Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 4, Episode 20 - Law & Order - full transcript

Detectives Briscoe and Logan pull out all of the stops when 10 year-old Wendy Sylvester's school friend complains that she hadn't seen her for two days. She was a ward of the State but her foster mother treated the girl like a servant and hadn't bothered calling the police believing she would return at some point. Her mother is an alcoholic and also hadn't seen her. A diary leads the police to believe that she may have been close to one of her teachers and the school confirms that a volunteer, Annette Fennady, may be that person. Fennady says she hasn't seen Wendy for some time but Logan's thinks she lying. After they find the girl in a hidden bedroom in the basement she is charged but her defense is that she was actually protecting the girl.

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.

Wendy here? You mean Bughead?

Is she here?

Yeah, she's got her
head stuck in the tailpipe.

She's trying to kill the lice.

We're leaving,
kid. You on or off?


I went to her apartment but
Beatrice didn't answer the door.

The lady across the hall
hasn't seen Wendy for two days.

Well, who's Beatrice?

Beatrice Hines is
Wendy's foster mother.

I tried calling over there
but there wasn't an answer.

Well, maybe they just went
away for a couple of days.

They didn't go away.

Beatrice was in there. I
heard her moving around.

But something's
happened to Wendy.

Well, it could be
she's just sick in bed.

She would've called me. She
would've had me bring her homework.

Well, don't you think that Wendy's
foster mom would have called us?

She doesn't care
about Wendy. But I do.

That woman does not take care
of that child. I've seen it myself.

You know how kids are
today. They come, they go.

This one goes for two days,
and you don't think to call us?

Look, she'll turn up.
She always does.

You find any kind of a note,
like maybe she ran away?

No, nothing.

When did you see her last?

Day before yesterday, when
she came home from school.

I told her to get
busy on the laundry.

You know, we got the
self-service down the block.

And yesterday? Bells didn't go
off when she didn't come home?

Look, I thought maybe she
went to visit her friend Janel.

I work nights. I can't pay
attention to everything that girl does.

My towels aren't here.

Now you're worried, huh?

I guess maybe you
better look for her.

A 10-year-old girl,
gone two nights.

No problem.

Yeah, she was here
around dinnertime Monday.

She sorts by colors. She
knows how to use bleach.

Do a lot of people send
their kids to do their wash?

If they could, they'd
send their dogs.

You see her talking to anybody?

Just me. We joke around.

Sometimes I buy her a soda
or give her half my sandwich.

All she ever has is money
for the machines, nothing extra.

Did you buy her a
soda on Monday?

I had five dryers
down. I nearly had a riot.

What time did Wendy leave?

I don't know but she left
her dark load in the machine.

What am I supposed
to do with this stuff?

We hit every store on
the block with her picture.

And nobody saw
the little washer girl?

The foster mother, she give
you a list of the girl's friends?

I don't think she
knows or cares.

She seemed to miss her
towels more than the kid.

What about the girl's real
mother? We're on our way.

Since I got the call,
I've been sick with worry.

I've been trying to
get custody again.

She's my little girl. Her foster
mother didn't seem too worried.

That bitch Beatrice.

She just cares about Wendy for
the check. I'm her mother, I'm blood.

And she'd be living here if there
wasn't a problem, is that correct?

I used to drink.
I'm getting off it.

Yeah? How's it going?

This is just a beer.

When's the last
time you saw her?

A couple of weeks ago, she
came, she spent the night.

And since then?

My little girl, they
got her all messed up.

And who would "they"
be? Children's Services.

This is her home. I
knew this would happen.

What would happen?

She'd run away because
of Beatrice's boyfriend.

Oh, you don't know?
A guy named Brian.

He'd get drunk and
he'd beat her up.

He got arrested but nothing
ever happened to him.

I complained to
Children's Services but...

they gonna listen to
me? I'm only her mother.

I don't know where she is,
and I don't care where she is.

We heard you cared
enough to slap her around.

Hey. Her mother's lying...

to try to get her back, so she
can collect the welfare check.

She probably
put the kid up to it.

Did she put the DA
up to arresting you?

I'm out on bail. I never
did anything to her.

