Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 6, Episode 8 - Law & Order - full transcript

Detectives Lenny Briscoe and Ray Curtis investigate a baby kidnapping when Leah Coleman reports that a Perto Rican man took her child, Rachel, out of her stroller. Curtis decides to spend a day with Leah retracing her steps in the hope she may remember something important. In a quiet moment in her church, she tells him that she smothered her baby with a pillow and then incinerated her remains. McCoy thinks he has an open and shut case and is doubly pleased when he learns that a relatively inexperienced public defender, Ross Fineman, has been assigned her case. He's somewhat taken aback with Fineman's proposed defense and his outrageous attempt at manipulating the jury.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
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.

It's been three years.

I haven't talked to her
since she moved.

She is your mother, Leah.

She could call me, too.

You know that's not the point.

You obviously
feel guilty about it.

Remember, in the end, all we have
is our faith and our family.

I'll try, I guess.

Now we should pray.

Oh, my God.
Oh, my God.

Oh, God, Rachel.

Leah, what is it?
Somebody took Rachel.

Leah, Leah, what?

She's gone! My baby!

SLUIZER: Priest said that
they were in confession.

The kid was in the
carriage right outside.

And nobody heard anything?
It's a church.

You're supposed to keep quiet.

This is Father Carner.

It's unbelievable.
Nothing like this

has ever happened here before.

And this is where
the carriage was?

Nobody's touched it.

Take it down to Forensics.

How long were you in here?

Not long.
Maybe five minutes.

Leah never has much to confess.

And you didn't see
anybody else, huh?

As far as I know,
the church was empty.

Thanks, Father.

Do you think
there's any chance...

Who would do this?

I always leave Rachel there.

I never thought that
anything could happen.

Was anyone else here, Leah?

Did you find her?

BRISCOE: I'm sorry.

You're going to
find her, right?

You're not going to
let anything happen.



Kidnap a kid from a church?

How many Hail Marys
does that get you?

Somehow, I don't think
this guy was counting.

LEAH: She was wearing
her navy-blue dress,

the one with the frills around
the collar and a white hat.

Oh, God, it's all my fault.

I never should
have left her alone.

Are we gonna just sit here?

Some pervert's got my kid.

We've got our guys
out canvassing

the neighborhood,
Mr. Coleman.

Well, he could be
out of state already.

BRISCOE: Now, Leah, you didn't
see anybody following you?

I don't think so.

Where were you before church?

We went to the playground, and
then we went to the market.

CURTIS: Now, Leah,
this is important.

When you got to the church, was there
anyone hanging around outside?

I don't know.
I can't remember.

Oh, wait a minute.

When I got there, I sat
waiting for Father Carner,

and then when
I went in to confess,

there was someone
in the back row.

Good. Now, did you see
what he looked like?

He was young, maybe
20, and Puerto Rican.

Okay, Leah, I'll tell you
what we're gonna do.

You're gonna describe this guy
to a sketch artist, okay?

Please find Rachel.

How could someone
leave their kid alone?

Hey, she was in a church.

She actually believes in that
"Do unto others" stuff.

She says she saw a Puerto
Rican man in the back row.

It's not in Sluizer's report.

Well, she just remembered.

What, you think she's lying?

I wouldn't turn my back
on my kid in this city.

There is another possibility.

Get off it.
You saw the girl.

She was hysterical.

You're not gonna find her baby in
a car at the bottom of some lake.

Talk to the priest. Maybe he can
help with the man in the back row.

Sure, we have
Puerto Rican members.

We also have Cubans, Mexicans,

but none of them...

I know. They're all
good people, right?

No. But we're
a small congregation.

Leah knows them all.
She was very active.


Raising a child alone,
it takes a lot of time.

What do you mean alone?
We just met her husband.

She and Keith are separated.

I've been counseling them.

We're close to getting their
marriage back on track.

Did their problems have anything
to do with their daughter?

Oh, you don't suspect Keith?

Look, Leah is a good mother.

Keith knows that
and respects it.

She lets him see Rachel
as often as he likes.

They're good kids.

They just got
married too young.

Yeah, she's a good mother,
except she lost her baby.

He's a good father, but he can't
stand to live with his family.

All I know is my girls
aren't getting married

till they graduate
from college.

