Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 4, Episode 9 - Law & Order - full transcript

Detectives Briscoe and Logan investigate after a teenage boy, 14 year-old Johnny Lasky, is found dead sitting on the sidewalk in a sleazy part of town. The autopsy reveals that he was severely beaten. They learn that his father is in Attica and his mother is a drug addict - currently in rehab. He's been living in a foster home with some other boys of the same age. They first focus on the mother's former boyfriend but he has an alibi for the time when the boy was likely beaten. They then turn their attention to the two boys in the same foster home, particularly Chris Pollit, who has a previous conviction in juvenile court. ADA Stone decides to prosecute Chris as an adult, particularly when he learns the earlier offense had him shooting a store owner during a robbery. Chris' defense is that he has an extra Y-chromosome which some studies have indicated means a predisposition to violence.

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.

I've been a bad boy.

Hey, guys. Midnight House. A good
place to stay, a meal. Check it out.

Hola, Lola.

Como esta?

Fun to say, no?

How about taking a night off?

No nights off for me, honey.

I'll see you at soup
kitchen tomorrow.

Yeah, yeah. Go away,
Padre. You're bad for business.

Here you go. Father Jack. I'm at
Midnight House. Drop on by anytime.

Guys. Father Jack, Midnight House
Shelter. Get you off the street tonight.

We got a soup kitchen
tomorrow. Come on by.

Hey, Midnight House Shelter.

You come down. Come on by?

Thanks, man.

Hey, you too, kid.

Hey, would you get a cop?

For God's sakes, the
kid's dying. Get a cop, now.

I'm out here every
night. I know a lot of them.

What about this one?

Greyhound pulls in every 10
minutes. There's always a new face.

Running from worse than
this, if you can imagine.

You got any kids we can talk to?
Maybe they've seen him around.

Well, the regulars pass up the bed,
but they come by tomorrow for food.

They don't pass up a free meal.

All right. Can you
stick around, Father?

Thank you.

Looks like he had a
rough night, doesn't it?

Kid was beaten to a pulp.

Broken ribs, massive
internal bleeding.

My guess, somebody's
pretty handy with his feet.

Johnny Doe. No wallet, no ID.

Gets off the bus from Plattsburgh,
and it's welcome to the Big Apple.

No, no, he's not an
import. He's a local.

Look, student bus pass.

Working his way through school.

When I was a kid and wanted extra
lunch money, I delivered groceries.

Hey, tips wouldn't buy
what he had on his feet.

Air Max. $130 a pair.

They still don't make
you run fast enough.

I just said, I don't know him.

I ain't seen him.

I ain't even heard
of him, all right?

Well, why don't you start by
looking at the picture, okay?

Man, I don't know him.

Look, we don't catch this guy,
next time this could be you, honey.

My tricks like little girls. Little boys,
that's a whole other kind of freak.

Give me a break, would you?

'Cause, you know, the Father here
tells me you're on the corner every night.

Now a good-looking new kid on the
block, I think you're gonna notice him.

Only if he's flashing jack
and wants a date with me.

Other than that, I'm
strictly for the girls.

Sorry you got your hopes up.

I tell the young dudes "never
work solo." It's just not safe.

Mr. Brown rolls in from the
suburbs, all buttoned down.

Once he gets your little butt
in the saddle, he cuts loose.

This is what happens.

This kid get your warning?

I don't know him from Eve, and,
baby, Lewis knows everybody.

I'll tell you this, though. Looks
like he was in the rough trade.

Specialty acts need
management, huh?

Got that right.

So you got a name for me, Lewis?

Honey, if they're cruising for a
bruising, they work for Mr. Clyde.

Sounds like you got
his beeper number.

Not this child. Pain pays,
but see where it gets you.

♪ Thank heaven
for little boys ♪♪

Check it out, check it out.

Check it out, Manhole.
Check it out, man. No.

Manhole, check
it out, sir. Man...

No cover charge
for the men in blue.

We're not here for the
show. You know a Mr. Clyde?

He's the man, right there.

Check it out. Manhole. Hey,
sir, don't be shy. Come on in.


Kid's not old
enough to be in here.

I'm not old enough
to be in here.

Hey. We're looking for Clyde.

Mike, don't touch anything.

Hey, I'm all paid
up at the precinct.

I'm not laughing, Clyde.

What do you want from me?

I run a legitimate business
for patrons of the dance.

