Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 5, Episode 24 - Poison - full transcript

The team is investigating the death of baby which was adopted by a couple with children already. Autopsy reveals that the baby was poisoned. They learn that the mother was not interested in adopting. So they arrest her. At her arraignment the judge appears to be ruling in her favor which Casey finds odd. He later cites Elliot for contempt. They learn that he favors certain people and is hard on others. They learn that in another case he wouldn't allow evidence that would have exonerated a woman who was also charged with poisoning her child. So Casey decides to look into and also tries to have the judge removed.

In the criminal justice system,

sexually based offenses are
considered especially heinous.

In New York City,
the dedicated detectives

who investigate
these vicious felonies

are members of an elite squad

known as
the Special Victims Unit.

These are their stories.

The doctor said
if she survives,

she'll be brain damaged.

Were you with your niece
when she got sick?

My brother called, frantic.

Alexis wasn't breathing.

Pete wanted me to meet him here
to help take care of the kids

while they talked
to the doctors.

How long has Alexis

lived with them?

He and Karen adopted her

from Romania last year,

when she was three.

These two were a surprise.

They were born
right after the adoption.

The hospital called you because
they think Alexis was poisoned.

What do you think?

My sister-in-law did it.

She's so cruel to her.

Never a kind word.

Never a kiss or hug.

And how does she treat
the other children?

Karen dotes on the
twins and Katie.

Alexis, she sees as a burden.

How old is Katie?


Do you think
she might be able

to tell us what happened?

She loves Alexis.

I hope so.

Can you tell me
what happened

when you came home
from school today?

I watched SpongeBob.

Where was Alexis?

In the corner,
in the kitchen.

What was she doing
in the corner?

When she's bad,
Mommy puts her there

and makes her practice
her numbers.

She can only count to ten,

so she has to do it
over and over

and over.

What kind of bad things
does she do?

Today, she wrote
on the wall

with a crayon.

Did you see Alexis drink or eat
anything bad today?

She drank the soapy water.

What soapy water?

Mommy gave
Alexis a pail

to wash the wall.

She was crying, so Mommy
put the sponge in her mouth.

She kept spitting it out.

Mommy got mad.

And when Mommy got mad,
what did she do then?

She made it all soapy again

and put it back in her mouth.

Alexis was coughing.

Then what happened?

She threw up.

She kept trying to sit down

but Mommy made her stand
in the corner again.

When Daddy came home,

Alexis fell and she
wouldn't get up.



The doctor said
that you needed to see us.

Why don't we let Katie
say good night to Alexis.

Come on, sweetheart.

What's wrong?

We'd like both of you to
come down to our precinct.

Well, we have to get
the children home.

Lady, if I have anything
to say about it,

you'll never
see those kids again.

You're under arrest.


For attempted murder of
your adopted daughter.

You have the right
to remain silent...

Let's go.

Look, you're making a mistake.
I love Alexis.

Not according to
your sister-in-law.

Wendy never liked me.
You can't listen to her.

Can we listen to Katie,
Mrs. Campbell?

Oh, sure, Detective,

because seven-year-olds
are so reliable.

she'll tell you

that a pony with wings
lives in her closet.

So Katie made
the whole thing up, huh?

Like how you shoved

a sponge full of soapy water
into Alexis's mouth,

while she gagged and cried?

I don't know where Katie
would get that...

You made her stand
in the corner,

until she collapsed.

Plenty of children

ingest household poisons.

It's sad,
but it's a fact of life.

It's not a crime.

So, it was an accident.

I feel terrible
that I wasn't

paying close enough attention.

But I can't possibly be
everywhere at once.

I have four children.

I'm a good mother.

I would never hurt Alexis.

Why don't you believe me?

We do believe you,
Mr. Campbell.

That's why you're
not under arrest.

My wife did nothing wrong.

But you couldn't know
what your wife did.

You were gone all day.

I told you,
when I got home from work,

Alexis had stopped
breathing, and Karen

was hysterical.

If we wanted to poison Alexis,

why would we rush her
to the hospital?

Actually, I'm interested

in why your wife
does the things

she does.
Like what?

Berate and emotionally abuse
your adopted daughter.

That's a lie!

Are you calling your
sister a liar?

She says Karen
treats that girl

worse than a dog.

