Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 11, Episode 23 - Law & Order - full transcript

Judge Linda Karlin is a hard line judge and well-known for handing out the maximum sentence for even the most minor crimes. Detectives Lenny Briscoe and Ed Green find themselves investigating an attempt on her life when Frank Morris, who stole a gun from his bartender uncle, takes a shot at her and is gunned down by her police detective bodyguard. The police find that Morris visited Randall Wylie, who has a case before Judge Collins, in jail not long before the shooting. Judge Karlin rejected a plea bargain the DA and Wylie had agreed to and it looks like he may have hired Morris to make the hit.

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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.

What's it today, Judge?
Murder? Rape?

Possession with intent.
Thirteen pounds of heroin.

Ooh. What's that get you?

A lethal injection.

I have a lunch
today at 1:00.

I got it, Judge.


That son of a bitch!

Are you all right, Rodney?

I got winged.

Get this man medical attention.

COURT OFFICER: Right away.
Central, we need an EMS.

One man down.

Judge, you better get inside.

Detective Hill got out of his car, this
guy runs right at the Judge, shooting.

Hill's the one who got him?

Yeah, he took one himself.

How bad?

Paramedics said he'll be fine.

Damn! Talk about
smoking guns.

COP: No wallet,
no ID on him.

And where's the Judge?

Court officers took her inside.

Who is she?

Uh, Judge Linda Karlin.

BRISCOE: Thanks.

Karlin's the one that put away most of the
Washington Heights Cowboys a few years back.

Now who'd wanna see her dead?

Hey, how's the arm?

Not bad.
Did a good job back there.

I don't know, I think maybe
I let my guard down a little.

I been on her six months,
nothing's ever happened.

BRISCOE: Hey, don't sweat it.
You saved her life.

ED: You ever see
the shooter before?


How long's Karlin been getting
this door-to-door service?

Three years. I pick her up, take her to
work, hand her off to the court officers.

Most judges take the subway.

Not Karlin. She's got
someone on her 2417.

On account of her reputation
as a high-profile hard-ass.

ED: Where's she now?

Knowing her, on the bench.

If I don't go
right back to work

these people will think
they can intimidate me.

Well, still, you might try taking
a few extra precautions, Judge.

We can get you a vest.

The man's dead, isn't he,

He might not have
been working alone.

Yes, well, a lot of dangerous
people pass through my courtroom.

Well, you recognize this one?

He's about 200 pounds, 6'3".

No. I don't recognize him.

What about your
calendar, Judge?

Any gang members,
any organized crime cases?

Nothing out of the ordinary.

Look, these people
don't like me.

And I don't like them.

Okay. How about somebody
other than "these people"?

Say, a defense attorney
you pissed off?

Just about every
defense attorney

who walks out of my courtroom
is angry about something.

BRISCOE: You're not giving us
much to go on, Judge.

I've been on the bench
for 14 years.

I was an Assistant D.A.
before that.

I made a lot of enemies.

We got no print matches
for our shooter in the system.

Any luck with the gun?

Serial number's gone but ballistics
said they might be able to recover it.

A run-and-shoot with
a defaced .38.

Sounds pretty low-tech.

Hey, if it was one of
the perps on her caseload,

his prints would've popped.

Well, if we don't know the
who, how about the why?

Maybe somebody was doing
a friend a favor.

I mean, in some circles,
knocking her off

would be like
doing community service.

You sound like she deserved it.

Well, I'm just saying this
woman racks up years on people

like Tiger racks up

Well, before we go culling
through 10,000 case files,

let's rule out
the usual suspects.

I begged my wife to at
least take the day off,

but that's Linda.

ED: How long you two
been married?

Twenty-two years.

We met at a fundraiser when
she was in the D.A.'s office.

Our first conversation
was a heated debate

over the death penalty.

Sounds romantic.

Let me guess, she was
pro, you were con.

My wife's a woman
of strong convictions.

Can you think of anybody who might
want to hurt your wife, Mr. Karlin?

Besides the criminals
she prosecutes?

Any financial problems?

I wish we'd sold our tech
portfolio a year ago.

You and me both.

Has your wife received
any threats recently?

Linda doesn't like to bring
that part of the job home.

It's all handled
at the courthouse.

Well, the Karlins' private
life sounds like a snooze.

Let's go check out some
of these death threats.

Needle in a haystack time.

Threats against judges are
tough to investigate

and most aren't serious anyway.

Karlin ever get any threats?

She's our best customer.

We need to see what you got.

I was expecting you.

Anything recent?

We found this
just last Tuesday.