Any of your patrons
dance on this kid's face?

Oh, shucks. The
party got out of hand.

Let me know where
to send flowers.

Hey, clown...

just for laughs, we're gonna
lock you up for child prostitution.

And you won't last five minutes.

They'll be sending
flowers to you, cowboy.

Hey, I deal only with
consenting adults.

What, do you check
their driver's license?

Matter of fact, yeah.
You know different?

Take a nice, long look.

No. I never seen him. I told you before,
I don't handle that end of the business.

It ain't worth the trouble.

Yeah, well, I think you better come along
with us, while we check your references.

I'd put the kid at about 13, 14.

Time to worry about pimples
and Debby from next door.

He had more pressing concerns.

Cracked ribs, punctured
lung, ruptured spleen.

He was hemorrhaging
from almost every organ.

How long could he
walk around like that?

Slow rate of seepage?

A couple of hours.

Priest said he found
him a little after 11:00.

Beating at 9:00, film at 11:00.

Listen, we think the kid might
have been working the street.

Really? Doing what,
selling newspapers?

Saw no evidence
of sexual activity.

No fluids, no tearing of tissue.

What about his
wounds? Anything kinky?

Just your normal
blunt-force wounds.

Then I guess we have to
let the choreographer go.

Somebody on the street
had to know that kid.

I doubt he was
sleeping in any alley.

How many runaways do
you know eat string beans?

Kid had a full belly.

Meat, potatoes,
string beans, milk.

When I was his age, the only place I
ever saw string beans was at home.

What about the
Father's soup kitchen?

No, we checked the menu. They had
soup and sandwiches three days running.

He lives at home. His parents
should have called 911 by now.

Missing Persons doesn't have
anyone matching this description.

We sent photos
to every precinct...

you know, in case the
parents happened to walk in.

No hits.

It's been 48 hours. I'm sure they
would have noticed he's missing.

Unless they're the
reason he's lying on a slab.

I mean, if they were
smacking him around...

maybe they didn't care
where he crawled off to die.

You said the kid had
a school bus pass.

No name on it.

My kids' passes are good only on
the lines that take them to school.

What was his, the
Lower East Side? Yeah.

Start with the junior highs.

Look, I'm telling you,
the faces, they go right by.

Well, maybe if you checked your
attendance records for the past two days.

You're making a joke, right?

You name the day, at least
20% of my students are absent.

Look, lady, this one
isn't coming back.

Now look at him. Two nights ago,
we found him dead on the sidewalk.

We'd like to give him a name.

I'm sorry.

We have over 2,000 students.

Maybe one of the homeroom
teachers will recognize him.

So long, Mrs. Chips.

If this kid had trouble at home,
I bet he was trouble at school.

Maybe in line for a little
individual attention, huh?

They used to send me
to the guidance counselor.

John Lasky.

One of my regulars.

Not exactly the
teacher's pet, huh?

John got an A in energy.

Non-stop motion.

Mouth like the Grand Canyon.

Got him in trouble
on a daily basis.

Off the record, the
kid cracked me up.

Where'd he get his
chuckles after class?

I think he lived
in the Alphabets...

with his mother and her boyfriend.
I might still have the address.


You don't hear from a kid for a couple
of days, you gonna throw out his records?

Forty kids in a class is
about all we can handle.

Johnny was transferred...

at the end of last year.

Hey, what can I tell you?

The bitch moved out.

I don't know, two,
three months ago.

And you're still
carrying the torch, huh?

Tori was a piece, you know?

But the brat, forget about
it. I had a theory about him.

What's going on, Zack?

We got company,
what does it look like?

Hey, Delia, you want to
cover your butt, or what?

I gotta go pee.

So, you were saying,
about your theory?

Half the reason she got
strung out was 'cause of him.

Kid couldn't sit
still. Drive you nuts.

So the kid drove you nuts, and you
gave both of them the boot, huh, Zack?

Hey, I gotta go out of town with the
band, come back, find her out of her head?

How long do I gotta
put up with that?

Yeah. So everybody's partying...

and Johnny's gonna
take care of Johnny?

What do I look like,
the Partridge family?

When they hit the
road, where did they go?

If I knew that, I wouldn't
be stuck with her bills.

If you had to
guess... I don't know.


I heard she was back in rehab.

Daybreak Village,
out on the Island.

I didn't have nothing
in the world, but Johnny.


