Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Bronx Cheer

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.
Okay, I got seven bags sourdough and 13 baguettes.
Supposed to be 14 baguettes.
Hey, I counted 'em twice.
Look, just take three loaves out of each bag.
Then they complain to me that it's light.
Get out of here before they complain you're late.
Oh, man.
The bakery workers found her when they opened up this morning.
Around about 5:30.
Any ID? Nothing.
I got some guys out looking in the trash cans for a purse.
She's got bruises on her neck, Lennie.
Her heel's practically broken off.
SERGEANT: It's tough to run from somebody in those things.
Sarge.
I found this handbag two blocks over.
Let me see that.
It matches her outfit.
Huh, just cigarettes and a lipstick.
She could've been out late at one of these bars or restaurants around here.
Or a party.
Whoa! That looks like ecstasy.
The party's over.
Bruised neck, petechial hemorrhages in the eyes.
You have a good, old-fashioned strangling.
From the front or the back? Missionary position.
His thumbs crushed her larynx.
I make time of death between 1:00 and 2:00 a.
m.
So, he's choking her face to face.
She must've tried to pry his hands loose.
Any skin under her nails? No, my guess is the perp had gloves on.
What about sexual assault? Everything's shipshape down there.
Did you find MDMA in her tox screen? No ecstasy, but her blood alcohol was up there.
Did you get a read on stomach contents? No, she hadn't eaten food in awhile.
Her last meal was a sour apple martini.
Straight up, or on the rocks? Do we have an ID on her? We're canvassing the neighborhood with a photo, but nothing so far.
Too early for a Missing Persons report.
Well, how about prints? She's not in the system.
Hey, it was only a matter of time.
The lab confirmed the 25 hits of ecstasy in her purse, and they couldn't have all been for recreational use.
Well, this type of martini she was drinking Sour apple.
It's gonna be tough to figure out who serves 'em until the bars open up.
Hope you guys have some basic black to change into.
The bartender said you were working the lounge last night.
Yeah, 9:00 to 4:00.
Did you serve any sour apple martinis? Are they illegal now? Guys, where's your sense of humor? We lost it about seven bars ago.
(SIGHS) Yeah, I served about 100 of those things.
Did you serve any to her? What happened to her? She was killed a few blocks from here.
Yeah, um, I served two or three to her, and few to the guy who was hitting on her.
Either one of them a regular? I didn't recognize them.
ED: Did you see the two of them leave together? Yeah, maybe.
How'd they settle up, uh, credit or cash? His American Express Platinum.
I'll get the charge slip from the manager.
What is this about? You were at the Zircon lounge two nights ago? Uh, yeah.
Uh, maybe you'd be more comfortable talking down at the precinct.
What do you want to know? Who was the woman you were with that night, Mr.
Gibson? A girl named Angela, all right.
I met her at the bar around 11:30, and I bought her a few drinks.
You buy anything else beside a few drinks? Like what? Like ecstasy, maybe? I get tested here, all right.
I got her cell phone number, took a taxi home.
Alone.
She had a cell phone with her? Yeah, she went out a few times to take calls.
I actually thought things were going pretty well, until she noticed some guy come into the bar.
She gets up, she goes to the bathroom, she never comes back.
I figured it was an old boyfriend.
What did he look like? Uh, about 6'1 ", 6'2", my age, light hair, black jacket.
I think he might've had a friend with him.
What time did you get home? About 1:00,1:15.
You can check with my doorman.
We will.
And, uh, we're gonna need that cell phone number.
Lennie.
Here she is.
Angela Jarrell.
Nicer than the one we got.
Here's her wallet.
Well, if the perp robbed her, all he got was her cell phone.
Have you had any problems here? Nothing unusual.
Complaints about her music.
She's behind on her rent a few months.
How much does she owe? About three grand.
Her father used to send me a check from Minnesota or someplace.
Then, about six months ago, she started giving me cash.
That's when she fell behind.
You know how we can get in touch with her parents? I'm sure it's on her rental application.
My parents couldn't make the trip.
They're in shock.
My father says he'll never set foot in this place.
Maybe he'll feel differently when we have your sister's killer on trial.
Angela's dreamed of coming here since she was 10 years old.
(INDISTINCT CHATTERING) I just can't believe this is how it ended.
Did your sister ever mention what she was doing here, Ms.
Jarrell? Well, she called about the auditions she went on, the parts she never got, some of the guys she met.
Did she ever talk about having any trouble with any of them? No.