Your trial's coming up.

Be nice for you if the
star witness disappeared.

I never go near her. That's
one of the conditions of my bail.

I can't even stay over
with my own girlfriend.

You do any laundry
Monday, about 6:00?

I was here until 8:00.

Underneath a Toyota
with a leaky transmission.

They can tell you.

Look, the kid lied.

It runs in the family. You
saw what her mother was like.

Brian never hit her.
She just made it all up.

Yeah, maybe.

I mean, the kid's got this
kind of weird imagination.

She just sits in her room all
day just telling stories to the wall.

I got a hard enough time
getting her out of there...

so she can come
and do her chores.

You smack her yourself once
in a while to give her incentive?

I never touched her.
Brian never touched her.

When he's here, we
got better things to do.

Well, Beatrice, if we start
asking the neighbors...

are we gonna find out that Brian's been
coming around, ignoring his bail order?

Because if he does, he goes straight
to jail, and you lose custody of the kid.

Yeah? Well, that
would be terrible.

Yeah, your check stops coming.

Know how I got Wendy?

I used to get a sandwich at a coffee
shop where her mother was a waitress...

when she could stand up.

We became friends.

She was having trouble
down at Children's Services.

She knew I liked kids.
Peggy gave Wendy to me.

What, was she on the
menu under Live-In Servants?

I'm the best thing that
ever happened to that kid.

Beatrice Hines was
qualified as a foster parent.

The birth mother's consent papers
were in order. They were friends.

Is it departmental policy that
children can be exchanged as gifts?

Peggy Sylvester used to
send her daughter out...

to shoplift cigarettes
and six packs for her.

Moving Wendy out of that environment
was a considerable improvement.

Oh, really? Well, did you ever drop
by and take a look at that foster home?

I investigated the child abuse
report and talked to Wendy in person.

Followed up with a phone call.

I was assured that Brian
Sprague was staying away.

Did Wendy ever talk
about running away?

She did run away once,
about four months ago.

She came back about a day
later. Did she say where she went?

She told me that her
father owned Central Park.

She was going to live in Belvedere
Castle but it didn't work out.

Who is her father?

She has no idea. Her
mother's not too sure, either.

Our teacher's got us putting
these up all over the neighborhood.

Maybe somebody
will recognize her.

Do you think she ran away?

I mean, was she saving
her money up for it?

Beatrice never gave her
nothing, just worked her.

I lent her some of my clothes,
so she wouldn't freeze...

and my mom let her
come over for dinner.

So she never talked
about running away?

Yeah, but there's no way
she would've gone now.

We had a trip to the Museum of
Natural History to see the dinosaurs.

Oh, she liked
that sort of thing?

Yeah, she was
crazy about that stuff.

Did she have any other friends?

You mean real ones?

What, she had some other kind?


you got to promise you don't tell
nobody, but she wrote letters to Carol.

It's just a made-up somebody...

like there was a big sister
somewhere else that she was writing to.

Well, we might want
to look at those letters.

She didn't want anybody
to know about them.

Well, we won't tell anybody
and it might help us find her.

Her school locker.

Right 23, left 10...

right 14.

Sometimes she writes letters...

sometimes she writes
poems to this imaginary friend.

"Riding a pony in the
snow Another place to go

"Smiling and laughing
on TV Another place to be

"Flying away on a giant beast
With my suitcase in its teeth"

Okay, so we check pony
stables, TV studios, and Big Bird.

Well, somebody liked it.

They wrote, "Excellent work,
Wendy. Very imaginative."

That's great, but it's dark
out, and it's night number three.

Here's more writing in the margin,
spelling and grammar corrections.

Teacher? Yeah.

One she liked enough
to tell her secrets to.

Yes, I recognize the margin
notes. Arnette Fenady.

They must be from last semester.

You can date the ink?

Miss Fenady gave a poetry
workshop for our more gifted students.

Despite Wendy's appearance, and
the fact that she was often exhausted...

and that she had to be
treated for head lice...

she had the potential
to be an A student.

Where is this teacher
now? In class?

No, she's currently
on a leave of absence.

She's a published poet
herself who donates her time.