Those bastards...

They kidnapped him. Who did?

Child Welfare. They ripped him out
of my arms and put him in foster care.

Maybe they were afraid you'd
stick a needle in his arm by mistake.

I would never...

I would never hurt
him. Not in a million...

I'm here 'cause of him.

They wouldn't give him
back, unless I got clean.

You know where he was living?

No, why would they tell
me? I'm only the mother.

I might steal him or something.

They said I was too dangerous.

And look what they did to him.

First day on the job, they dumped
Johnny Lasky on my desk...

along with 28 other members
of the Oliver Twist club.

He told me I was his sixth
caseworker in 10 years.

Just what every kid
needs, consistency.

They tell me a couple more
years, I'll be ready to quit, too.

These kids can tear
your heart in half.

Looks like the damage
goes both ways.

He tested positive
for heroin at birth.

Johnny never had a chance.

Well, putting him on the foster care
merry-go-round didn't improve the odds.

Just because she has the right plumbing
didn't make Tori Lasky fit to be a mother.

Yeah, we had the
pleasure of meeting her.

Two months ago, Johnny showed
up for class every shade of purple.

Don't tell me, the boyfriend
used him for a drum solo.

Poor kid was too scared to say.

Anyway, Johnny went into foster
care, and Tori went into rehab.

You know the rest. Not quite.

We'd like to see
the foster parents.


We put him in with Flo Bishop.

He lucked out. She's terrific.

She knew Johnny
was a hard case...

but she didn't mind.

Yeah. She also didn't mind
him being missing for three days.


I take good care of my boys.

I never even let
them go out alone.

And if one of them forgets to
come home, you don't report him?

I was sure he would be back.

Look, I report him, they
transfer him to a group home...

that's no better than a prison.

Well, it's better than a
morgue, don't you think?

I had no way of knowing.

I try to provide for these
boys some kind of stability.

I thought Johnny was
making real progress.

He went to a 6:00
show at the movies.

He went with two of the
other boys, Chris and Andy.

On the way home, they
turn around and he's gone.

Would they have any
idea where he went?

No. They just said he took off.

I could guess. I mean, usually
when the boys run away...

they go back to their parents.

Hoping Mom and Dad
get their act together.

And then in a day or two,
they come back to me.

And they never run away again.

Two hours of watching Van
Damme makes you hungry.

So around 8:00, you
stopped for food, right?

Yeah, we did. But Johnny...

We go to get a slice on Dyckman and
he's beamed up, like some UFO grabbed him.

How about it, Andy? He say
anything to you before he left?


He just booked...

like Chris said.

Maybe he got homesick.

I don't know. No, the
way Johnny told it...

home was what made you sick.

That guy his mom
shacked up with...

a real jerk.

Enough of a jerk to hit Johnny?

What else is new?

I never laid a hand on him.


Then what, two months
ago he fell in the bathtub?

It was between me and Tori.

He got in the way.

Yeah, and he walked
right into your fists.

It's Friday night, Zack...

you must've been really ticked
off when the kid showed up, huh?

I told you, I wasn't there.

I was doing a gig in Jersey.

Don't get us wrong.
We understand.

The little brat...

he got in the way of
the scene with his mom.

Hey, you guys are nuts.

I ain't saying anything
till I get a lawyer.

His alibi checks, if you squint.

The club manager in Bayonne
said the band hit the stage at 11:00.

He can't remember what
time Zack showed up.

Look, we're not
ready to cut him loose.

This creep could have beat
the kid and made the show.

You said he had a girlfriend?

Yeah, just this side of jailbait.
She's a waitress downtown.

Check her timecard
for last Friday.

I stayed home Friday
night. I was sick.

Stomach flu.

Did Zack stick around to
make you chicken soup?

I don't need his help
to puke my guts out.

He left around 8:00.

Why don't you just ask him?

You say he left around 8:00. He
didn't get to club till about 11:00.

It doesn't take three
hours to get to Bayonne.

So maybe he stopped
to tune his guitar.

Delia, if you're lying to protect him,
that makes you an accomplice to murder.

You mean that kid?

Are you out of your mind?

What about these
bruises on your arm?

Are those hallucinations, too?

Does he always
talk with his fist?

Johnny Lasky was at the
apartment last Friday, wasn't he?


I didn't tell Zack,
'cause he'd just get mad.

So he didn't know?

About an hour after he left...

