Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Haven

NARRATOR: 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.
Rejection.
You're whack.
That was two points, and a foul.
No way.
My ball.
Where you going? Haven.
Get a real ball.
Gonna whoop your ass.
Yo, junior.
Haven ain't open.
One of the windows got a broken latch.
Mr.
Chase will whoop your ass.
Mr.
Chase showed me the window.
You turn on the lights, somebody's gonna see.
Relax.
I get around this place with my eyes shut.
(STUMBLING) What the hell? What? What happened? Hart! Get Reverend Young.
Victim's Randall Chase.
He runs this place.
Haven Center, it's a youth outreach program.
You I.
D.
Him? Reverend over there did.
He called it in, said these two kids found Chase.
Both of you were inside the office? No.
Just me.
(STAMMERING) I never seen a dead body before.
What were you doing in there Borrowing a basketball.
So, what, you, uh, broke through this window, huh? Gate was already broken.
Mr.
Chase said it was okay.
And you didn't know anybody was inside? No.
The lights were off.
You touch anything? No way.
I cut out of there fast.
What've you got? Beaten to death.
No other wounds we can find.
Multiple blows, back and side of the head.
CURTIS: I hope it's autographed.
BROWN: Prints all over it.
Some good news.
So this guy won't give up the cash, gets his brains beat in.
Get somebody in here who can tell us if anything's missing.
Well, the Reverend said somebody named Charles Perry worked with Chase.
We sent a car to pick him up.
Opening's too small for anybody bigger than that kid.
No other signs of forced entry.
Look at this.
"Welcome to Haven Center.
"Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
" Yeah, for some of us.
Computer's still here, so is the stereo.
We never keep any serious cash in the building.
Yeah, all right.
Uh You have any idea if Mr.
Chase was meeting with anybody last night? Anybody.
Nobody.
Randy worked late almost every day.
You were his number two man? I work data input over in Queens, but I help out here all I can.
You got a lot of volunteers here? Lot of people are grateful to Randy.
I used to run with the noble boys.
Randy straightened me out.
Anybody not so grateful? Randy was getting a lot of kids out of the gangster life.
Some of the bangers probably weren't too happy about that.
Who besides you and Mr.
Chase had keys? Just us.
But Randy'd open the door for the grim reaper and try to talk him into a donation.
YOUNG: Randy had anti-drug programs, work training programs, stay-in-school programs.
Thanks to him, we have a freshman at Hanford University.
All those good works cost money.
Everything was financed with community donations.
Our church provides some staff.
He have a beef with anyone? Not that I know of.
He was popular.
He had a way with people, being from the streets.
Who got him off the street? You people did.
Randy spent two years upstate for assault.
Woke him up.
So he just walked away from the gang life, no questions asked, no hard feelings? (LAUGHS) That was nine years ago.
It's a long time to hold a grudge.
Times have changed.
So had Randy.
The community is devastated.
Now, the sooner you make an arrest, the better it's gonna be for everybody.
When I say we're giving this our highest priority, councilman, I mean it.
Now, is there anything I can do? Anybody I need to lean on at Police Plaza? If there's any leaning on to do, I'll call you.
You can be sure of it.
Thanks.
Well, M.
E.
Puts the time of death between 10:00 and 11:00.
Says the first blow did him in.
Never had a chance.
And the lab found blue polar fleece fibers under his nails, probably from the perp's jacket.
You'll never guess what this stuff is made from.
Recycled plastic bottles.
You pull his sheet? Yeah.
Knife fight nine years ago.
The guy he cut now umpires softball games for Chase every summer.
I heard that about Randy Chase.
He made amends with everyone.
(PHONE RINGING) Van Buren.
Mmm-hmm.
I'll let them know.
That was Latent.
You're not gonna like it.
Possession.
Possession with intent.
Assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assault.
All these perps handled the weapon? Those are just the ones we could make.
Tack on the partials and anyone not in the system, you're looking at about a dozen more.
Come on.
Hey, it's a softball bat.
So how do you want to start? Alphabetically or according to time served? Until November, I played softball with Randy and some other local business people.
What, users against dealers? No, it was Randy's way of keeping us talking to him.
Where were you Wednesday night, Lionel? This Wednesday? Was at my girlfriend's, Serena Lester.
