Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 11, Episode 4 - Standoff - full transcript

A corrections officer may have deliberately set up a confrontation in prison that resulted in the death of an inmate who raped his colleague and girlfriend.

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.

Got a bunch of new jacks
coming in this afternoon.

Glad it's not my shift.

Amen, nothing I hate
worse than...


Everybody, stay where you are!



Against the walls!
Everybody line up.

Nobody move!

I got one down here.
I need a medic.

OFFICER: We need a medic
in the hallway outside.

MAN: (YELLING) The son
of a bitch stabbed me.

Who? Who did...
Who was it?

Son of a bitch.

What? Who is it?

Alejo... Dead.

M.E. says one well-placed
stab to the heart,

and death would've
been instantaneous.

Luck or skill, I wonder.

One or the other.

We found this on the floor.
We marked the location.

Any idea who belongs to it?

We're working on that.

ED: Rafael Alejo?

(SCOFFS) If it had
to be somebody.

Head of the Latin Lobos.

I thought he was bolted down in
Attica till the next ice age.

He killed some guy
that touched his weights.

Judge moved the trial down
here, and now we got him.

What about the other
guy who got stabbed?

Hector Diaz.

He a Lobo, too?

File says he joined
a couple years ago

but he was movin'
up pretty fast.

Maybe too fast.

I don't know.

That's your job
to find out, isn't it?

Well, the hours
aren't that good,

but you sure meet a lot
of interesting people.

BENNETT: Right there, that's
Diaz in the white shirt

and here's Alejo
not too far behind.

We've watched it four times.

We can't tell from this what started
the fight or who did the stabbing.

Well, what about
the other camera?

There's a blind spot.
The place is full of 'em.

No doubt the inmates know
where the blind spots are.

They know everything.

BRISCOE: What's Hector
Diaz in for?

Assault on a police
officer, a Detective Quinn.

So where'd the shank come from?

We should've found it.

You can't kick us any harder
than we're kicking ourselves.

They in contact with each
other, Diaz and Alejo?

Don't see how.

Diaz is in general population,

Alejo's locked down
in the segregation unit.

Well, how'd they end up in the
corridor at the same time?

these guys around?

Anything can happen.

A CO's hung up, can't
release a gate in time,

you're waiting.

Someone shows up on his
way to somewhere else.

You want to control it, but
sometimes it gets away from you.

ED: Okay, Diaz, somebody stabs
you and you don't see anything?


Alejo come after you
or you go after him?

Neither one.

We've got a shank
drippin' with blood,

we gonna turn up
your prints on it?

You do and you let me know.

Until then, get your black
nose out of my ass.


Am I gonna have to conduct a
race-relations workshop with you?

Oh, you just got
yourself written up.

Might as well make it
an advanced workshop.

No more ignorant
remarks, Hector.


I knew Rafael Alejo when
I was in the Gang Unit,

the guy's the worst.

I'm glad we took him
down when we did.

What'd you get him for?

He put out a hit
on one of his lieutenants,

the shooter took
out the target,

the target's wife
and the wife's sister.

Isn't that against the rules?

Mmm-hmm, which is why
Alejo killed the shooter.

That's the one we got him for.

Although he's racked up
a few more since then.

Why are you thinking
Hector Diaz killed him?

Mainly their position
in the hallway.

What's the motive?

As long as he's alive,
Alejo's on top.

In prison or out.

Now, somebody wanted to
get rid of him and, uh,

it looks like Diaz got the assignment.


The prints on the shank found at
the scene are too smudged to ID.

All right. Right now
we're guessing.

Check with the Gang Unit, see if
you can get something concrete.

We haven't been on the Lobos
much since Alejo went away.

He was the big problem.

The others are small-time,
not worth the manpower.

Why'd Diaz go after
Detective Quinn?

They ran into each other.

Hey, let's go, man.
You're late.

Quinn collared him a couple of times.
Diaz decided to get even.

Who knows with these guys?
Maybe he was on the pipe.

Who took over as jefe
when Alejo went upstate?


Without Alejo, these clowns
couldn't organize a sock drawer.

Maybe Diaz thought
he could take over.

No idea.

Is it worth asking Quinn?

Detective Quinn's on medical
leave till who knows when.

It was three weeks ago.
How bad did he get hurt?


Maybe Diaz is your guy,
but you know Alejo, Ed.

He had enough enemies
to populate a small country.

