Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 19, Episode 4 - Law & Order - full transcript

A fatality in a crane accident leads prosecutors to a case involving the victim's wife, who is discovered to be in a coma, and a controversial procedure that could intentionally stunt a handicapped young girl's growth

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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.

Carlos, get some
help with that, buddy.

Are you in charge here?

At the moment.

I live in the building
across the street,

and the jack-hammering
at 2:00 a.m., it has to stop.

Okay, I'll pass it on.

You want to give him a
hand with those bags, please?

Yeah, I'm sure
you'll pass it on.

ROB: What more
am I supposed to do?

The guy you talked
to said he'd pass it on.

He only said that
to get rid of me.

Gee, I wonder why
he'd want to say that.

Excuse me?

It was a joke, a
totally lame joke.

No, Rob, it wasn't



Oh, my God, the crane!





GARY: His name's
Carlos. Carlos Lazaro.

Was he operating the crane?

No. Nobody was using the crane.

He must've just been walking by.

LUPO: What about
Carlos' next of kin?

His wife, she's
sick in the hospital.

The rest of his
family, I don't know.

He's from the
Dominican Republic.

CINDY: Mr. Hardy, what
went through your head

when you got the call
about today's crane collapse?

This is the greatest tragedy

ever to happen to the
Hardy Organization.

Everyone at the Hardy
is committed to safety,

and this site was no exception.

I'm Wayne Hardy.
This is my project.

I'm Detective Lupo,
this is Detective Bernard,

we're Homicide
with the two-seven.

Homicide? What do we
need homicide detectives for?

You don't, but he does.

And until we know what
happened, sir, this is a crime scene.


This kind of thing never
happens on a Hardy project.

I build luxury condominiums.

Premium materials, premium
workmanship top to bottom.

Right, I've read your ads.

Who was running
your site this morning?

You met him, the junior
foreman, Gary Talbot.

Mr. Nolan, it says here in
your final bid for this project

that you were going
to use a T-65 crane.

That's right.

That one out there
looks to be a T-35.

That's a lot smaller, isn't it?

LUPO: T-35, he's right.

Turns out the job
needed a smaller crane,

so that's what we used.

And that's what we
billed for, Mr. Hardy.

You can check the invoices.

I don't need to
see the invoices.

This is my fifth
project with Carl.

Hmm. This is our first.

So, you don't mind,
we'll take those invoices.

NOLAN: You know, I
use T-35s all the time,

and this one was 100% safe.

But don't take my word for it.

The city inspector said so, too.

Twenty-three years I'm
inspecting sites in this city,

never had a serious injury
on my watch and now this.

Homicide detectives to boot.

Just standard
procedure, Mr. O'Connor.

There was nothing
wrong with that crane.

I got all the papers right here.

All right, take your time.

We're not going anywhere.

The Buildings Department
said they logged

over two dozen
complaints about that site.

You followed up on
less than half of them?

Well, it was always
the same thing.

Noise complaints
from the neighbors

about some night
work at the site.

I issued three
separate violations.

Yeah, and the
complaints kept coming?

Didn't that tell you something?

There were no safety
issues at that site, okay?

This was a freak accident.

The crane was anchored to
the building with steel collars

on the sixth, ninth,
twelfth and fifteenth floors.

When the collars failed,
the crane came down.

Okay. Do we have any
idea which one failed first?

Uh, yeah. This one
on the ninth floor,

the point of greatest stress.

Once it went, the rest of them
popped like buttons on a shirt.

So why'd this one fail?

Uh, well, this might've
something to do with it.

The T-35 has a load bearing
capacity of six tons per lift.

These work logs show
it lifting six and a half,

seven, even eight tons.

An average of
7.96 tons per lift.

You do that long enough...

Yeah, something's got to give.

Overloading the crane,
running nightshifts,

sounds like someone was in
a hurry to finish that building.

Well, yeah, time is money.

BERNARD: So, maybe
it was worth a little money

to have somebody
look the other way.

The forensic accountant is
very anxious to talk to you.

Great. After a morning
of forensic engineering,

nothing beats a little
forensic accounting.

BERNARD: Hey, what you got?

Gentlemen, hold on to your hats.

These petty cash
receipts don't add up.