Would she have gotten
to know Wendy pretty well?

There are only half a
dozen kids in the class.

Practically a 1-1
situation. Ideal.

Ideal how?

Here we have 40
children to a class.

Our school system encourages
these volunteers from the community.

So you'd have her address?

That's terrible. How long
has she been missing?

Since three days ago.

Miss Fenady, if
she did run away...

would you have any idea
where she might have gone to?

No. I just know she
was very unhappy.

Have you talked
to her friend Janel?

Yes, we did.

Did Wendy talk to you
much about her problems?

No, I just had to
read her poems.

What do you mean?

Well, there is a real
survivor's spirit there.

She lives in miserable circumstances
but she never gave up on herself.

Dear God, I hope
she's all right.

Do you have any
children, Miss Fenady?

No. No, I'm not
blessed with children.

Well, it's an awful lot of
house here for one person.

Yes, it's been in the family nearly a
century. I hold poetry workshops here.

So Wendy's been here?

Yes, but I haven't
seen her since last term.

You must give me your number.
There's a chance she might contact me.

She has your phone number? Yes.

All my children do.
Well, we'll be in touch.

If there's anything I
can do. Thank you.

I could have used a few
teachers like her at PS 189.

Oh, yeah? I don't know,
something about her.

What? She donates
her time helping kids.

She gives her phone number to her
students. Why would anyone bother?

What, that makes her
too good to be true?

Hey, humor me, will
you? Let's check her out.

One arrest, February 1990.
Endangering the welfare of a minor.

The charges were dropped,
so the record was sealed.

Which means we can't find
out what the charge was about.

Could be she took her students to the
pony rides, and then some parent panicked.

Well, sealed or not, there's a
file sitting in someone's desk.

I'll call Kincaid. Get her
working on a judge's order.

The clock's running out on this kid.
We don't have time to wait for a judge.

Well, then find out who
the arresting officer was.

Oh, yeah, the rich poet.
You've seen the place she lives?

Yeah, so how did she
endanger the welfare of a minor?

Drinking a sherry while
playing Pick-Up Sticks?

The complaint was from
the parents of a 6-year-old.

One of her little poets.
She tried to kidnap the kid.

Tried how?

She kept her overnight, and then denied
she had her when the parents showed up.

And when you showed up?

She was packing the kid
into her car for a trip upstate.

It was weird. It took us three hours
to get her to admit it wasn't her kid.

Your lecture about your commitment
to children was fascinating.

Why did you leave out
the part about kidnapping?

Well, that's not what I did
at all. I was protecting her.

From what?

Well, Molly was malnourished.
She hadn't had any proper food.

Some people don't
deserve to be parents.

You ever hear of
Children's Services?

Yes, of course. But they
have their procedures.

The child could have died
if I hadn't done something.

And a drive upstate in the middle of
winter, that was going to save her life?

I was frightened
and I overreacted.

But everyone knows I did the right
thing. Molly was placed in foster care.

The charges against
me were dropped.

Which brings us to Wendy.
Is she your latest cause?

I am very worried about her.

Why can't you just
believe that I want to help?

You see a little girl
getting slapped around...

a lot of people would
take her into their home.

Yeah, and those people
usually call the cops.

Well, your hunches aren't
gonna get us a search warrant.

Well, we got the notebooks. Let's see if
there's anything about Fenady in there.

"Flying away on a giant beast
With my suitcase in its teeth"

That doesn't sound
like Fenady to me.

Wait a minute.

"On leather wings, I fly beyond
Atop my friend the pteranodon"

The flying beast is a dinosaur.

So a brontosaurus did it.

No, Fenady's comments are on
this poem, and Wendy's friend said...

they didn't learn about dinosaurs
until a couple of weeks ago.

Fenady said she hadn't seen
Wendy since last term, right?

Flying dinosaurs won't get
you into Fenady's house.

Did you follow up on
the endangering charge?

Yeah, that kid wound
up in a foster home...

and the DA chose
not to indict Fenady.

Yeah, well, they didn't
give her a medal, either.

Let's put her under
24-hour surveillance.

And canvass the neighborhood,
maybe someone saw her with the little girl.