Sorry I can't help.

Thanks, Navarro.

So we're gonna have to talk
to every inmate in Rikers,

and not one of them's
gonna tell us a thing.

Navarro's not being
straight with us.

Would Navarro have
any reason to lie to you?

To him, information is power.

He likes to keep it
in the family.

And you're not family anymore.

I got a friend from the
old days I can talk to.

I got a nephew.
What's this one need?

He's sellin' hot dogs
down at Astor Place.

Cops keep hassling
him over nothing.

An expired tax stamp,
peddler's permit.

They keep this up, he's gonna
be doing burglaries again.

All right. I'll talk to my
summons guy down at the ninth.

Is that cool?


Look, all I know about Diaz

is Alejo really
liked his style.

He was movin' him
up pretty fast.

So Alejo put Diaz in charge
when he went away?

No way.

Alejo was running the gang
till the day he died.

He busted his butt
for about year,

trying to break into the
big-time distribution, you know.

Well, how the hell's
Alejo gonna run things

when he's on lockdown
in Attica?

No unmonitored phone calls
or letters, no visitors.

Except from his lawyer.

According to my informant, the drug
deal that Alejo was working on

was worth a couple mil,

and that Alejo's lawyer was the
point man, arranging everything.

Any indication Diaz
moved in on the deal?

Well, the Cl doesn't know,
but he did say that Diaz

is ambitious and has
whatever it takes.

So we're thinking Diaz knew
Alejo was gonna be at Rikers

and got himself arrested
so he could kill Alejo

and take over his half
of the proceeds.

But he could've gotten himself collared
for kicking a detective's shin.

Why'd he bust him up so bad?


Drug deal go down yet?

Your Cl know the time or place?

He said the lawyer was the only
one that knew the details.

Yeah, uh, Benson White.

We checked with
the State Bar Association,

the guy should've been
disbarred by now.

Well, if Diaz killed
Alejo for half a share,

Mr. White may be a dead
man for the other half.

I don't know any Hector Diaz. My client was
Rafael Alejo. He's dead, end of story.

Yeah, except for the 2 million
dollar delivery you two set up.

(SCOFFS) If I had 2 million
dollars, I'd be on Crete,

playing strip backgammon
with Helen of Troy.

Yeah, we'll check in next week,
see if you're still alive.

You think you'll remember
him when he's stabbing you?

(LAUGHS) Your concern
is touching.

I still don't know Hector Diaz.

How reliable's your informant?

He's been wrong, but
he's never lied to me.

You think this guy's lying
about not knowing Diaz?

I don't know.
Would a lawyer lie?

There's a first time
for everything.

Let's talk to Diaz again.

Maybe you ought to pick
up a little something.

Something to let him know
you're sorry about last time.

Don't worry, Lennie,
I'll be nice.

"Diaz, Hector."
Made bail yesterday.

1400 hours, $150,000.

I guess the price of
assaulting a cop's gone up.

Who posted the bond?

Party name of Benson White.

Your Cl's good.

I don't think it was that
hard for him to find Diaz.

Apparently he was bragging all over town,
he put a detective in the hospital.

ED: Wanna pick him up?

Why not?

He can't be
hungry again already.

Security Council meeting?

Let's find out.

Take the back.

You got kielbasa?
Polish sausage?

Police! Open up!

What's your hurry?

Uh-uh. Right over here.

Who else is in the back?

You got a warrant?
I don't need a warrant.

What I have is exigent
circumstances, wouldn't you agree?

All right, stand up.
Nice and slow.

Put your hands
on top of your head.

Don't move!


Detective Green.
Detective Quinn.

This is Quinn?


Detective Diaz, I presume.

I guess I gotta
take the cuffs off.

Don't fall all over
yourself apologizing.

Don't worry about it.

These idiots came close to blowing
two years worth of undercover work.

These idiots?

What about you
not giving us a heads-up

when you knew we were
investigating one of your people?

It was too big a risk
and you know it.

BRISCOE: Oh, right. It's not
like we're cops or anything.

Not like I wasn't in the Gang
Unit for two and a half years.

Well, you're not in it now.

I operate on a strict
need-to-know basis.

People's lives depend on that.

Don't you dare lecture us on
what people's lives depend on.

These detectives
did need to know.

You didn't tell them,

and because of that,
we wasted days

thinking Diaz was the killer.

