you're
prepared to subdue me by force.

Because I'm not
leaving my animals.

We can do that.

Damn it, what is it
that you want from us?

We just want to know who
brought you the monkeys.

His name's George.

BRISCOE: Where's George,
Mrs. Peavey?

Did you ever stop
and think that

maybe somebody left those
cages open by accident?

You know, you're not helping your
son by concealing where he is.

He's a grown man. He don't
tell me where he's going.

Mrs. Peavey, lying comes
naturally to some people.

You're not one of those people.

he's so mixed up.

We're not gonna hurt him.

He's at his friend Alsie's.

BRISCOE: George Peavey! This is the
New York City Police Department.

Please come out with your
hands above your head!


If you do not come out,
the boat will be boarded

and you'll be
taken off by force.

Put your hands
behind your back.

It's a lousy day
for a boat ride anyway.

How tough do you think
it's gonna be to prove

that you were the one
that broke into the lab?

I don't know.

You ought to consider it,
don't you think?

Whoever broke into the lab
caused Ronald Lee's death.

Maybe by accident they did.

I don't think the D.A.'s
gonna see it that way.

Yeah, and the more cooperative
whoever broke into the lab is,

the better it's
gonna be for them.

I don't think
I should say anything.

And the better
it's gonna be for Maxine.

What does this have
to do with Maxine?

Come on, George.

No! I... No, she didn't
break into the lab.

ED: She didn't
plan it with you?


She didn't put the idea into
your head that these monkeys

needed to be freed
from these cages?

That they needed to be rescued

from the experiments that
were being done to them?

Oh, she never said that.

We think she did.

She's a committed
animal rights activist,

and we can prove the two of you
are romantically involved.

From there, it's just
connect the dots

until we charge her
with conspiracy.

No, I don't want you
to charge her with anything.

She didn't do anything.

Are you saying you did
this all on your own?


Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

We'll want a full written
statement to that effect.

CARMICHAEL: We have a confession
that he broke into the lab

with the intention
of freeing the monkeys.

What are we charging him with?
Man two.

Isn't that a little steep?

He had knowledge of the
health hazard they pose.

He knew one of them got loose,
he did nothing about it.

I think
it's the correct charge.

Can we make it stick?

I think we can.

If you're talking about pleading
to burglary three, trespassing,

I'll even throw in criminal
mischief, we're all ears.

Bringing culpability for the
death of that researcher?

Forget it.

A researcher working on
developing an AIDS vaccine

dies as a direct result
of your client's actions.

Are you really that confident
about taking that to a jury?

Oh, you're a long way from establishing
the result was anything like direct.

Monkey is let out of cage.

Monkey bites man.
Man dies.

How much more direct
do you want it?

That's not the way
the jury will see it.

How will the jury see it?

George Peavey's heart
was in the right place.

If his head was a little
slow in catching up,

that's no reason to
send him to prison.

Criminally negligent homicide,
going once...

Going twice...


See you in court.

JACK: Did you perform the autopsy
on Ronald Lee, Dr. Rodgers?

I did.

What did you determine
was the cause of death?

Anaphylactic shock
brought about by

a reaction to an antigen carried
in the saliva of a monkey.

Were you able to determine how Dr. Lee
came to be exposed to this saliva?

He was bitten.

Were you able to determine
which monkey bit him?

The bite marks matched those of
the monkey found at the scene.

Thank you, Dr. Rodgers.
I have nothing further.

Is a monkey bite
always fatal, Doctor?


What made it fatal this time?

Dr. Lee had a reaction
to something in the saliva.

Seemed to be an odd choice of employment
for him to be working with monkeys

if he was allergic
to them, would it not?

Objection. Irrelevant.

I'll allow it.

He didn't have to have
a pre-existing allergy

to have the reaction he did.

Were there any signs that the
monkey attacked Dr. Lee?


In fact, a single bite
on the hand would suggest

that it was Dr. Lee
reaching for the monkey

when he was bitten,
isn't that correct?

I don't know enough about primate
behavior to comment on that.

So had Dr. Lee not been
trying to grab the monkey,

and had he not been allergic
to the degree that he was,

we probably wouldn't be here
today, would we, Doctor?

Probably not.

In that case, we're done.

Redirect, Your Honor.