"Karlin, you stank ass bitch,"

"I'm gonna make you
lick my MAC-10."

I take it the motion
was denied.

We found that on a bench,

in one of the bull pens
on the 12th floor.

BRISCOE: How many guys went through
that lock-up the day you found it?

I'm not sure. Cell capacity's about 100.
I can get you a list.

You ever pursue it?

Even if we found this guy, it's probably
protected by the First Amendment

and there's nothing
we could prosecute on.

There is now.

Court's in recess.

Judge Karlin's
not back till 2:15.

Actually we need
to speak to you.

Any of these guys have a
case here last Tuesday?

I wouldn't recognize the names.

Tuesday's the Judge's
calendar day.

BRISCOE: You got a copy
of the calendar?

Hey, this isn't
Yankee Stadium, huh?

Hats off.

Yeah. Right here.


Is there any way somebody could
smuggle a weapon in here?

I have two guys hand-scanning
everyone who walks through here.

And that's after they go through
the metal detector downstairs.

Is that standard procedure?

Standard for Judge Karlin.

ED: I got a match.

Evan Bruce.

Kidnap two.

I remember that case.

It was an a.m. call.

We brought the guy in
from the Tombs next door.

We're looking for an inmate.

Right place.
You got a name?

Evan Bruce.

Forget to read him his rights?

No, we're here to collect on his
pledge to the Police Athletic League.

Evan Bruce.

Checked in in September.

AW problems?


Yeah, you know,
disciplinary infractions?

CLERK: Nothing.
How about psych work-ups?

That information's confidential.
I wouldn't have access.

Well, we need to talk to him.

Too late. He was
released three days ago.

Now why I gotta come down here?

You realize threatening
a judge is a felony?

I didn't threaten no judge
That's crazy, man.

More like stupid.

Somebody sent Judge Karlin
this little love letter.

Whoever wrote it called
her a stank ass bitch.

Wasn't me.

ED: We want you
to write it for us.

Write it. Stank ass bitch.

Look, Lennie.
He misspelled bitch.


All right. Look, I was
just letting go of my anger

from being in there so long.

Is that what you call taking
three shots at a judge?

Is this guy a friend of yours?

Does he look like
a friend of mine?

ED: Man, we don't know
who you keep company with.

Look, half the people that walked out
of that courtroom wanted that bitch...

I mean, that Judge, dead.

Yeah, but most of them didn't
write her a threatening note.

But why I'm gonna kill her?

My lawyer beat the case
on a speedy trial motion.

Ain't nothing she
can do to me now.


BRISCOE: Well, maybe you
better hang on to that lawyer

'cause we're gonna send this to the D.A.
and see if they want to prosecute.

Just got this from ballistics.

They recovered the serial
number from the gun.

It traced to the Lodi, New
Jersey police department.

So what brings you
to Lodi, detectives?

We're investigating an
attempted murder in Manhattan.

You know this guy?

No. You said
"attempted murder."

Yeah. He was killed in
a shoot-out with the NYPD.

His .38 traced
to your department.

Well, we don't use
.38's anymore.

We went to 9 millimeter
automatics two years ago.

Yeah, so did most of us.

Could it be that one of your
guys kept one as a back-up?

We traded them all in to knock the
price down on our new weapons.

You mean there are police-issue
guns on the street?

This is a small department
with a tight budget.

We can't afford
to melt them down.

This gun was used
to shoot at a judge.


Look, if a dealer sold the gun legally, it
should show up on the state's database.

Excuse me.

You Vince Ellis?

Far as I know.

We got your name off the
state handgun registry.

You bought a .38
about a year ago?

Yeah, but I don't
got it no more.

It was stolen.

ED: When was that?

Noticed it missing
about two weeks ago.

You report it to the police?

Didn't get around to it yet.

You heard about this judge
who got shot at in the city?

One where
the shooter got killed?

What about it?

They found your gun in
the shooter's hand.

Oh, God.

ED: Who is it?

You know, we could charge you right
now as an accomplice, Mr. Ellis.

It's my nephew, Frankie.

Frank Morris.

Where's he live?

Over in Paterson.

He was in here
a few nights last week.

Asked if he could
use my .38.

And you let him?

Said he'd give me 200 just to borrow it.
I told him no way.

Next night I come in
and it's gone.

That's a pretty
convenient explanation.

It's the truth.

Look, $200?

I knew something
real bad was going down.

I ain't risking my place
here for that kind of money.

So why'd you file down
the serial number?

I didn't.

Frankie must have done it
so it couldn't get back to me.