What about these guys? Any of them have a beef with Chase? Marcel Hoyt, second base.
Reggie, what the hell is his last name? Left field.
Good bat, no arm.
CURTIS: Yeah, you're all a bunch of choir boys, and Chase hit himself in the head with the bat.
Way we heard it, he was getting in the way of business.
Look, Randy would come by here all the time, you know, try and get me to go back to school or get a real job.
So I offered him a donation.
Couple hundred dollars to step off.
He take it? He told me to take the money and go buy kids' books and bring them to the center.
Next thing I know, I'm spending Saturdays painting over graffiti.
Randy, man, he's something else.
Yeah, dead.
So where do we find your girlfriend, Serena? Is Lionel in trouble? I told him he's got three months to get off that street corner, or I'm through with him.
No, we just need to know where he was Wednesday night.
He was with me.
I got home from work a little after 10:00.
He was already there.
Anybody else see him there? No, why? He ever talk about Randy Chase? Lionel had nothing to do with that.
He liked Randy.
Well, somebody killed him.
The guy Lionel touts for, Ricky Carter.
Lionel said he wasn't too happy with Randy cutting into his trade.
Carter hassled Lionel about it all the time.
I had no problem with Randy Chase.
BRISCOE: Word on the street, he was hassling your people.
He was.
Everything's okay now.
You mean since he's dead? Since we worked out an arrangement.
CURTIS: What kind of arrangement? I went to him a few months ago, told him to lay off my people.
He said those people belonged to the community and he was taking them back.
Fighting words.
I wasn't gonna fight him.
I offered him five grand to take his crusade off my street.
He take the money? Not that time.
When he came back last month with his hand out.
I haven't been bothered since.
Cost of doing business.
$5,000? No, I'd remember that.
Maybe he made the deposit himself.
He would have given me the bank receipt.
Is it possible he spent it on something without telling you? No.
Haven's a 501 (c)(3) Non-profit.
Every expense, every donation gets documented.
Randy knew that.
Did Haven have any sudden money problems in December? The center has money problems every month.
December wasn't that special.
(PHONE RINGING) Maybe Randy had the sudden money problem.
Have you been through any of his stuff yet? No.
Nobody's been in here since he was killed.
This is how my brother lived.
I don't understand.
Everybody loved Randy.
He had quite a sweet tooth, huh? It was for my kids.
I told him they got enough sugar.
He never listened.
Six of everything.
Six shirts.
Six tees.
He liked to keep things simple.
BRISCOE: TV set's about 10 years old.
Look, we're not trying to bring down your brother's good name, but if he had any kind of a bad habit that got him killed, we need to know about it.
He was never into drugs.
He got angry with me if I bought lottery tickets.
Can you think why he might've needed money? Any personal reasons, maybe to help out a friend? No.
I'm sorry.
I can't help you.
What do you want from me? A receipt? I gave him the money! So where did it go? Maybe it went up his nose.
The lab says Chase was clean.
All I know is he said he needed it fast.
I didn't ask why.
Long as he left my crew alone, I didn't care.
He hasn't wavered and he hasn't lawyered up.
He might be giving it to us straight.
We checked out Chase.
There's no trace of the money.
I can't believe he'd make a deal with this hump.
Well, talk to the local unis.
If Chase and Carter were getting cozy, maybe they know something about it.
We haven't targeted Ricky Carter for any special attention.
We just respond to complaints from the neighbors.
They call us, we clean the corner.
When I drove a patrol car, we chose the corners.
Well, I don't know what the policy was before power steering, detective, but nowadays, we don't do nothing until we get complaints.
Randy Chase ever organize those complaints? If Chase wanted to clean up a corner, he'd get a parade permit from us and just occupy the corner with a few dozen citizens.
Take back the streets.
That's right.
Tough to sell dope when half the neighborhood's standing on the same corner yelling at your clients.
How often would he do this? Once a month, maybe more.
Since December? Uh Chase applied for two permits.
One for a Christmas day march, one for a week before his demise.
And? Those marches never came off.
So the best guy in the neighborhood made a deal with the worst guy in the neighborhood.
He must've been desperate.
Takes Carter off the hook.