I heard someone at the door, like
they were trying to get a key in a lock.

And I heard kids whispering.

Could you tell how many there
were? I don't know, a couple.

I guess they must've heard me, 'cause I
saw the one kid, Johnny, running away.

You'd seen him before?


Hey, you know,
about four weeks ago...

someone ripped off
some of our equipment.

No breaking, just entering.

Zack figured it was his ex.

We changed the locks.

No one ever
thought about the kid.

Now, if she's telling the truth, it
means the angels with dirty faces aren't.

Thieves who lie,
color me shocked.

Yeah. No, go ahead.


Anything else?

All right, thanks.

Johnny's little foster
brother, Chris Pollit...

did time at Spofford.

Now, his records are sealed...

but he had some months
added on for bad behavior.

So let's go rattle their cages.

Come on, Chris...

we know you weren't eating
pizza on Dyckman Street that night.

You were at the other end of
town, with your friend Johnny.

Wasn't me. We got a
witness who puts you with him.

Maybe Johnny was hanging out
with his Lower East Side homeboys.

Hey, Kreskin...

how did you know he was
on the Lower East Side?

You said. Nobody said.

Well, somebody
did, 'cause I heard it.

It's getting tough keeping
all the lies straight, isn't it?

Look, kid, we don't care
about your little burglary, okay?

And we don't care that
you went back for seconds.

All we're interested in is what
happened after you left Zack's apartment.

Yo, Brylcreem, why don't you and
Captain America go blow it out your butt?

I can tell when my son's lying.

You're pretty good at it.

I'll bet you put a lot
over on your mom, huh?

She's passed out most times.

How about Mrs. Bishop?

She easy to fool?

You know, it says on your
sheet you stayed with her...

four times in the past six years.
She must know you pretty well.

Anybody thirsty?

Andy here was telling me how
much he likes staying at Mrs. Bishop's.

Oh, yeah?

That's too bad...

'cause his friend Chris just
finished telling us that Mrs. Bishop...

fenced the sound equipment that
him and his buddy Johnny stole.

Really? Yeah. You sure?

Yeah, seems Johnny
was gonna rat on them...

and the old lady had him killed.


trafficking in stolen goods...

delinquency of minors.

That's pretty serious stuff.

He's lying.

She don't have
nothing to do with it.

He's the one.

Better get the foster
mother down here.

And someone from
the D.A.'s office.

Okay, from the beginning, Andy.

Johnny thought that if he
could get up some money...

him and his mother
could afford an apartment.

And the first time in Zack's
apartment, you were with him?

He still had his old
key. It was easy.

But the second time,
you ran into problems.

It was a bad idea.

But Johnny...

he needed the money...

and there wasn't any
left from the first score.

What, did he have
holes in his pockets?

It was Chris.

He was supposed
to fence the stuff.

Instead, he spent it...

on clothes, and boots...

shades, junk like that.

So what happened Friday night?


we heard someone
inside, and we took off.

Then Chris blamed Johnny...

and they started to fight.

Chris went nuts. I mean, I
never seen him like this before...

and kicked the hell out of him.

He had this look in his eyes...

like he wasn't even there.

Then after we left...

he was shaking all over.

He was in his own zone.

Even I was afraid
to look at him.

And, I mean, my dad used
to beat me all the time...

but I've never seen
anything like that.


I'm the first to admit this
kid is no Andy Hardy...

but if he's tried as a juvenile, at
least there's a hope of rehabilitation.

He brutally murdered
his friend, Helen...

and you want me to send
him to his bed without dinner?

The state tried that
once. It didn't work.

If he's over 14 years of age, the
presumption is he's tried as an adult.

And we both know that that
presumption is rebuttable.

I'm just asking for
compassion, Ben.

He's a kid, for God's sake.

So was John Lasky.

I'll see you at the hearing.

By the way, it's been
assigned to Judge Kershan.

Judge Kershan?

She spent at least six years...

as Chairman of the Bar Association
Committee on Children's Rights.

It's not easy to get a case
remanded to Family Court.

The burden's still
on the defense.

Well, the burden just
got a lot lighter for them.

So we better find out all there
is to know about young Mr. Pollit.

You actually expect me to
help you send Chris to jail?

He murdered John. I can't
imagine you wanting to protect him.

Maybe it's time somebody did.

I'd like to protect
him from his mother...

who rented the boy out by
the hour to some pervert...

when hooking didn't bring in
enough money to pay her rent.