Dr. Rodgers, according to your
familiarity with the crime scene,

was the monkey in or out of its
cage when Dr. Lee was bitten?


Nothing further.

JACK: You were Mr. Peavey's
supervisor, is that right?


Had Mr. Peavey worked
in the immediate vicinity

of where the monkeys were kept?

Yes, he had.

Are there signs saying that the
monkeys are biologically hazardous?

Yes, there are.

Had you ever brought it
to Mr. Peavey's attention

that some of the monkeys
were infected

with a highly virulent
strain of the AIDS virus?

I brought it to the attention

of every man I had
working for me...

I never wanted them
to forget it.

Why'd you do it, George?

Well, the monkeys had been given
this experimental AIDS vaccine,

and they were starting to inject
them with the AIDS virus.

Now, nobody knew
if the vaccine would work

and everybody expected that probably
most of the monkeys would die.

And I didn't think
that was right.

Did you make any kind of
arrangements for the monkeys

after you took them
out of the lab?

Uh, I arranged with this animal
refuge place to take them.

What did those
arrangements entail?

I gave the two guys with
the refuge, uh, $15,000

to cover the cost
of caring for them.

Where did you get the money?

I had a '64 Impala
that was my dad's.

Uh, one owner,
always garaged...

Uh, I sold it.

When my dad was dying,

and it got so my mom couldn't
take care of him anymore,

we put him in a hospice,

so they could take care of him.

Uh, and they made it
easier on him.

And I wanted someplace that'd
do the same for the monkeys.

Did you know
Ronald Lee, George?


How do you feel about
the fact that he died?

Objection. How the defendant
feels is irrelevant.


Okay, Mr. McCoy, if that's the
case, I have no further questions.

What did you do after that
monkey escaped, Mr. Peavey?

GEORGE: I tried
to catch him.

For how long did you try?

Uh, I don't know. 15
minutes, 20 minutes.

I imagine you were fearful of being
caught if you stayed too long,

were you not?

Yes, sir.

So, after 15 or 20
minutes, you left.

Yes, sir.

Did you call the authorities and
alert them there was a monkey loose?


You told no one

that a monkey infected with a
deadly virus was out of its cage,

and that anyone
entering that lab

was vulnerable to being
bitten and infected?

Asked and answered.

GEORGE: I know,
I should've. I...

You know, I didn't think the
monkey would bite anyone. I...

You know, I... I looked at
his face when he was out

and jumping around,
and, you know,

he just seemed so happy
to be out of that cage.

If he was so happy, what
kept you from catching him

and taking him with you
to the animal refuge?

Your Honor, there's an
objection before the court.

Was it fear of being bitten?

Move on, Mr. McCoy.

At what point did you inform
the authorities, Mr. Peavey?


I have nothing further.

What's the sympathy factor for the
defendant going to amount to?

Hopefully less than for a victim who
dedicated his life to AIDS research.

So we're feeling fairly
confident, are we?

(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Yes, we are.


Peavey's moving for a
substitution of counsel.

It's the defendant's desire to present
a defense with which I don't agree

and I'm not competent
to prepare.

As such, I'm asking the court
to relieve me as counsel.

You've been around
a long time, Howard.

What's the defense that you're
not competent to prepare?

I think Mr. Oyler is in a
better position to explain it.

Well, simply put, Your Honor,

it's essentially an
expansion of self-defense.

Give me that again?

A justification
defense is available

when someone uses force
under the reasonable belief

it was necessary to defend
themselves or others.

Other persons.

Mr. Peavey was of the belief
the circumstances required

him to take the actions he did.

Tell me, Counselor,
that you're not asking me

to be the first judge in history
to rule that monkeys are persons.

Well, much as it's my feeling

that such a position would be
entirely well-founded morally,

that's not what I'm asking.


Since a defense
of justification turns on

reasonableness of belief,
not objective criteria,

the only question is whether
or not the defendant

was reasonable in his belief

that the monkeys were
entitled to be saved.

Your Honor, the law
of justification defense

does not pertain
to the defense of monkeys.

The reasonableness of the
defendant's belief is irrelevant.

A hundred and thirty-five
years ago,

justification defense didn't
pertain to the defense of slaves.

The law, Your Honor, evolves.

I want to go on record as saying
that I do not believe the word

"others" in the statutory language
defense of others refers to monkeys.