The petty cash that the
construction company keeps

in a safe on the site.

Last week it was short $3,660.

The week before
that, short $5,700.

If somebody was getting bribed,

maybe that money
was coming from here.

Who was in charge
of the petty cash?

Foreman Gary Talbot.

GARY: You can't receipt
every out-of-pocket expense

on a $200 million building.

And anyway, I'm not the only one

with access to the petty cash.

The night shift has
its own foreman.

We noticed you guys were pulling

a lot of overtime on
top of the night shifts.

You under a lot of
pressure to finish the job?

Yeah. There's always pressure.

What about these seven and
eight ton loads on the T-35?

Oh. The crane wasn't my area.

But I can tell you that
whatever we did on that site,

we got written approvals from
the inspector every step of the way.

Where would we
find those approvals?

I got them. I got
copies of everything.

I've been in construction
long enough to know

it's a pass-the-buck
kind of business. Uh-huh.

Honey, can you come
and help me with Lacy?

Sure. My daughter.

That's fine.

Guy's right.

Faxes from the city inspector,
approving the nightshifts, heavier loads.

BERNARD: Check this out.

The number that
this was faxed from

doesn't match the
number on the cover sheet.

6-3-1 area code.

A city inspector faxing from the
Hamptons, on a weekday afternoon.

Nice work if you can get it.

Can we help you with those?

Uh, no, it's okay.

Get back in the house
with your mother.

Go on.

Friend of my wife's family
lent us the place for the week,

but now it's, you know,

time to get back
to the real world.

That friend. It
wouldn't happen to be

Hudson River Rentals, would it?

Because they said your wife took a
three-month lease at $15,000 a month.

Nice ride, fancy boarding
school for your daughter...

My partner and I,
we're starting to think

that we got the wrong city job.

LUPO: Hmm.

Come on, guys. Can't
we do this tomorrow?

Nah. Turn around.

I spent 20 years
watching guys take bribes

and get promoted while doing it.

That's not me.

Right. You is the
guy that took bribes,

but never made it to supervisor.

Eddie, you have
200,000 in expenses

that we can trace back to you.

And no legitimate
income to cover it.

And now there's a body.

I just wanted...
I never meant...

Yeah, remorse is good, Eddie.

Remorse with a
confession is even better.

Or this crane
thing falls on you.


Nolan, the contractor,

he's the one who
first approached me

about approving the smaller
crane and the heavier loads.

Who made the payments?

The foreman.


No, the night foreman.
Talbot wasn't in the loop.

Who else was?

The big guy, Wayne Hardy.

He offered to make sure I
got assigned to his next project

if this one came in on time.


What do you think
about these charges?

Biggest miscarriage of justice.


I pity his cellmates.

Something's not adding up.

The missing money
from the petty cash

what we thought the night foreman
was using to bribe O'Connor?

The night foreman said he used
money he got straight from Nolan.

Maybe the petty cash was being
used to pay off someone else.

Well, these two have to
be arraigned by tomorrow,

and you know how the
D.A. hates surprises.

"Who needs math?" I told my
teachers, I'm going to be a cop.

Don't feel bad. I said the
same thing about biology

and I spend half my
life looking at autopsies.

Here. The contents of the
pockets of that crane fatality.

BERNARD: Carlos Lazaro.

I've been trying to track
down his next to kin.

Let me tell you,

directory assistance in
the Dominican Republic

is just as screwed up as here.

Wait, isn't his wife in
a hospital in Queens?

Yeah, but she's non-responsive,
some sort of coma.

I can relate. My wife's
nonresponsive, too.

Good night, fellas.

If I ever start talking
like that, shoot me.

Lupes, it's the hospital bill

for the care of
Mr. Lazaro's wife.

Check out the
record of payments.

Got one for $3,660,

and another one for $5,700.

The same amounts
missing from the petty cash.

Yeah, that money was in a
safe in the construction office.

Hard to believe a day laborer
like Carlos could get away with that.

That leaves the
foreman Gary Talbot.

You buy him as some kind of
Robin Hood, stealing to help Carlos?

No, no, no, no, no. Nobody's
that nice, not even Robin Hood.

There's been no change since
they brought her in four weeks ago.