She's a very caring person. She
even donated money to plant trees.

Well, did you ever see
any kids go in there?

All the time. She
loves children.

Last year she built a
whole playroom upstairs.

You get the full tour?

Yes, she's always
remodeling for the kids.

Last month, she had cinder block
and cement in front of her house.

Some of the neighbors complained.
I said, "Come on, it's for the kids."

Speaking of kids, we're looking
for this little girl. She's 10 years old.

Was she around on
Monday? Yeah, I think so.

I saw them coming
out of the car.

Now, are you
positive about that?

I only saw them from the back.

Can't this wait until
after I eat my lunch?

It's about a missing
child, Your Honor.

We have an eyewitness
who saw her with our suspect.

Now, Miss Fenady lied about
the last time she saw the child.

That's this thing here
about the dinosaur?

Once again, Your Honor,
there's a certain urgency here.

Do you want me
to read this or not?

No disrespect, Your Honor.

Your eyewitness is a little iffy. I
don't wanna start a witch hunt here.

I'm gonna limit you
to a look-see warrant.

Mrs. Stavros couldn't
have seen Wendy here.

I'm sure she has the day wrong. I had
children here Sunday for a workshop.

Well, the school said you were
all through with the workshops.

Well, that doesn't mean that
I've stopped helping the kids.

Well, what were you doing
Monday, Miss Fenady?

I was working on my
books. Children's books.

It's better than
Romper Room up there.

I'm sorry it's such a mess. I
don't come down here much.

There's a storeroom in here.

I checked it.

You doing some construction?

The contractor said we needed
a wall to support the playroom.

Look, I know you're doing
your job, but I'm really worried...

about all the time you're wasting
when you could be looking for Wendy.

Just let us worry about
Wendy. We'll be in touch.

Well, her concern is touching.
You still sure she has her?

I hope you guys found something.

I'm not exactly looking forward
to another eight hours out here.

Well, maybe she'll
invite you in for tea.

Well, she knows we're around.

You think if she's got the girl stashed
somewhere, she's gonna lead us to her?

I don't think she's
gonna let the kid starve.

She could already
be dead, Lennie.

Yeah, and she could still
be in that house, okay?

Well, we just searched the
house. We looked around.

That cinder block
wall in the basement.

Fenady said it was for a
playroom built a year ago.

Now, we got neighbors who saw cinder
blocks on the sidewalk a month ago.

You think maybe she's
got a Houdini room?

Well, let's find the contractor and see
what kind of shoe this lady's building.

Miss Fenady? Real good people.

Most people won't let you use the
toilet. She gave us milk and cookies.

You build a bearing
wall in her basement?

Those old brownstones
are overbuilt as it is.

She didn't need any
structural support.

So you never
touched the basement?

No. She asked us about maybe
putting in a maid's room downstairs.

I gave her an estimate but
she never got back to me.

So how long has it been since
you actually did work for her?

About eight months ago.

She ordered some materials
through me last month.

Cinder blocks? Cement?

Yeah, copper pipes,
fixtures, flooring.

All the makings for
a nice, cozy hideout.

This woman has dedicated
her life to the children of this city.

There is no reason you
should be harassing her.

Unless you back off, I'm gonna
slap you with an injunction.

Go for it. Any judge will see
our actions are consistent...

with a normal
police investigation.

You have no idea how
destructive your actions are.

Parents come over with their kids,
they see police cars parked outside.

Neighbors are calling,
asking what's going on.

Miss Fenady's even
gotten calls from the media.

Well, Miss Siegal, you have
your job and we have ours.

As long as Miss Fenady remains a
suspect in the disappearance of a child...

we have no intention
of backing off.

That's your line
in the sand. Fine.

Nice performance. It
is just a performance.

Unless we get some results...

the minute Siegal gets
to a judge, school's out.

Well, before she gets an injunction
we're going to need another search warrant.

Judge Romney's a
defendant's judge.

He might see a second search
as part of a pattern of harassment.

Well, how's he going to see Ms.
Fenady lying to us about her remodeling?

One last time, Miss Fenady.

What's behind that wall?

I don't know. I wasn't
here when they built it.

It's probably nothing.