And how about those
doctors at Bellevue...

that doped the boy up on
Thorazine for over a year?

And those three foster
families, lovely people, they were.

Took him in and used the
stipend for big TV screens...

and trips to Aruba, while the
boy had barely enough to eat.

So you don't think he
should be punished?

I think he's been
punished enough.

I lived with him.

I had dinner with him.

I got the boy ready for school.

I don't know what snapped...

but I do know that's
not all there is to Chris.

What can you tell me
about his year at Spofford?

Miss Kincaid...

I have a toaster. It breaks, I
don't toss it into the trash can.

I call the repair man.

I'm not suggesting...
Oh, I know...

you only have his
best interests in mind.

But if Chris Pollit goes to Attica, you
and I both know he's not coming out.

The judge sealed the records.

Why should I tell you anything?

So he stepped in it bad.

Should I be surprised?

Maybe not. Your son did
spend a year in Spofford.

A year?

I guess they're right.
Parents are the last to know.

If you haven't noticed, Chris
is not my problem anymore.

Was he ever?

What do you think, just 'cause I didn't
go to Miss Porter's I didn't love my kid?

Well, the state found it necessary
to take him away from you.

I left him alone for a
couple of hours a day.

Some pervert downstairs gets
ahold of him, that's my fault?

Where's his father?

Jack's in lovely downtown
Attica for another 5-to-15.

Look, maybe I
screwed up with Chris.

What did I know about
kids? I was a kid myself.

And now you know better.

I got as much right to be
a mother as anyone else.

And what right
does your kid have?

You got an education. You
got a job. This is all I got.

Nobody's taking this
baby away from me.

When I was 14 years
old, I had a fight...

with Joe Dworkin. I pushed him.

He retaliated by throwing
my Spaldine down the sewer.

Kids killing kids.

You bounce around the system
long enough, you grow up a lot quicker.

Meaning what?

If his mother's any indication,
he never had a chance.

And the system only
made the problem worse.

He had four years
with Florence Bishop.

She's the best the system has to
offer. It didn't make any difference.

And for all we know, this
may be his first violent offense.

Well, why does our Mr. Pollit
deserve two bites at the apple?

Because he's not
even 15 years old.

Okay, find a way
to open the kid's file.

If his first offense
was non-violent...

let Helen Brolin do her song
and dance in Family Court.

I thought your job was
putting the bad guys in jail.

I just want to make sure
he goes to the right jail.

From what I've read, Chris Pollit should
be riding the ferry on the river Styx.

Seems you're getting a little
soft in your old age, Claire.

Seems you're getting
a little callous in yours.

Hey, I'm a lawyer,
not a social worker.

I represent the little buggers.
Doesn't mean I have to like them.

Tell me about youthful
offender hearings.

Sure. That's where we dress
them up in their Sunday best...

clean their fingernails...

and teach them to
cry a lot while saying:

"I didn't do it, and I
swear I won't do it again."

Can we introduce priors?

An often overlooked
statute requires...

that the judge consider
all relevant factors...

even if they're not
admissible at trial.

Even if the records are sealed?

Anything goes, as long as it bears on the
little angel's history and or character.

And the best part, none of
it can later be used at trial.

Not even a confession.

You're awful cynical for a
children's rights attorney.

I'm just being pragmatic.

"The child is
father of the man."

I gotta live in this city
when these kids grow up.

Johnny and I always got along
pretty good before. I mean...

we never got into a
fight, or anything like that.

In your own words, Chris...

tell us what you remember
about your fight with John Lasky.

He started getting down on Mom.

You know, he called
her a whore, stuff like that.

Did you tell him to stop?

Yeah, me and Andy both,
but he just wouldn't let it go.

So what happened then?

I don't remember.

You don't remember
the fight at all?

I remember crying on the
subway back to Miss Bishop's.

And how do you feel
about that now, Chris?

I wish it didn't happen.

I mean, I don't
want to hurt nobody.

Young man, who is Brian North?

Objection. Irrelevant.

You know better
than that, Counselor.

Answer the question, son.

He's a kid I used to know.

Didn't he cut in line in
front of you at Spofford...

and you smashed
him right in the face...

with your tray?

He pushed me.

But didn't you kick him...

and keep kicking him
until he was unconscious?

Your Honor, when he's
in a normal environment...

he's had no violent episodes.