And puts who on it? (PHONE RINGING) Van Buren.
Uh, hello Councilman Clayton.
That money went somewhere.
Find it.
Yes, I was just about to call you.
This call here to Larry Johnson.
What's that? He owns a couple of supermarkets here.
Donates milk for our daycare program for teenage mothers.
Are we gonna go through every phone call? Well, make it easy on us.
Just pick out the ones that don't belong.
Like, uh, maybe somebody Randy had a problem with or an old girlfriend.
He used to go with Rochelle somebody, but she moved to Seattle last year.
Nobody serious since then.
What about these calls here to the city Buildings Department? You own the building? The space was donated.
Randy ever talk about fixing the place up? Maybe he had some code violations? He never said anything.
But Randy liked to protect people from bad news.
WOMAN: I don't expect him back this afternoon.
Maybe if you come back in the morning.
Mr.
Mills got a lot of calls from someone named Randy Chase.
Did they have any business together? Doesn't ring a bell, and I'm good with names.
Chase is from Haven Center up in Harlem.
138th Street? Sorry.
I can tell you there have been no building permits issued to a Haven Center.
No site visits either.
I process all of Professor Mills' papers.
Professor? He teaches at Hanford University, Tuesday to Friday, urban science.
Today's Monday.
He's not here.
Mondays he sits on their board of admissions.
Randy chase contacted me sometime last spring.
He have a student applying to Hanford? Yes.
Kid named Jerome Warren.
Chase really talked him up.
How smart he was, how motivated, his extra-curricular activities.
The kid need the PR? Kid was an A student.
So-so S.
A.
T.
S, but it didn't matter.
His background, Jerome was a lock for admission and a scholarship.
Was he having problems lately? Well, none that I'm aware of.
So why was Chase still calling you? He, uh He had a few more kids filling out applications for next year.
School is always on the lookout for quality minority applicants.
Anything you need to know, give me a call.
You, uh You catch a vibe off of this guy? I caught the dilated pupils.
Guy's a junkie.
I figure it took Chase about 10 seconds to read this professor.
Mills has a habit to feed, Chase had kids to get into Hanford.
Davis Mills is one of my department's best lecturers.
He consistently gets top reviews from the students.
Is Jerome Warren one of his students? (SOFTLY) Jerome He was, last semester.
How did he do? I'm not sure I can give you his grades.
I'm sure if you call your president's office, he'll tell you you can.
Jerome Warren got an A minus on his finals.
How about the rest of the semester? We only enter final grades in the transcripts.
F on his midterm.
The come-back kid.
Mr.
Chase told me he called professor Mills last April about my application.
You know why they'd still be talking? Mr.
Chase didn't say anything.
Professor Mills, well, I don't have any of his classes this semester.
You see him on campus last Wednesday night? The night Mr.
Chase was killed? Uh, I was stuck in chem lab till past 10:00.
Why? Well, we know you flunked your midterms, Jerome.
And Mr.
Chase got in touch with Professor Mills right after that.
So? I don't understand what you're saying.
Well, you aced your finals Jerome, so we're thinking maybe Mr.
Chase got professor Mills to give you a little boost.
Oh! Oh, yeah.
Black student in an lvy League school, somebody must be carrying him, huh? I had the flu for that midterm.
I felt a lot better in December.
Urban science is a prerequisite.
If you fail that class, you might lose your scholarship, right? I wasn't going to fail.
Still, Mr.
Chase would have been worried.
Me and Mr.
Chase hadn't talked in a couple of weeks.
Since he sent me to speak to some eighth graders at PS 82, okay? Can I go study now? Last Wednesday night? I was here.
So was Professor Mills.
Coffee? No, thanks.
Was he here all night? That I couldn't say.
I had a 9:30 reading.
Professor Mills was here when I left.
Who else was here? Professor Wine was, he lives out on the island, probably won't be in for a couple of hours.
Cameron should be able to help you.
She got here about 8:30 that night.
Had a late chem lab.
A chemistry professor was here? She teach freshman classes? Yes, why? Mills was in the faculty lounge till a little after 11:00.
We were told you had a chem lab that night.
Yes.
But it got out around 9:00.
Jerome Warren in your class? Uh-huh.