Wendy was always jealous
of my wife.

How can I make you understand?

Karen loved Alexis.

You mean loves Alexis,
don't you, Mr. Campbell?

Present tense.
The girl's not dead yet.

The emergency room pumped
two cups of detergent

out of Alexis's stomach.

Mrs. Campbell's accident
story's a bunch of crap.

There is no kid who's
going to drink two cups
of that stuff willingly.

What about
the dear old dad?

He had to know

that his wife
hated that kid.

Wasn't home,

so he's not criminally

But we got the
mother, right?

How's the seven-year-old?


No chance you influenced
her statement?


I've been doing this

a little bit longer
than you.

Just making sure
we're covered.

Children under nine
aren't automatically
considered swearable.

I can talk to her.

If she knows the difference
between a lie and the truth,

and the consequences
of telling a lie in court,

then she can testify.

Okay, tell me what color
that is.


Well, what if I said
it was orange?

Would that be the
truth or would
that be a lie?

A lie.

How come?

'Cause it's purple.


Let me ask you
something about...
about promises.

If you promised
your mother

that you're going
to clean your room,

and then you
don't do it,

what happens?

I get in trouble.

Why is that?

'Cause I promised.

Right again.

You're really good.

You ever go to
church sometimes?

Who lives in church?


Are you allowed
to lie to God?


If you make a promise to God

that you're only going
to tell the truth,

do you have to keep
that promise?

What if you tell a lie?

You'll really, really
get in trouble.

Your chief witness

is the defendant's
seven-year-old daughter?

That sounds a bit imprudent.

Prior courts have held
otherwise, Your Honor.

Rittenhouse v. North Hempstead
found a three-year-old

wasn't automatically presumed
incompetent to testify.

Ah, but you're
in my court now.

And LaPlant v. Atias

disqualified a seven-
year-old witness.

It's completely subjective.

Which is why a
psychiatrist examined
Katie Campbell

and determined that she
understands her duty

to tell the truth.

I'm sure the People won't mind

if I determine that myself.

It's not necessary,
Your Honor.

But, again,

it's in my court.

Produce the girl
and I'll conduct

a swearability examination

in chambers.

By the way, Ms. Novak,

when you appear in my courtroom,

I would appreciate
you are dressed appropriately.

By that,
I mean in a skirt.

9:00 a.m. tomorrow,

I don't want you to be
afraid, Miss Campbell,

I just want you
to answer the questions

as honestly as you can.


You have to speak up
for the lady typing.

Now, Miss Campbell,

do you understand the difference
between the truth and a lie?


If you told us
about something

you did not see or hear,

would that be the truth
or a lie?


Do you understand
the question?


Speak aloud.

Let the record show
that the witness

is unable to answer
the question.

If you came into court,
raised your right hand,

and you swore
to tell the truth,

and you told a lie,

what do you think
would happen to you?

( voice breaking ):
I don't know.

Do you know what
the word "truth" means?

Thank you.
You're excused.

Well, I think that answers
the question of swearability.

With all due respect,
Your Honor,

I was confused
by those questions.

I wouldn't go around

admitting that, Ms. Novak.

The defense moves

for dismissal, Your Honor.

Without the People's witness,
there's no case.

Your Honor didn't say
she can't testify.

She just can't be sworn.

Her statement
can be corroborated

by the detergent found
in the victim's stomach.

Evidence which also

corroborates an
accidental ingestion.

It might.

Why don't we let a jury decide?

Mr. Gates, I'm inclined
to agree with Ms. Novak.

Then I move to suppress the
girl's testimony, Your Honor.

She spoke with an SVU detective

alone, without parental

That's standard procedure.

Child witnesses don't need
parental supervision.

We can't be sure

that anything this girl said

wasn't influenced by the police.

SVU detectives are trained
to interview children.

And I'd love to hear
all about that.

I'm ordering a Hudy hearing.

Your detective proves he didn't
tell young Miss Campbell

what to say, I'll allow
her testimony.

Detective Stabler, at any point

during your questioning
of Katie Campbell,

did you suggest her mother
was responsible

for poisoning
the victim?


In fact, Katie
introduced her mother

into the conversation
without any prompting.

Did you vilify

or criticize her mother
in a way

that would influence
her statement?

I expressed no opinion

about the defendant.

