Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 5, Episode 7 - Choice - full transcript

After a man is arrested for attacking his pregnant wife and then seeks to have her charged with neglect for drinking during her pregnancy, Benson learns that this is not the first time a child has been exposed to the devastating repercussions of the woman's uncontrolled alcoholism.

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.

( glass shatters )

Come in, Central.

CENTRAL ( over radio ):
10 Post 11.

This is Central.
Go ahead.

Got a 10-10 possible burglary
at Momma Sue's Restaurant.

Request backup.

That's a 10-4.

( clattering,
officer gasps )


Let me see your hands!

Now! Drop the gun!

Help me...

Drop the piece
or I shoot!

Please... somebody help me...

Wait! Hold it!

Over here... please...

Someone, someone
help me, please...

10 Post 11, assault victim
at this location.

Need a bus and SVU.

You okay, Mrs. Fulton?

It's okay.

My head...

10-4, Post 11.

Bus is on the way.

Male, maybe Latino,

late teens, dark jacket,
some kind of cap.

All right, you get a look
at his face?

Sorry. I was too busy
looking at his gun.

I understand.
Thank you.


Hey. Sorry to
wake you up.

You didn't.

I was helping the twins
with a science project.

What do we got?

The victim is
Jennifer Fulton.

She owns the restaurant
with her husband.

Now, the place was
closed, but front and
rear doors were open.

Perp knocked her out
and he raped her.

She always work this late?

Sometimes she closes up,
sometimes the husband.

The cops know them,
so they make a point
of checking in--

which is what Officer
Breggin was doing--

when he caught the perp
in the act.


Did the moron
rob the place?

Night's take was
still in the register.

Then either he didn't
get to finish the job,

or this was personal.

Where'd EMS take her?

You almost missed her.

She lost consciousness
and you're releasing her?

Mrs. Fulton is
insisting she leave.

She let you do a rape kit?

Yes. We patched her up
as best we could.

Jennifer, I'm Detective
Olivia Benson.

This is my partner,
Elliot Stabler.

Uh, do I need to sign something?

Mrs. Fulton, I'm urging you
to let us admit you
for the night.

Look, Doctor, I'm fine.

Now just show me where to sign.

We just have
a few questions

we'd like to ask you
about what happened.

Of course.
Jennifer, did you
know your attacker?


Can you describe him?

Well, I'm afraid it
all happened so quickly.

What about his clothes?

His race?
Had he been drinking?

Look, I was in the
middle of closing up,

and he hit me
from behind.

I'm sorry, I don't
remember anything.

Okay, well, why don't you
go home and get some rest,

and we'll talk
to you tomorrow.

Look, thank you
for your concern,

but really, I'm all right.

You were assaulted.

And I survived.

Please, I just want
to put this behind me.

Captioning sponsored by

The rape kit was negative,

but the ER confirmed that
Jennifer Fulton was assaulted.

Denial is a normal
response to trauma.

Well, either that or she's
scared that the creep
will try it again.

Look at the graffiti, Captain.

He's sending her a message.

Well, if she was threatened,

could explain
why she wouldn't talk.

You run this past
the Gang Squad?

They didn't recognize the tags.

Could mean some wanna-be.

Or a new recruit
trying to make his bones.

Well, check with
the local precinct,

see if the Fultons filed
any complaints recently.

Talk to CSU--
maybe this guy

left something besides
his bad spelling.

We found skin, blood
and makeup.

That explains
the cut on her temple.

She fell or was pushed
into the counter.


No security cameras.

But what about the paint?

Available at any auto shop
or hardware store.

In other words,
O'Halloran, you got zip.

Hey, not so hasty, Munch.

We're still checking the bar
for prints,

and we found this
by the back door.

What is it?

Top of a new pack
of chewing gum.

Not enough to print,
but it's something.

Why? Anybody
could've dropped it.

I don't think so.

Entryway was mopped right after
the restaurant closed.

The floor was spotless.

Except for this.

Okay, kid breaks in,

pops a piece of gum
to calm his nerves.

Could've bought it nearby.

He could've bought
it in Pittsburgh.

We'll check the stores
around here first.

Liv just called
from the two-nine.