It could be dead space
on the other side but...

no way through that we can find.

Tommy, tell the press to work from
the other side of the street, all right?

- Strike out up there?
- Nada.


Yeah, the walled-off part of the
basement is right under this floor here.

Your warrant specifies you're
not allowed to tear anything up.

Miss Fenady, how many other
TVs do you have in the house?

Two. One upstairs in my
bedroom and one in the playroom.


Then why do you have four lines
splitting off from the cable junction here?

This line goes right
through the closet floor.

You wanna tell me now?


Are you all right?

"Docket number 286721,
People v. Arnette Fenady.

"Charges are kidnapping
in the second degree...

"custodial interference
in the first degree...

"endangering the welfare
of a child in the first degree."

How do you plead? Not guilty.

People request that the defendant
be held without bail, Your Honor.

My client is not
a violent felon.

She abducted a 10-year-old girl off
the street and held her in a basement.

We don't want to put the
girl at further risk. Your Honor.

Save it, Miss Siegal. I have
three of my own. Bail is $250,000.

Aren't you on the wrong
side of the plate here, Rose?

I thought children's rights attorneys
defended minors, not their abductors.

Sometimes defending an alleged abductor
is in the best interest of the child.

Miss Fenady took Wendy without
the consent of her legal guardian.

We've got our prima facie case.

If you're looking
for a deal here...

Never crossed my mind. I want
you to drop the case entirely.

If you'd look past the
statutes for a second...

you'd see that Arnette Fenady
was trying to save that child.

Do you have any idea what Wendy's life
was like before she took her to her home?

Oh, and it was really improved
by being stuck in a cellar?

Look, I know this woman
would never hurt a child.

If you have any doubts,
have your experts talk to her.

Have them talk to Wendy.

I guarantee
you'll see the light.

We had pizza with pepperoni,
then she showed me to my room.

She said I'd be safe just
as long as no one found out.

Did she make you stay in
the room the entire time?

No, I came up for a party.

What party?

A birthday party. She
had a cake for me.

It was chocolate
with 10 candles on it.

It was your birthday?

My birthday's in October.

I'll be 11. This was Crystal's.

Who's Crystal?

I don't know. That's
what it said on the cake.

Did Miss Fenady ever hurt you?


We read poems and played games.

Weren't you worried that
Beatrice might miss you?

Miss Fenady said I could use
the phone. She said I could call.

Did you?

Thank you very much,
Wendy. Welcome.

If she were mistreated, I don't
think she'd keep it a secret.

So Fenady honestly kidnaps
children to save them?


Well, she did the same thing
four years ago. A 6-year-old girl.

Is there a way I could
interview Miss Fenady?

It's possible. I don't think
her lawyer would object.

Are you sure you don't
want your attorney present?

I don't need my attorney.

I don't understand
what all the fuss is about.

Wendy was happier with
me. Didn't she tell you that?

That's not the point.

Her mother, her foster mother...

they didn't love Wendy.

It's hard for us to
know how they felt.

I know how you're
supposed to feel.

Have you had those
feelings yourself?

God gives people children.

And he sometimes
takes them away.

How would you know
anything about that?

I don't, but...

I have a feeling that you do.

Did you lose a child?

How old would she be now?


It must have been
very painful for you.

She was nine months
old when she died.

You loved her very much.

I'd do anything for her.

Just like you'll do for Wendy.

You know what they did?

Do you know how
they treated her?

Nobody treats Crystal
that way, nobody.

You know, if you
pray hard enough...

sometimes God
answers your prayers.

Hell of a world.

If she weren't a
fictional character...

you'd want to toss Mary
Poppins into the booby hatch.

Your client is
mentally ill, Rose.

Why? Because she takes an abused
kid off the street and pampers her?

Because she thinks
that kid is hers.

I'm trying to help
you, Rose. Great.

We lock Fenady in a state hospital,
Wendy goes back to another Beatrice Hines.

Whatever happens, Miss Fenady is
not going to get custody of the child.

No. But the press gets
a whiff of the real story...

maybe we re-examine
the foster care system.

Your client is Arnette Fenady,
not the needy children of the world.