He couldn't even get
that right.

So where is this in Paterson?

How long are you guys
gonna be here?

Couple more hours.

And then who's gonna
move out his stuff?

We'll get back to you on that.

Well, if Morris got paid,
it isn't here.

Got some nice magazines.

Hot Lace, Rough and Ready.

Are you gonna need those?

Here's a driver's license with
the name John Sheppard on it.

Yeah, and Morris's picture.

Standard issue for
a swindler that old.

Hey, did Morris have a car?

Uh, yeah.
The Camaro out front.

It's worth a look.

We're not breaking any laws
here, are we, Detective?

Hey, the guy's dead. It's not like he's
gonna be filing a suppression motion.

These 85's are a little
tougher than the 86's.

Anything before '82's cake.

Got it.

Could have used
one of these on prom night.

Ed, you wanna pop the trunk?

Nothing back here, Ed.

I got nothing here, either.

So what do you want
to do with it?

Can you tow it?

Sure. What was
the owner's name?

Frank Morris.

Morris? Morris?
Wait a second.

I think the staties were looking
at a guy with that name.

Looking at him for what?


Chief witness in
a narcotics case got killed.

Morris was our only suspect.

Who was the defendant?

Major heroin dealer
down in Camden.

We flipped one of his clockers.

He got dead three days
before the trial started.


Middle of the day,

two pops while he's killing
a brew on the front porch.

Nobody saw a thing.

What's this dealer's
connection to Morris?

No prior relationship
we could make out.

It's the best we could figure
Morris is a small-time low-life

who's trying to make his bones.

Yeah. His sheet was clean.

Yeah, kid had a great
future ahead of him.

So, I take it you just
didn't have much evidence.

Nothing we could make stick.

But we could put him in the
informant's neighborhood

the day of the murder.

And he visited the defendant in
Rahway prison a week before.

A hit man
who makes house calls.

Karlin's a Manhattan judge,

so anybody she puts in pending trial
is either in Rikers or the Tombs.

So we pulled the visitors log
from the last three weeks.

You find Morris?

John Sheppard. Now that's the
name that was on the fake ID

we found in Morris's apartment.

So Sheppard visited
an inmate at Rikers

named Randall Wylie
on March 7th.

Yeah. They spent
25 minutes together,

eight days before the hit.

Well, what charge
was this Wylie in for?

It's a paper case.
The guy's a CPA.

Now here's the kicker. Wylie's case
is currently before Judge Karlin.


Have you guys spoken
to my lawyer?

We're not here about your
current case, Mr. Wylie.

Oh, then what's this about?

According to the prison log,

a John Sheppard visited
you on March 7th.

John Sheppard?

You know him?


ED: Then why'd he come
and visit you?

An officer came by and said someone
was here for me in the visiting area.

When I came out,
it was this guy, Sheppard.

I asked him who he was.

He told me my lawyer
had sent him.

Sent him about what?

He said he was
assisting her on my case.

Assisting her how?

WYLIE: That's what
I was thinking.

After a couple minutes
it became clear

he didn't know anything
about my case either.

Sol left.

You didn't find this
strange, Mr. Wylie?

A lot of strange things
happen in here.

I figured somebody must have just written
down the wrong inmate number or something.

But he knew who you were?

Look. Look, what does
this have to do with me?

A week after he visited you, John
Sheppard tried to kill Judge Karlin.

You know who Judge
Karlin is, don't you?

I had nothing to do with that.

So it's just a coincidence that he
comes to visit you out of the blue

and then a week later he
takes a shot at your judge.

I don't think my lawyer would
want me talking to you anymore.

This guy's about as
menacing as Jeff van Gundy.

And it doesn't even look
like he's facing much time.

Why risk killing a judge?

Hey, he lied about how much time
he spent with Morris that day.

Let's see if the Lou can pull some
strings in the frauds department.


Thanks for
coming down, Detective.


So what's up with my old
buddy, Randall Wylie?

We're just trying to figure out

if he's capable of more than
just securities violations.

As in Judge Karlin?

That's what we're thinking.

Wylie's a CFO
of a small investment bank.

Wife, two little girls,
plush house in Westchester.

Got a little greedy, he took some stock
from a company he was consulting.

He unloaded the shares,

racked up almost half a
million dollars in profit.

But what's your gut, though?

Was he desperate enough
to hire a hit man?

The indictment turned
his world upside down,

and he was fired by his firm.

We took him out of his
office in handcuffs.

That had to be tough
on his ego.

And his wallet.