They've had no complaints
from the Fultons

about gang harassment,
but Jennifer's been
in trouble before.

What for?

Undercover cop caught her
serving liquor to a minor.

She said it was a mistake;
kid looked older than he was.

It was her first offense.
She paid the fine.

Was the kid cited?

Yeah. 18-year-old
Leon Ardilles.

His photo's being
faxed over now.

Anybody who might want
to target the restaurant?

Nothing that's come up.

Momma Sue's is a restaurant
chain out of New Orleans.

Jennifer and her husband own the
franchise for the West Village.

We found the smoking gum.

What's he talking about?

We pulled
the security camera tapes

from every convenience store

within a ten-block radius
of the restaurant.

We came up with this.

( tape clicks into VCR )

Latino male, late teens.

15 minutes before
Officer Breggin came
by the restaurant.

Store owner know the kid?


Get a printout,
canvass the neighborhood.

Don't bother.

This is Leon Ardilles,
our underage drinker.

So's that.

Did you see the man
who attacked you?

I'm not sure.
It was... it was dark.

Take your time, Jen.

( sighs )

I think it was him.

You ever see him
before last night?

He looks like the kid

that was arrested in our bar

for drinking last month.

He was underage.

He had the balls to blame Jen
for getting him in trouble.

I should have never
left you alone to close up.

Did you take the night off,
Mr. Fulton?

Yeah, I had tickets
to the Knicks, second row.

That was some game.
Thought Houston

was going to pull it out
for them in the fourth.

Houston fouled out in the third.
What game were you watching?

I must be thinking about the
game the night before last.


Are you going to arrest the punk
who attacked my wife?

Remember her?

Never seen her before.

How about
I refresh your memory.

Cops busted you
for drinking in her bar.

Doesn't mean I roughed her up.

You did the lady,

left your tag,
even faced down a cop.

Only thing we don't get
is why a big tough

hombre like you
had to knock her out

before you tried to rape her.

Sounds like
performance anxiety to me.

I swear I didn't touch her.

Touched something.
Let go of me!

That look like
orange paint to you?


I might've guessed:

NYPD's very own
civil rights busters.

What do you want, Balthus?

Some quality time
with my client.

Yeah? Sorry.

We're taking him
to the crime lab.

What for?

Test the paint on his hands.

So this is where you fellas
cook the books.

Why isn't this
in an evidence bag?

Because it's my lunch.


Well, look at this:
our crime scene.

Stay away from
there, Balthus.

Listen, Munchkins,
I can see it now

or I can see it in Discovery.

Okay, I'll test the
sample in the GCMS--

Gas Chromatograph
Mass Spectrometer.

Which will tell you
that the paint on Leon's finger

matches about a million
cans of spray paint.

So, there was a glass

and an open bottle of wine
on the bar,

which you then dusted
for prints.

And whose did you find?

Jennifer Fulton.

Here's another piece of
evidence, a broken wine glass.

And what does the report say?

"Found in trash behind bar.

"Glass wiped clean

but two partial prints
on base."

Mrs. Fulton's, too?

No. We're still looking.

So, after the restaurant
was closed,

Mrs. Fulton shared
a bottle of wine

with some mystery person,

who then wiped his prints
and left.

Leon, did Mrs. Fulton invite you
in for a glass of wine?

No, ma'am.

I didn't think so.

The paint's a match.

You're cooked, Leon.

Okay, I found the door open,

I went in and tagged the place.

I heard a moan
and I saw her lying there.

I was gonna help her
when the cop came in.

Criminal trespassing.

I doubt
he'll even get probation.


The little psycho had a gun.
Gun? What gun?

Did you find a gun? No.

I'll see you at arraignment.

Not another word.

The kid admits
he was there, Captain.

Officer Breggin swears
he was armed.

And the victim I.D.'d him.
We still got a good case.

If you hadn't given his attorney

a sneak preview
of the forensics.

Why the hell did you
let her in there?

We didn't have a choice.

She would've got the evidence
in Discovery anyway.

Well, we still have to I.D.
Mrs. Fulton's mystery boyfriend.

Elliot and Olivia
are looking at everybody

who worked at the restaurant
after hours.

Give them a hand.

May not need one.