Hey, I'm too young to get
married, and I'm a grandfather.

Before church, she went
to the market up on 88th.

Maybe someone up there
saw something.

Puerto Ricans?
What else is new?

This morning, I don't
know, around 11:00,

a young girl came in with her baby.
You remember that?

Sure. Leah.
That baby of hers is a real cutie.

Shame she's got to grow
up in this cesspool.

Do you remember anybody paying
special attention to them?

11:00 a.m.
Let's see.

I probably sold Ricardo
his first six-pack by then.

You got a last name?

We're not that close.

He didn't rape her, did he?

This Ricardo, he's trouble?

Show me one who's not.

They want to break off from
the US of A, I say let them.

Besides Roberto Clemente, what
the hell good are they, anyhow?

Yeah, well I guess your boy, Newt's
gonna take care of them, huh?

Damn right.

So where can we find Ricardo?

Around the corner. OTB.

He's the one with
the 12 earrings.


VAN BUREN: Thank you
for coming in, Mrs. Coleman.

You caught the man?

We'd like you to take a look and see
if you recognize anybody, all right?

LEAH: I don't know.

I'm not sure.

It was kind of dark
inside the church.

Take your time.

I'm sorry.
VAN BUREN: It's okay.

Rey, why don't you see
Mrs. Coleman out?

Well, it's been fun
as always, Lieutenant.

I assume you have no further
use for me or my client?

The canvass is
coming up goose eggs.

Why don't you give the
husband another look?

Do you think Rachel's okay?

It's hard to say.

(CRYING) I mean, she
could be dead, right?

We shouldn't talk
like that, Leah.

Do you have any children?

Three girls.

Then you do understand.

Listen, if I were in
your position right now,

I don't know what I'd be doing.

You'd be praying.

Yeah, you're right.

Look, Leah's not perfect, but
she was always a good mom.

I mean, she was patient,
she never lost her temper,

and she spent every
second with Rachel.

Didn't leave
much time for you, huh?

Are you trying
to say something?

You're a young guy,

maybe you'd rather be
out hitting the clubs

instead of home
changing diapers, huh?

So I take my own kid?

Does that make sense?

Some people would pay a lot of
money for a healthy little girl.

You know what?
You're sick, man.

I mean, maybe I wasn't the
best husband or father,

but I'd never do anything
to hurt either one of them.

The kid's pretty worked up.

I don't think he had
anything to do with it.

What about the mother?

She can barely talk.

You know, everybody says
they saw the carriage,

but I don't remember
anybody saying

that they saw the
baby in the carriage.

A stranger lifts up a
sleeping eight-month-old,

you're gonna hear some wailing.

Not if he covers her mouth.

(SIGHS) So we're nowhere.

So we start over.
Go back to the scene.


What the hell?

Oh, wonderful.

I'm so glad they're
finally done with O.J.

So, I'm begging whoever
it was who took Rachel

to bring her back home to us.

And I'm begging everyone
else, please pray with us.

Please light your candles
and pray with us.

Mrs. Coleman,
is it true the police

are looking for
a Puerto Rican male?

A man resembling this picture
is wanted for questioning.

Please, I want
my daughter home.

This isn't a good idea, Father.

I thought
the publicity would...

It's the last thing we want.

I've been advised
we'll have to end now.

Coleman, one more question.

How did I look, Rey?

Where is that?

Got it. Thanks.

Mass hysteria time.

Anything worthwhile?

Since the Coleman's town meeting,
every nutjob in the city

who ever got a bad taco
is pointing the finger.


CURTIS: Lieutenant?

Listen, I've been thinking,

what if I took Leah
on a walk-through

of her morning
before the kidnapping?

Not so confident anymore
in the grieving mother?

Well, maybe something
will spark her memory.

All right, Mrs. Dichter.

Yeah, we'll get somebody
there right away.

Now, this could be something.

Landlady says her Hispanic
tenant suddenly became a daddy.

No wife, no girlfriend.

Check it out.
Take Profaci.

Remind the girl to stay
away from the press.

Albert's a good tenant.

Clean, quiet, rent on time.

Couple of cats, but I
can live with that.

And you're sure he's single?

Oh, Albert's definitely single.

An artiste,
if you get my drift.

But who am I to judge?

And you saw the baby,
Mrs. Dichter?