What I believe,
however, does not

provide a conclusive basis
for dismissing the argument.

That said, I'm going to
leave it to the jury

to decide whether or not the
defendant's actions were reasonable.

You've got your
forum, Counselor.

I trust you'll use it to serve
your client, and not your cause.


Who's picking up
the tab for this?

A defense committee
was established

by a few animal
rights organizations.

For them, it's a test case.

What do we know
about the lawyer?

Well, he clerked
for Harry Blackmun.

He made partner at Stroock.

He took a major pay cut to do
animal rights law full-time.

He's going after a lot of
legitimate people with this.

It has to be taken seriously.

JACK: Your Honor,
I renew my objection

to this witness being
qualified as an expert.

JUDGE: Mr. Oyler?

He's a full professor of
bio-ethics at a major university.

He's published over 20 books.

JACK: His field of expertise
is irrelevant to this case.

His field of expertise
is central to our case.

Due to the nature of this case,

I'm going to allow for a more
liberal set of criteria.

The witness can testify.

Are you familiar, Professor,
with the experiments

being performed on the monkeys

at the lab
where Ronald Lee worked?

I am.

What's your view of them?

My view is that acts of unspeakable
cruelty were being committed.

Is it not
a well-settled principle

that animals are necessary
to scientific research?

It's a well settled principle
that they're available.

Objection. What does
any of this have to do

with the defendant's
actions in this case?

Your Honor, the witness is here

to challenge
the underlying assumption

whereby animals are held
captive and made to suffer.

Now, unless we're given a credible
basis with which to challenge that,

the defendant's actions
cannot possibly be justified.

I'll allow it, to a point.

Dr. Serafian...

Would you change your position

if the research done on the
monkeys produced an AIDS vaccine?

I believe there are other
ways of conducting research

that don't require the torture
and slaughter of animals.

If I told you we could cure cancer by
sacrificing 10 infants for research,

would you approve?

Make it easier.
Ten convicted murderers.

In either case, as a society,
we wouldn't allow it.

The life and liberty of a
human being is inviolate.

On what basis are the lives
of animals deemed less so?

The underlying belief
that animals

are not possessed of a
soul has provided it.

How do you view the actions
of George Peavey ethically?

I view the death of Mr. Lee
as regrettable and tragic.

I view the actions
of Mr. Peavey

as courageous
and profoundly moral.

No further questions.

I'd like to ask you a few questions
about your writings, Professor.

"One commits a greater offense against
nature by killing a healthy primate"

"than a severely
retarded child."

You've taken that
out of context.

Put it in any context you like.

What I'm attempting
to put across

is that a healthy primate
can experience both pain

and the anticipation
of pain more acutely

than a severely
retarded infant.

Hence, the primate
suffers more.

And to you, the suffering
of the primate

is more offensive than the
suffering of the infant?

They're both offensive to me.

I'm not opposed to one and
indifferent to the other.

"In an enlightened time,
the liberation"

"of the animal experimentation
labs will be viewed"

"as having the same
moral imperative"

"as the liberation
of Buchenwald."

The moral imperative
is to end suffering.

In that, they are the same.

And so there is
as much justification

for the killing
of an AIDS researcher

in a primate lab as there
is for the killing

of a guard in
a concentration camp.

I can think of circumstances where
that would be the case, yes.

Thank you, Professor.
I have nothing further.

I started talking to George about
animals being more than just property.

I told him how Gandhi said,

"You judge a civilization
by how it treats animals."

You could tell it was
the first time he ever

heard that kind of thing.

Did it seem to
have an effect on him?

It's hard to say.

I knew he liked me.

I kind of figured he was
telling me whatever he thought

would do him the most good.

Did there come a time when you
felt that the effect was genuine?

It was when I told him
about the pigs.

Would you tell the court
what that was?

Experiments were conducted on how
severe burns affect pigs' appetites.

The pigs were tied down, fully
conscious, and burned with blowtorches.

I showed him a videotape of it.

He hasn't been the same since.

OYLER: Ask to admit said
videotape into evidence.

JACK: Objection.
May we approach?

Counsel may approach.

This is irrelevant.
It's prejudicial.

It's pandering by the
use of shock value,

with no possible relation
to the case at hand.

OYLER: We're trying
to demonstrate

the defendant's state
of mind, Your Honor.