Was she working at all? Well, my dad couldn't make ends meet and still pay her rent, so she took a job at a copy place.
Where was that? She said it was on the same block as her apartment, so dad didn't have to worry about her on the subway at night.
Ms.
Jarrell, there isn't any copy place near where your sister lived.
What are you saying? Did your sister ever mention anything about ecstasy? What is it, Ms.
Jarrell? Well, Angela wanted me to try some with her when she came home last Christmas.
Some guy she knew turned her on to it.
She said it was an unbelievable high, that it would really open me up.
She liked it so much, she may have been selling it.
Can you think of anybody she might have been in business with? We're sorry to lay this on you, but we It might help us figure out who killed her.
I wish I could tell you, but I really don't know.
I'm just glad my father didn't come here.
Hey, Lou.
Yeah.
Looks like Angela Jarrell's day job was dealing E.
And you think that's what got her killed? The spot where she was strangled wasn't on her way home.
We figure she went there with somebody she knew.
And that Wall Street guy's alibi checks out.
Well, here are the IUDs from her cell phone.
Four calls from the same number while she was at the bar.
Yeah, I called Angela.
I was supposed to meet her for a drink.
She never called me back.
So, did you go meet her? I was here with my girlfriend all night.
Wait a minute.
Hold on.
Let me get this straight.
You're here with your girlfriend, and at the same time, you're trying to get with Angela at 12:30 in the morning? Four phone calls.
Sounds like you were, uh, kind of obsessed with meeting her.
Maybe you were trying to get your hands on some ecstasy.
So, you know what she was doing.
She had 25 hits on her when she died.
Look, Angela wasn't like you think.
I mean, she was the most incompetent drug dealer you ever saw.
She was supposed to come over here on her way home and roll with us, but she never showed up.
Do you have any idea who might have gotten her into this, Mr.
Daltrey? (SIGHS) Look, this might be something.
I once asked Angela if she could, you know, find me something more serious.
She gave me a guy's phone number.
Do you still have the number? I threw it away.
But I remember, his name was Taz.
We can try running it as an AKA.
Thanks.
Thursday, um, no.
I was home all night.
Why? We heard you were at the Zircon lounge in Tribeca.
We're investigating an incident there.
No, I'm not getting around too well since I busted my foot, so Do you know a woman named Angela Jarrell? Doesn't ring a bell, no.
How'd you hurt yourself, Mr.
Partell? You wouldn't believe it, I dropped a hammer on it.
Broke one of those little bones.
(CHUCKLES) At work? Nah.
Nah.
I'm in between jobs.
I was, uh, putting shelves up in the closet.
Mmm.
When was that? Last weekend.
What, you don't believe me? We ran your sheet.
How'd you get your cleaning? They deliver.
Now look, if there's nothing else Okay? How about somebody that can account for your whereabouts Thursday night.
Like I said, I was here alone, all right? Now, if you guys got nothing else to ask me Goodbye.
She's got a broken right heel, he's got a broken left foot.
She's got two hands around her neck, that's probably all she could do.
Gibson told us the guy in the bar was wearing a black jacket.
Did you notice the jacket in the dry cleaner's bag? Yeah, I noticed the receipt, too.
Parisian Dry Cleaners.
Let's find out if Partell took that jacket in to clean up after a night on the town.
Um, no deliveries this week.
He picked up his dry cleaning on the 26th.
That's two days before the murder, Lennie.
He picked it up? Um "A leather jacket, two pairs of pants, three shirts.
" And how'd he manage all that on his crutches? He didn't have crutches.
You sure? I couldn't find his cleaning, he saw it on the rack, and he walked around the counter and took it down for me.
Thanks.
You lied about when you hurt your foot, Partell.
I think possibly you may have misunderstood me.
(CHUCKLES) Yeah, right.
So, what happened? Somebody break off a high heel on your toe? Hey, guys, what's the point of dragging me down here, really, you know Criminal sale of a controlled substance in '95, gun possession in '97, you fit the profile.
(INHALING) ls my lawyer here? You know, once we connect you to Angela Jarrell, it's over.
Yeah, you go right ahead, connect me, okay.
We got witnesses coming down.
If they put you in that bar (KNOCKING ON DOOR) This is Mr.
Hauser, Mr.
Partell's attorney.
No more questions, gentlemen.
Aw, you sure you don't want to join us for a few minutes, Counselor? Is my client under arrest? We'll let you know after the lineup.