I still haven't heard anything
that proves he's not.

Diaz didn't kill that puke.

Well, can he tell us who did,
or would he rather not say?

He has no idea.

One more day, we'd have been
all over that drug delivery.

We'd have shut the Lobos down.


Quinn told us that Diaz's
job was to find the time

and the place of the drug deal.

The Gang Unit
dummied up his arrest,

so he could get close
to Alejo in Rikers.


Look, this came
from the M.E.

The metal bolt found at the
scene doesn't match the wound.

The murder weapon
is still out there.


How often do you
search the place?

Let's put it this way,

it's not an
infrequent occurrence.

ED: And you find
everything, right?

Everything. Drugs, liquor,
cook tops, steam irons.

How the hell do they manage
to bring in steam irons?

They manage.

Twenty-two so far.

BRISCOE: Twenty-two shanks?

In a variety of sizes
and styles.

We'll bag 'em and tag 'em
and send 'em to the M.E.

ED: The M.E. says that's the murder weapon.
Wiped clean, no prints.

Yeah, it was found in the Central
Punitive Segregation Unit.

Cell of inmate
Daniel M. Kiley.

The only inmate from CPSU

who was in the visit
area, was Alejo.

You know, this shank could've
been passed around a dozen times

since the murder.

We'd like to talk to Kiley.

Be my guest.

I didn't know
the weapon was in there.

Nobody passed it
to you to hide?

Your friend deaf?

How long you been in that cell?

Five weeks.

One hour a day in the yard, the
occasional shower, otherwise in the cell.

They ever double you
up with anybody?


According to the records,
September 17, it was Judd Larson.

Yes. What a dear, sweet man.

I think it's been almost a
year since he killed anyone.

The day Alejo was killed, did
Larson go to the visit room?

Yes, he did.

And no, I don't know
who it was to see,

and no, I didn't ask him.

Did you notice anything
unusual when he got back?

He was bleeding,

not that that's overly unusual.

Bleeding where?

His arm.

Who escorted him
to the visit room?

There wasn't any paperwork because
it was a last-minute visit.

Larson's attorney
called to set it up.

I did the paperwork later.

This is the list you gave us
of the inmates in the hallway,

and there's no
Judd Larson on here.

You said you wanted the gang
members who were there.

Could Judd Larson
have killed Alejo?

I don't see how.
I was with him.

His cell-mate said he had
a cut on his arm.

The infirmary had no record
of it being treated.

I didn't see it, and he
didn't tell me about it.

Well, did you search him before you
took him back to the Segregation Unit?

In a situation like that,
we frisk everybody.

You did frisk him, right, Pete?

I gave him a quick pat down.

I wanted to get him out of
there and back to the CPSU.

Thank you, Officer Bennett.
That'll be all.

What's Larson's story?

He's doin' natural life
at Sing Sing.

Came here to Manhattan
for a court appearance.

Any contact between Larson
and Alejo before the murder?

Not likely.
Alejo was segregated.

Well, how did Larson know that
Alejo would be in the visit area?

Inmate grapevine?
I don't know.

Well, according to this, Larson called
his attorney the day before the murder.

Bennett said the lawyer called at
the last minute to request a visit.

Yeah, Larson called
her to come out.

She called to make the arrangements.
I mean, so what?

So did he really need
to see his lawyer,

or was this some scam to get Larson
in the same room with Alejo?

You'll have to ask Larson.

Larson's in
for killing his wife.

He stabbed her 14 times.

Before that, he did eight years for
stabbing some guy outside a bar.

What's his connection
with Alejo?

The only thing
that we could find

is that they were at Sing Sing
together a couple of years ago.

Yeah, we called up there.
They're checking the records.

Larson's cell-mate at Rikers said
that he had a cut on his arm

when he came back
from the visit area.

The metal bolt that was found at
the scene had blood on it, yes?

We sent it to the lab to see if
the blood type matches Larson's.

Well, you know
what to do if it does.


Larson and Alejo were here at
the same time two years ago,

from April 20 to July 8,

when we transferred
Alejo to Attica.

Any incidents between them?

Alejo had incidents
with a lot of people.

ED: When was the one
between him and Larson?


"July 7,1998."

"Inmate Alejo claimed inmate Larson
received more than the allotted"

"three waffles at breakfast."

"A fight ensued
in the mess hall."