We checked out
her husband Craig.

Turns out he took a couple
collars for domestic violence.

So we got his prints.

They're sealed.

Cases never made it to court.

Jennifer dropped all charges.

Doesn't mean Craig
assaulted her this time.

Yeah, but it may be

why they're not living together

Craig moved out six months ago.

Then why the loving couple act?

Because the
restaurant franchise

is in both their names.

Momma Sue's head office
in New Orleans just told me

that if the Fultons split up

or if they get in
any legal trouble,

they could lose the restaurant.

So they're staying married
for the money.

Uh, no, there is no money.

The head office says that
the restaurant's in trouble.

The profits are in the toilet.

They were thinking
of closing the place.

That's a recipe for violence.

I'll tell you who
will have hubby's prints:

the State
Liquor Authority.

Get the lab to run 'em
against the partials.

And maybe you should
ask Jennifer

who she shared that
romantic bottle of wine with.

Why are you questioning me?

I thought I was the victim here.

Jennifer, the defense
is going to dig into
your personal life

to undermine your case.

You've got to tell
me everything.

I have.

Well, you didn't tell me

that you and your
husband were separated.

It's not official.
I want a divorce, he doesn't.

Look, I really don't want
to talk about this.

Mrs. Fulton, think about
what you're doing.

I know what I'm doing.

I am trying
to keep my life together.

If you guys can't help me,
please leave me alone.

We're on your side.

Jennifer, we know
that you were attacked.

We know that Leon Ardilles
had a grudge against you.

But did he try to rape you?


was it Leon?

No. I'm sorry.

It wasn't him.

It was your husband,
wasn't it.

( sighs heavily )

He came around after closing,

he said he wanted to talk.

So you opened a
bottle of wine.

At first he was civil,
then he started

accusing me of running the
restaurant into the ground.

He said that
if I divorced him,

he'd cut me out
of the franchise.

I said, "Over my dead body."

And he got violent.

He ripped my shirt...

he shoved his hand
between my legs and...

said that he could do
whatever he wanted to me.

I begged him to stop,
but he wouldn't,

not until I told him
I was pregnant

and then he let go.

And I tried to run and I fell.

Are you pregnant?

( sighs )

11 weeks.

And Craig's the father.

We tried to get back together
for the sake of the business.

We had sex once or twice,
but it didn't work.

Obviously the sex worked.

Will you testify against him?

No, I-I can't...

We can protect you.


if you let this go again...

the next time,
he might kill you.

You will protect me.


Why are we here?

Mrs. Fulton identified
Leon Ardilles as her attacker.

Yeah. She recanted her I.D.

Well, then Mrs. Fulton
is an unreliable witness.

Who she going to finger next?

Your client.

You're a liar.
I never touched Jen!

You beat her up
just like you beat her before.

And as soon as Forensics puts
you at the scene,

we're going to throw your ass
in jail.

No, the only thing
that Forensics will prove

is that my client was
in his own restaurant.

Drinking wine
with his wife.

You didn't wipe
all your prints off

the glass there,
smart guy.

You don't have
my prints.

No, no. The State took them when

you got your liquor
license. You remember?

Craig, don't say anything.

No, I want to.

Jen was telling the truth.

I was at the restaurant.

After the Knick game,

I went over to talk
about saving the business.

Jen had been drinking.
She wouldn't listen.

She told me she had bigger
problems, like being pregnant.

I lost my temper.

Right. And you beat
the crap out of her.

No! I begged her

to stop drinking,

if not for her sake,
for our kid's.

She told me it was none
of my business.

She went to grab her purse,
I tried to get her keys.

Must be when
her blouse got ripped.

Yeah. I grabbed her by the arm,
she pulled away.

She was unsteady on her feet.

She fell and she hit her head.

And then you ran out.

What a gentleman.

Look, I know
I should've stayed
there with her,

but I was afraid

she was going to call the cops
and blame me.

Jennifer is pregnant.
Craig doesn't want to put her

through the strain of a trial.

How noble of him.

What kind of deal
would you client like to make?

He'll take a Serrano plea
to Assault Three

in exchange for
misdemeanor probation.

Get real, Nikki.

I won't accept a no contest plea
for attempted rape

when your client
has a history

of domestic violence.