And I'm representing her...

with all the zealousness
required by the Canons of Ethics.

By sacrificing her for a cause?

Hey, I'm going to win this case.

I'll tell Arnette of your generous
offer, and I'll see you in court.

Rose Siegal called.

Fenady would rather spend the rest
of her life in prison than in a hospital.

I'm sure she was fully
apprised by her attorney.

Well, if the woman doesn't want
to plead insanity, we can't force her.

Yeah, but we don't
have to try her.

Whether she was
sane at the time that she

committed the crime
is for a jury to decide.

But whether she's even competent
to stand trial, that's for a judge.

We challenge her competency?

If she's delusional, she can't
understand the charges against her...

and she can't help
in her own defense.

Isn't this her attorney's job?

That attorney is more
interested in making a point...

than helping her client.

Miss Fenady is sick. She belongs
in a hospital, not in a prison.

Miss Fenady operates in
a world of her own making.

A world where
she sets the rules.

Does she understand
our rules as they apply...

in the legal
proceedings against her?

She won't even try.

All that matters to
her is her mission...

to rescue a girl she
believes is her dead daughter.

Nothing else is relevant,
nothing else is real.

Dr. Olivet, in your
expert opinion...

is Arnette Fenady capable...

of understanding her trial...

and assisting in
her own defense?

No. She's not.

Thank you, Doctor.

When you interviewed
Miss Fenady...

did she know who you were?

She knew I was
a psychiatrist, yes.

Does she know who I am?

She knows. I just
don't think she cares.

Isn't there a
difference, Dr. Olivet...

between believing the law is
irrelevant and believing it is wrong?

Of course.

And is a person who believes the
law is wrong incompetent to stand trial?

That depends on the person.
Let's take Miss Fenady, then.

Doesn't she believe
the law is wrong...

because it fails to protect children
while prosecuting those who do?

That's part of her
belief system, yes.

And isn't she capable of
articulating that belief to you...

to me, to a judge, to a jury?


And you are a
board-certified psychiatrist?

Yes. I'm on the staff
of Manhattan Hospital.

And you examined Arnette
Fenady at my request.


I found her to be passionate
about the well-being of children.

Does she hear voices
that tell her how to behave?

No. She decides how to behave.

In your expert
opinion, Doctor...

does Miss Fenady understand
the nature of these proceedings...

and the charges against her?

She not only understands
them, she welcomes them...

as a means to raise public
awareness of the problems of children.

Thank you.

Doctor, did Miss Fenady
decide to break the law?

I believe she did.

And did she decide to mistake
Wendy for her dead daughter?

Her belief is figurative...

an extension of her
passion to save children.

You are familiar with the
interview with Dr. Olivet, correct?

Where she repeatedly
mistook Wendy for Crystal?

She identifies the suffering of other
children with that of her own daughter.

It doesn't make her delusional.

But if, in fact, Miss Fenady mistook
Wendy for her dead daughter...

what is to prevent her from
mistaking any other 10-year-old...

for her dead child?

By definition, Mr. Stone, a
delusional person will have delusions.

I just don't think
that's the case here.

Arnette, do you know
what you are charged with?


I rescued Wendy, Your Honor...

Just answer your attorney's
questions, Miss Fenady.

The charge is kidnapping.

But I intend to prove
that I did nothing wrong.

How do you intend to prove that?

With a trial in public.

Then, everyone
will know the truth.

But you know that
you could go to jail.

Could. Yes.

Do you understand
what my function is?

You're my attorney.

Your job is to make
sure that I get a fair trial...

to prove that I
did nothing wrong.

Nothing further.

Miss Fenady...

you don't think that
you did anything wrong...

because it was the
will of God, correct?

I believe it is God's will that
children not be neglected or abused.

Especially your own child?

My child died 10 years ago.

I did what I did to help Wendy.

I have no doubt that the
defendant suffers from a colorful...

assortment of
psychological problems.

But that's all they
are, problems.

Therefore, I am not
convinced under Section 730...

that the defendant is
an incapacitated person.

The criminal action
against Arnette Fenady...

is to proceed.

If the judge could
have heard the way...

Fenady talked to Olivet.