Mr. Pollit...

why were you placed in
Spofford in the first place?

I was with a bunch of
guys. We robbed a deli.

And you were armed, right?

Isn't that true?

Mr. Pollit, isn't that true?


Your Honor, there was
no money in the store...

and Mr. Pollit got mad...

and he shot the
owner with a .22.

This case must be special.

Judge Kershan removes nine
out of ten cases to Family Court.

Three violent episodes
that we know of so far.

She had no choice but
to try him as an adult.

Wait until you see this.

Brolin's notice of her intent...

to plead Chris not guilty
by reason of mental defect.

He testified that he knew
what he did was wrong.

He expressed remorse.

She'll never get out of the
gate with an insanity defense.

Well, she's not
claiming he's insane.

She's claiming he's
not responsible...

because he's genetically
predisposed to violent behavior.

Most of his blood relations are
incarcerated for violent crimes.

The sins of the father
are visited upon the son?

That is not a
defense for murder.

Well, you say it's nurture,
Brolin says it's nature.

And what's our plan?

We have a conference tomorrow in
chambers to see what Judge Kershan says.

Ever since Mendel, at
the turn of the century...

scientists have seen a direct relation
between genetics and human behavior.

And most of those scientists...

goose-stepped their way through
the streets of Berlin in the 1940s.

Very dramatic image, Ben,
but unfortunately, misinformed.

Researchers in our own back yard have
identified the XYY chromosome male...

as being predisposed
to criminal behavior.

Are you saying this kid
has an extra Y chromosome?

Verified by the
Tyler-Hampton Clinic.

He also has blonde
hair and brown eyes.

Should we allow that as a
defense for murder, as well?

If there's a relation between that and
aggressive anti-social behavior, yes.

There is no proof
that the XYY male...

is predisposed to any kind
of behavior, Your Honor.

Frye v. U.S.

Scientific evidence
is only admissible...

when it is generally accepted
by the scientific community.

Well, show me one scientist who
doesn't accept the laws of genetics.

The Frye case says nothing about
the conclusions drawn from those laws.

Richard Speck?

Didn't he try this XYY
chromosome defense?

And the judge threw
it out, Your Honor.

Yes, that's because Speck didn't
have the extra Y chromosome.

No court that we know of
has ever accepted this defense.

Your Honor, we can fill the courtroom
with experts who'll say this is nonsense.

And we'll see if the
jury believes them.

What is next, Helen,
the astrological defense?

Jupiter aligned with Mars,
so I had to rob a bank?

If it gets my client the
justice he deserves, why not?

You don't think people are
responsible for their actions?

Sure. I read Sartre in college.

I also read Freud.

Chris Pollit's life was determined
for him before he hit the age of six.

Maybe. But not before
he was born. Look, Ben...

I present even the smallest
slice of Chris's home life...

the jury starts bawling.

So what does that get me?
Maybe a Man One conviction.

I start hitting them with genes and
chromosomes, I got a shot at an acquittal.

And that's what's
best for Chris? No.

What's best is transferring
this to Family Court.

Helen, you had the opportunity
for that. You didn't meet the burden.

Yeah, well, it's a lot easier to confuse
a jury, than it is to convince a judge.

This is dumb. Humor me, Chris.

What would you do?

I'd tell the teacher
she was stupid.

Why is she stupid?

Because the other kid was cheating
off me, I wasn't cheating off him.

But the teacher
said she saw you.

I told you, she's stupid.

Does that make you angry?

If I got in trouble, sure.

And what would you do?

Beat the hell out of the kid.

You think you'd try to kill him?

I get mad, I don't
know what I'd do.

You think that's what
happened with John Lasky?

I liked Johnny. I mean...

he sort of cracked me up.

It's not like I wanted
to kill him or anything.

He just got me mad.

There's no question he
knows what he did was wrong.

He's aware of the
consequences. He feels remorse.

So he's not legally insane?

The problem is, when sufficiently
provoked, he loses control.

Liz, you don't think
there's any validity...

to this XYY chromosome theory?

Current thinking
among geneticists...

is that the extra Y chromosome
causes a slight increase in height.

There's no evidence of any causal
connection to criminal behavior.

So all he's really got is a
homicidal temper, right?

There's a lot we don't
know about the brain.

Liz, keep this out
of the shadows.

Is he responsible
for what he did?