My first thought
was an overdose,

but her tox panel
came back clean.

So how did Mrs. Lazaro
end up in a coma?

Well, I found chlorine
in her lung tissue,

so my best guess is she drowned.

Are you sure? The
911 printout said

her husband came home from work

and found her passed
out in the living room.

This was a dry drowning.

It's basically a delayed
reaction drowning.

The patient inhales water not
enough to kill them right then and there,

but it starts this chain
reaction in the lungs which,

absent medical intervention,

ultimately results in death,

or as with Mrs. Lazaro,
a persistent coma.

So during this chain reaction,

she's what, walking
around like normal?

Walking around, yes. Normal, no.

Her behavior would've
become increasingly erratic

until she lost consciousness.

Can you pinpoint exactly when
she inhaled the chlorinated water?

My best guess is it
happened 10, 12 hours

before she landed in my E.R.

Dr. Graber, Dr. Kellen
is looking for you.

Good luck. All right. Thanks.

So sad about her husband.

He was here every day
after work. Every day.

He ever talk about how
she might've drowned?


She ever have any
friends visit her?

Her neighbors, the first week.

Since then it's just been her
husband and sometimes this guy Gary.

Gary? How often does he come?

Every week. Thursdays. Late.

He says he's a family friend.

It's such a shame.
Amelia's so beautiful.

Thursdays are when the
payments were made for her care.

Robin Hood or Robin Creep.

You know, if Talbot was stealing
to pay for her hospital bills,

maybe he had something
to do with putting her here.

Guilt makes people
do extraordinary things.

BERNARD: All due respect,
Lieu., nice as you are,

I just don't see you
stealing from the company till

to pay for my wife's hospital
care, assuming I had a wife.

Who said I was nice?

So, what are we suspecting?

Talbot had something to do
with this woman's near drowning?

Maybe they had a lot
more to do with each other.

So, now, we have Talbot

and Carlos's wife
having an affair.

They're kicking back
in the motel hot tub,

maybe one of them starts
making plans for the future.

Things got ugly from there.

BERNARD: Amelia ends up in
the hospital with a lung full of water

while Talbot ends up
with a heart full of remorse.

So the crane falling on Carlos
had nothing to do with this.

Not unless Talbot pulled
the crane down on top of him.

These are two unrelated crimes.

So one of them was
just a swimming accident.

Listen, Talbot is an important
witness against the city inspector,

and the D.A. doesn't want
us messing with that case.

You telling us to bury this?

Open a new one.

First item, search
Lazaro's home.

I've never seen Amelia
with any man except Carlos.

No other man. She loved him.

So, did you see her
the day she got sick?

Sí, in the elevator.

I thought she was drunk,

she didn't remember
what floor she living.

She said she don't feel so good,

so I tell her go to a

Amelia ever go swimming?

No. I think Amelia
is afraid of the water.

Yeah? Why do you think that?

Well, there is this pool
over here in the park.

(LAUGHS) It's not
deep, it's for kids.

One time the wind take
her hat into the water.

She was afraid to go in.

She ask my son to get it.


I have to go.


Hey, Lupes, you got
Talbot's number on you?

Is that Amelia's phone?

Yeah, a prepaid
no ID cell phone,

with two numbers
in the address book.

One for Carlos and
the other for Talbot.

How cozy.

I don't know about
the missing money.

It probably went in that
city inspector's pocket.

No, no, no. See, we
know where it went.

It all matches up.

The missing money and the
money that you paid to the hospital.

That I paid?

The nurses recognized you, Gary.

All right, look. Carlos
was having a hard time

and they were talking about shipping
Amelia back to her own country...

Don't even waste your breath,

because we found this adorable
little phone in Amelia's purse.

It's prepaid, no
ID, untraceable.

Perfect for people
having extramarital affairs.

No. I love my wife.

That's it. I'm not talking
to you guys anymore.

We know the truly
involved parties

are either dead or in a coma,

on even how well
Talbot covered his tracks.

It's going to be hard proving
he was having an affair.

There's always Talbot's wife.

Every morning's the same.

Gary would've been
helping me with Lacy.

But Tuesday, four weeks
ago, how would I remember?