Well, I saw him
carrying a box of Pampers.

I don't know much about those
people, but you tell me.

Now, you're gonna tell me what a single
guy's doing with all this stuff?

Alternative lifestyle or no.

Do you know where
Mr. Martinez works?

Well, what the hell
do you want us to do?

I mean, it's the second day.

You guys don't
even have a suspect.

And now you may have scared
off the guy who did this.

Oh, my God.
It was Father Carner's idea.

He thought getting
the whole community

working together would be good.

Look, Leah, I have an idea.

It could be helpful.


I want you to walk me
through your morning

before you went to the church.

You might see something
or remember something.

What the hell.

I mean, I'll go nuts
just sitting here.

No, I think it's better
if it's just me and Leah.

She's my daughter,
too, you know.

Well, that's why
you should stay here.

Maybe somebody'll call.


This is where we sat.

My mom used to bring me here.

Was there anything out of
the ordinary here that day?

Just the kids playing,
like always.

I can't wait for Rachel
to grow up.

I'm going to teach her how to ride
a bike, like my dad taught me.

I just taught my oldest.

What's her name?


That's pretty.

Take a look.

Oh, she's beautiful.

Second grade spelling champ.

You're so lucky.

Well, she can be a handful.

Sometimes I feel like...

Oh, you don't mean that.

I love her,

but my wife's the one with all
the patience in my family.

Next stop, the market, right?

Right, and what time
was that, ma'am?

Okay, thank you.

Here, this looks iffy,
but give it a shot.

Albert Martinez is a negative.

It was his sister's kid.

She won
an all-expense-paid trip

to Atlantic City for the week.

He's watching the kid.
You took his word for it?

It was a boy, Lennie.
You sure?

I walked in, he's changing the
kid right in front of me.

I think I can
tell the difference.

I bought some cereal.

Mr. Cox was up front.

Do you remember
any other customers?

No, it was pretty empty.

There was a black man over
there, near the dairy case.

I bought some milk.

I remember one time,
when I was a kid,

I pulled everything
out of the refrigerator,

and I dumped it onto the floor.

What'd your mom do?

Not a lot.

I did, however, get a smack
in the head from my dad.

You're kidding.

It was nothing.

I always got a little smack on
the head when I was out of line.

That's wrong, Rey.

What your father did
is very wrong.

"Spare the rod, spoil the child.
" That's what the Bible says.

Besides, I know
my dad loved me,

and I turned out
okay, didn't I?

My baby screams,
and I never hit her.

Keith never hits her.

My parents never hit me.

Well, we were just brought
up different, that's all.

I should get back to Keith.

He must be out of his mind.

Okay. Okay,
we're almost done.

And this is important.

Where did you go next?

The coffee shop up the street.

When I was 10, my mom used to
drag me to church every Sunday.

It's not punishment, you know.

Hey, my buddies
were all out playing ball.

Believe me, it was torture.

I like the singing.


I got kicked off the choir.

Couldn't carry a tune.


The part I hated the most,

It's the only road
to absolution.


You know, it's kind of funny.

What I did was
I'd make up stories.

You know, I cheated in school,
I stole money from my pops.

Father Mike
actually fell for it.

You lied to your confessor?

Well, don't tell me
you never left anything out.

No. I'd feel too guilty.

Yeah. Yeah,
I guess I'm the same way.

Every week, I'd go back, and I'd
tell Father Mike the truth.

Was he mad?

I think he was disappointed
more than anything else.

That's where he was sitting.

Are you sure?

Can we go?

Why don't...

Why don't we sit down
for a minute, okay?


I like it when
it's quiet like this.

Really helps you think better.

I made my first communion here.

My dad invited
the whole neighborhood.

And I cried at
Rachel's baptism.

Do you think
there's any chance?

The more time that passes,
the less likely it is.

I'm sorry.

I don't blame you.

Do you think she's dead?

You know what bothers me?

If she is, you know,

poor Rachel, she...

She should have
a Christian burial.

We should pray.

You take your time.

I'll wait for you outside.

Oh, no.
Please stay with me.

My baby's in heaven.

Tell me.

I made sure she'd be
all right for heaven.

How did she die?

A pillow.

She couldn't breathe.

Where is she, Leah?

Oh, my little angel.

She deserved
the best, you know.