He got some odd lab results neither one of us could figure out.
I told him to rerun the sequence and then I went into the lounge.
As far as you know, was Jerome here all night? He wasn't.
I got back here around midnight.
The equipment was just sitting here.
He hadn't done anything with it.
He probably left two minutes after I did.
You have any of his papers here? Yeah.
Maybe Latent can match up something to the bat.
Why you gotta bother me here? You're embarrassing me.
Maybe that's because you lied to us.
Nice jacket, Jerome.
You know what this polar fleece is made out of? Terephthalic acid.
What's going on? Is It yours? I don't have to answer any of your questions.
That's right.
You have the right to remain silent.
You also have the right to an attorney.
Because you're under arrest for the murder of Randall Chase.
If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
You understand these rights? This thing's a hand grenade with the pin pulled.
Councilman Clayton is rolling it our way.
Post ran an interview with the kid's mother.
She's got my sympathy, and I know he's guilty.
Either strengthen your case or drop it.
Fibers and prints don't lie, Adam.
Prints on a softball bat? Fibers from a mass-marketed winter jacket? Jerome was seen coming home the night of the murder at 1:00 in the morning, agitated and wearing that jacket.
Jerome Warren killed the man who gave him a future.
Unless you can tell me why, you can have all the forensic evidence in the world, you'll never get a conviction.
Next case.
Jerome was smart, hard-working, never in any trouble.
Everybody was proud of him.
Did he have much to do with Mr.
Chase after he started Hanford? Randy'd have him come uptown every few weeks, speak to junior high students or some other group.
How did they get along? They were a great team.
They really could work a room.
Inspire the kids to stay in school.
Inspire the parents to donate their time.
And everything was okay between them? No animosity, no difficulties? No.
Look, Jerome's the first kid from this neighborhood to go to an lvy League school.
Now I've got to shepherd along the next group.
Gonna be hard enough without Randy.
But if Jerome goes down for his murder You've got this all wrong.
I didn't know a lot of people like Jerome growing up.
I thought he was pretty cool, coming from that environment, getting admitted here.
You become friends? We hung around at the beginning.
It didn't last? We didn't have much in common.
Plus, his mood sort of changed midterm.
Changed how? Well, he shut down.
He pretty much stopped talking to me, threw himself into school.
All he did was study or Or surf the web on my computer.
Did he ever mention Randy Chase? No.
Uh, the guy called here sometimes, but I never actually met him.
Anyone he might have opened up to, a student counselor, maybe a girlfriend? He didn't seem to have any friends around here.
Like I said, all he did was study, especially after midterms.
He bombed out on every course except chemistry.
Every course? But he got straight As on his finals.
I know he got a tutor.
Check with student services.
He needed four tutors, one for every course.
But he was too proud to admit that he needed the help.
What was his problem? Jerome wasn't ready for university, period.
He didn't know the basics.
He couldn't find Europe on a map.
He didn't know what the stock exchange was.
That high school of his might've graduated him, but they certainly did not educate him.
So it's his school's fault? He told me about Du Bois High.
Half the library shelves are empty.
Said they have an Encyclopedia Britannica from 1986 with the letters D, P and R missing.
Even if a kid wants to learn, how's he supposed to? Well, he did ace his finals last month.
I don't know how.
Hard work, a brilliant tutor? (SCOFFS) Right.
Jerome came in at least four years behind everyone else.
There is no way he could've earned those grades.
That leaves cheating.
I don't see any other explanation.
If the tutor's right, this kid had to cheat on almost every course, every test.
Chase couldn't have bribed all the professors.
Maybe Jerome bought the term papers and test results.
If Chase was tired of paying, it could be why Jerome killed him.
We need to prove he was buying tests.
Well, maybe he shops where I shop.
His roommate says he surfed the web.
You're wrong.
I don't have anything to do with selling exams.
This your web page? Oh, anybody can print this off the net.
I found this in the cache of the computer Jerome Warren was using.
I can use it to prove a direct contact between you and him.
Oh, you can't do that.
I'm here, aren't I? Well, you're asking me to admit to a crime? I'm going to find out about all of this one way or another.
You make it easy on me, I'll make it easy on you.
Hypothetically? Test Q&A all go through the university print shop.