"Inmate Larson slammed
inmate Alejo into the wall,"

"and informed him
that an upward thrust"

"under the third button from the
top would puncture the heart"

"and cause immediate death."

Larson made shanks?

We've taken, uh,

31 of them off him
over the years.

Take his privileges away,
keep locking him,

nothing makes
a bit of difference.

He ever threaten Alejo
other than that one time?

Never got the chance. The next
day Alejo was shipped out.


Judd Larson?

Since you're outside my cell,

I have to assume you
know what my name is.

And I have to assume
you know why we're here,

so why don't you just stand up

and let's get this
over with, huh?

Where am I being
transported to?

Rikers. All right?

You're under arrest for the
murder of Rafael Alejo.

You like Rikers, right, Larson?

I like it fine.

ARONSON: You can't tie the
weapon to Mr. Larson.

Nobody saw anything.

You've got a hallway full of
people who could've done it.

You'll never even
get an indictment.

You're aware you'll be
facing the death penalty?

Will we be done in time for
lunch in the mess hall,

or will I be provided
with my meal in here?

We'll be done
in plenty of time.

You want to save the state

the time and expense of atrial,

I'll see what I can do for you.

It's not my expense.

And I got nothing but time.

Give it up, Mr. McCoy,
you have no case.

Let's find out how he knew Alejo
would be in the visit room.

An inmate named Soriano
seems to have been

the flashpoint for the trouble.

He says a CO shoved him,

knocking him
into another inmate,

who took offense
and started swinging.

Shoved him deliberately?

So he says.

No reason to lie about that
unless he started it himself.

He's 5'4", 120 pounds.
Why would he start anything?

The disturbance was staged
to cover the crime.

I'd say it's
a distinct possibility.

BY Whom?

The CO who escorted
Larson into the visit room?

Peter Bennett.

You looked
at his personnel file?

Captain Webber wouldn't let me.

He cited confidentiality
of employee records.

Get a subpoena.

GRANICK: This is a fishing
expedition, Your Honor.

Officer Bennett escorted inmate
Larson to the visit room.

There have been allegations
he created the disturbance

that allowed Larson
to get to Alejo.

Allegations made by whom?

An inmate looking to get even.

I'm duty-bound
to investigate

even allegations
made by inmates.

At this point, you have nothing
that links Officer Bennett

to the crime, is that right?

What I have
is purely circumstantial

and a long way from
sufficient to make a case.

Then why are we here?

What I'm looking for is the
ability to further investigate

what may, or may not, have
been Officer Bennett's role.

Well, I see nothing unduly
burdensome in that.

The administration at
Rikers Island is instructed

to turn over
the requested documents

to the District Attorney's
office forthwith.

How long will your clients
need, Mr. Granick?

Seventy-two hours, minimum.

If Rikers is short of clerks,

I can pull the file and
copy it myself, Your Honor.

And we have a solution.


Should I just keep
the originals here?


Excuse me.

Thanks for your help.


JACK: Bennett worked
the Segregation Unit

three of the five days
preceding the murder.

So he had the opportunity
to chat with Larson.

An Officer Philip McNaught was assigned
to escort Larson to the visit room.

Bennett replaced him
at the last minute.

At Bennett's request.

Does it say why?


I'm getting a lot
of nasty calls

from the Department
of Corrections.

How sure are we that
an officer's involved?

Well, Larson carried
a shank from the CPSU

to the visit room and back.

Officer Bennett failed
to discover the weapon

either before
or after the murder.

Even though searches were
mandated by the circumstances.

Bennett also failed to
identify Larson to the police

as being one of the
inmates at the scene.

It's arguable,
although not yet provable,

that Bennett started
the disturbance.

What's his motive?

Don't know yet.

We're not getting much cooperation
from the Department of Corrections.

No. They've circled
the wagons.

Well, the DOC's not running its
own little fiefdom over there.

If they won't cooperate, you know,
hit 'em with more subpoenas.

Why would Bennett
want Alejo dead?

I talked to Alejo's
relatives, my Cl,

none of them heard of Bennett.

Bennett had a habit
of switching assignments.

Shifts, days off, holiday time.

ED: So does half
the squad here.

Take a look at
their duty rosters.

Every shift change
for the past year

put him with
an Officer Donahue.

Angela Donahue?


I saw her name
in Alejo's case file.

When she was at Attica,
he raped her.

Okay, we're sure Bennett
and her were involved,

it's not just a coincidence,
him changing his shifts?