Thank you.

Nothing further, Your Honor.

Why haven't we heard
the audio tape

of this interview,
Detective Stabler?

Standard procedure does not
require police to record

interviews with witnesses.

How convenient.

So you make a mistake,

no one will hear it.

I didn't make a mistake.

In general,
when a child is injured,

who is your first suspect?

Depends on the circumstances.

Oh, come on,

isn't it true
you look to the parents

before anyone else?

When the situation
warrants it, yes.

Are you out to get
Karen Campbell?

Of course not.

Didn't you
tell my client,

that if you had anything
to do with it,

she'd never see her kids again?

That's out of context.

Yes or no, Detective?


So it sounds like

you had some
pretty strong feelings

about my client's guilt
the moment you met her.

My feelings have nothing
to do with any of this.

Now you assumed

my client was guilty
and that influenced

how you questioned her
seven-year-old daughter.

That's completely false.

I know how to conduct
an interview.

Thank you, Detective.
Nothing further.

You're excused, Detective.

Ms. Novak, I'm afraid the People

haven't met
their burden

in proving the interview
wasn't suggestive.

Therefore, the defense
motion to suppress

the witness' testimony
is granted.

This is a joke.

I beg your pardon,
Detective Stabler?

I said this is a joke.

You'd be wise
to remember

no one cares what you think

once you're out
of that box, Detective.

The interview wasn't suggestive.

Elliot, stop...

One of these judges who thinks

cops strong-arm witnesses

in order to make their case?

What, you think I just bullied
a seven-year-old into lying?

Elliot, leave.

No, Elliot, stay.

Enjoy the hospitality
of our holding cells.

You're in contempt.

Officer of the Court,

escort the detective
out of here.

( gavel pounds )

You all right?

I'm great.

Thanks for getting me
a couple of hours off.

You are not blaming
this on me.

Well, you did let
that defense attorney

trash me pretty good
in that courtroom.

Yeah, and that stunt
that you pulled.

That's going to help
insure that Judge Taft

is going to screw me
in the trial, but hey,

at least your ego
is still intact.

My ego? You got me out of
there to talk about my ego?

I did not get
you out of there.

I called in a favor.

The contempt
citation is withdrawn.

So if you could
possibly stop acting
like a petulant child,

that'll be thanks enough.

And you-- you need to start
playing nice

with Oliver Taft.

This guy is an
arrogant prick.

True, and he completely takes
issue with young attorneys

who think they know more
about the law than he does.

You're worried
about my ego?

This guy abuses his power
and gets away with it.

You didn't help
the situation
by mouthing off

to the trial judge.

This isn't law school, Casey.

This is the real world.

Pick your battles.

Winning the trial is more
important than wearing a skirt.

If there are
no other matters,

let's start jury selection
tomorrow morning.


No conflicts, Your Honor.

That's fine, Your Honor.

It's so nice when
we can all get along.

Assault One
seems reasonable,

but we're not overreaching with
the attempted murder charge,

are we, Ms. Novak?

The grand jury didn't think so,
Your Honor.

Fine, just wanted to be sure.

Actually, Your Honor, the
defense has one more matter.

My client would like to waive
her right to a jury trial

in favor of proceeding
before the court.

Your Honor, this is strategy.

People v. Williams, a waiver
can be denied if it's intended

to seek an

What advantage, Ms. Novak?

Your perceived favor, sir.

Waiving a jury trial
is more a risk to the defendant

than the prosecution.

Convincing 12 people
of guilt is harder

than convincing
one judge.

But if your client understands
the consequences

of her waiver,
I'll grant it.

I do, Your Honor.

Very well.

Then we proceed
directly to trial.

Something else, Ms. Novak?

Yes, sir.

The People request
that Your Honor

recuse himself
from this trial.

On what grounds?

That your conduct indicates a
clear bias toward the defense,

recusing yourself now

will preserve the appearance
of impartiality

on the part
of this court.

Judges are charged to examine
their conscience

for any hint of bias and then
decide accordingly.

Perhaps we should

do that more often.

I'm satisfied that
I'm impartial in this case.

Your motion is denied,

Ms. Novak, but I do
thank you for your candor.

Opening arguments
tomorrow morning.

( gavel pounds )

You ask an egomaniac
to recuse himself?