With all the scientific
data available at this time...


There were hematomas on his
arms, legs, chest, back, and face.

Three ribs were fractured.

Vertebrae displaced
in the spinal column.

The actual cause of death
was internal hemorrhaging.

Doctor, could you determine
if the victim was unconscious...

during the beating?

From the amount of cranial
bleeding and bruising...

I would say that, no...

he had to be
conscious at the time.

So then it is possible that
John Lasky was screaming...

while he was being
savagely beaten?

Any objections, Ms.
Brolin? No, Your Honor.

Well, I can't imagine that anyone
could sustain such a beating...

and not cry out in pain.

Thank you.

Was the victim already
on the sidewalk...

when the severest part
of the beating occurred?

From the pattern of the bruising, it
would appear he had to be prostrate, yes.

So there he was, Johnny Lasky...

13 years old, lying
on the sidewalk...

screaming in pain, and
what did the defendant do?

He kept on kicking.

Would you characterize this
beating as savage, Doctor?




Like someone not in control
was doing it? Objection.


The defendant was definitely cognizant
of the difference between right and wrong.

But more importantly...

he's able to analyze his own
behavior in terms of societal norms.

Did Mr. Pollit tell you
that he heard voices...

telling him...

to kill John Lasky?

No. He's not schizophrenic.

Doctor, please tell the court...

what you know...

about the XYY male syndrome.

It arose in the '60s.

Geneticists tried
to correlate the

existence of an extra
Y chromosome in men...

to aggressive,
antisocial behavior.

And what became of this theory?

To date, there's no proof
that there's any validity to it.

Thank you.

Doctor, isn't it true that
some psychiatrists believe...

that depression is
passed on genetically?

Well, it is commonly
found to occur in families.

And what about
schizophrenia? Yes.

So why would it be
so unbelievable...

that we may pass on criminal
behavior to our children?

Because there's no
scientific evidence...

that criminal behavior
is anything but learned.

All the data supporting
the XYY male syndrome...

was dismissed in the '70s...

because the pools from
which the samples were taken...

were not sufficiently random to
form cohesive scientific conclusions.

So what you're saying is...

that there was a problem with
the methodology, not the theory.

Our lab ran karyotype
tests on the defendant...

and there's no question that
he has a second Y chromosome.

And has your lab studied the
effects of this chromosomal anomaly?

Certainly, and it definitely
appears to occur...

to a higher degree in members of the prison
population than in the general public.

And what does that
indicate, Doctor?

The extra Y chromosome
relates to criminal behavior.

So, Doctor, if this
behavior is genetic...

would you also say that
it was uncontrollable?

No more controllable
than your height.

Thank you, Doctor.

Doctor, as I understand it...

you have found...

in the general
population at large...

people like you and
I, who have this...

extra Y chromosome,
correct? Yes.

Are they leading
productive lives?

I couldn't say.

Well, then let me rephrase
the question, okay?

In your files, is there
evidence that they exhibit...

aggressive, homicidal...

sociopathic behavior?

I suppose not.

So then isn't it true...

that your testing hasn't
even come close to proving...

that this chromosomal anomaly...

has any effect on behavior?

My study is not yet completed.

You should have
told the court that...

when you arrived. Objection!


Head of the local chapter of
the White America Caucus...

has taken up Brolin's cause.

Letter to the editor:

"It's a known fact...

"that genetics is the
cause of violence...

"and feeble-mindedness
in the black man."

Do you think educated people actually
buy this XYY chromosome theory?

Well, no one wants to think...

that their society
produces monsters...

like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey
Dahmer, or Chris Pollit.

Brolin paints a bad
enough picture...

the jury convinces itself
the kid can't be normal.

The defense has added Chris's
mother to their witness list.

Oh, great.

Now we'll hear stories about the poor
baby torturing puppies during nap time.

From the day he was
born, we knew Chris was...


Please go on, Mrs. Pollit.

He never cried.

We thought maybe he was
deaf or dumb. We didn't know.

When he was four, I
took one of his toys away.

He went crazy and
came at me with a knife.

Where is Chris' father now?

He's in Attica.

And why is he in prison?

Jack attacked the
mailman with a hammer.

And is he the only
family member in prison?

Jack's brother, Chris' uncle...

is serving life for murder.

Thank you, Mrs. Pollit.

Mrs. Pollit...

did you try to
discipline Chris at all?

Jack hit him all the time.