And you have a friend that works there? Maybe a girlfriend? Yeah, maybe.
Here's the best part.
They only let you take pencils into the tests.
You know, hard to sneak in a crib sheet.
Take a look.
D-B-A-B.
Yeah.
Second year organic chemistry test up at Columbia.
I got the idea last summer writing tourists' names on a grain of rice at the seaport.
You know, six bucks a pop.
What's this sell for? Um, just about Hypothetically.
And hypothetically, did you sell any pencils to Jerome Warren? Uh, never seen him before.
The only black guy I might have sold to, way too old to be a student.
Came in December.
Haggled over price.
He haggled? Yeah.
He wanted four sets of answers and three term papers for five thousand bucks.
This guy? Oh, yeah.
There you go.
Hypothetically.
Jerome's grades.
His early tests were dismal, except in chemistry.
Apparently, he was actually earning that A.
And then in December, he aces everything, including three term papers.
ADAM: So why kill the hand that feeds you? His last history paper, he got an incomplete.
Chase must've turned off the tap.
No more magic pencils.
So Jerome, in anger, murdered him.
(PHONE RINGING) Carmichael.
Thanks, we'll be right up.
Good news.
They just arrested Randy Chase's murderer.
I thought we already had.
It's not every day I get the big collar.
You know, we already have a suspect, Jerome Warren.
I also know you haven't indicted him yet.
Has Kendry made any admission? TREMONT: If he's smart, he will.
Eyewitness saw somebody sneaking out of Haven the night of the murder.
He picked out Kendry's mug.
Where is this witness? JACK: You've been sitting on this information for three weeks, Mr.
Lamaine? I don't like dealing with cops.
CARMICHAEL: What changed your mind? Councilman Clayton was speaking at the community center.
He said you were trying to put this on a college student from the neighborhood.
He said if people knew anything, they have to step up.
So you decided to put it on the local drug dealer? Wasn't like that.
I saw Kendry sneaking out of Haven.
JACK: What time? I checked my watch.
You just happened to be walking by? I was going home from the subway.
You saw him from across the street? That's right.
At night? It was Kendry.
There's a street lamp practically on top of Haven Center.
That lamp was reported broken two nights before the murder.
It took Con Ed five days to replace it.
I could see Kendry because the lights were on in the center.
They're real bright.
The kids who found Chase's body said Haven Center's lights were off.
Mr.
Lamaine did not see Lionel Kendry.
Jerome Warren couldn't have committed this crime, Mr.
McCoy.
He's a bright, young college student, not a thug.
I'm sure Mr.
Lamaine thinks he was doing the right thing, but he's mistaken.
Maybe Mr.
Lamaine made a mistake.
Maybe the officers made a mistake.
Your faith in Jerome Warren is misplaced, sir.
He's not a role model.
He killed the man who tried to help him.
Mr.
McCoy, how many of your brothers and sisters and friends attended college before you? Jerome had none.
His brothers and sisters now have a role model.
I'm sure he's innocent.
And Randy Chase's good works will go on.
Just got off the phone with Councilman Clayton.
They're holding a rally for Jerome Warren in Marcus Garvey Park.
How can Clayton really believe Jerome's innocent? Because he's concerned with the welfare of his constituents.
That's his job.
Is it ours to base prosecutions on political whim? We go forward and lose, it's the worst of both worlds.
Make a deal or dismiss the charges.
Randy Chase was murdered because he stopped financing Jerome's cheating.
I don't care how big a hero this kid is, we can't blink.
Jerome's lawyer is gonna have a field day.
It doesn't matter how strong your cross, this eyewitness hands the jury reasonable doubt.
Consider yourself lucky to get a hung jury.
If you do, we are not about to retry this case! Then Mr.
Lamaine never takes the stand.
Because you don't believe him? Because he's lying.
Good luck.
He didn't stop, he just turned down the avenue and walked off.
JUDGE WILCOX: And you're absolutely certain it was Lionel Kendry? Yes, Judge.
Thank you, Mr.
Lamaine.
You may leave now.
(DOOR CLOSING) One of the two boys who found Randy Chase's body tripped over it in the dark.
Children who had no compunction about breaking and entering.
They'd never have risked it if the lights had been on.