Smothering your own baby
and then cremating her?

Makes me wish
I went to art school.

Never underestimate the
depravity of American society.

The good news about this one is
it should be over nice and quick.

You're not thinking
of dealing this down?

A dead baby,
a solid confession,

any lawyer with an ounce of lucidity
will take 25-to-life and run.

Who do we have?

Ross Fineman, Legal Aid.

Never heard of him.
That's good.

He didn't put up
much of a fight on bail.

Good sign.

Or else he saw the mob
outside the courthouse,

and he figured that Coleman
would be safer in Rikers.


Yes? Send him in.

Five minutes, tops.



Mr. McCoy, it's an honor.

The pleasure is mine,
Mr. Fineman.

Ross. Two years in
misdemeanors, and now this.

It's unbelievable.

Hell of a way
to cut your teeth.

I guess Bernstein figured
I couldn't screw up too bad.

So, what do you say, Jack?

How does man one sound?

Not very good.

A few more homicides, you'll find
some cases are not dealable.

Well, I thought
I'd give it a shot.

You know, if you're gonna lose,

might as well be
on the front page.

Make my mom proud.

My motion to exclude
Leah Coleman's confession.

You're kidding.

Hey, I got to at least look
like I'm doing something, no?

An affidavit from Detective
Curtis, Your Honor.

The defendant offered her
confession of her own volition.

Granted, this is all new to me,

but as I understand it,

Detective Curtis never
read my client her rights.

I seem to remember
that failure to do so

constitutes an
irrebuttable presumption

that a confession
was involuntary.

Only if it's the result
of an interrogation.

Detective Curtis never asked the
defendant if she killed her child.

Now, I'm no expert,
but I think in Innis,

the Supreme Court
requires Miranda warnings

whenever a person is subjected
to direct questions

or its subjective equivalent.

Blanche Gelfant down at
Brooklyn Law taught us

that includes any words or actions
that the police should know

are reasonably likely to elicit
an incriminating response.

Blanche taught you well,
Mr. Fineman,

but tell me, what did the
arresting officer here do?

He took my client, an
extremely religious woman,

to her church and said,
and I quote,

"Your daughter is entitled
to a Christian burial."

Now, that sounds to me
like it was intended

to provoke
an incriminating response.

Mrs. Coleman confessed
in her own church.

No reasonable person
could think

that she wasn't
free to walk away.

After four hours of
continuous dialogue,

who knows what a reasonable
person might think?

Well, I consider myself
fairly reasonable.

I will hear testimony on the
custody issue Thursday morning.

He came to my apartment.

He told me we were going
to retrace my steps.

Was your husband there?

Yes. But Detective Curtis
said he should stay behind.

FINEMAN: And did he?


And then where did you go?

First we went to the park.

We sat on the bench and talked.

Did he ask you questions?


FINEMAN: Did you ever say
you wanted to go home?

Yes, I said I should be
with Keith, my husband.

FINEMAN: And what did
Detective Curtis say?

He said this was important.

He said that we
should go to the church.

Now, Leah,
this is very important.

Did you feel free to leave
Detective Curtis at any time?

No. He was a policeman.

He said that it was important
that I go with him.

Thank you.

Did Detective Curtis tell you
why he wanted you with him?

He said that maybe I
would remember something

to help find Rachel.

JACK: So you never thought
he considered you a suspect.

I didn't think about it.

JACK: In all the time that you
spent with Detective Curtis,

did he ever ask you
if you killed Rachel?


You testified that you were
with him for nearly four hours.

In all that time,
did he ever leave you alone?

He wanted to,
but I asked him to stay,

so that we could pray together.

So had you not stopped him,

you would have been free
to go on your way.


Now, who is Ross Fineman?

Legal Aid. This is
his first homicide case.

Hate to be here when he actually
learns what he's doing.

We won the motion, Adam.

Coleman's confession
is admissible.

Yep. Now we get to hear all
about how the girl was abused

by some drunken lesbian who's
watching too much television.

Mr. Fineman
hasn't indicated

that there would be any sort of
diminished capacity testimony.

In this case, I doubt if an
abuse excuse would fly anyway.

Considering we got a bunch
of Einsteins on our jury.

No. But the Oprah-fication
of America ended

when the Menendez brothers
weren't convicted.