Pull Bennett's IUDs
and credit-card data.

BRISCOE: We'll need a subpoena.
I'll get you a subpoena.

Officer Donahue?

I'm Abbie Carmichael from the
Manhattan District Attorney's office.

What can I do for you?

We have information
that you and Peter Bennett

are romantically
involved with each other.

That's none of your business.

I'm doing what
I have to do, Officer.


Because Rafael Alejo
got killed? No.

All you have to do
with this one,

is throw dirt on him
and forget he ever lived.

We know you worked at Attica and
we know what Alejo did to you.

No stone unturned, right?

He had Alejo killed because
of what he did to you.

Look, as far as I know, it was
one inmate stabbing another.

Peter had nothing
to do with it.

If Peter would plead
guilty to a lesser charge,

we'd be open to discussing a
considerable reduction in his sentence.

You want me to
talk him into it?

As of now, he may be charged
with murder for hire.

That carries a possible
death sentence,

at a minimum


Well, shame on you for that.

Alejo's attack on
Ms. Donahue was brutal,

and it took her a long time to recover
both physically and emotionally.

So Bennett sees himself
as the white knight?

Well, Briscoe and Green
dug up three incidents

where Bennett decked guys
for hitting on Donahue.

Two in a bar,
one at a ball game.

So he had Alejo killed
to avenge her honor.

Can't say it's never
happened before.

And to sell this to a jury, we have
Judd Larson, sociopath and murderer.

Who Bennett knew when they
were both upstate at Attica.

I believe Bennett
set it up, Jack.

Will anyone else?

I don't know.

What does Bennett say?
Bennett's not talking.

Let's see what we can
get out of Larson.

Mr. Larson can't confirm or deny your
suspicions about Officer Bennett.

He doesn't know anything about
who killed Rafael Alejo.

We're way past that,
Ms. Aronson.

ARONSON: We don't think
we're past anything.

We don't think you have a case.

I have a 17-year-old son.

He's incarcerated at Coxsackie.

I'd like him
transferred to Hudson.

Can I have a moment
with my client please?

If he stays where he is,

the same thing that happened
to me'll happen to him.

Arrange for a transfer
and I'll testify.

To what?

ARONSON: Wait a second,
before he says anything,

take the death penalty
off the table.

Since he's already a lifer,
that would be one murder free.

Do what I'm asking with my son.

If I can use what you
tell me, you have a deal.

Bennett told me they'd
go easy on my boy

if I'd fix a problem for him.

What exactly did
Mr. Bennett ask you to do?

What I said.
Fix Alejo.

JUDGE: Next case.

"Indictment number 20561"

People v. Peter Bennett,
murder in the second degree.

Mr. Granick?

Your Honor, it's my understanding
that Correction Officer Bennett

was transported
to the courthouse.

Beyond that, I have no idea
as to his whereabouts.

The defendant is not available
at this time, Your Honor.

We'll come back to him.
Next case.

No defendants
are available, Judge.

Excuse me?

To show solidarity
with Bennett,

the officers at Rikers are
doing everything by the book.

Which means not handing over
prisoners for arraignment

or trial unless all the
paperwork is done perfectly.

How many went through?

Well, Berman had 83 cases on his docket.
He arraigned 10.

It's a one-day action.

What'll they do
if we convict him?

What's the likelihood
of that happening?

Let's see, Larson's
our star witness.

He murdered three people.

And the victim makes Larson
look like Mother Teresa.

Well, what about a plea?

He's not interested.

Why plead when you can walk?

You're romantically
involved with the defendant,

is that not right,
Officer Donahue?


Does this relationship
date to when you were both

working at Attica State Prison?


Which is where you were
raped by Rafael Alejo.

Right again.

What was Officer Bennett's
reaction to your being raped?

What do you think?

You've been qualified as a
hostile witness, Ms. Donahue,

there's no onus on you to
prove that you're hostile.

Please answer the question.

He was upset.

Officer Bennett was transferred
to another facility, immediately

following the incident,
wasn't he?

A few days after what you
call the incident, yes.

COs are transferred
all the time.

Wasn't the reason it happened
in Officer Bennett's case

that the prison authority

was concerned about him taking violent
retribution against Rafael Alejo?

You'd have to ask
the prison authority.

On March 17 of this year,

did the defendant,
in your presence,

in a bar in Pearl River,

attack another man for
asking to buy you a drink?