That was the day that the wife

of one of your husband's
employees was found in a coma.

Amelia Lazaro.

That name mean anything to you?

Amelia Lazaro?
Why are you asking?

Because your husband's
number was found on her phone.

Yeah, I gave her that phone,

with our number
programmed on it.

And why would you do that?

Because she worked for us a few
days a week, helping out with Lacy.

Any reason your husband
wouldn't have mentioned that to us?

Amelia doesn't have any papers.

We were paying
her under the table.

Did you know that your husband
was visiting her in the hospital?

Well, why wouldn't
he? She worked for us.

Well, we think your husband
was paying for her medical bills

with the money he was
stealing from his work.

You see, in our experience,

that goes above and beyond

what someone would
do for an employee,

unless there was something
else going on between them.

I don't know what you mean.

She just helped us out
with our daughter, that's all.

If you don't mind, I have
to take Lacy to the doctor.

Oh, these are
water-wings, right?

That's what they're
called. They're cute.

You... You take your
daughter swimming?

It's water therapy.

Water therapy. That means
Talbot has access to a pool,

which may be where the chlorinated
water in Amelia's lungs came from.

Talbot alibis for the 12 hours

before Amelia
dropped into a coma.

He was pulling double shifts

at Wayne Hardy's
luxury salt mine.

Well, that leaves Mrs. Talbot.

She may have gotten
into it with Amelia

if she suspected her
husband was cheating on her.

It might not have
been the first time.

A divorce petition Gary
Talbot filed last year.

It was withdrawn a
couple of months later.

Sounds like this guy was just
itching to get out of his marriage.

Mmm-hmm. And Sandra
knew damn well why.

Well, the question is, can
we put Sandra with Amelia

on the day she went into a coma?

LUPO: We can
do better than that.

9:26 a.m., Sandra
charged two MetroCards

at the 86th and Lex
station, near their apartment.

Two MetroCards, one for her
and Lacy, the other for Amelia.

There you go. Half an hour later

there's a purchase at
a deli on Union Square.

And 90 minutes after that,

a charge at a drugstore
at 18th and Park.

An hour and a half
in a three block radius.

Is there a swimming pool there?

LUPO: Right.

The Michael Phelps
wannabes clear out by 10:00.

Mrs. Talbot had permission to bring
her daughter in between 10:00 and 11:00,

when there was nobody here to
complain about the kid screeching.

What about this woman?
You ever see her with them?

Sure. Yeah, the maid,
the helper, whatever.

She didn't like the water,

so she'd stand on
the edge of the pool,

hand Mrs. Talbot towels,

help the little girl in and out

of the wheelchair,
things like that.

Do you remember the last
time that they were here?

Maybe about four weeks ago?

Sure. Yeah, the
helper fell in the pool.

How did that happen?

I... I didn't see. I was here,

I heard some arguing
and then a big splash.

What was the argument about?

I can't hear
anything from in here,

way too much echo
bouncing off the tiles.

That big splash,
could it have been

the little girl or Mrs. Talbot?

I guess it could've been,

but when I went out to the pool,

they were bone dry and
the helper was standing there

soaked and crying,
so you tell me.

Nobody saw Sandra
Talbot push her in the pool.

Yeah, but there's
circumstantial evidence,

there was a big splash,
Amelia was soaking wet.

And everybody knew
she was afraid of water,

so it's not like
she just dove in.

Well, even if Mrs.
Talbot pushed her in,

she got out and walked away.

Yeah, but it doesn't matter.

If she hadn't been pushed
into the pool in the first place,

she wouldn't be in a coma
right now. It's attempted murder.

Mrs. Talbot, you're under
arrest... What are you doing?

For the murder of Amelia
Lazaro. She didn't do anything.

Hey! LUPO: It's time to go.

It's okay, baby.
I'll take care of this.

Lacy, Mommy will be right back.

Mr. Talbot, stand back. No!

Mr. Talbot.

She's done nothing! Mommy
will be right back, okay, honey?

I'll take care of her, baby.
It's okay. Don't worry.


"Docket number 42641.

"People v. Sandra Talbot. Attempted
murder in the Second Degree,

"Assault in the First Degree."

We plead not guilty
and request ROR.

For a Class A1 felony?