D.A. froze
most of his accounts,

except for what his family
needed to pay his bills.

So your answer is yes.

My answer is who the hell knows
what anybody's capable of,

push come to shove.

Here are the financials
you wanted.

Wylie's got more
accounts than I got dollars.

Brokerage accounts,

money markets,
four checking accounts.

Yeah, but he ain't got
nothing in them, $300, $400,

and all I'm seeing here
are mortgage payments,

car payments,
credit card bills.

Yeah. He couldn't
afford to buy a gun,

much less hire a killer.

And there are no major withdrawals,
even before the freeze.

And here's his tax returns.

Gross income, 246 grand.

Wow. Maybe he put some of
that money in his mattress.

Here's his schedule A.

You know, Wylie's got a New York
State college tuition account?

I thought his two girls
were little.

The college tuition program's
about three years old.

It helps people save
for their kids' education.

Can anybody open
an account here?

Yeah, if you live in New
York and have a kid.

How old's the kid have to be?

Well, you can open an account
the same day you give birth.

And does the money go directly
to the kid's college?

You can withdraw from
the account,

but you incur a tax penalty
if it's not used for tuition.

Does a Randall Wylie
still have an account here?

Let's see.

Randall Wylie.

the account's still active.

Any withdrawals recently?

There's one on March 12th.

That's three days
before the shooting.

For how much?

Practically the whole account.


I guess he wasn't worried
about a tax penalty.

We pulled the IUDs from the phone
Wylie had access to at Rikers.

A week before the shooting

there was a call to the bar
where Morris got the gun.

Can we put Morris on the call?

He was at the bar.

The next day he spent 25 minutes
with Wylie in the visitors' area.

Money change hands?

Well, there was a
$100,000 withdrawal

from Wylie's daughters'
tuition account.

Any evidence it went to Morris?

Nothing so far.

Wylie's not some Colombian
drug lord, Anita.

I'm having trouble imagining
some milquetoast CPA

ordered a hit on a judge.

Yeah, we're having some problems
buying into it ourselves.

Okay, well Jack and I will talk to the A.D.A.
in our Frauds Bureau

who was handling Wylie's case. We'll,
see how serious his situation was.


You really think
he went after Karlin?

You tell us.

I guess anything's possible.

Did you offer Wylie a plea?

Yeah, two-to-six.

And he wasn't interested?

Never got that far.

Karlin wouldn't agree to the deal.
She thought it was too lenient.

Was it?

It was nothing different than what
Wylie could've gotten next door.

But Karlin wanted top count,
no promise on sentence.

On the next adjourn date,
she put him in Rikers.

With no priors.

She found out that Wylie's wife
went to the Cayman islands.

Off-shore bank accounts?

She flew in and out
the same day.

Well, she's not there
for the snorkeling.

Karlin remanded him
as a flight risk.

How did Wylie react?

He was pretty shaken up.

When the court officers
came in to cuff him,

they had to drag his wife
out kicking and screaming.

I'm late for an arraignment.

So if there's anything else,
I'll be in my office later.

Okay, thanks.

Sounds like Wylie had a
reason to want Karlin dead.

And if one reason wasn't
enough, she gave him another.

You think what she did
was inappropriate?

I respect her right to turn down a plea
if she thought it was too lenient.

But it forces Wylie
to go to trial.

How many judges would balk at a
chance to dispose of a case?

She treats her job as
more than a numbers game.

More power to her.

A woman after your own heart.

The voters re-elected
her twice, Jack.

We know that Wylie's wife
was pretty angry.

It wouldn't be the first time that
a family member went too far.

Well, I have a meeting
with her in Westchester.

I'm gonna drive
up there this afternoon.

I'm sorry, but you wasted your
time coming all the way up here.

Actually, I was hoping you could clarify
a few things for me, Mrs. Wylie.

If you're not clear, why are
you prosecuting my husband?

At this point, we haven't
made any formal decision.


but you've made up your
mind already, haven't you?

He did meet with the man
who shot at Judge Karlin.

Believe what you want.

My husband is an accountant,
Ms. Carmichael.

Not a killer.

We found the money,
Mrs. Wylie.

What money?

The money from your
daughters' college tuition.

I also know about the
trip to the Caymans.

First this Judge and now you.

I thought people were supposed
to be presumed innocent?

If you assisted your
husband in procuring money

to hire this man...

Are you threatening me?

I think what I'm doing is offering you a
chance to save what's left of your family.

That money was used
to pay our legal fees.

Now get the hell
out of my house.


Please. You expect me to help
you put away my own client?