I was propositioned.

The guy was rude and insulting

and Officer Bennett did what most guys
I know in that situation would do.

Was that also the case
in the stands of a Jets game

and the parking lot
of the Short Hills mall,

both of which times
the police were called

and Officer Bennett
led away in handcuffs?

Officer Bennett felt it
necessary to defend me.

In each case, I feel his
actions were justified.

Are you in love with Officer
Bennett, Officer Donahue?


JACK: Is it fair to say that
your answers here today

are calculated to prevent him
from having to go to prison?

My answers are the truth.

Nothing further.

I know this is difficult,

but I'd like you to
describe the circumstances

of your attack and rape at
the hands of Rafael Alejo.

Objection, Your Honor.

That the rape occurred
is a matter of record.

The details of it
are irrelevant

and it can only serve
to prejudice the jury

against the murder victim.

Your Honor, the rape was introduced
into evidence by Mr. McCoy.

The objection's overruled.

Officer Donahue?

Alejo said he had chest pains.

I took him out of his cell

and escorted him
to the infirmary.

We were on a stairwell
and he collapsed.

I thought he was
having a heart attack,

and I leaned down
to check for a pulse.

When I did so, he grabbed me,

he overpowered me and he
got my radio away from me.

Would you describe
what happened next?

He held me down,

he ripped my pants off,

he took my stick
and he raped me with it.

And the whole time,

he had this look
on his face like, uh,

like it was a practical joke.

Like it was nothing.


Would you describe what
happened in the aftermath?

I went on disability
for six months.

The inmate was
sent to solitary.

He was tried and convicted
of forcible rape.

They added 30 years to a life
sentence with no parole.

Did you ever see the inmate
subsequent to his trial?

I saw him when they brought
him down to Rikers.

And what, if anything, did
he do when he saw you?

He winked.

Did Officer Bennett,
at any time,

express a desire
to kill the inmate?

I was the one who
wanted to kill him.

Officer Bennett wanted me to get
counseling, a different job,

he wanted me to do anything
to put it behind me.

And at night
when he would wake up

and see me
sitting there crying,

he would get up and
he would sit with me

and he would hold me

till I would fall asleep again.

I have no further questions.

JACK: Did you kill
Rafael Alejo?

Yes, I did.

How did you kill him?

I stabbed him in the
chest with a shank.

How did you obtain the shank?

Officer Bennett gave it
to me the night before,

when he asked me to kill Alejo.

Are you in the habit of killing
people because you're asked to?

No, I am not.

Why did you do it this time?

Officer Bennett said
he'd have my son

transferred to the correctional
facility at Hudson,

which I felt was a safer environment
than where he is currently.

Since Alejo was
confined to his cell

in a segregated housing unit,

how were you supposed
to gain access to him?

Alejo would be in a hallway when
he was being transferred to court.

Officer Bennett would take me down the
same hallway and create a diversion.

JACK: Is that,
in fact, what happened?

Yes, it is.

Had it not been
for the defendant,

could you have known that
Alejo was present at Rikers?


Had it not been for what the defendant
agreed to do on behalf of your son,

would you have
killed Mr. Alejo?


Nothing further.

You and Rafael Alejo were
imprisoned at Sing Sing

at the same time, were you not?


Isn't it a fact that
during that time,

you had an altercation with
Alejo and threatened his life?


And when you got out of solitary,
was Alejo still at Sing Sing?


So, Rikers island was
your first opportunity

to make good on your
threat, wasn't it?

I wasn't looking for an opportunity
to make good on my threat.

Why were you incarcerated
at Sing Sing, Mr. Larson?

Objection. Irrelevant.

I think the jury
is entitled to know

the background of the
witness, Your Honor.

I'll allow it.

I killed my wife.

How'd you do that?

I stabbed her.

And on the very same day that
you stabbed Mr. Alejo to death,

you also stabbed an
undercover police officer

named Hector Diaz,
isn't that right?

He got between
myself and Alejo.

It was unavoidable.

So it wasn't per
Mr. Bennett's request?


You threw in a freebie.

JACK: Objection.
JUDGE: Sustained.

I have no further questions.

Redirect, Your Honor.

Did you tell Officer Bennett that
you had had a prior altercation

with Rafael Alejo?

He knew.

He said if, for some
reason I got caught,

it would look like
a beef between inmates.