This was a slip-and-fall.

Well, Mr. Goodwin
can argue that to a jury.

Your Honor, my client's nine-year-old
daughter has static encephalopathy.

She can't move, eat, or go to
the bathroom without assistance.

My client's husband has to
work to support the family,

there is no other help.

My client needs to be home.

She put her caretaker in a
coma and now she begs mercy

because she has no caretaker?

You both overshot
the mark, counselors.

Bail is set at $200,000.

Next up.

You know 200 grand's
out of their reach.

Well, then lower your retainer.

You have no eyeball witness,
a motive you can't prove,

and a link between the
alleged act and the victim's coma

that's more science
fiction than medical fact.

What are you looking for?

Assault two, suspended sentence.

Assault one. She
does five years.

The whole idea of a plea is to
keep Mrs. Talbot with her daughter.

Our idea is to give
Amelia Lazaro justice.

Your client knew
about the affair

and she tried to
drown the other woman.

Now, she has to answer for that.

Our first pretrial
discovery request.

An application for all evidence
the police seized from the pool.

See you.

From a crane collapse
to a jealous wife.

The cops just
followed the facts.

This is where they led us.

To a crime with no witnesses
and no forensic evidence.

Not quite.

The defense asked us to
produce a float pole from the pool.

I had the police check it,

and they found Sandra's
prints on one end of the pole

and Amelia's
partials on the other.

Her lawyer's going to
argue Sandra used the pole

to fish Amelia out of the
water after pushing her in.

It's mitigation.

It's worse than that.
They'll argue renunciation.

Sandra Talbot had
a change of heart

after trying to drown Amelia.

She could get away scot free.

Renunciation's no
defense if it's motivated

by a fear of getting caught.

Amelia didn't drown right away.

Sandra was worried somebody'd
walk in, so she fished her out.

Good luck proving that.

Gary Talbot is a key
witness in our crane case.

Try not to muddy that up.

We need to retrace
Sandra and Amelia's steps

after they left the Rec Center,

find anyone they talked to.

I already told the
police what I know.

We talked to other people
who saw Amelia that day.

A subway employee
from the 96th street station

said that she was
having trouble breathing.

Like I told the
police, she was sick.

The police also said you
told her to go to see a doctor.

Yes. That's what
she should have done.

That's what I don't
understand, Mrs. Escobedo,

why didn't she?

I don't know. She was confused.

So you noticed that
she was in trouble,

and of course offered to
call 911 for her. Didn't you?

She didn't want no help.

You said she was confused.

Why would you listen to her?

She say her boss tell
her don't go to the doctor.

She say her boss tell her...

La migra. La migra.

So I listen to her.

Maybe I was wrong.

Sandra pulled
her out of the pool.

That's renunciation.

Penal Code Section 4010.
"Renunciation must be complete."

Simply put, Mrs. Talbot,

your lawyer can't
argue renunciation

if you talked Amelia
out of seeing a doctor.

heartbroken about Amelia.

If I really thought that she
really needed a doctor...

Look, Sandra can't
go to prison. Please.

What if... What if my client
was covering for someone?

I'm listening.

Their daughter is
on anti-spasm pills,

but she didn't get her
meds that morning.

She spasmed and
kicked Amelia into the pool.

An accident? Then why hide it?

The Talbots receive thousands
in city aid for Lacy's care.

If they're negligent,
that aid can be revoked.

They'd have to
institutionalize her.

Stop it right now.

Lacy's been through so much.

I won't victimize her
to help myself. I can't.

The truth right now or she
takes her chances with a jury.

Amelia and I argued about Gary.

I got angry, I pushed her,

but I swear I wasn't
trying to kill her.

I just...

If I could take
it all back, I...

My daughter's a sick little
girl who needs her mother.

Don't take me away from
her, please. I'm begging you.

Assault two.

Suspended sentence, provided
a portion of Gary's salary

goes to Amelia's long-term care.

And Mrs. Talbot will allocute.

I think we can
all live with that.

Suspended sentence?


SANDRA: I confronted
Amelia about Gary.

We began to argue.

Amelia admitted that she
and Gary had been together.

I lost my temper. I
pushed her into the pool.

Knowing she couldn't swim.