He has much as told
the defense

that if they
waived the jury,
he'd acquit.

"You're reaching

with the attempted murder
charge, Ms. Novak?"

What the hell is that?

It's a tactic.

He's trying to get you
to plead out the case

and make his life easier.

You're staying the trial?


To get Taft recused
or disqualified.

I've got an appearance before an
appellate judge this afternoon.

It's one thing to ask
for a recusal,

but to publicly humiliate
a judge?

You'll be the enemy in every
courtroom in Manhattan.

I'm already the enemy
as far as Taft's concerned.

The trial judge is
the sole arbiter of recusal.

If Taft believes he's impartial,
the appellate term will have

no reason to find otherwise.

So a biased judge gets
to decide if he's biased?


That's our legal system,
so work within it.

Plead out the case
or you're looking at
an acquittal.

Bad news travels fast.

We have to plead
Karen Campbell out, Elliot.

I have no choice.

Don't be so sure.

Records of the agency
the Campbells used
to adopt Alexis.

Karen tried to give her back.


February of this year.

Six months after

they adopted her.

If she loved her so much, she
wouldn't hurt Alexis-- bull.

Let's see Taft try
and throw this out.

I was feeling overwhelmed
with the twins,

I admit that.

And I'm embarrassed
that I could even think about

giving Alexis to someone else.

But it was only because I
thought she'd be better off

with a mother that could be
devoted to her.

And you couldn't
do that?


And if I'm guilty of anything,
it's of not being able

to keep my eye
on her all the time.

After you discovered

that Alexis had gotten
into the detergent,

how did she act?


until she threw up.

But my other daughter had had
the stomach flu the week before,

and I had just thought

that she caught it.

And then she passed out.

She turned blue.

My husband came home from work
and we rushed her

to the hospital.

Thank you, Mrs. Campbell.

Your witness.

You say Alexis was fine all day?


I'd like the court reporter
to read back the testimony

of Dr. Langenhahn,
the pediatrician,

the exact nature

of Alexis's injuries.

"Dr. Langenhahn:

"The victim suffered
pneumonitis from vomiting

"and then aspirating
the cleaning solution,

causing her
to slowly suffocate."

"Ms. Novak:

"What symptoms would someone
with pneumonitis exhibit?"

"Dr. Langenhahn:

"Intense coughing,
labored breathing, vomiting.

The victim would've
been in excruciating
pain for hours."

"Excruciating pain for hours."

Does that sound like
Alexis was fine?

No, what the doctor said
is not true.

Alexis was okay.

You knew she'd

cleaning solution
that afternoon.

Why didn't you take her
to the hospital then?

I didn't know how much.

When you finally
did take her

to the emergency room,
were you afraid

the doctors might suspect
that you poisoned her?


Isn't that why you delayed
getting your daughter

medical attention, Ms. Campbell?

Because you were more concerned
about getting in trouble,

than saving
your daughter's life?

No. I love Alexis.

Objection; she's badgering.


Nothing further.

There's little doubt
in anyone's mind

that the events leading up
to Alexis Campbell's

terrible injuries
are tragic and regrettable.

No matter the outcome

of these proceedings,

a little girl will
never be the same.

Mrs. Campbell,
please rise.

After considering all the facts
and weighing the importance

of the witness testimony,
I find that there is

a single piece of evidence
that is paramount

throughout this trial.

And that is the fact

that you love
your daughter.

And because of that,

I believe that
you did not force

or encourage
her to drink

a poisonous substance.

This was a tragedy--

in some ways, compounded
by this trial.

I will not
compound it further.

Not guilty on all charges.

( gavel pounds )

Thank you.

I'm sorry.

Don't be.

Look, I know you went
to the mat on this one.

Sometimes it just
doesn't work out.

I want Taft off the bench.

And I want a '65 Stingray.

I'm serious.

I'm going after him.

Casey, it's not worth it.

Look, what good does it
do anybody for you

to kill your career?

If this is justice,
I don't want this career.

Casey, what's wrong?

I need a favor.

If this is about
Taft, forget it.

I've been going through
his decisions

over the past ten years.

He's capricious, he disregards
procedure on a whim.

He dismissed assault charges

without a motion
and without a hearing,

and he repeatedly
sets exorbitant bail
to force pleas.