Jennifer dropped all charges.

I have a confession.

I have a complainant.
I'm going to trial.

With what?
You've zero

medical evidence of a rape

and your complainant
first blamed her attack

on a disadvantaged kid.

Not to mention the fact

that she drinks
while she's pregnant.

That makes it okay
to beat her up?

That was an accident.

He was protecting
his unborn child.

I get this in front of a jury,
he'll probably be acquitted.

Fulton takes the plea and agrees
to a restraining order

barring him from contact
with Jennifer.

Any harassment
and I will lock him up.

You made a deal
with that idiot?

I take him to trial,
I'm not sure I'd win.

So what will it take
to convince you?

Broken bones?
Or maybe a dead body?

Jennifer Fulton didn't exactly
help her case

by fingering
the wrong guy.

Oh, so now rape victims have
to be perfect

before you'll bother
to prosecute the rapist?

I prosecute cases
I have a chance at winning.

Well, hang around

'cause you'll be
prosecuting him
for murder.

The number one cause
of death

among pregnant women
is homicide,

usually at the hands
of their partners.

Craig Fulton goes
within 200 yards
of Jennifer,

he's in jail.

Oh, great,
that'll stop him.

Let's go give her
the good news.

I can't believe
you're letting him go.

He pled out
to sexual assault.

That will be
on his record.

And that's a punishment?
After nearly killing me?

You promised
you'd protect me.

If he comes near you again,
if he threatens you in any way,

we will arrest him.

Can you be
by my side

24 hours a day?

I wish I'd never
listened to you.

You think you've
had enough, there,

I know what's enough, okay?

Please don't lecture me.

I'd like you to go.

Jennifer, I know
that we let you down,

but if you need help,
we can recommend counselors.

I don't need counseling.

You know alcohol's not good
for the baby.

I'm not having the baby.

If you need me,

this is my home number.

( phone ringing )


Yeah, yeah, it's me.

He did what?

Where are you?

I'm really sorry.

I shouldn't have
dragged you out

in the middle
of the night.

That's okay, Jennifer.

Just tell me
what happened.

A woman came in
just before we closed.

She said she had something
for my husband.

She gave me this.

It's a temporary
restraining order.

Yeah, to stop me
from having an abortion.

I have to go
to court tomorrow.

Can he really do this?

No, he can't.

Not unless someone re-wrote
New York State law overnight.

So I can ignore it?

You've been served,
you have to appear.

Even if the
restraining order

has no legal standing?

I'm afraid so.

He can just drag me into court,

parade me around in public
any time he wants?

Don't worry.

New York recognizes a woman's
right to privacy.

Even a pro-lifer like
Judge Rebard will have

to dismiss the order.

How did Craig manage to get
his case heard before Rebard?

I was wondering
that myself.

I think I know the answer:

Felicity Bradshaw.

She's a well-known
pro-life attorney.

Defends anti-abortion activists,
even clinic bombers.

She's connected enough
to get this

on Judge Rebard's calendar.

But you can stop him,
can't you?

I'm an Assistant
District Attorney.

I can't fight this for you.

But I can recommend someone
who will-- Lorna Scarry.

I thought she only handled
Wall Street embezzlers.

She salves her conscience

by doing pro bono work
for women's groups.

I've been up against her twice.

She wiped the floor
with me both times.

Aside from the fact it has no
validity under the law,

this order is a blatant attempt
by Mr. Fulton

to harass and intimidate
his wife.

My client can't even manage
his own restaurant

because of his wife's
restraining order.

He has to come to the court

just to discuss
business with her.

Don't try to use me

as a marriage counselor,
Mrs. Bradshaw.

I'm not, Your Honor.

Mr. Fulton wants to prevent

the termination of his child,

but he fully acknowledges

the burdens that this
would impose upon his wife.

He's willing
to fund alcohol

What is she
talking about?

I'm not an alcoholic.

Mrs. Fulton, please.

What kind of lies have
you been telling her?

Mr. Fulton will pay for
alcohol rehabilitation

and provide financial
support for his wife

during her pregnancy,
and take custody

of the child after it's born.

Ms. Scarry, does your client
wish for time

to consider this offer?