Yes. She was
struggling in the water.

I got scared. I helped her out.

And what did you do?

I told her to leave my
family, my husband, alone.

All right.

Mr. Cutter, are the
People satisfied?

Mr. Cutter?

Judge, permission to inquire?

Mrs. Talbot, how did
you learn about the affair?

Amelia... Amelia was
giving Lacy a bath.

She left her phone
in the kitchen.

It started to ring.
I saw it was Gary.

He left her a message.

I'd given her the phone,
I'd programmed it,

I knew the code for
the voicemail, so I...

I found the message.

He was meeting her after work.

So you confronted her that day?


Then the next day? You
confronted Amelia the next day?


When you took Lacy to the pool?


GOODWIN: Your Honor, is
there a point to this examination.

She's already admitted...
Your Honor, at this point

the People are withdrawing their
plea offer and stand ready for trial.

But we have a deal.

Had a deal, Mr. Goodwin.

It's the District
Attorney's prerogative.

Give it a date, Freddie.


Pushover, my ass.

Pulling the plug in the
middle of an allocution,

I hope you didn't snatch
defeat from the jaws of victory.

We checked Amelia's
cell phone records.

There was no call from Gary
Talbot that day, or any other day.

But the night before
Amelia drowned,

she made a call to
a Dr. Lucas Ziering.

He's an endocrinologist.
It was a one minute call.

It was after hours, she
left a message. And?

And the next morning Sandra
Talbot got a call from Dr. Ziering.

She was on the
phone for 20 minutes.

An hour later she shoved
Amelia into the pool.

And you think something
about that call upset Sandra?

I just don't think she tried
to kill her over an affair.

turned up a police report filed

by Doctor Ziering,
about anonymous threats

left on his office voicemail.

It's dated at two weeks before
Amelia was pushed into the pool.

Maybe that's what Amelia's
call to Ziering was about,

she was leaving another threat.

A threat about what?

Bird in the hand, Mike.

Next time a defendant
wants to plead guilty, let them.

This is for Dr. Ziering.

What you are doing to Lacy
Talbot is against God's plan.

You cannot change her nature.

It's evil and you will
burn in hell if you do this.

Lacy's mom recognized
their caretaker's voice.

I... I told Sandra that
if these calls persisted,

I could no longer
treat their daughter,

and she said she would
speak to the caretaker.

What did she mean,
changing Lacy's nature?

How were you treating her?

The Talbots approached
me about restricting

their daughter's
physical development.

Meaning what?

Estrogen therapy to permanently
stunt the child's growth.

And the removal
of her breast buds,

womb and ovaries, so that
her sexual organs never mature.

Surgery and drugs
to keep her a child?

Is this treatment approved?

It's very controversial.

In fact, I'm not the first doctor
that the Talbots came to.

They're desperately concerned
about their daughter's welfare.

I told them that they
have to be discreet,

or we're going to get
these kooks butting in.

What happened after
you got another call?

I told Mrs. Talbot that I could no
longer provide Lacy's treatment.

CONNIE: How did she react?

She begged me to reconsider.

But I... I couldn't. I just
couldn't risk the publicity.

She became furious,
started screaming at me,

and I had to hang up on her.

It... I'd hoped that
she would understand.

Don't worry, Doctor, I think she found
someone else to vent her anger on.

I got nothing to say to you.

Right now, we
need you to listen.

We told you...
There was no affair.

It was about your daughter.

Amelia interfered, she
threatened your doctor.

I don't want to talk about this.

Well, somebody
needs to talk to us

if your wife expects
any leniency.

Why? So you can
scare off the next doctor

who'd even consider helping us?

My little girl will
never walk or talk.

And if she grows
up in this condition...

Right now, she's an angel.

She's our little angel.

We can't imagine what it's like,

the strain it must
put on your marriage.

We also know you
filed for divorce last year.

GARY: Yeah. I looked down
the road and it was all black.

Everything would get
worse the older she got.

And I couldn't handle it.

We worked through it.

Is that when you came up
with the idea for this treatment,

to keep her a child?

I think you should leave now.

Mr. Talbot, I would...

We do not need your
condemnation or anybody else's.

This is our private
business, so you just butt out.