I have a right to call this witness, Judge.
If Mr.
McCoy thinks he's less than truthful, he's got a cross examination.
We all know he's lying.
If he takes the stand, Mr.
Winter will be suborning perjury.
I have no direct knowledge of a lie.
A lawyer's answer.
Mr.
Winter, do you have anything else that implicates Mr.
Kendry? Not at this time, Your Honor.
Well, until you do, I'm going to have to find as a matter of law that Mr.
Lamaine is not a credible witness.
You have your exception, Counselor.
(WHISPERING INAUDIBLY) Uh, given Your Honor's ruling, I ask leave to argue mitigating circumstances.
What mitigating circumstances? Extreme emotional disturbance.
Given my client's state of mind, this just isn't murder two.
JACK: You're admitting he killed Randy Chase? Will he take a plea on man one? Assault one, minimum jail.
Forget it.
Unless Mr.
Warren takes the stand, there's no proof of emotional disturbance.
You can't tell me how to try my case.
JUDGE WILCOX: Then allow me.
Mr.
Winter, you can make a stab at the defense of extreme emotional disturbance.
Your Honor.
But I warn you, Counselor, unless I see proof of your client's mental state, I will not submit the charge of manslaughter to the jury.
My client takes the stand, admits the killing on the chance that you'll charge manslaughter? Your call, Counselor.
What choice do I have? PERRY: Randy chase believed in his work at Haven Center.
He believed Jerome represented everything the center could do for the community, for the kids.
What, if anything, did he expect in return from Jerome? To succeed.
To graduate with a top-notch education.
Thank you.
Mr.
Perry, did you ever hear Randy Chase refer to Jerome Warren as "The Show"? I did.
Can you explain what he meant by that? Randy would have Jerome talk at functions, social events, schools.
Jerome was a good speaker.
People were impressed.
When you say social events and functions, you mean fund-raising opportunities, don't you? Not necessarily.
But mostly.
Randy Chase used Jerome Warren as a fund-raising tool, didn't he? That's not all he got.
Some of these fund-raising events took place at night, didn't they? Yes.
When Jerome should've been studying.
Objection.
Sustained.
To the best of your knowledge, did my client ever complain to Randy Chase about attending these events? A couple of times.
But Randy explained to him if they wanted more kids like Jerome, they couldn't do it without the money.
I see.
You attended night classes at a state school, didn't you? Yes.
You got a good paying job? Yes.
Were you admitted to the state university or hired for your job under any kind of program? Program? Affirmative action program, set-asides, quotas, preferences.
Whatever you like to call it.
No.
You succeeded on your own merits? Objection.
Withdrawn.
No more questions.
Jerome used to run home to show me his report cards.
Excellents.
He just loved to learn.
What happened after he met Randy Chase? He helped fill the hole left when Jerome's father died five years ago.
He helped Jerome see the possibilities in his life.
He told him he could get him into an lvy League school.
Did you think this was a realistic plan? Well Mr.
Chase explained that Jerome had a good chance of being accepted under affirmative action, and of getting a scholarship.
And, with a little bit of hard work, he could do well.
Jerome was very excited about it.
Did things change after Jerome started at Hanford? Jerome changed.
He grew distant.
I wanted to come visit him at his school, but he kept putting me off.
You know what the problem was? I know he failed some midterms.
He had never had trouble before, and I told him that college was supposed to be tough, he just had to keep plugging.
Did Randy Chase speak to you about your son's troubles? Yes, he He knew Jerome's spirits were down, but he told me we couldn't let him drop out.
We had to do everything we could to keep Jerome in school.
Did you say anything to Jerome? Yes.
I told him all he could do was his best.
And when he got As at Christmas, I thought everything was better.
Was it? No.
No.
Things got worse.
He stopped coming home on weekends.
Said he was ashamed of us.
He was ashamed of where he came from.
I didn't know what was happening with my son.
I was just watching him fall apart.
All his dreams just falling apart.
We still haven't turned up any witnesses to any arguments between Chase and Jerome.
Looks like Winter's off on a whole new tack anyway.
What's he peddling, that because of affirmative action, the kid was in over his head at Hanford? That seems to be where he's going.
It's smart tactics.