Not in a million years.
He doesn't even like children.

We are impressed by Mr. Fulton's
generosity, Your Honor,

but we know he's broke.

Where will the funding
come from?

A group I'm associated with,
Agnus Dei,

would happily pay for Mrs.
Fulton's rehabilitation.

That group
is a well-known

religious organization,
Your Honor.

Now they're trying to re-write
the Constitution

and erode my client's
reproductive rights.

Ms. Scarry,
you should be aware

that Apnus Dei also has
a Constitutional right

to express their beliefs.

Nonetheless, the order
to prevent a termination

has no standing under the law.

The case is dismissed.

Mrs. Fulton,
I know that you

and your husband
are at war,

but before you hurry off
to the clinic, ask yourself:

does your child have to become
an innocent casualty?

He has no right
to dispense
personal advice.

The decision
to terminate
the pregnancy

is yours alone,

Jen! Jen! Jennifer, I'm sorry.

I really am.

Walk away, Mr. Fulton.

You're still under
a restraining order.

I was just trying to help,
that's all I was trying to do.

It got out of hand.

You've wanted a
baby for so long.

Please, don't do this
just to punish me!

Back off or I
will arrest you.

Craig, that's enough.

Jennifer, do not let him
get to you.

He only wants you
to keep this child

so he can have control
over you.

I'm going to
have the baby.

Because of what he just said?

No, because

it's what I really want.

It's a decision
only you can make

I wish you the best.

I'm sorry for getting
you into this.

Do you really want
to keep this child?

Yes, more than anything.

Maybe you should still
talk to a counselor

so that you're fully informed.

Do you know anyone?

If the mom has
seven or more drinks a week

or four or more drinks
on any one occasion,

her child could be born
with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Do you know what that is?

Uh, sort of.

No, not really.

Children with FAS can have
abnormal facial features,

along with growth
and neurological

They can also

have problems with memory,
speech and hearing.

So, if Jennifer
stops drinking now,

will the baby be all right?

I'm afraid

there's a slight
chance it won't be.

We know that heavy drinking
in the first trimester

can cause the physical
characteristics of FAS.

So exactly how much
alcohol is safe?

Even moderate
social drinkers

can have children with
alcohol-related problems.

So to be safe,
we say no alcohol.

Okay, so I'm
a moderate social drinker.

Tell me the truth.
What's my risk?

Put a number on it.

I can't.

We don't know why one fetus
is born with FAS,

while another with
a similar exposure to alcohol

is born healthy.

All I can say is
that if you plan
to have the baby,

stop drinking now.

Get help if you need it,
but stop.

Thanks for
coming with me.

It's no problem.

You want to talk,
call me.

I'll be okay.

Olivia, I mean it.

I'm going to
clean up my act.

See you later.

Jen, can I talk to you
for a second?

No, wh-what
are you doing?

Well, Craig wanted
me to come by and...

Police, show me your hands!

Jen, get back
in the car.

Okay, okay.

Tell her I'm family, man.

Come on,
tell her.

Tell her
I'm family.

You know this guy?

It's Craig's brother.

What do you want?

Craig just said
to give Jen this.

( sighs )

Another court order.

Doesn't this worm give up?

Josh, you
better go.

What now?

He's brought an action
against you in Family Court

for derivative neglect.

What the hell
does that mean?

That you're a threat
to your baby.

He wants the statee JHe

to lock you up,
to make you stop drinking.

She's having an abortion,
so Craig takes her to court.

She decides to have the baby,

and again
he drags her into court.

What the hell
does this guy want?

Power over Jennifer.
He's a control freak.

Yeah, a clever
control freak.

Family Court has to act
in the interests of the child,

whether it's born or unborn.

Well, you know, Liv,

even if Jennifer
loses this case,

what's the worst thing
that can happen?

She goes to rehab.

Which will help her and the kid,
and I don't see a problem there.

Aren't you
overlooking something?

Her husband tried to rape her,

and yet she's the one
being treated like a criminal.

And what do you call a mother
who drinks when she's pregnant,

even though she knows
it can hurt her baby?

She's not drinking now,
and even if she was,

the fact is, it's not a crime.

Whatever we think
doesn't matter.