Do you recognize anyone, Mr.
Gibson? Uh, can you ask number two to come closer? Number two, please step forward.
He might've been one of the guys I saw at the bar.
Uh, I'm not sure.
VAN BUREN: Thanks, Mr.
Gibson.
I'm sorry.
HAUSER: I take it Mr.
Partell will be released? For now.
How about the waitress in the bar? She said she don't remember seeing Partell.
Well, the other guy Gibson mentioned, were there any co-defendants on Partell's old drug cases? We can run the arrest numbers off his rap sheet, see who turns up.
Good.
Yeah, me and Taz got arrested together.
I did my nine months.
You two still hang out? Not for about a year.
We don't get along too good.
Business dispute? I'm out of that.
I got my 9:00 to 5:00 now.
So, what's up with this? You're too old to be from narcotics.
We're homicide.
From the Bronx? Manhattan.
Why'd you say the Bronx? No reason.
ED: Just popped into your head? Yeah.
Then you're coming with us to explain where you were Thursday night.
I was working here.
You can ask my boss.
Listen, if you want to save yourself a ride downtown, Mr.
Quintana, I suggest you tell us why you thought we were Bronx homicide.
Taz should've caught a body a couple of years ago, except he skated.
There's no homicide arrest on his rap sheet.
I got a break coming.
You wanna buy me a coffee? So me and Taz are in this spot up in the Bronx, right, the Grand Slam.
That's the dance club, up by Yankee Stadium, right? Yeah.
So, I'm in my truck smoking a bone, right? Taz comes out, tells me to drive back to the club.
Then he goes under my seat and grabs a .
25 he had stashed there before we went in.
So, I figure he's gonna show it to some girl, right? I'm waiting across the street, and I see Taz step up on the bouncer.
(MIMICS GUN FIRING) Then his gun jams.
So, he kicks him as he goes down, you know.
And I'm like, bugging out on this, right? Then Taz jumps back in my truck, and I don't' want him in my truck, right? So, I drop him off in the subway.
Why are you telling us this now? A, Taz screwed me.
B, the cops picked up the wrong guy behind this.
Somebody else was arrested? Two days later.
I read it in the paper.
Bouncer at the Grand Slam.
Sure, I remember it.
About two years ago.
You make a collar? Yeah, a kid named Tony Shaeffer.
He's upstate doing 25-to-life.
We came across a witness who says that you guys picked up the wrong guy.
Who's this witness? Ah, he's a former associate of our suspect.
They used to deal drugs together.
He's got a sheet? Yeah, and he's got a grudge against the shooter.
Let's go right out and pick him up, Bobby.
(BOTH LAUGHING) This witness knew details about the shooting.
The fact that the gun jammed after the second round, that the shooter kicked the victim as he fell.
Anybody who sat through Shaeffer's trial would know all these details.
Bobby, get the jacket.
We had two IDs.
Plus the kid shot his mouth off to his girlfriend.
We found the murder weapon on the tracks where he got on the subway.
Were there any prints on the gun? Sounds to me like your guy is looking to screw over his old running buddy.
ED: Shaeffer didn't plead out? He had priors.
An assault plead down to a dis-con.
And he had an alibi witness.
And if I recall, the D.
A.
tore her apart.
What's a matter, fellas, you don't got enough to do in Manhattan? Shaeffer's alibi witness is on our way downtown.
It's a closed case.
In the Bronx.
Yeah, well, we don't have anything on Partell in Manhattan.
So, let's just go see what shakes out, please.
Tony was right here in this kitchen when that man was shot, I swear on my husband's grave.
(SIGHS) But just because I'm his mother, they wouldn't believe me.
The jury's going to be skeptical about an alibi from a family member.
They made it seem like I was lying.
And that D.
A.
kept asking every little thing to trip me up.
What I had for supper, what program I was watching when Tony came home from the bar.
I was so nervous up there.
You can't blame yourself, Mrs.
Shaeffer.
It's all just a horrible dream.
When Tony went away, I took some pills.
They had to pump my stomach.
Mrs.
Shaeffer, I don't want to get your hopes up, but we talked to somebody that says your son is innocent.
Oh, please, whoever this person is, you have to believe it.
I'm begging you, please.
What, are you following me? We struck out on Partell's former co-defendants, but one of them turned us on to a murder that Partell may have committed in the Bronx.
Only trouble is, there's another guy doing time for it.
And you think that's a mistake? Well, it's possible.