Yeah, well even psychos can act
normal when it serves their purpose.

The judge had to go
with what she saw.

Not to mention their
expert cancelled our expert.

Rose Siegal must be pleased.
Her issue's all over the papers...

and she'll have a martyr to the
cause when her client goes to jail.

Yeah, if we convict.

I'm not even sure I
still want to prosecute.

You want that
fruitcake on the street?

I want her in a hospital, sir.

Well, that option went away.
Judge ruled against you.

I can still try to cut a deal.

I'll drop it to unlawful

You can drop it to a building
permit violation for all I care.

She's not guilty. She
needs help, Rose.

No, Ben, the children
of New York need help.

Without an insanity defense,
you don't have a case.

All I have to do is seat
one mother on the jury.

You can play the heartstrings
all you like, but the fact remains...

that your client took Wendy Sylvester
off the street, held her in a place...

that she was not likely to be found.
Read the statute. That's kidnapping.

For the past two years, Wendy's
legal guardian has been Beatrice Hines.

But at any time did
the defendant ever...

have custody, guardianship,
or any legal right...

or authority over
Wendy Sylvester?


Now, when Wendy was under
the care of Beatrice Hines...

did you ever hear complaints
about Wendy being abused?

Wendy's homeroom teacher
called Children's Services.

She said that Wendy was
coming to school with bruises.

We investigated and took what we
considered to be appropriate action.

Did anyone else from the school
ever contact you about her condition?

The school nurse, about
the same time as the teacher.

But what about Arnette Fenady?

Did she ever voice
her concern to you...

about the condition
of Wendy Sylvester?

Until she was arrested, I had
never heard Miss Fenady's name.

Thank you.

Your witness.

Your investigation of Wendy's case
found that she had been beaten...

that she was left unattended...

unfed, unbathed, barely clothed.

Is that correct? Yes.

And what is this appropriate
action that you took?

Miss Hines' male
companion was arrested...

and placed under judicial
order to stay away from Wendy.

Was that order effective?

I don't know.

Why didn't you move Wendy
to a safer environment?

Suitable households are
hard to find. It takes time.

So while you looked...

your appropriate action was
to leave this 10-year-old girl...

in an unsuitable household?

You have to understand...

compared to a lot of the
cases that we handle...

Wendy Sylvester
was relatively well-off.


Thank you.

No, I never met Miss
Fenady in person.

She called the house a
bunch of times to talk to Wendy.

She sounded like
a weirdo. Objection.


Jury will disregard
that last remark.

Did Miss Fenady ever tell you
why she wanted to talk with Wendy?

Yeah. She said it
was about her poetry...

but I think she was
calling to check up on us.

Miss Hines, why do you say that?

Because one time, she just ragged
on the way I was raising Wendy.

She said that I wasn't
fit to be a mother.

But did you ever, at any time,
give Arnette Fenady permission...

to take Wendy?

No. Never.

Fine. Thank you.

Miss Hines, how many times
have you left Wendy alone all night?

I work nights. I got no choice.

Fair to say it was more
times than you can count?

Look, she's a smart one.
She can take care of herself.

But you didn't even know she was
missing until the police notified you.

What do you expect
from me? I gotta work.

No more questions.

Court will recess until
tomorrow morning.

We set them up, Siegal
just knocks them down.

I doubt if Wendy
will fall as easily.

I have one more prep
session with her this evening.

When I got into the car,
she told me to lie down.

Then she put a blanket over me.

Did she say why?

She said that Brian
was looking for me...

and that he wanted to hurt me.

And you believed
her? He hurt me before.

You know, what happened
when you got to her house?

You already asked me that.

Can we stop now?

Okay. I guess we've done enough.

How old were you when you
decided to become a lawyer?

I don't know. Maybe
in high school.

Bet you had all A's.

No, I got B's in Art.

I want to be a writer. Or maybe
a scientist, like a paleontologist.

Anything but a mother.

Having kids sucks.

You know, Wendy...

it doesn't always
have to be that way.

So after I answer all those
questions tomorrow, what'll happen?

The jury will decide if Miss
Fenady did anything wrong.

And if they say she did?

That'll be up to the judge.