We could always subpoena
your account records.

And I can always
refuse to comply.

Somehow I don't see you
in prison stripes, Danielle.

Well, you're gonna see me a lot
more in pin stripes, Jack,

because as of yesterday,

I represent Randall Wylie in
the attempted murder case.

Here's my notice of appearance.

Well, that's a convenient
way to shield yourself

from being called as
a witness at his trial.

There are ways around that,
Danielle, if that's what this is.

You wouldn't do that to me,
would you, Jack?

In a New York minute.

The minute Karlin blocked
a plea bargain,

my trial fee kicked in.

Here's the deposit slip.

$100,000 cash.

You took your money up front.

And I so wanted to sandbag
you with it at trial.

It's just too bad that
Janice opened her big mouth.

LEWIN: It's a good thing
Melnick came clean.

You'd have spent your summation wiping
the shoe polish off your mouth.

Meanwhile, we have no proof

Wylie actually paid Morris.

Could have been COD.

His hitman trusted him
more than his lawyer did.

So without connecting
him to a payment,

do we even have a case?

Wylie met with Morris
face to face

about a week before
the murder attempt.

I seriously doubt it was a
conversation about tax advice.

Why would a man like Wylie
stoop to something like this?

'Cause he stole
half a million dollars.

Well, there's a small difference
between greed and murdering a judge.

Well, how about a judge who
wouldn't cut him a deal

and threw him in jail?

Frauds Bureau was
ready to take a plea,

Karlin put the kibosh on it.

One would think our people knew
more about the case than she did.

I've had a half-dozen
cases with her.

She listens to our recommendations, but
she tends to make up her own mind.

How did Wylie find Morris?

It's hard to imagine his firm has
a murder-for-hire consultant.

Maybe he started hanging out
with the wrong element.

Randall Wylie was remanded without
bail by Judge Karlin on March 4th.

Assigned C-17, lower tier 3.

That a dorm or a cell?

That's a single inmate unit.

He was on suicide watch.

Did he make an attempt?

Not that we know of.

In this case the suicide watch
was requested by his own lawyer.

Did Wylie have contact
with any other inmates?

We have SOA's patrolling the areas,
making sure nobody hangs up.


Suicide Observation Aides.

Staff or inmates?

Inmates. As long as they're
not charged with murder.

To avoid any
conflict of interest.

CARMICHAEL: Who was on
Wylie's tier?

MCGOWAN: Randall was wound up
pretty tight when he got here.

Never been in jail before.

JACK: Did he ever talk
about killing himself?

Seemed okay to me.

Took his belt and shoelaces
away, just in case.

Gave him a pass by every
five, 10 minutes.

Did you spend anytime with him?

Yeah, we talked a little bit.

Mostly about his case.

Did Wylie ever say anything
about Judge Karlin?

Oh, I probably shouldn't be
talking to you guys.

CARMICHAEL: What's the
problem, Mr. McGowan?


You know we can always notify the A.D.A.
who's prosecuting you

that you're obstructing
our investigation.

They got their own set of
rules in here, you know that.

JACK: Honor among thieves.

Don't snitch on nobody.

Unless it pays off.

You got something for me?

If you have something for us.

I'm looking at 25 years
on an arson two rap.

What exactly did you burn down?

A store and nobody got hurt.

If you plead to a C felony, we
can try and get you minimum.

Provided you're
straight with us.

And the D.A. prosecuting me's
gonna go along with this?

Our case has priority.

Then I guess we got a deal.

According to McGowan, Wylie was in a
rage about Judge Karlin from day one.

He was obsessed about finding
away to get back at her

for putting "someone like
him" into that hell-hole.

That's pretty tough talk
from a CPA.

He was looking down
the teeth of atrial

and a long sentence. He had
nothing but bad choices.

And his only way out was the
ultimate in judge-shopping.

So you actually believe
this McGowan?

We found him, Nora.

McGowan only corroborated
what we already suspected.

I'm sure you two cut him
a pretty good deal.

It wasn't like our pool of potential
witnesses was the boys tabernacle choir.

But we still can't connect him
and Morris with a payment.

Our forensic accountants have
been all over the paperwork.

So far, no luck.

It's a pretty solid circumstantial
case, even without the money.

So some schlep goes to
Rikers for a few months

and we manage to turn him
into a cold blooded killer.

Pick him up.

Randall Wylie, we need
you to come with us.

Can't you see I'm with my wife?

Stand up, Mr. Wylie.
You're under arrest.

Course I'm under arrest. What
else would I be doing here?

Yeah, only this time it's for
attempted murder.