The pendulum has swung, Adam.

People don't care about why anymore,
they just care about what.

Just get this over with before
the pendulum swings back.

JACK: On Tuesday, October 3rd,

Leah Coleman woke up
at about 7:30 in the morning.

Like any other day,
she showered,

dressed, ate a bowl of cereal.

And just as she would on any other
day, she fed her baby, Rachel,

put her in her carriage and went
downstairs to run her daily errands.

But, ladies and gentlemen,
this wasn't just any other day

because on this particular
Tuesday, in October,

Leah Coleman went down to the
basement of her building.

She held a pillow

over the face of
her eight-month-old daughter

until she could
no longer breathe.

She opened the door to the furnace
and placed Rachel inside.

Then she locked the door

and went on her way.

How do I know this?

She told us, in her own
words, that's how.

Your opening, Mr. Fineman?

The Defense reserves
its opening statement

until the State finishes its
case in chief, Your Honor.

It's my discretion

to set the order
of trial, Counselor.

You do have good cause,
Mr. Fineman?

Well, it's a bit
embarrassing, Your Honor,

but it seems that I'm not...

I'm not quite prepared.

Call your first witness,
Mr. McCoy.

The Crime Scene Unit
found ashes

and a baby's wool cap
in the furnace.

JACK: It wasn't burned?


It must have fallen off when the
baby was put into the chamber.

What did you find in the hat?

We found several
strands of hair.

JACK: What did you do with
the hair, Dr. Hayashi?

We compared them with several strands
of hair we took from her crib.

And what did you find?

They were an exact match.

Thank you.

Mr. Fineman?

The Defense has no questions
for this witness, Your Honor.

She took me to the basement,
told me she smothered her baby.

I asked her where the victim was,
she opened the furnace door.

Did you ask her how her baby
ended up in the furnace?

CURTIS: I did.

She told me she put her there.

JACK: What did you do
then, Detective?

I informed her she was under
arrest, I read her her rights,

and I took her back to the 27.

JACK: Did she ever say
why she had killed her baby?

I asked her several times,

and all she said was that
her baby deserved the best.

Thank you.

Cross, Mr. Fineman?

No, Judge.

The People rest, Your Honor.

Fine. We are in recess
until tomorrow morning,

at which time I assume the
Defense will begin its case.


Five witnesses,
no cross examination.

Hell, he didn't even object.

Somehow, I don't attribute
that to your fine lawyering.

Maybe he knows
he has no case, Adam.

Maybe he didn't want
to waste the court's time.

A fiscally responsible
defense attorney.

I heard Johnnie Cochran
waived his fee.

I wouldn't put Mr.
Fineman in that league.

He sat there scribbling
on his legal pad.

He looked bored.

Probably writing
his first screenplay.


On Tuesday morning, October the
3rd, at approximately 10:20 a.m.,

Leah Coleman killed and cremated
her eight-month-old baby.

A mother killing her baby.

It makes you wonder.

What kind of a woman
could do such a thing?

She's never been involved in any
sort of criminal activities before.

I checked.

She wasn't brought up
by abusive parents.

I checked that, too.

You'll hear witness
after witness tell you

what a good person she is and
how much she loved her baby.

She loved little Rachel
more than she loved herself.

She has no reason whatsoever
for wanting her baby dead.

So why did this
terrible thing happen?

What kind of God would sit by

and let such a horrendous thing

happen to one of his children?

Believe me, I've thought
about this long and hard,

and as far as I can see,
there is only one reason.

There is one reason only why
a tragedy this outrageous

could have happened,
ladies and gentlemen.

God wanted it to.


So I want you not to look
at what my client did,

but at what God did.

And remember, if you
convict Leah Coleman,

you are questioning
the will of God.

Your Honor.

In my chambers.

His opening was irrelevant,

and prejudicial,
not to mention comical.

The law allows me to offer
any defense that I see fit.

Any relevant defense.

Oh, I see.
God isn't relevant?

Not in a courtroom, it's not.

Begging your pardon, but I
think you should all listen

to the oath before a
witness takes the stand.

Your Honor,
the canons require me

to represent my client
with zealousness.

Within the bounds of the law.

You can't raise something
in opening argument

you can't possibly prove
during your case.

Or did you miss that day
in Blanche's class?