Did he give you any assurances
in the event that occurred?

He said he'd stick me
in the arm with a shank,

then plant it on Alejo to make
it look like self-defense.

Is that, in fact, what he did?

Yes, it is.

You wouldn't last
one shift at Rikers.

No one's saying we would.

Forget a shift. I'd like to see
you make it through lunch.

Take one tier of prisoners
down to the mess hall

and get them back into their
cells without getting stabbed

or having a riot start.

This probably isn't a conversation
we should be having here.

And when I hear some
prissy son of a bitch

stand in judgment about what
we should and should not do,

it makes me want to
put him in a cell

with one of my 250-pound
CPSU all-stars.

I'd go home, have a hot meal,
get a good night's sleep,

and come back in the morning

to watch them mop.

I'll take the next one.

GRANICK: What kind of an officer
is Pete Bennett, Captain Webber?

The kind you want to
have work for you.

He keeps his cool,

knows how to assert his
authority, dead-on dependable.

Have you ever known Officer
Bennett to pit one inmate

against one another or use one
inmate to take revenge on another?

Objection. Leading.

JUDGE: Sustained.

A commendation was issued to
Officer Bennett, on March 4, 1999.

Could you tell the court
what that was for?

We had a disturbance
in mod four, upper.

And Pete, Officer Bennett,

risked his life
to rescue an inmate

who was being attacked
by gang members.

Thank you, sir.
No further questions.

Captain Webber, you and several
other corrections officers

have testified that
Mr. Bennett was a dedicated,

competent officer.

That's right.

Yet, his personnel file shows
27 complaints against him,

none of which he was
ever disciplined for.

Making complaints is what
inmates do, Mr. McCoy.

It's their recreation.

And by the way, 27 is nothin'.

On July 7 of this year,
was Officer Bennett involved

in an incident with an
inmate named Caldwell?

Yeah. He pulled Caldwell
off another inmate.

Did Officer Bennett strike
Caldwell with his baton?

Whatever he did was not
considered excessive.

People's four, Your Honor.

How long was inmate Caldwell in the
infirmary following this incident?

Two weeks.

Nothing further.

GRANICK: Officer Bennett, why did
you become a corrections officer?

I'd like to say I had some
noble purpose in mind.

What it was,

I was just out of the military

and lookin' for a secure job.

And the Department
of Corrections was hiring.

That's how you got in.

What made you stay there?

I got to like it.

I got to thinking that, uh,

decent people deserve a
barrier between themselves

and the criminals
who prey on them.

I liked that I was
part of that barrier.

Have you ever struck an inmate?

Yes, sir.
When I've been attacked,

or another officer or
inmate has been attacked,

I've had to respond.

Sometimes that meant
responding with force.

Now, quite a bit has been made

of your reaction to Mr. Alejo's
rape of Officer Donahue.

Maybe you could tell us
how you felt about that.

It's hard to put
into words what I felt.

To see someone you love

have her life changed,

and not because of
anything she did,

but because of something
that was done to her.

And for no reason other than this
guy just felt like doing it.

Have you ever thought
of killing Rafael Alejo?

Of course I did.

Anyone close to a rape victim
would like nothing better

than to get their
hands on the rapist.

Well, you were working at Attica
while he was still a prisoner there,

why didn't you kill him there?

I wouldn't have wanted to
jeopardize my job, my pension.

I didn't want to go to jail.

And even if I could've gotten
away with it, I wouldn't have.

I've been around
a lot of killers.

It's just not something I could
ever bring myself to do.

Did you ask Judd Larson
to kill Rafael Alejo?

I did not.

Did you give him a weapon?
I did not.

Did you create a diversion,

so that he'd have an opportunity
to kill Rafael Alejo?

I did not.

Thank you, Officer Bennett.

Did you have any conversation with
Judd Larson while he was at Rikers?

BENNETT: We talked
about the Mets.

He complained about having to
share a cell, that was about it.

Larson didn't tell you about
his concern for his son?


The name Rafael Alejo
never came up?

Did not.

You did escort Mr. Larson
from the segregation unit

to the visit room, did you not?

Yes, I did.

No doubt you searched him before
you left the segregation unit.

I did.

And obviously you did
not recover any weapon.


How do you imagine

Larson managed to
have a weapon on him

by the time he ran into Alejo?

My guess is someone
passed it to him.

You didn't see someone
pass it to him?