Lennie? Uh, I've seen the crying mother routine before, but I don't know, there's something about this.
Well, will this help you close the Angela Jarrell case? Well, right now, Partell knows we don't have squat.
So, if we keep digging into this Bronx thing, we might get a little leverage.
Well, keep digging.
I want to hear more than, "It's possible.
" DAVIS: I'm in the club with my two buddies.
This guy, Shaeffer, gets kicked out by the bouncer.
Everybody hears him say he's going to come back and mess him up.
Then as we're leaving, we hear a couple of shots.
We look back, and the bouncer's dead on the sidewalk, and this Shaeffer kicks him and runs.
Couple of days later, I picked him out of a lineup.
All three of you guys? Uh, Pete didn't come down.
Why not? I guess they didn't need him.
This detective came to my house and showed me six pictures in a plastic holder.
A photo array.
Yeah.
But the guy who shot the bouncer wasn't in there.
This is Tony Shaeffer, the guy your two friends identified.
Now, see, this looks like the guy who was kicked out of the club.
Not the guy with the gun.
And you remember all that two years later? All I know is, the guy he tossed out of the club wasn't the one who shot him.
Well, why didn't you tell this to the detective? I did.
But once I didn't pick out the right picture, he didn't seem interested.
He told me he'd be in touch, and that's the last I heard from him.
Did you tell your friends that you thought that they identified the wrong guy? You know, it all happened so fast I guess they saw what they saw.
Is it possible your friends had it in for this guy? They didn't even know him.
But, uh, I remember Dave did say something about a reward.
Here's how it works.
An anonymous informant calls Crime Stoppers with a tip.
If the detective working the case thinks it might pan out, we assign the informant a code number.
If it leads to a conviction, cha-ching.
What's the going rate? Two thousand.
(CHUCKLES) Sometimes the families want to pump it up, but we discourage it.
Too much incentive for bad information.
Did you pay a tip on People v.
Anthony Shaeffer, Bronx County, '99 indictment? Nope.
So much for the greedy informant theory.
Let's take a look at the tip sheets for the week following the murder.
Well, here's one, four days after the shooting.
It's two days after Shaeffer was arrested.
Uh, the caller identifies the shooter at the Grand Slam as "Taz, white male, light hair, 30 to 35 years old.
" And that's a notation that a message was left for a Detective Boyle at the 56 regarding the tip.
Did the informant ever receive a code number? Looks like the detective never called back.
What's this 718 number in the margin? Some of our newer phones have caller ID.
Don't say where you got it.
We're not supposed to write it down.
We appreciate your coming down, Ms.
Pistone.
I still can't figure out how you got my name.
Well, we're re-interviewing everybody who was at the club the night of the murder, and your name just happened to come up.
Ms.
Pistone, this is Tony Shaeffer.
Have you seen him before? Not that I remember.
Do you recognize any of these men, from the night of the shooting? Taz, he's the one who shot Vincent, the bouncer.
Are you sure? Yeah, I'm sure.
My girlfriend used to work in that club.
Taz used to sell drugs there.
Look, my lawyer told you I got nothing else to say, all right.
BRISCOE: Good.
You're under arrest.
For what? Murder.
Oh, you got nothing on me with that bitch.
The correct response would be, "which murder"? What are you talking about? We're arresting you for the murder of Vincent Jackson.
Be careful with the foot, will you? Aw, don't worry.
We're not wearing high heels.
We arrested Francis Partell for the murder of Vincent Jackson in the Bronx in 1998.
That's a murder from two years ago.
What about Angela Jarrell? Partell did it, but we can't put him at the scene.
Do we have a motive? Well, she was selling ecstasy, he's got a conviction for dealing.
We're guessing there was some business relationship between them that went sour.
I take it there's no forensics evidence? Well, our case against him on the Bronx murder is a lot better.
It looks like those guys up there steamrollered the wrong guy.
That's a serious allegation.
Look, the last thing I want to do is sling mud at my own people.
Are you sure you don't want to handle this internally? You folks have to decide what to do about Partell.
Thanks.
Hey, Abbie, you know I wouldn't lay this on you if we weren't pretty sure about the Bronx.
Well, assuming you're right, we've got two major problems.
A jury's convicted another defendant, and we don't have jurisdiction.
Our cops are convinced there was a screwup.
Has anybody talked to the Bronx? Yeah, the detective assigned to the case has washed his hands of it.
And what does this have to do with the case we can prosecute? Well, if we can't nail Partell on one murder, we'll nail him with another one.