If the jury's at all representative of the general public, Winter can count on at least three or four people who don't like affirmative action.
Just be glad Winter didn't question you about affirmative action when you testified.
He wouldn't have gotten any complaints from me.
It started after I came in, it'll still be there when I get out.
And you wouldn't have liked my answers.
When I applied to the department, when the questionnaire asked for my race, I put none of the above.
Well, I'd like to think I got where I am based on merit.
So would I.
But I've got 2,000 pages of legal documents that prove the contrary.
If this kid walks because of this defense, it's gonna have repercussions.
Can't you plead him out, stop his lawyer from playing this card? They want assault one, minimum time.
It's unacceptable.
Rock and a hard place.
As a member of Hanford University's board of admissions, Jerome Warren's application came under my review.
He was an ideal candidate, under Hanford's current guidelines.
Despite his low S.
A.
T.
Scores? Yes, under Hanford's current guidelines and commitment to affirmative action.
Did you yourself form any opinion about my client's suitability as a Hanford student? Yes.
I felt he was completely unsuited for the academic rigors of Hanford.
Why? Objection, relevance.
JUDGE WILCOX: Overruled.
You may answer, Professor Howard.
He lacked the basic general knowledge and experience that most of our students come equipped with.
His high school and his environment simply did not prepare him for the demands of an lvy League institution.
It's tragic.
As a tenured professor of sociology, you've studied affirmative action programs at lvy League schools.
Yes, I've written several papers on the subject.
Have you formed an opinion as to the performance of inner-city minority students admitted under such programs? Affirmative action sets up unrealistic expectations that can never be met.
These students face immense pressure to succeed and almost impossible odds of doing so.
As a result, they often suffer depression, loss of self-esteem, substance abuse.
Doesn't Hanford University offer mentoring programs to help these students? These are token remedies.
Hanford is primarily concerned with how many minority students it can admit, not how many graduate.
Thank you.
Professor Howard, you're on record as being opposed to affirmative action, isn't that right? Yes.
It's outlived its usefulness.
After 30 years of it, I believe the playing field is level.
People's 42.
This study by the California state university system shows that after voters banned affirmative action there, minority enrollment dropped by 40 to 60%.
Everyone was given equal opportunity.
I'm not finished, Professor.
U.
C.
Berkeley turned away with 4.
0 grade point averages and S.
A.
T.
Scores of 1,200 or better.
And you're telling us that the playing field is level? I'm not familiar with this study.
People's 43.
This is the Bowen-Bok study on affirmative action.
Are you familiar with this one, Professor? Yes.
Would you mind reading the highlighted passage? "After graduation, black students earn advanced degrees "at rates identical to white students.
"Blacks graduating from elite schools earned "more than did black graduates generally.
" Isn't that a good thing, Professor? That study also showed that blacks at elite universities received lower grades and graduated at a lower rate than their white classmates.
But don't they deserve that chance, to fail or succeed? Well, yes.
Do you know if these students suffer depression, loss of self-esteem, substance abuse to a greater extent than black teenagers who don't attend lvy League schools? I didn't study those students.
Do you know if Jerome Warren felt more discouraged about his academic failure than any other driven, ambitious student? No.
Again, mine was a statistical analysis Do you know if he would've felt more or less stress if he had enrolled in a community college, or dropped out and taken a minimum wage job? No.
Do you think he would've been happier if he'd settled for flipping burgers at the local fast food restaurant? I don't know.
Professor Howard, how much time have you spent talking with Jerome Warren? Well, I've never actually met him.
So apart from statistical generalities about affirmative action, you don't really have anything specific to tell us about Jerome Warren as an individual, do you? No.
Your Honor, I move to strike this witness's entire testimony as irrelevant and inflammatory.
Affirmative action is what put my client in harm's way.
Counsel is trying to exploit what he perceives as a bias against affirmative action.
I agree, Mr.
McCoy.
Mr.
Winter, this is a murder trial, not a political debate.
The testimony is out.
Back to basics.
A kid with a bat.
Not quite.
All the jury instructions in the world can't un-ring the bell.
Well, you get one last chance.
Jerome's up next.
He thought he was under pressure before I'm not so sure this is worse.
I'd been to the Statue of Liberty on a school trip once.