Casey, this is a
total waste of time.

I and every attorney that
asked for Taft's recusal,

they lose, including
another child poisoning case.

The People vs. Rosalin Silvo.

All right, let me see it.

Here are the transcripts.

Silvo takes her daughter
to the emergency room,

she gets arrested for poisoning
her with antifreeze.

She waives her jury
at the trial,

Taft disallows

an expert witness
who's going to testify

that her daughter
has a genetic disease.

Silvo's attorney asks
for Taft's recusal.

Silvo's doing 25 to life.
Do you know what this is?

You don't know
what this is.

You have no idea what
the circumstances were.

This is grounds
for getting his ass
thrown off the bench.

I need you to call Jack Dryer

at the State Commission
on Judicial Conduct

and ask if anyone's filed

any confidential complaints
against Taft.

No. Absolutely not.

You want to talk to Dryer,
be my guest.

But I guarantee you
he's going to laugh you

out of his office.

I'm asking you
to make one phone call.

And I'm telling you
that nothing you've shown me

proves that Taft has done
anything unethical or improper.

You find such proof,
bring it to me.

I'm done with this, Casey.

Judge Taft is a pompous
son of a bitch.

I left criminal law
because of him.

What did he do?

Well, for starters,
wrongfully convicted my client

of a crime she didn't commit.

Your expert witness
was ready to testify

that her baby had
a rare disease.

He was a genetics professor.

He believed the antifreeze
evidence was a lab mistake.

All I needed was the money
to pay for the test.

And because you were

Judge Taft had to
approve all expenses.

He called the test
junk science

and wouldn't even let me
introduce the theory.

Yeah, well, he's changed.

The Taft I know is a
crusader for mothers.

Oh, wait.
Let me guess.

You prosecuted June Cleaver--

wealthy, educated,
husband still in the picture?

You think he's got
some kind of class bias?

I think he's got
a real specific idea

of what a good mother is

and Rosalin Silvo
did not fit that mold--

poor, uneducated, no husband,
two kids by two fathers.

He thought she was a slut

and he didn't even try
to hide his contempt.

After he denied
my recusal motion,

he let the word out
to other judges

and all my referrals
dried up.

I liked my job, but if I stayed
he would've ruined me.

I'm getting Taft
off the bench.

I need you to file a
joint complaint with me

to the judicial commission.

You're nuts.
I'm not going near this.

So he puts an innocent
woman in jail

and that's okay with you?

Your office helped
put her in jail.

Why don't you do something
to help get her out?

August 2, 1993, Rosalin Silvo
shows up at St. Mary's ER

with her one-year-old daughter

The baby was lethargic, vomiting

and having difficulty

Docs ran tests and
found high levels

of ethylene glycol
in her blood.

That's the
active ingredient
in antifreeze.

Christine was dead within hours,

the hospital notified police
that she'd been poisoned.

Rosalin was charged with murder.

Who's this other kid?

They found out that Silvo
was pregnant during her trial.

Had the kid in prison.

She's still in foster care.

Here's the interesting thing.

Cops never found antifreeze
at Silvo's apartment.

She could have tossed it
on the way to the hospital.

What did the M.E.'s office say?

Confirmed the hospital's

Autopsy showed crystals
in the baby's brain

that could've been caused
by drinking antifreeze.

And they never
turned up anything

about this mystery
genetic disease?

There was a preliminary hearing

about some cousin
on the father's side

who allegedly died
of the same disease.

But the defense lawyer
couldn't find the dad,

so Taft wouldn't allow the
information to be introduced.

I'm all for getting
an innocent woman out of jail

if she's innocent,
but we don't have

the manpower to fuel
a vendetta, Casey.

You know, Captain,
it's really

not that much work.

I think we can swing it.

Well, thank you
for being

such a real helper, Elliot.

It's two interviews:
the mother

and the genetics professor
who was supposed to testify.

If nothing pans out,
I'll drop it.

Make it quick.

Do you think Rosalin Silvo
was innocent, Dr. Calvin?

Well, it was a theory.

In the end, an untested one.

But it was possible
her child had MMA,

methylmalonic acidemia.

What is it?

The body lacks an enzyme

to break down protein
for energy production.

Untreated, it can be fatal.

The girl was a year old
when she died.