We traced a payment
the Talbots made

right before Sandra was
arrested to a Dr. Connor Dunning

at Emmanuel Children's Hospital.

I think she lined
up another doctor

to do this operation
on their daughter.

That explains why Mrs. Talbot

won't speak the
truth in open court.

Their first doctor got skittish.

She doesn't want
to scare off this one.

I'm moving to
stop the procedure.

On what basis?

It's an assault on a
handicapped child.

CONNIE: I don't know
if I would go that far.

What would you call disfiguring
this poor kid, tearing out her uterus,

forcing hormones into her
veins to stunt her growth?

I mean, look, I've read up
on this, I talked to doctors.

No one knows what
the long-term effects are,

assuming Lacy
even lives to find out,

because the hormones might
cause a blood clot that kills her.

The procedure's not
medically necessary,

it's all for the parents'
convenience, to save their marriage.

What does any of this have to do

with our prosecution
of Sandra Talbot?

One assault's to cover
another, this one on a child.

It's all part of the same
criminal enterprise.

It's a stretch. She
was ready to plead.

CUTTER: On false grounds.

You're splitting hairs.

What, so we don't have an
obligation to pursue the truth?

Lacy Talbot's treatment
isn't our concern.

We have a victim. Amelia Lazaro.

If Mrs. Talbot doesn't want
to come clean, empanel a jury.

But this office focuses
on established crimes.

We're amending the complaint

to add a charge of conspiracy
to assault Lacy Talbot,

unindicted coconspirator,
Gary Talbot.

Overt act, payment
for the surgery.

Mike, were you not here when Jack
said focus on established crimes?

If the judge buys my argument
that the operation is a crime,

then Jack won't have anything
to complain about, will he?

You just want to stop them from
doing this procedure on their daughter.

I don't have kids, and I
am not in the Talbots' shoes,

but I'm not convinced.

Stick around.

Mister Cutter tanked a plea and
now he realizes his case is a loser,

so he trumps up a charge that Mrs.
Talbot is trying to assault her child.

It's a legitimate charge based
on newly discovered facts.

GOODWIN: These facts don't even
come close to establishing an assault.

They establish
that there's a plan

to cause serious
injury to a child.

Mr. Cutter, I agree the
procedure's ethically questionable.

That does not mean it's a crime.

But I will give you a
chance to change my mind.

The procedure's untested.

It's benefits are
highly speculative.

The surgery will be painful
for Lacy and the recovery long.

And complications from the
estrogen therapy can't be discounted.

Dr. Peller, are
there other reasons

why your hospital's ethics committee
refused to sanction this procedure?

It's a slippery slope.

Keeping Lacy small might
make her easier to care for.

But then why not amputate her
legs to make her more portable?

Remove her larynx to
stop her from crying?

So you're saying that the
convenience of the parents

shouldn't be a relevant factor?

In my opinion, it is clearly
outweighed by the dignity anyone,

especially a disabled
child must be accorded.

She needs love, not surgery.

Before I agreed to
perform the procedure,

I spent hours with the Talbots

watching them
interact with Lacy.

Their commitment
to her quality of life

and their love
for her is obvious.

But removal of her
breasts, uterus and ovaries

seems unwarranted, doesn't it?

Actually, no.

Lacy's never going to give
birth, breastfeed or have sex,

so those organs are unnecessary.

And removing them eliminates the potential
for cancer or emotional confusion.

Dr. Dunning, would you say

that medicine's role
is to cure sickness?

Well, that's one formulation.

But that's not what this
procedure does, right?

There's nothing wrong with Lacy Talbot's
sex organs requiring their removal.

Nothing inherently dangerous

about her growing into an adult.

The procedure doesn't address

sickness by that narrow
definition, no. But...

Thank you.

Money's tight. Part-time help
for Lacy is all we can afford.

Since we can't
pay the going rates,

the people we use
aren't properly trained.

How much does
your daughter's care

and treatment cost you a month?

Nearly $6,000.

The city chips in
about $2,000 a year.

We're out of pocket on the rest

because Medicaid won't pay

unless we put her
in an institution.

Is that an option
you've considered?

Absolutely not.

We're a family and families
stay together no matter what.