This isn't
a Special Victims case anymore,

so we should move on.

Captain, she's
still a victim.

Craig would say
his unborn child

is the victim.

Craig left his pregnant wife
bleeding on the floor.

He doesn't give a damn
about that child.

He's only using it as leverage
to attack Jennifer.

Just like he's using
the courts to harass her.

So, what do you want
to do, Olivia?

I want to keep an eye on him,

and make sure
that his harassment

doesn't turn
into something criminal.

Think he'd be that stupid?

If he got angry enough, yeah.

No one disputes Ms. Fulton

is a well-meaning

who wants what's best
for her child,

but good intentions
have not protected her baby

from her drinking.

Platitudes aside,

Ms. Bradshaw is trying
to give a 12-week old fetus

rights which no
court in the land

would acknowledge.

If the fetus can't
survive outside the womb,

it's not a person
under the law.

Surgeons can operate
on a fetus at 18 weeks.

If a fetus can be
a patient,

how can it not be
a person?

Because in such

the mother is
the patient,

and her consent
is required.

let's stick to the law.

Ms. Scarry

chooses to forget that New York
law does give the fetus

rights as a person in cases
of homicide and negligence.

Gloria C. versus William C.
and New York versus

Sierra K.

The court institutionalized
Sierra K.

because she was a crack addict
who had given birth

to five addicted babies
and was pregnant with her sixth.

My client has had no children

and has no record
of parental neglect.

crack is an illegal drug.

My client's
social drinking

is perfectly legal.

Your client
is an alcoholic.

That's enough, Ms. Bradshaw.

Can you prove
Mrs. Fulton's drinking

is putting her child at risk?

Affidavits from Jennifer's
colleagues and teachers

attesting to her lifelong
addiction to alcohol.

I can present

including Mrs. Fulton's
husband and Detective Benson

who both have observed Jennifer
drinking since she's known

she was pregnant.

Your Honor, now
that she's aware

of the possible harmful effects
of alcohol on her baby,

Jennifer has pledged
to stop drinking.

She has no record

of erratic behavior,
no DUI citations.

She's a hard-working woman
being pursued by an abusive,

vindictive husband

and his ideologically
motivated lawyer.

Your Honor...

I know your position, Counselor.

I will review the materials,

and I will decide if I want
to hear any witnesses.

We're adjourned.

( pounds gavel )

How'd it go?

Okay. Bradshaw's really
stretching the case law.

And how's Jennifer?

She's hanging in there,

but Bradshaw's been
digging up dirt.

Hubby's come up
with some witnesses,

including me.

This bastard's going
to do anything to win.

Scarry said
it'd be a good idea

to check these people out,
do some damage control.

We just got six names.
Let's split 'em up.


Elliot, did Cathy drink
when she was pregnant?

Glass of wine every
now and then. Why?

I've been reading
this FAS literature.

Did you know that
even one night's drinking

can cause
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

I didn't know that.

Guess we just
got lucky.

Right, but knowing that now,
if she got pregnant again,

would you let her?

If Cathy got pregnant again,
I'd shoot myself.

Seriously, look, she gave me
four healthy kids.

I trust her to make
her own decision.

That's it.


I haven't seen Jenny
in 20 years,

and now you're
the second person this week

that's asking about her.

Really? Who
else was here?

Uh, her husband.

He wanted to surprise her
for her birthday

with some stories
about her school days.

Yeah. What'd
you tell him?

Ooh, just that
she was a good student,

very bright, and, uh...

some nights
she had a wild side.

How would you define
"wild side"?

Oh, she was young,

she liked to push
the boundaries, and, uh...

mm, sometimes
she came to class drunk.

School suspend her?

Not exactly.

She-she took the semester off.

You know, I really
shouldn't be telling you this.

Ms. Dunne...

her husband's a liar.

He's just trying
to hurt her in court.

I need to know everything
that you told him.

I-I didn't tell him
why she left school.

Please tell me.

She was pregnant.

I helped her
to find a home

for unwed mothers.

She came to me

she had no one else
to turn to.

Her mother didn't care,
and her father had disappeared.

What happened to the baby?

Oh, she gave it up
for adoption.

That was the end of it?