Randall, what's going on?

I'm already in jail,
for God's sake.

Tell it to the judge.

I knew I was right about Wylie.

Right about him
in what way, Judge?

You sit on the bench
long enough,

you get a feel for
guys like that.

He's a businessman
with no priors.

Are you saying you knew
he was dangerous?

I thought you came here
to prep me for the trial.

I did.

You're gonna be cross examined
on the appearance of bias.

And I'm sure you'll be able to
lay that misconception to rest.

They'll say you threw Wylie in
jail because of what his wife did.

That was hardly bias.

And when our office
proposed a plea bargain

you refused
to go along with it.

I wasn't satisfied your office was sending the
right message to white collar defendants.

Are you
second-guessing me?

The defense'll paint all
this as being Draconian.

Wylie was going to run.
I stopped him.

Danielle Melnick made nice
to some young A.D.A.

who'll probably end up working
at her law firm someday.

Only you didn't propose
any alternative.

The constitution
does that, Jack.

It's called atrial.


I've given you your motive
evidence wrapped in a ribbon.

And that's why we're
calling you, Judge.

Only don't underestimate
a jury's sympathy.

I don't.

That's why I prefer
bench trials.

KARLIN: Randall Wylie was before
me on a fraud indictment.

I was assigned to preside over
all pre-trial proceedings,

then the trial.

How much time was the defendant facing
if convicted of all charges against him?

There were three
separate frauds,

for which he could be
sentenced consecutively.

Forty-five years
was the aggregate.

JACK: I turn your attention
to January 17th.

What, if anything, happened with
regard to Mr. Wylie's case?

The defense motion
was on my calendar.

When the case was called,
Ms. Benedict,

the A.D.A. from
your Frauds Bureau,

told the court
that Mrs. Wylie

took a flight to the Cayman islands
and returned the same evening.

JACK: What did you do upon
learning this information?

Mrs. Wylie was in the courtroom that
day, so I asked her if it was true.

JACK: What did she say?

That it was none of
my business.

JACK: What happened next?

KARLIN: I remanded the
defendant as a flight risk.

JACK: And what transpired
in the courtroom?

My court officers placed
handcuffs on Mr. Wylie

and led him into the pens.

At that point Mrs. Wylie
began throwing a tantrum.

She said her husband
didn't belong in Rikers Island

that I was out to get him.

JACK: Now, in the days
preceding this incident,

did you take any other action
with regard to Mr. Wylie's case?

A plea bargain was brought
to me, I rejected it.

How much time was involved?

Two years.

Not the 45 year aggregate?

KARLIN: Far from it.

And when this plea bargain was
refused how did Mr. Wylie react?

He was incensed.

Nothing further.

What's your reputation on
the bench, Judge Karlin?

I like to think it's
tough, but fair.

But you routinely mete out prison
sentences in the hundreds of years.

I wouldn't say routinely.

But you do impose
three-digit sentences

when you know that the absolute
maximum a defendant can serve

for a non-capital case is 50-years-to-life?
Is that right?

I do it to make a point.

What's that?

To enrage the people
you sentence?

That predators, who are brought
to justice in my courtroom,

will not be coddled.

MELNICK: So I take it you've
remanded hundreds of defendants

the way you remanded
Mr. Wylie?


MELNICK: And I'm sure that
Mrs. Wylie is not the first relative

of a defendant to
express disapproval with you?

Most people behave
in my courtroom.

Why is that?

Because they're scared
to death of you?

A healthy respect for authority
goes a long way, Ms. Melnick,

especially these days.

Judge, I'd like you
to take a look

at defense exhibit four.

Is this your likeness, on a glassine
envelope used to package heroin,

with the brand name
Judge Dread?

I've seen this before.

I don't like it, but I'm not
sure it's such a bad thing.

At least the dealers will
know what's in store for them

when they're caught selling
this poison to our children.

MELNICK: Before you were
appointed to the bench,

you prosecuted thousands of
defendants as an Assistant D.A.,

is that right?

And you've probably sent an
equal number of defendants

to state prison

as a Supreme Court judge,
am I right?

Close to it, yes.

So would it be fair to say

that you were hated
by virtually everyone

over whom you have presided?


No, I want to answer that.

This isn't a
popularity contest.

If these defendants
liked me, Ms. Melnick,

I wouldn't be doing my job.


I met Randall Wylie on his
first night at Rikers.

I was on duty on his tier
as a Suicide Observation Aide.

Was he suicidal?

He was mad.

Mad at whom?

The judge who put him in there.