Nice try, Mr. Fineman.

Artful but inadmissible.

I assume you'll declare a mistrial.

I think that's
a bit extravagant.

I will instruct
the jury to disregard

the Defense's opening
in its entirety.

Well, if that's the case,

I'd like to change the plea to not
guilty by reason of mental defect.

Out of the question.

The statute requires 60 days
notice for an insanity plea.

I didn't know that.

Look, Your Honor, it's
my first homicide trial.

I screwed up.

You can't hold that
against my client.

Legal incompetence
as a defense at trial?

You're kidding.

What can I say?
I'm out of my league.

Look, Your Honor, if you
don't allow the change,

my client will have an appeal
on Sixth Amendment grounds.

She'll win, too, because
I'll sign affidavits

enumerating the 12 grievous
errors I've already made.

Either you are a brilliant
strategist, Mr. Fineman,

or you are the biggest jackass

ever to set foot
in my courtroom.

I will allow
the change of plea,

but, please, no more surprises.

Don't worry, Jack, your expert
can examine the defendant

and testify on rebuttal.

Okay, Mr. Fineman,
the party's over.


She's depressed.
She's suicidal.

She should have
done us all a favor.

Are you kidding?
That would be too cruel,

leaving her child
without a mommy.

She actually said that?

Did the girl know what
she did was wrong, Liz?

In some sort of
abstract way, yeah.

So you'll testify that she was legally
sane at the time of the murder?



You've been in front
of enough juries, Jack.

I've got to tell you, a
mother killing her own baby

without any motive whatsoever,
it makes you wonder.

Do I have to explain
the law to you, Claire?

Crazy is not the same
as legally insane.

Jack, I'm just saying

that what Leah Coleman did
is incomprehensible to me.

The jury's got to
feel the same way.

If she isn't sick, who is?

Then what are we doing here?

No, Claire,

substitute psychology for morality,
and our jobs become obsolete.

But, Jack, this is
an extreme case.

A jury is going to want to
know why she did what she did.

Maybe she was
just downright bad.

You actually believe that?

With all due respect
for your profession, Liz,

I think it's been overplayed
in the courtroom.

So people are just
good or bad, period.

It's better than
healthy or sick.

Deny evil,
you deny responsibility.

Open up the jails.

Send everyone to a shrink.

We got married when we
finished high school,

and we were together until
maybe four months ago.

And what happened?

I don't know.
Maybe we were too young.

She spent all her time
with Rachel.

I needed a wife.

a good mother?

She was the best.

She quit her job to stay home.

She'd sit up
all night with Rachel

if she was sick,
or crying, or something.

That's why I can't believe...

Thank you, Mr. Coleman.

During the years
that you lived together,

did Leah ever seek
psychiatric help?


Did you ever suggest
that she should?

I never...

What? You never thought
she needed it?

I'm not a doctor.
How would I know?

JACK: When was
the last time you saw her

before the death
of your daughter?

The day before.

We took Rachel to the zoo.

And you didn't notice
anything wrong

with your wife
at that time, did you?

Well, maybe.

I didn't really,
I mean, she was...

JACK: If you thought she was sick, Mr.

why would you have left her
alone with your daughter?

She loved Rachel so much.


I hate her for what she did.

She had to be crazy.

Leah was a regular member
of our congregation.

She attended mass every Sunday.

She always appeared
to be a good mother.

In recent months,
did you notice

any strange behavior
on her part?

In retrospect, yes.

It was during
the Susan Smith episode.

She overreacted.

Broke down in tears
in my office.

"How could
she kill her own babies?"

FINEMAN: And how did
you console her?

I told her that everything
that happens is for the best,

that Susan Smith's babies
were now in heaven with God.

She found
enormous comfort in that.

You've known Leah
for how long, Father?

Nearly 15 years.

And would you say, basically,
that she is a good person?

Without a doubt.

That's why this
is all so shocking.

"Susan Smith's babies are
now in heaven with God."

Was that a license
to do whatever you want?

That's not what I meant,
for the life of me.

I was trying to rationalize
a horrendous event.

In other words,

you were searching
for some kind of good

coming out of this
terrible tragedy?

It's a bit simplistic, but yes.

For a lot of us, it's the
only conceivable way

to go on in the face
of such misfortune.