It didn't help.

So you just gave up on him?

I used to think
it was my fault...

but I didn't know
about this gene stuff.

The gene stuff, right?

Do you believe it?

Do you believe
that Chris inherited...

his criminal behavior, and,
as such, he's totally incapable...

of changing?

Well, there's nothing
I could do about it.

But if there was, you
would do something about it?


How many months
pregnant are you, Mrs. Pollit?


Has it ever occurred to you
that you might be carrying a killer?

What, do you think I
want another one like him?

I don't know, Mrs. Pollit.
But if he is like Chris...

what are you
going to do about it?

I'm not going to kill my baby,
if that's what you're saying.

You haven't thought this
through at all, have you?

What do you mean?

If this theory is true...

and your infant is like Chris...

aren't we going to have
to lock him up right away...

and sterilize him so
he won't reproduce?

Because if he is
genetically criminal...

he can't stop.

Or why don't we just avoid
the whole bloody mess...

and kill him right now?
Enough, Counselor.

No further questions.


For me, it's always cold fried
chicken before a summation.

Summation's next week.

Change of plans.

I ran out of witnesses.

I'd have bet the ranch that
you'd put Chris on the stand.

Yeah, I would. But my
client thinks otherwise.

Yeah, well, maybe your
client is smarter than both of us.

You know, the way I
see it, I've got jurors...

two, five and
seven. You've got...

six, four, eleven. The
rest are up for grabs.

Brolin, you know what they
say about counting your chickens.

Listen, Ben...

give me Man Two.

He stays at Spofford till
he hits his 18th birthday...

and the rest he spends
at a facility of your choice.

Helen, what's going on?

If you have three jurors in
your pocket, it's a sure mistrial.

I advised him against it, but...

Chris wants a sit down.


Tomorrow, my office, 9:00.

You want a drink?


I just want you to
understand, Chris...

I don't think this is
in your best interests.

Don't worry,
you're off the hook.

I spoke to your attorney
last night, Chris...

and a plea at this point
in the trial is unacceptable.

I don't think you get
what I'm looking for.

I heard everything that went
on in the courtroom, and I...

I just...

I just want it over with.

Chris, this is a mistake. Why?

I mean, you go on and on about
how my genes are screwed up.

And nobody can
ever fix that, can they?

I'm just trying to get
the jury on our side.

What, are you lying?

I'm just trying to present a
valid argument for your defense.

I mean, I killed him, didn't I?

And I tried to kill that guy in
the deli and that kid at Spofford.

I'm screwed up.

Chris, what are
you trying to tell us?

I want to go to jail.

You might spend the rest
of your life there, Chris.

So what? I'm a freak.

You can't force the
other side to play.

You put a check in the win column,
and you count your blessings.

In any other circumstances,
that's exactly what I'd do.

Well, why does this kid
deserve such special attention?

Because he's pleading
for the wrong reason.

His lawyer tells him that he's
born bad. We say he's raised bad.

He buys both stories,
sees his life as a dead end.

Well, maybe he knows
his life better than you do.

Your job is to convict,
not to rehabilitate.

He's a 14-year-old
kid who gave up.

So you're doing him a favor.

If he gave up his
illusions, right...

but he gave up hope,
and I drove him to that.

Now anything might
happen to that kid in prison.

Gary Gilmore, Wesley Dodd:

two unrepentant killers.

Everybody wants them
dead until they agree...

and then we turn
them into folk heroes.

I had nothing to
do with their fates.

You want them to start
naming churches after you...

I'd get another profession.

Take the kid's plea,
move on to the next case.

Murder Two, he
serves the maximum.

Am I reading this
right, Miss Brolin?

It's what my client
wants, Your Honor.

Do you understand the charges to
which you're pleading guilty, Mr. Pollit?


Please describe,
in your own words...

what occurred on the night of
September the 10th, of this year.

I had a fight with Johnny.

I hit him and I kicked
him until he was dead.

Why did you kill him?

You think I know?

I get mad, I can't stop.

The result of a plea bargain...

usually is a reduced sentence.

Doesn't anybody listen?

I killed him.

I'd do it again.

I don't want anybody's help.

Mr. Stone?

Your Honor, we have agreed...

that the defendant be
incarcerated in a juvenile facility...

until his 18th birthday...

at which point he'd
be transferred to Attica.


We're trying to
save your life, son.

What's the point?