By showing pigs being
burned with blowtorches.

It's what he saw. It's
what was being done.

It's not what was being done
to these monkeys at this lab.

It's collateral evidence, Mr. Oyler.
It doesn't come in.

Step back, please.

No further questions.

You had discussions
with the defendant

about the welfare of these
monkeys in specific,

did you not?
Many of them.

And is it fair to say that the
gist of these discussions

was that these monkeys

would be better off
pretty much anywhere

other than where they were?

I think you could
say the same thing

about anyone who's locked in a
cage and injected with AIDS.

In the course
of these discussions,

was mention ever made of the
hazards to human beings

if these monkeys were
released from their cages?

I'm sure George didn't
intend for any humans

to be exposed to them.

Was it ever discussed?


It didn't occur to you

that if these monkeys were
released or transported,

there was at least a chance

that something would go wrong
and someone would be exposed?

No, it didn't.

It didn't occur
to either one of us.

Do you think maybe
it should have?

JUDGE: Sustained.

Nothing further.

OYLER: Dr. Tong, take us through what
happens to the monkeys in your lab.

Take us through, if you
will, how you obtain them,

what you do with them, what happens
when you're done with them.

We obtain them from large
commercial breeding colonies.

We inoculate them
with a vaccine.

We then inject half of them
with an active AIDS virus

and keep half of them
as a control group.

What happens to the monkeys
injected with the virus?

Thus far, we've had some
reasonably promising results.

There was substantial
T cell production

in response to the virus,

which would indicate
that the animals

were fighting off
the infection.

Has it ever happened
that some of these animals,

notwithstanding this
wonderful vaccine,

have succumbed
to the infection?

Yes, it has.

What's been your response
on those occasions?

Well, once it's clear that the
animal has contracted AIDS,

it's our policy to
put the animal down.

When you say,
"Put the animal down,"

you mean kill the animal?

That's right.

How do you do that?

We inject them with a lethal mixture
of ketamine and pentobarbital.

And you do this
so they won't suffer?

That is exactly why we do it.

And if they don't exhibit
symptoms of AIDS,

we care for them until
they live out their lives.

Now, this may come as a
surprise to you, Mr. Oyler,

but the people who work
with these monkeys

do everything possible to
minimize their discomfort.

Everything, that is, short
of not giving them AIDS.

Objection. Counsel is
arguing with the witness.


Are you aware of the fact

that primates such as the
ones used in your lab

are capable of highly
advanced communication?

That they organize themselves
into families and communities?

Objection. Irrelevant.

JUDGE: Sustained.

When you obtain these animals from
these large breeding colonies,

you frequently obtain brothers
and sisters and cousins,

is that not a fact?

It's possible.

And when your experiments call for
uniformity of genetic material,

you will, on occasion, obtain
a mother and its offspring,

is that not correct?

When that's what
we're looking for, yes.

Then you're also
probably aware that

when one of these monkeys
begins to exhibit symptoms

of the AIDS virus
which you injected them with,

these mothers, brothers, sisters,
and cousins are there to see it.

JACK: Objection.

JUDGE: Sustained.

OYLER: If it's not also objectionable
speculation, I'd like to ask you,

Doctor, when you put one of
these suffering monkeys down,

when you kill it,

does that ever seem
to register on the mothers,

or the brothers,
or the sisters?

Animals are never put down

in the same room
as other animals.

So they're taken out of the
room, never to return.


Do you think that registers?

It's possible that it does.

I have no further questions.

Hmm, based on
the number or jurors

ordering hamburgers for lunch,

I'd say we have more than
a sporting chance.

Unless the meat-eaters
start to feel guilty.

We're there on the law,
we're there on the facts.

I don't think they'll
let him go on guilt.

Well, excuse me.
I'm May Peavey.

I'm here to talk
to you about my son.

Come in, Mrs. Peavey.

Thank you.

I... I don't want to take
up too much of your time.

I know you're very busy.

How can we help you?


I'm very worried that the
people my son is listening to,

they maybe don't have
his best interests in mind.

Have you talked
to your son about this?


He thinks I'm just
overly protective.

Or that I've got something against
this Maxine, which I don't.

I'm just so worried about him.

I thought maybe

if you made him
some kind of offer,

he'd come to his senses.

We made him an offer.

That was before
the trial started.