About four years later,

the adoption agency
contacted me.

They... Jenny had given them
my name, and they said that, uh,

they had lost touch with her,
and they needed to find her.

They say why?


I told them
where to contact her,

and that was the last I heard.


There are some people
here to see you.

Hello, Lily.

I'm Elliot, this is
my friend, Olivia.

Hi, Elliot,
hi, Olivia.

Do you want to
play cards with us?

Heck, yeah.
Whatcha playing?

Go Fish.

Ah, that's my game.
Deal me in.

My wife and I
adopted Lily

about 17 years ago.

And when did you notice
that something was wrong?

Oh, we started
to notice

when she was
about three.

She was having

and she seemed slower
than kids her age.

We thought it might help
to find out

her parents' medical history.

So you contacted
the birth mother?

The adoption agency's
records were a mess,

but we found out through
a former teacher an address.

We wrote, we phoned,
but... nobody answered.

You should have told us,

I didn't think
it mattered.

I mean, I was
just a kid.

Your daughter's
adoptive parents

tried to contact you.

Why didn't you respond?

I'd given up my baby.

I couldn't bear to go
through all that pain again.

So you just put her
out of your mind.

No! No, never.

Not a day goes by that
I don't think about her

and pray that
her family loves her.

They do.

You've seen her?


and we think that
you should, too.

Her name is Lily,
and she's a sweet, loving kid.

She has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Oh, God.

What if this baby has it, too?

Well, I called
the FAS

counselor, and she said
in families where a child

already has FAS,

the chances of a sibling
having it go up dramatically.

Please don't tell
anyone about this.

Don't tell anyone
about Lily.

I'm sorry, but we're
officers of the law.

We can't keep this information
from the court.

I felt the mother's rights

in this case were being
unfairly eroded,

but the new information we have
about Jennifer's first child

and the significant extra risk
this poses to the fetus

has made me change my mind.

Under Article Ten
of the Family Court Act,

I find the fetus is at risk
of derivative neglect.

Jennifer Fulton,
you are to abstain from alcohol

for the duration
of your pregnancy,

and you are to present yourself
in the next 24 hours

for counseling
and out-patient treatment

at an alcohol
rehabilitation center.

( pounds gavel )

It's late.
What do you want?

To tell you I'm sorry

that things worked out
like this.

Oh, is that supposed
to make me feel better?

I doubt it will.

I was trying
to help you.

What, you planning on
running my restaurant

while I'm in rehab?

Jennifer, you're going
to be an out-patient.

You can work out
a schedule.

Oh, you always have

all the answers,
don't you, Olivia?

Are you okay?

Yeah. Couldn't be better.

are you drinking?

No, give it back!

What is this, rum?

Do you have any idea
what you're doing to yourself?

Yeah, and I have every right
to do it!

And what about your baby?

You promised me that you'd stop,
and I believed you.

I went to bat for you.

I didn't
ask you to.

Yes, you did.

This is none of

your damn business!
It i my business.

I'm a cop, and
you're violating
a court order.

Oh, get over yourself.

I'd like to see you
handle being pregnant!

Jennifer Fulton,
you're under arrest

for criminal contempt
of court.

No. Olivia, no, please!

You have the right
to remain silent.

Anything you say
can and will be held...

No, please, don't do
this to me, please!

You've got your cops

hauling pregnant women out

of their homes
in the middle of the night.

Detective Benson showed
a concern for Mrs. Fulton

above and beyond the call
of duty.

I am sitting here

because of her concern for me?

Look, we're not
here to fight.

I came to offer a deal.

What kind of deal?

If Jennifer pleads guilty,

I'll ask for a suspended
sentence pending

the successful
completion of
her pregnancy

in an alcohol
treatment facility.

In other words,

she's not going to court,

but you're going
to lock her up anyway.

It's a residential facility.

It's not a prison.

You're depriving her
of her liberty.

And sending a message
to every troubled pregnant woman

that she should avoid doctors,
hospitals, health workers,

and above all, the police,

or she, too, might end up
in jail.

That's a ludicrous exaggeration.

Not from where my client
is sitting.

Jennifer, we're trying to do

what's best for you
and your baby.

You're going to have
to trust us.