I'd been to the Museum of Natural History, the movie theater in Times Square.
Other than that, I've never been out of Harlem.
The kids at Hanford, they'd traveled to places I never even heard of.
They just They knew stuff, and I felt like a little kid.
WINTER: How'd you do in class? In American lit Professor Veysey told us we're going after the great white whale.
I didn't I didn't know what he was talking about.
I had to explain how I hadn't read Moby Dick.
Hadn't even heard of it.
Professor Veysey gave me this look, like Like he felt sorry for me.
At what point did you decide to cheat? That was Mr.
Chase's idea.
I told him I was worried that I might flunk out.
But you went along with him, didn't you? I didn't want to.
I told him that I I would just try harder.
But he said that wasn't good enough.
He said he needed me acing everything.
That That it looked good for fund-raising Mr.
Chase kept telling me I was a role model.
"For what?" I kept thinking.
Lying and cheating? You could have dropped out.
Could've transferred to another school.
I wanted to.
I'd been telling Mr.
Chase for months.
I got a transfer application to city college.
Mr.
Chase told me, "Quit bitching.
" I was getting an lvy League degree.
I didn't want the degree.
I wanted an education.
What happened that Wednesday night? Mr.
Chase wanted me to speak with some kids at the boys and girls club.
I went to tell him no, I'd decided to drop out.
He told me don't be stupid, that he could get some more money to buy some more tests and papers.
I told him I couldn't face myself if I cheated again.
What did Mr.
Chase do? He grabbed me, he got in my face.
He told me I had no choice.
That I owed it to my community.
He told me I was nothing to him if I quit.
But I couldn't go back.
I just couldn't.
So I grabbed a baseball bat.
(STAMMERING) And I don't remember what happened.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
I loved Mr.
Chase.
I did! But But I wasn't good enough, I just I couldn't carry the weight.
Is it your testimony, Mr.
Warren, that the cheating was Mr.
Chase's idea? Yes.
And that it was you who wanted it to stop? Yes.
Why? Weren't you the one who would reap the benefits of a Hanford degree? It wouldn't mean anything if I stole it.
You couldn't make Mr.
Chase understand that, could you? No.
He was using you, you wanted it to stop.
They were all using me.
Hanford, everybody! But you didn't kill everybody.
You killed Randy Chase.
(STAMMERING) But I didn't mean to.
I just snapped.
The medical examiner testified that you struck him three times.
She testified that the last two blows were delivered while he was lying face down.
I don't remember.
You meant to kill him, didn't you? No! Thanks to him.
You'd been humiliated at Hanford, you'd been made to feel stupid and inadequate.
I just wasn't ready.
Thanks to him, you found out you didn't have the guts to tough it out! No, you don't understand! That's why you were angry at him.
That's why you wanted him dead.
He wouldn't leave me alone.
So you killed him! I wanted him off my back, okay? I wanted them all off my back! No more questions.
Jerome Warren's lawyer wants to talk about a plea.
Why should we offer them anything? Jerome as good as said it, he wanted to kill Randy Chase.
It's murder two.
The jury may have seen what you saw, but they might choose to ignore it and give him assault one or less.
I'm offering him a plea on man one.
Why? Wait, what is this, affirmative action for murderers? It was murder two when I thought Chase wouldn't pay for any more exams.
And now you believe Jerome Warren? Yes.
JACK: Man one, he serves six to 12.
WINTER: Assault one, three years.
You're pushing your luck.
Maybe.
But the jury likes this kid.
How lucky do you feel? I'm not going to overlook what he did to Randy Chase.
Then I guess I wasted a phone call.
If you'll excuse us.
I have a summation to make.
Six years? Six to 12.
Jerome, you don't have to take it.
No.
I have to.
I know what I did.
I'll take the deal.
JUDGE WILCOX: Jerome Warren.
You have pled guilty to a charge of manslaughter in the first degree.
Pursuant to the negotiated plea agreement, this court hereby sentences you to a term no less than six years and not more than in a facility to be determined by the Department of Correction.
We're adjourned.
(POUNDS GAVEL) Admit it.
You just didn't trust that jury.
I wanted closure.
This case is an open wound.
Two good people doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.
Well, I hope this wasn't another one of those times.