If anything, the attorney he
has now will be less receptive

than the one he had before.

I'm asking, won't you just try?

If you're convicted of
second degree manslaughter,

you'll be sentenced
to five-to-15 years.

Eligible for parole in five.

JACK: If you plead guilty to
criminally negligent homicide,

you'll be sentenced
to one-to-three years.



I thought you were the one who
was supposed to answer them.

It's a reasonable offer.

I think you should
consider taking it.

Could I talk to Maxine?

I'll get her.

George has asked to speak to you.
Where is he?

He's in the conference room.
You can come with me.

Apparently, he looks
to you for guidance.

George actually knows
his own mind pretty well.

Does he?

If I take their offer, I could
be out in as little as a year.

We go to the jury, we don't
know what'll happen.

Isn't that right?

Pretty much.

I think you should
take their offer.

Well, that doesn't do much
for this being a test case.

There'll be other test cases.

This was supposed to be
a perfect one, though.

OYLER: You've done enough for the
cause of animal rights, George.

No one's gonna hold it against you
if you want to take their offer.

She told me about
this guy, John Brown,

who made this raid
at Harpers Ferry

to steal guns to free slaves.

You ever hear of him?

Apples and oranges.

Pretty brave guy.

Yeah, he was.

What would he do?

You've got to make
this decision for yourself.

Thank you for your
offer, Mr. McCoy.

I'll stand trial.

There can be no argument

but that
what George Peavey did,

he did out of conscience.

This was not a crime
of vengeance or greed.

His action was motivated
solely by the compassion

he felt for the suffering
of another living creature.

We're not accustomed
to worrying about suffering,

when it's other
than human suffering.

We think nothing
of killing animals

to mount their heads
over our mantles

or to test for hairspray.

And when objections are raised,

the people raising them
are mocked as kooks,

hopelessly outside
the mainstream.

Because the basic
unassailable principle

that allows for us
to take animals

and do whatever
we want with them

is that they're property.

Much like a lump of coal
or a plank of wood,

or a truck,

or a shovel, or a hammer,

or a nail belongs to its owner,

so too does an animal.

I'd like to remind you of a time
in the not-too-distant past,

when that same
distinction was drawn

based on the color
of one's skin.

When Africans were packed
into ships like cordwood

and brought to this continent
as property of their owners,

and they had no rights, and
their suffering did not matter,

and anyone who objected
was a kook

and outside the mainstream.

My client is one such person.

He saw suffering,
and he sought to end it.

That his efforts brought about
the unanticipated tragedy

in the death of Ronald Lee, should not
force us to criminalize his intent,

because his intent
was good and decent.

It was his belief

that to save an animal
from suffering and death

would be an action
held reasonable

by any enlightened society.

I believe one day our society
will be so enlightened.

I hope and pray
that day is today.

In the middle
of the 14th century,

there was a plague in Europe.

It killed some
25 million people,

about a third
of the population.

It was carried by fleas

who were infected with a bacteria
that was carried by rats.

We call those animals
pests or vermin,

and we take considerable
pains to see to it

that their populations
are kept in check.

We do this whether it results

in their suffering or not,

because to allow their
population to go unchecked

risks another bubonic plague.

What does this have to do with
a monkey confined in a lab?

The answer is that
they both represent

how we as a society value human
life above non-human life,

and proceed accordingly.

Does that mean that we have no
compassion for non-human suffering?

Not at all.

I believe the men
and women in this lab

cared deeply
about these monkeys.

It's just that they care for
the men, women, and children

who suffer and die
from AIDS more.

But all of that,

all of it, is beside the point.

How we treat animals,
whether or not animals suffer,

that is not the issue.

The nobility of the
defendant's motives,

that is not the issue.

The only issue in this case

is whether the defendant is criminally
responsible for the death of Ronald Lee.

There is no question
the defendant willfully,

knowingly, broke into that lab

and took those virally infected
monkeys out of their cages.

It was that action

that created
the potential for harm.

It was that action that
caused the death of Dr. Lee.

And so, now,

I ask you

to do what the law requires.

JUDGE: Has the jury
reached a verdict?

We have, Your Honor.

What say you?

We find the defendant guilty.



George, I'm so sorry.

Man's dominion over the
animals remains intact.

And a jury decides
to follow the law.

And a hero is born.