And I know without the
round-the-clock care we give her,

she can't survive.

Would you ever
intentionally harm Lacy?

No. I'd die for my daughter.

If you had a million
dollars to pay for caretakers,

would you still consider
this procedure for Lacy?

Yes. It's going to
improve her life.

And yours, too, right?

It'll reduce your workload.

Make her easier
to lift, to feed?

It's about keeping our angel
where she belongs at home

and in the arms of the
family that loves her.

By keeping her small. But if
she matures into a grown woman,

then you'll have other
inconvenient things to worry about,

her menstruation,
her sexuality...

No, it's not about those things.

She won't be so cute
and cuddly anymore.

It's not about that.

We won't be able to
care for her at home,

we won't be able to bring
her with us, to include her...

You'd need more caretakers,
special equipment, a bigger home.


It would be too expensive.

Yes. We couldn't do it.

But you wouldn't
want Lacy to grow up

even if you had all
the money in the world.

You'd still put her
through this procedure.

That's what you just said.

You wouldn't feel the
same way about her

if she grew up, would you?

It's easier to love her now,

when she's small,
like a doll. Isn't it?


I love her, I do
love her. My angel...

All right, Mrs. Talbot,
you're excused.

I have no doubt the
Talbots are motivated

by love and concern for Lacy.

On the other hand,
Mr. Cutter has demonstrated

that this inquiry cannot begin
and end with a parent's intentions.

On balance, the
court is not satisfied

the elements of assault on
the child have been made out.

The motion to amend
the complaint is denied.

I hope that now the parties can reach
an agreement on a plea settlement.

Goodwin has agreed to a meeting.

I got to tell you, Mike.

I think the judge
made the right call.

Ever since she pushed
Amelia into that pool,

Sandra Talbot's done
nothing but lie and obfuscate.

And now her reward's a
green light to maim her child?

It's not our business anymore.

Besides, there are
no clean hands here.

Sometimes it's hard to
know where justice is,

but you have to do something.

You just have to try and
save who you can save.

Assault two, suspended
sentence, five years’ probation.

Same terms for
Amelia Lazaro's care.

And there's more.

I want her agreement
that she won't consent

to the procedure
with her daughter.

Like hell we will. He
can't do that, can he?

No, he can't. Mr. Cutter,
are you kidding me?

Take it or leave
it, Mrs. Talbot.

Or we go to trial
and you go to prison.

I can't be away from her.

You want to tell
me what this is?

I'm guessing you already know.

No operation. No
hormone therapy.

You've attached an
illegal stipulation to a plea.

You violated Mrs.
Talbot's rights.

The judge will
repudiate this document.

I can sell him on it.

I'm repudiating it.

You've gone completely
off the reservation here.

Just imitating the master.

People v. Willach, the
Munchausen-by-proxy case.

Did you forget you made
enforced sterilization

a condition of a plea for a
woman who killed her babies?

I remember.

I also remember the
judge reaming me out for it.

He was right.

You followed your
instincts. I'm following mine.

It's what we both get paid for.

You get paid to follow orders.

The court didn't
buy the argument

the Talbots are
assaulting their daughter,

it's time to turn
the page, Mike.

I have an executed
plea agreement.

I'm moving forward.

You want to take the
case away, that's your call.

I have real reservations
about this stipulation, Mr. Cutter.

Parents' control and
care of their children

is a right protected under
the 14th Amendment.

That right isn't absolute.

It gives way to a
compelling State interest,

like protecting a minor.

I believe I have already
ruled on that, Mr. Cutter.

You ruled that the
operation isn't a crime.

That doesn't mean the State still
can't take an interest in stopping it.

Mr. McCoy?

Permission to approach?

I've just been made
aware of the substance

of the plea agreement
in this matter.

Then you know it attempts to
impose a questionable stipulation.

My office doesn't sanction that
stipulation and we'll remove it.

I'd like to apologize to
the Court and Mrs. Talbot

for this error in judgment.

BRADLEY: With the
removal of the stipulation,

the court has no objection
to this plea agreement.

We may proceed
with the allocution.

People v. Willach. I
overstepped back then.

One day you'll thank me
for yanking your leash, Mike.

Sometimes I wish someone
had been there to yank mine.