I did trust you, Olivia.

The best way out of this
is to take the deal.


I'm not taking any more advice
from you or her.

I want my day in court.


how did you end up here
in this court?

Your Honor,
what's the relevance?

Get to where
you're going,
Ms. Scarry.

I believe it all started

because your husband attempted
to rape you?


And then he joined forces
with an anti-abortion group

and took you to court?

They wanted to stop me
from terminating my pregnancy.

I realized I
wanted a child,

and that I was incredibly lucky
to have the chance to have one.

But after you agreed

to your husband's request
not to terminate the pregnancy,

he took you to court again,

this time alleging
you were an unfit mother.


Because of my drinking.


these last few weeks

of your life include
an attempted rape,

multiple court appearances,
and now you're on trial

after having been arrested
in your own home.

Jennifer, if you had not
been subjected

to this level of harassment,
would you need to drink?


How do you know?


Calls for speculation.

Answer the question,
Mrs. Fulton.

I drink when I'm under stress.

If my husband would
leave me alone,

I wouldn't need alcohol.

And will do everything you can
to ensure your child is healthy?

Yes. I will.


do you believe

you can control
your alcohol addiction?

Yes, I do.

You weren't able to go 24 hours

without breaking
the Family Court's ruling.

I was under a lot

of stress.

You're pregnant.

That stress isn't

going to go away.

Can you guarantee

that you won't have
another lapse?



Alcoholism is a disease.

It's not something
that can be switched on and off.

I know

I can control it.

How can you, Jennifer?

Because I love my baby.

I'm not going to hurt it.

You say that,
but you still drank.

I'm telling you,
I love my child.

I do!

The People's argument

makes perfect sense.

If the mother
has a drinking problem,

why not give her treatment

so her behavior doesn't harm
her unborn child?

Everything in me
as a wife and a mother agrees

with the urge
to protect the fetus.

Then why does this Family Court
order make me so afraid?

Because if you follow
the Court's line of thinking

to its inevitable conclusion,

then every pregnant woman
could be monitored

by the State.

Today, it's alcohol,
but what's next, driving?

She could get into an accident.

Prescription meds--
all those side effects.

Dieting-- the baby might suffer.

In fact, why not prohibit
every activity

which could harm the fetus?

If you give the fetus rights

to the extent
the Family Court demands,

then all you women
here must be prepared

to lose your
own rights.

And where
will it end?

With you as nothing more
than child-bearing receptacles

with no right to privacy

and no right
to control your own bodies.

Jennifer Fulton is here

because she ignored
a court order not to drink.

Now, she's promised not
to drink again

and to attend
an out-patient facility.

But she's broken
these promises before.

So, how can she guarantee
that she won't break them again?

She can't.

Now, you've been asked
to consider the mother's rights,

but don't forget
about the rights of the child,

the child Jennifer wants
to have.

Doesn't that child have
the right to be born healthy?

Or must it suffer
its entire life

just to uphold
the mother's right to do

whatever she wants
with her body?

Now, you know

Jennifer can't help herself,
so I'm asking you to help her

by finding her guilty.

Yes, she will be locked up,

but she will also be given,
at State expense,

the treatment that she needs

to ensure the safe delivery
of her baby.

Well, isn't that
what everyone here wants?

Ladies and gentlemen

of the jury, have
you reached a verdict?

We have, Your Honor.

On the charge
of criminal contempt

of court, how do you find?

We find

the defendant not guilty.

( murmuring )

( bangs gavel )

Mrs. Fulton,

I'm sure you

the Family Court
ruling still applies.

You will present yourself
for treatment tomorrow morning,

or you will find yourself
in court again.

This court
is adjourned.

( bangs gavel )

Whatcha doing?

I came to see my daughter.

How did you know
I was here?

Lily's dad called me.

He said that a woman
was outside his house

for hours, watching.

I knew it was you.

They didn't find me guilty
in court

'cause they didn't want
to lock me up.

But I am guilty.

What if I've damaged this baby,

What if she's like Lily?

Why don't you talk to Lily?

I can't.

That's why you
came, isn't it?

it's okay.

I told them who you are.

And they said to come over.


to Lily.

Come on.

I'll wait for you.

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