The only way to reconcile
a benevolent God

with all the evil in the world.


JACK: So, what, in some way,
everything is a part of God's plan?

We're not
that fatalistic, Mr. McCoy.

You should know that.

God gave man free will.

That's right.

Man is free to choose
between good and evil.

That's why there's a
heaven and a hell, right?

That's correct.

So tell me, Father, is everyone in
hell psychologically disturbed?

Beating up on a priest, hell
of a way to win a case.

I was trying to make a point.

That God is impotent,
sitting on the sidelines

with his fingers crossed, hoping
that man will do the right thing?

And as Leah Coleman proved,
sometimes he doesn't.

For a reason, not because
she's innately bad.

Evil is learned.
Look at a newborn.

Babies are not born good,
they're born innocent.

This is murder trial,
not a theodicy seminar.

You got sandbagged by a rookie.

Excuse me.

Did you ever think
that Mr. Fineman

had all this planned
from the start?

His ridiculous opening,
late insanity plea...

And after Fineman's

the jury might believe that
she's better off in a hospital.

I believe she knew what she was
doing when she killed her daughter.

I also believe
she knew it was wrong,

and therefore I believe
she deserves to rot.

Now go and prove it.

FINEMAN: What were you thinking
when you smothered Rachel?


I mean, I don't remember.

It was like I was in a trance.

You said that
you were feeling badly

in the weeks before the murder.

What exactly did you mean?

I was all by myself.

It was just me and Rachel, and I
couldn't work or go to school.

We didn't have much money.

Your husband supported you,
didn't he?

Keith worked in a tire store.

We didn't have enough.

This depressed you?

I wanted the best for my baby.

It wasn't just the money,
you know.

What was it, Leah?

It's just this city.

This world.

I look around...


Tell us, Leah.

I go to the store, and somebody
tries to steal my pocketbook.

My neighbor, Mrs. Gorfitz
on the third floor,

they killed her for her
Social Security check.

She was 76 years old, and they
raped her, and they killed her.

And the police caught the men,

and they couldn't even
put them in jail.

I once saw a boy,
he was no more than 14,

slash another boy's throat
for an ounce of dope.

Terrorists are trying to blow
up the World Trade Center.

Schools have metal detectors.

Families are stocking their own
weapons and forming their own armies.

What kind of a world
do we live in?

There's so much hate
and suffering and distrust.

It's not gonna go away.

Is that what you meant

when you told Detective Curtis

that Rachel deserves the best?

Why should she
have to see this?

Now she's in heaven with God.

Thank you, Leah.

Doesn't the Bible tell us
not to kill, Mrs. Coleman?

I am already suffering
for what I did.

So now you know
what you did was wrong?


Did you know it was wrong when
you woke up that morning?


Did you know it was wrong
when you ate your cereal?


He's badgering, Your Honor.

Sit down and shut up,
Mr. Fineman.

Overruled. And you will address
the court from now on, Mr. McCoy.

Let me ask you this,
Mrs. Coleman.

Is God happy
about what you did?

He has my Rachel.
That's what he wanted.

That's what Father Carner said.

He wanted it?

I see.

Mr. Fineman was right.

This was all
God's will, after all.

I'd say that was pretty
selfish of him, wouldn't you?


Why not?

The God you describe sounds like
he's sitting around heaven,

he gets bored, so he arranges
for you to kill your child.

God is not like that.

God is good and benevolent.

He makes you murder

your eight-month-old

That was me!

Rachel was screaming,
but I did it anyway.

So you do remember
what you did.

And you knew it was wrong.

You know what that means,
Mrs. Coleman.

That means
you're guilty as sin.



JUDGE STEIN: Madam Forewoman,
have you reached a verdict?

We have, Your Honor.

JUDGE STEIN: On the sole count of the
indictment, murder in the second degree,

how do you find?

We find the defendant,
Leah Coleman, guilty.

To tell you the truth, I didn't
think you'd pull that one off.

What can I say?
Freud's out, the devil's in.

Admit it, Jack, you were a
little tough on that priest.

When you're raised
by the Jesuits,

you end up obedient
or impertinent.

I didn't order this.

It's on the gentleman
at the bar.

Take it back.

Can't forgive anyone, huh?

No, I can't.

Besides, that was bourbon.

I'm drinking Scotch.