I was at the laundry.

It's my job to do the
laundry for Beatrice.

And did you finish the laundry?


I went to Miss Fenady.


let's back up a little bit here.

Before you got to Miss
Fenady's, what happened?

I was on the subway.

Your Honor, permission
to lead the witness.

Objection, Your Honor.

I'm going to allow some
latitude on this, Miss Siegal.

Wendy, do you remember
telling the police...

that Miss Fenady picked you
up in a car at the laundromat?


I took the subway.
I was running away.

Miss Fenady said I could
stay as long as I wanted.

Wendy, isn't it true...

that Miss Fenady
drove you to her home...

and locked you in an
underground room?

Your Honor, the
District Attorney gets...

to ask the questions
not answer them.

She's right, Mr. Stone.
That's enough.

Can we adjourn to
chambers, Your Honor?

She lied, Your Honor. Why?

Because she's not saying
what you want to hear?

Because she's saying
what you want her to say.

If you're accusing Miss Siegal
of subornation, counselor...

you're gonna need
a little more proof.

Your Honor, Wendy told
me numerous times in prep...

that Miss Fenady
picked her up in her car...

covered her with a blanket
so no one could see...

and took her to her house.

That might make her the first kid
ever to tell a fib to please an adult.

Your Honor, if I
could just talk with her.

Be my guest, if you want to be
disbarred for tampering with a witness.

She's still on the stand.
It's okay, Your Honor.

If Mr. Stone is finished
questioning Wendy...

I certainly don't plan
on cross-examining her.

Talk all you like.

Wendy, I know you know the
difference between a truth and a lie...

and what you did
in court was lie.

You told me what
really happened.

I said Miss Fenady
never hurt me.

Not like Brian did.

But you want to put her in jail.

No, we want to get
her help, Wendy.

You think she's crazy. Why?

Because she took care of me?
Because she wants to adopt me?

She told you that's
what she wants to do?


But she's gotta be
nuts to want me, right?

No, Wendy, she's gotta be
nuts to think you're not Wendy...

to think you're someone else.

Surprised by our own
witness, the victim.

The jury's wondering
what the hell we're doing.

You said she was prepared.

It isn't Claire's fault. The
girl willfully committed perjury.

So what do we do,
indict a 10-year-old?

We could put her back on the stand
and treat her as a hostile witness.

And the jury sees us
putting words in her mouth.

Rose Siegal is gonna love that.

Might as well send a car
and drive Fenady home.

It's not fatal. We established
our case with the other witnesses.

And the jury remembers that, after
they wipe the tears from their eyes.

Wendy Sylvester was passed
on by a mother who didn't care...

and passed over by a
system that should have.

Arnette Fenady could
not watch this neglect.

She believed that
Wendy would not survive.

Rather than turn a blind
eye, she did what, I believe...

most of us have the
urge to do, get involved.

The law provides for the
Arnette Fenadys of this world.

It allows that otherwise
illegal conduct is justified...

if it saves a child's life.

She could have called the
police, but instead she lied to them.

She could have called
Children's Services, but instead...

she evaded them.

So Miss Fenady's
so-called good intentions...

were, in fact, just deceit.

Fortunately, no harm
came to Wendy Sylvester.

But what about the next time?

We live in a society
bounded by law...

and there is a system, and
it does work. Not perfectly...

and not in every case.

But those of you...

who care for children, you
must ask yourself this question:

Do you want the Arnette
Fenadys of this world...

to judge the
quality of that care?

And if she judges
that care as lacking...

and your child is removed
and hidden from you...

to whom do you
appeal that judgment?

As to the first count
of the indictment...

kidnapping in the second
degree, how do you find?

"Not guilty."

As to the second count...

custodial interference in the
first degree, how do you find?

"Not guilty."

As to the final count,
endangering the welfare of a child...

how do you find?

"Not guilty."

So say you all?

Court is adjourned.

Arnette Fenady applied for
custody of Wendy Sylvester.

She must be crazier than we thought.
No way a court grants her application.

No way she was supposed
to be acquitted, either.

What kind of mother
could she possibly be?

For Wendy's sake,
I hope a good one.