Wouldn't the mother have
known something was wrong?

Symptoms often
don't appear

for several months
to over a year.

Why'd the hospital say
the baby was poisoned
with antifreeze?

Their lab found what they
thought was ethylene glycol

in the girl's blood,
using gas chromatography.

But MMA produces a substance

that the older
tests mistook for
ethylene glycol.

Would a newer test be able
to tell the difference?


I just never got
the chance to use it.

I kept waiting for someone

to figure it out, you know?

That it was
all a mistake.

Don't get your hopes up yet.

There's no guarantee

our investigation
will get you out.

I know. And it's okay
if you think I'm guilty.

I probably would
if I were you.

I think my daughter
does sometimes.

You want to see
her picture?


She's about what,
ten now, right?


She's living
with a real nice
foster family.

Writes me letters and
visits once in a while,

but I don't know
if that's so good.

This place isn't
right for a kid.

Your lawyer thinks
that Christine died

of a rare disease.

What do you think?

She must have.
She died.

Was she sick a lot?

No, she was fussy sometimes,
but mostly she was very happy.

Maybe I wasn't
paying attention.

But she was sick when you
took her to the hospital.

She was throwing up and
she wasn't breathing right.

Everybody at the hospital
was really nice to me

until they did the tests.

They started talking about
antifreeze and poisoning,

and I'm thinking,

"My God, who would
do this to my baby?"

Then the cops showed up
and arrested me.

Christine died while they
were taking my mug shots.

We would like your permission
to exhume Christine's body.

Now, if there is any chance

of proving that she
wasn't murdered,

that's what's
got to be done.

Diana asks me about her.

I tell her Christine
smiled all the time.

That's what I like to remember.

Not all this.

Make sure they're
good to her, okay?

We got lucky.

Enough DNA from hair to test
for the genetic mutation.

Did the baby have MMA?

Without a doubt.

But MMA doesn't explain
the calcium oxalate crystals

the medical examiner found
in the brain.

These head CTs
were in her medical records.

The crystallization
is consistent

with ethylene glycol poisoning.

Okay, so where did
they come from?

The hospital treated the baby
with an ethanol drip.

Right thing to do
for antifreeze poisoning,

exactly the wrong thing to do
for a child with MMA.

The ethanol caused
the crystals to form

and more than likely killed her.

In other words, Rosalin Silvo

just spent ten years
in prison for nothing.

I don't know how
I can be more clear.

Rosalin Silvo is innocent.

Here's the M.E.'s report.

Judge Taft let his bias
run that courtroom.

He pulled the same crap
he always pulls,

only this time
he stole a woman's life.

That son of a bitch.

Seems to be the preferred way
to describe this guy.

It's a disgrace.

He's an embarrassment
to the bench.

I'll worry about him

as soon as I get
Rosalin Silvo out of jail.

She's going to need
a defense attorney.

I'll take her case.

I'll have to write up the
4-40 motion right away.

I already did it for you.

As stated in our brief,

we believe we have found
sufficient evidence,

previously unavailable at trial,

proving the innocence
of my client.

Furthermore, the opportunity
to obtain that evidence

was denied to the defense
by Judge Taft.

Justice in this case was not
only blind, it was cruel.

Ms. Novak,
where do the People stand?

Your Honor, we're joining
the defense's motion

and ask that the court set aside
Ms. Silvo's conviction.

After reviewing the motion,
I must concur with counsel.

The only possible remedy
is to vacate

Ms. Silvo's conviction.

We're adjourned.

( gavel bangs )

Thank you.

Well, Judge Clark, it's nice

to see you haven't forgot
your meager beginnings

as a legal aid attorney.

Ms. Novak,

are you going to be
combing through

all the decisions
I've made?

Because I can get the files,
if you'd like.

That depends.

How many other defendants

have you falsely convicted?

History is full of mistakes, Ms.
Novak, even your short history.

You're not threatening her,
are you?

Some people might find that
conduct unbecoming

of an officer of the court.

You can't bully your way
out of this, Oliver.

That almost makes me
miss all this.

( cell phone rings )
I don't know,

I think you'd miss
your expense account more.

Casey Novak.

Oh, God.

( sirens wailing )

Why wasn't she
in the hospital?


Her parents didn't want
to put her in a nursing home.