JACK: What, specifically,
did he say?

Well, at first he was just
trash talking about how,

you know, she was
trying to screw him over.

JACK: And then?

And then after awhile, he started talking
about how he was gonna take her out.

Killing her?


JACK: When exactly
did this happen?

I remember one day
he said that he was...

He was getting out and I
probably wouldn't see him again.

Anyway, later that night, he
was right back on the rock.

But that's when he started
talking about it seriously.

What do you mean?

Well, he said nobody could screw
him and get away with it,

and he was gonna
find someone on the outside

who would take care of the
situation once and for all.

JACK: Did you have any further
conversations with him of this nature?

I remember about a week
before the Judge was shot at,

I came by, Randall was
downstairs for a visit.

Later I asked him
if it was his wife

and he said it was someone
he was doing business with.

Nothing further.

Let's see, Mr. McGowan,

you were previously
convicted of grand larceny?


And then you set
a fire in a store?

I pled guilty to that, yeah.

MELNICK: Well, did you
do it, Mr. McGowan?

Yes, I did.


Was it an accident?

I had a problem with
somebody who worked there.

I made a mistake and I'm
serving my time for it.

Well, you made a deal

for the minimum allowable sentence in
exchange for this testimony, right?

Pretty much.

And you testified

that you spoke with Mr. Wylie on
several occasions about Judge Karlin?

Yes, I did.

MELNICK: Did you also speak to
my client on other occasions

when Judge Karlin's name
did not come up?


So would it be fair to say

that over the course
of several months,

you developed a personal
relationship with Mr. Wylie?

Yeah, I guess
you could say that.

Right. You befriended
him because, why?

You're just a hell of
a nice guy?

JUDGE: Sustained.

Nothing further.

When Judge Karlin remanded
me that day, I was stunned.

I couldn't believe
she would put me in jail

for something my wife did.

What happened when you
got to Rikers?

Well, even before I got there,
something happened.

This inmate on the bus
punched me in the face

and made me give him
my wristwatch.

So what was your emotional
condition when you arrived?

Scared out of my mind.

It was the worst day
of my life.

Mr. Wylie.

When did you first meet
Jimmy McGowan?

WYLIE: I think
it was the next day.

He asked what a guy
like me was doing there,

and basically, I told him what
happened with Judge Karlin.

MELNICK: And were you
angry about that?

Of course.

So what did
Mr. McGowan say?

Jimmy seemed to know
all about Judge Karlin.

A lot more than I did.

He told me these stories that

scared the hell out of me.

MELNICK: What kind of
stories, Mr. Wylie?

Well, about how she'd put away guys for hundreds
of years for selling a few bags of coke.

That in her eyes you were guilty
before you were proven innocent.

And if the prosecutor
couldn't make a case,

she would do it for them.

MELNICK: How many times did Mr. McGowan
talk to you about Judge Karlin?

Just about every time
he had the chance.

He said that if I didn't figure out
some way to get out from under her,

my case was hopeless.

She'd send me upstate

and my wife would divorce me.

I'd never see my kids again.

So what happened next?

Jimmy offered to help.

What was his offer?

He said he can put me in
touch with someone

who could take care of
the situation for me.

I asked him what he meant.

He said, "What do you
think I mean?"

And what did you think
he meant, Mr. Wylie?

A professional killer.

What happened next?

Well, he mentioned this uh...

Three or four times,
and I would say "No, no"

And then one day out
of the blue

he said there was a guy coming
to the visiting room to meet me.

I should at least hear
what he had to say.

So you actually had a face-to-face
meeting with Frank Morris?

I know how it sounds, but I just
needed to get Jimmy off my back.

So, I went down
for the meeting...

Where Frank Morris
was waiting for you?

And I started to tell him that I
didn't want to go through with it

and then he mentioned that he
knew where my house was.

Where my kids went to school.

MELNICK: So what did you do?

I went back to my cell

and I thought to myself,

"This is absolutely insane! I can't believe
I got myself involved with these people."

So the next time I saw Jimmy,
I told him

that I was just going to take
my chances with Judge Karlin.

And how did
Mr. McGowan react?

He said, "Hey, it's your life
going down the drain."

And that was the last time
we talked about it.

About a week later,
I found out what happened.

I couldn't believe it.

Mr. Wylie.

Did you ever hire Frank
Morris to kill Judge Karlin?

Absolutely not.

Did you ever pay him or anyone
else any money to do that?

Not a cent.

Thank you.

Did we get duped?

Either that or Wylie gave an
award-winning performance.

Hard to say.