If I did, I would've
done something about it.

Nor did you recover any weapon
from him after the fact.

As I told my supervisor,

I patted Mr. Larson down.

I did not strip search him.

At the time, I thought
it was more important

to get him out of the area
and locked down in his cell.

So, Mr. Larson was lying.

Yeah. Yeah, he is.

And the testimony that we heard
about you creating a diversion

that allowed Larson to get
to Alejo, that was a lie.

Yes, it was.

You requested to escort Larson,
did you not, Officer Bennett?

I wouldn't call it a request.

Officer McNaught was busy with something
and I offered to take care of it.

That kind of thing happens
a dozen times a day.

You still seeing
Officer Donahue?

Yes, I am.

Any plans for the future?

Objection. Irrelevant.

JUDGE: I'll allow it.

As soon as our divorces are
final, we plan to get married.

Would you say that
her being raped

has taken atoll
on your relationship?

Officer Donahue
was dealing with it.

I'd like to think that I was
helping her to deal with it.

This is the rest of your
lives we're talking about.

You and Officer Donahue retire,

you put the stink
of prisons behind you,

didn't you want to put Rafael
Alejo behind you as well?

Yes! Of course I did!


For 17 years I've been
locked up with these mutts!

After 17 years,

wasn't it worth the life of one
of them to get a little closure?

To not have to wake up
in the middle of the night

and see the woman you
love sitting up crying?

Your Honor, this...

I believe it's wrong

to take the life of
another human being, sir.

I wouldn't do that
under any circumstances.

JACK: The evidence
means nothing.

The jury'll ignore everything

and just compare
Bennett to Alejo.

Guess who comes up short.

Well, I could say that
the jury is duty-bound

not to ignore everything.

Yeah, you could.

I think we're whipped.

GRANICK: Here's what we
have, ladies and gentlemen.

On one side, Peter Bennett,

a dedicated and experienced
corrections officer,

a man who has spent his career

safeguarding you
and your families

from the worst
society has to offer.

On the other side,

Judd Larson,
one of the very worst.

A man who murdered his wife
by stabbing her to death,

murdered a man in a bar fight
by stabbing him to death

and murdered Rafael Alejo by
stabbing him to death as well.

This convicted murderer
has said that he never

would have killed
his latest victim

had not Officer Bennett
asked him to.

Now, if you have
the slightest notion

that the good Mr. Larson
might be telling the truth,

remind yourselves

that his testimony
is bought and paid for,

compliments of
the District Attorney,

with a sweetheart plea bargain

and a transfer for
Mr. Larson's convict son.

Now, who are you gonna believe?

Because if you strip Judd
Larson from the People's case,

they've got nothing.

Maybe you should
dock Officer Bennett

a couple of vacation days for
shortcutting regulation procedures,

because that's all that
the prosecution has proven.

My recommendation?

Send him back to his job

and put a medal on his chest.

Thank you.

I'm not gonna stand here
and defend Judd Larson,

or for that matter,
Rafael Alejo.

If the character
of either one of them

is what you base
your verdict on,

we've all been wasting
our time here.

We should have,
as Mr. Granick suggested,

pinned a medal on the defendant
and called it a day.

The problem is, if we do that,

we're not doing our job.

We're disregarding our oath
because it's easy.

Because it's hard to punish
someone who's avenging a rape,

even though this
was not a crime

committed in the heat
of passion,

but planned
and calculated over time.

Even though it's our job

to make the punishment fit the crime
and not the nature of the victim.

When I say Judd Larson
should be believed,

it's not because
he's a good guy.

It's because his testimony is
corroborated by every shred of evidence

we've presented here.

Just as it's corroborated by
what every one of you knows.

The defendant wanted
Rafael Alejo dead.

Mr. Granick suggests
Mr. Alejo's life

is not worth caring about,

let alone sending
someone to prison over,

but he's wrong.

If you allow the rule of law to
stop at the wall of a prison,

you've allowed it
to stop everywhere.

The streets of New York
will be no better

than the cell blocks of Rikers.

Madam Foreperson, has the
jury reached a verdict?

Yes, Your Honor. As to the
sole count of the indictment,

the jury finds the defendant,
Peter Bennett, not guilty.




People v. Bennett?

All packed up and headed
for central files.

File it under
jury nullification.

Texas law in Manhattan.

They tried the victim.

And made a badge
for license to kill.