The aunt dropped by for a visit,

found Alexis in
her bed, already dead.

Karen was the
only one home.

She finished the job.

You have the right
to remain silent.

If you give up that right,
anything you say can and will

be used against you
in a court of law.

You have the right
to an attorney.

If you cannot afford one,
one will be provided for you...

So, here we are again.

What happened,
you miss us?

Look, Karen, I'm really
just looking...

...for the explanation.

I mean,
you had the perfect out.

You just place Alexis
in a nursing home,

you never even have
to think about her again.

I'm trying to understand
why you had to kill her.

you do understand

the child was severely
brain damaged from hypoxia.

And that means
she deserved to die?

That means she died
of injuries

sustained from a prior

accidental poisoning.

That's convenient for you.

It's also collateral estoppel.

My client cannot be charged
with murder

having been acquitted

of attempting
the same alleged murder

simply because
the child died.

Unless we're talking
about two separate acts.

Which we are, right, Karen?

Alexis was suffocated.

Poisoning had nothing
to do with her death.

You got nothing
to say now, Karen?

Come on, tell me what
a good mother you are.

Better yet,

tell me how it feels
to place a pillow

over your daughter's face
and suffocate her.

I didn't want to...

You didn't
want to what?

I didn't want to bring her home.

Pete insisted.

Yeah, and that's a lot
of responsibility.

A sick baby.

You had to take care of her,
all by yourself.

She wouldn't stop crying.

That's frustrating.

I just wanted her to be quiet.

So you killed her.

You placed a pillow
over her face

and you killed her, Karen.

It wasn't my fault.

What was it
an accident again?


The judge said I should do it.

It was his idea.

What judge?

Judge Taft.

He said Alexis

was too sick.

I have other children

to think about.

He said, we would all be

better off if Alexis just died.

When did Judge Taft say
this to you?

The other day,

in court,
right before I testified.

Interview is over,
everybody out.

Did I hear her right?

That nut case thinks the judge

told her to murder her daughter?

Or she thinks it's a good way
to get off a murder charge.

What the hell
was Taft doing

talking to a defendant alone,
during a trial, anyway.

Hanging himself.

We got the bastard now.

Doesn't that nullify
her acquittal?

Sure does.
Not that it matters.

We got her on homicide.

I want to make this clear:

I had no knowledge of this
ex parte communication

and as an officer of the court,
I would've been duty-bound

to inform you immediately.

What did he say?

Well, apparently
he saw her crying

on the elevator at lunch.

She alleges that he told her
that she had to think

of her other children now
and that Alexis might be

better off if she died, anyway.

And Karen's using that
to justify killing her?

Then he advised her
to get psychiatric help

so that this tragedy
wouldn't happen again.

He told her to get a shrink?

That's what she said.

And I think it's a fine idea.

Uh, I've advised her not
to answer any more questions.

Let's get her booked.

After that, go pick up Taft.

On what charges?

Criminal Facilitation Two.

Taft told Karen to get help,
which means

he knew Alexis'
poisoning was no accident.

He was afraid she'd try it
again with her other kids.

Acquitting her gave her the
means and the opportunity

to commit a Class A felony.

He's protected by judicial
immunity, Casey.

He smoked his
judicial immunity

the second he had
an ex parte communication

with the defendant.

( mellow jazz playing )

Excuse me.

Excuse me.


If you wanted an invite,

all you had to do was ask.

We thought we'd class
the place up a little bit.

You're going to need to step
outside with us, Judge Taft.


Just a private chat.

About what?

Alexis Campbell is dead.

Karen suffocated her.

You knew that she was
a danger to that little girl,

and you let her go.

This is absurd.

Your Honor, you know

the law says we can't arrest you
in your own home,

so, if you want,
we could make a big scene.

You all are going to be
very sorry for this.

And you're going to look so
pretty for your mug shot.

Docket Number 42768,
People v. Oliver Taft,

Criminal Facilitation
in the Second Degree.

What is this?

Your Honor, the defendant
is being charged

with knowingly
facilitating a murder.

This is an outrage,
Your Honor.

An overzealous ADA is upset
because she lost her case

and is using the courts
to exact retaliation.

He acted beyond
the scope

of his position by communicating
ex parte

with a woman who
later committed murder.

There's no grounds
for these charges.