But Wylie's a scam artist.

That's why they threw him in
prison in the first place.

But he was in jail because Judge
Karlin threw him in there.

Well, we throw people in
jail every day.

How many of them end up by discussing
pay-back with a hired killer?

Only if McGowan were a cop,

they'd be arguing entrapment.

That Wylie was induced to commit
a crime he never would have

committed otherwise.

He'd probably
walk away from this.

Only McGowan wasn't a cop.

No. I know exactly who he was He was
an arsonist who got the minimum.

It'd mean he planned this
from the start,

that he knew we were
gonna come looking for him.

He set himself up
to be the hero.

Who's playing us, Nora?

A guy who sets fires

or a guy who mined the loopholes
in the Security Act of 1934?

We bet on the wrong horse,
that's all.

Desperate people
do desperate things.

It doesn't matter
what company they keep.

Why do you always believe
the worst in people, Jack?

Who, me?

Spend a few more years in this place,
you'll be right there with us.

I like to think I can do this
job without becoming a cynic.

I'm not a cynic.

I get up every morning hoping
to find an honest man.

Then let's make sure
the punishment fits the crime.

If McGowan got three to six

and there's the least chance
he pushed Wylie into this,

then Wylie shouldn't
do 25-to-life.

You're the boss.


Asking to meet with a defendant the
night before you cross-examine him?

This is a first,
even for you, Jack.

We have an offer.

Like I said, this is a first.

What is it?



You tried to kill a judge.

Don't you understand
how it happened?

JACK: We heard what you
tried to sell to the jury.

After everything McGowan
supposedly said to you,

there's no way you expected
him to call it off.

Whatever pressures you
were under, Mr. Wylie,

they don't excuse your actions.

I'm assuming we have
blanket immunity in here.

Queen for a day.

They were threatening me.

I didn't know what else to do.

CARMICHAEL: How about reporting
it to the authorities?

The authorities can't
protect you in here.

You could have told someone
you had a change of heart.

Or you could have
tried to stop it.

I was scared.

Too scared to tell
your own lawyer?

If he testifies
he told you, Danielle,

we'll call you
to corroborate it.

CARMICHAEL: You made no effort to
openly repudiate the crime, Mr. Wylie.

The law's clear on

you can't make it out.

I think my lawyer's
doing pretty well.

JACK: All she's done is
create some sympathy.

Once I cross examine you,

the jury won't
have much of it left.

You'll spend the rest
of your life in prison.

If you're so confident,
Jack, why the offer?

In our minds there's a sliver
of doubt that if Jimmy McGowan

hadn't been assigned to your client's
tier, we wouldn't be here today.

You made some foolish
decisions, Mr. Wylie.

Don't make another one.

I heard you're cutting
a deal with Wylie.

That's right.

What's he getting?


That's outrageous.

I have given out more time
for narcotics possession.

That's well known.

When Wylie took a shot at me,

he took a shot at every
judge in the courthouse.

They'll be coming
after prosecutors next.

You know, no matter how
much time Wylie gets,

I don't think it's going
to deter the next maniac.

And I also don't think it's
appropriate for you to be here

putting in your two cents.

I am the victim in this case.
I should have been consulted.

Your feelings toward this
defendant have been duly noted.

Are you questioning my
impartiality, Nora?

Everyone here respects
your courage.

All the sacrifices that you
and your family have made.

We just come from
two different places.

I try to enforce the law,
you try to compromise it.

It's called
prosecutorial discretion.

So you make a bargain
with Jimmy McGowan,

then it backfires and you have
to cut a deal with Wylie.


I'm not happy about McGowan.

But any judge who reflexively
imposes the maximum in every case

just forces the hard
decisions on the rest of us.

I changed this city!

In case you hadn't noticed it, you
can walk down the streets these days

without having to kick a crack
vial out of your way

to the sound of gunfire
in the background.

That'll make a great
sound bite one day.

I'm still not changing
my decision about Wylie.

Do whatever you want.

I still have him in front
of me on securities fraud.

That indictment was covered
by the plea bargain.

How can you possibly think
that's appropriate?

It's my job.

Until someone else is
sitting in this chair,

I'll continue to do
what I think is right.

Judge Karlin called.

She wants to make a victim impact
statement at Wylie's sentencing.

Oh, that's her right.

So, all things being equal,
is Wylie a killer?

That's a tough question.

Does the man make Rikers or
does Rikers make the man?

I think Judge Karlin
had something to do with it.

JACK: Funny thing is,

Wylie got away from her.

That's what he's been
trying to do all along.