An acquittal does not constitute
aid to commit a felony.

Your Honor...

You're making a mockery
of this court, Ms. Novak.

I'm throwing
the charges out.

This is hubris and it reeks

of professional misconduct.

And you better believe

Arthur Branch will hear
about it.

The charges are dismissed,
Judge Taft,

with my apologies.

You're free to go.

We're at recess.

( gavel pounds )

Well, I'll say this for you,
you've got balls.

He probably won't get

more than a censure

from the Judicial Commission
for the ex parte.

We'll see.

And don't forget,

now you've got
a star witness

for Karen Campbell's
murder trial.

Judge Taft, for the record,
you are here under a subpoena,

which you unsuccessfully
tried to quash.

That's correct.

You presided over
Karen Campbell's

attempted murder trial,

in which she waived her right
to a jury, correct?

I did.

What was your verdict?

Not guilty.


I felt the People had not
sufficiently proven their case

against the defendant.

So you think
she didn't try

to kill her daughter
the first time.

I believe
I already answered

your question, counselor.

Is that why you spoke
to Karen Campbell

during her trial, because
you thought she was innocent?

I admit the conversation with
the defendant was ill-advised.

We were on the same elevator.

She was distraught about
the condition of her daughter.

I allowed my empathy
to overrule my intellect.

Did it ever occur to you
that Karen Campbell might

be responsible for her
daughter's condition?

Your Honor,
I must object

to this line of questioning.

I'm here to discuss what I said
to the defendant,

not to discuss my thoughts

or feelings about her.

On the contrary,
Your Honor.

The defendant claims Judge Taft
instructed her

to kill her daughter.

It's important to establish

the witness' state of mind

at the time
of the conversation.

Judge Taft,
answer the question.

I will remind you

that you have
no legal standing

to object in this court.

You felt sorry
for the defendant,

so you must have decided that
she was innocent,

even though the trial
hadn't yet concluded.

That's not true.

So you thought
she was guilty?

I hadn't yet formed an opinion,
as you just said.

The trial had not concluded.

I know, which is why
it's so strange

that you were talking to her.

Why did you tell the defendant

to seek
psychiatric help

so this tragedy doesn't
occur again?

She was upset.
Because it sounds

like you think she really did
poison her daughter.

It was a mistake.

Is that what you
want me to say, Ms. Novak?

One mistake in almost
three decades on the bench?

Didn't you make another
arguably bigger mistake

when you wrongfully convicted
Rosalin Silvo

of murdering her daughter
and sent her to prison

for ten years?

That's a totally separate issue

and completely immaterial
to this case.

You can't object,
Judge Taft.

But I can, Ms. Novak.

Get back to the case
at hand.

Did you tell Karen Campbell
to suffocate her daughter?

Absolutely not.

But you talked to her, even
though it was clearly improper.

It was a mistake.

You don't make
mistakes, though.

You make judgments.

Who's innocent?
Who's guilty?

You saw Rosalin Silvo
and she was a whore.

That means she's a bad mother.

And then you saw Karen Campbell.

Why did you talk to her, Judge?

Your Honor?

Why talk
to Karen Campbell?

Why talk to a woman
that tried

to murder her daughter?

I didn't know.
Didn't know what?

That she'd turn around
and try to do it again?

I thought they were good people!

( gavel pounds )
That's enough.

Ms. Novak, try that again
and you're in contempt.

Sir, you will be

as well,
if you don't sit down.


Nothing further.

On the sole charge of murder
in the second degree,

how do you find?

We find the defendant guilty.

Ladies and gentlemen
of the jury,

you've performed
your duties admirably.

And I thank you
for your service.

And may I say,
for the record,

this is a crime
that could've
been prevented.

While this trial exemplifies

the very best aspects
of our legal system,

it has also highlighted
its flaws.

It is my sincere hope that in
the future,

those flaws
can be corrected.

The defendant will be held
over for sentencing.

This court is adjourned.

( gavel pounds )

Your Honor, this way!

The Chief Administrative Judge
says you're going

to be reassigned to civil court.
What's your reaction?

The previous conviction of
Rosalin Silvo was overturned,

how many other of your verdicts
have come under scrutiny?

What about the rumor
that the governor has asked

the Judicial Commission
to investigate your conduct?

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