Since when do we second-guess another D.
A.
's office? Jack, the evidence is pretty solid.
And I found a way around the jurisdictional problem.
Do you remember our office prosecuted that ticket scalping ring at Yankee Stadium? Because there's a 500-yard exception for an adjoining county.
Well, the club where Partell shot Jackson falls within the exception.
This could blow up in our faces.
Before we get into a turf war with the Bronx, be damn sure they convicted the wrong man.
You know what a defense lawyer's worst nightmare is? An innocent client? A mother as an alibi witness.
No, thanks.
So, you did think Tony Shaeffer was innocent? From the day I was assigned to the case.
So, why did you put him on the stand? I didn't have much of a choice.
Tony had words with the victim that night.
Then he told his girlfriend he did it to impress her.
I had to put him on the stand to explain away the hole he dug for himself.
Did you ever consider a plea? Did you ever see an innocent man take manslaughter? Neither have I.
So, uh, what's going on here? We found two witnesses who ID'd a local drug dealer as the shooter.
I had a feeling we got hosed.
Well, it's hardly enough to challenge a jury verdict.
I still have the mother.
And there's Peter Verona.
Who? He was at the bar.
He told the police that Shaeffer wasn't the shooter, and he also couldn't ID Shaeffer in a photo array.
Nobody told me about it.
What kind of problems were you referring to, Ms.
Carmichael? Well, there was a witness Detective Boyle interviewed that said Shaeffer didn't do it.
All that happened was he didn't pick him out of the six pack.
I had two guys who did.
It wasn't in any of your reports.
I told the A.
D.
A.
who prepped me.
CARMICHAEL: Did you tell him about the anonymous tip you got? What up? There was a message left for you from Crime Stoppers two days after you arrested Shaeffer.
Well, I never got it.
You never got it or you ignored it? Now, just a minute, Ms.
Carmichael.
I have to take exception to you coming up here and making insinuations about the way my people do their jobs.
Look, Lieutenant, I'm just trying to give you a heads-up here.
There are three witnesses who have raised doubts about this arrest.
Two years later.
As far as we're concerned, the case is closed.
Well, I'm sure the man who killed Vincent Jackson must be very pleased about that.
Correct me if I'm wrong, Ms.
Carmichael, but didn't the guy we put away confess to his girlfriend? Look, I think it's too bad what happened to Tony, but he should never have shot that guy.
Well, maybe if you could just take me through it.
Do I really have to? Because I'm trying to put all that behind me.
Please, Ms.
Mankowitz.
(SIGHING) All right, that night, I went to a club with Tony.
We were there, like, 20 minutes when this guy gets all up in Tony's face and he starts screaming and cursing.
Then, a bouncer came over, grabbed Tony, and threw him out.
And you stayed in the club? No, I went somewhere else.
I wasn't going to let that ruin my evening.
So, when did Tony tell you about what happened? The next day.
He came over, we were watching the news, and the story comes on about the bouncer at the club, and I'm, like, "Oh, my God.
" And Tony goes, "Well, that's what he gets for dissing me.
" And he makes two popping sounds, like he's got a gun.
And you went to the police? No.
Do I look like I'd rat him out? I told my sister, she went to the police, and then they came to me for a statement.
And you had no problem giving him up? I was breaking up with him anyway.
Tony wasn't really my type.
What do you mean? Well, Tony was a nice guy and everything, but he was kind of a wimp.
Did it ever occur to you that he might have been bragging about something he didn't do in order to impress you? What kind of idiot would do something like that? My mother tells me the police are re-opening the case.
It's not that simple, Mr.
Shaeffer.
A jury's already convicted you.
The hardest thing to accept is the fact you have confessed.
I was just trying to get Valerie to like me.
It's the stupidest thing lever did.
It sure was.
Up where they got me now, everybody's got a story about how they were framed or something.
But I did not kill that man, Mr.
McCoy.
How did the dispute get started in the first place? This other guy was trying to sell me some coke.
I tell him to take a walk, and then we started yelling at each other.
What did this man look like? Like me.
Same height, same weight, blonde hair.
After the bouncer took me outside, I said, "Hey, how come you're not throwing out" "that drug dealer I had a fight with?" What did he say? He said, "Don't worry.
" He'd take care of him, too.
There's Partell's motive.
Before we take this any further, we'll need you to take a polygraph.
I'll take 10 polygraphs if I have to.
I'm sorry, the fact that Mr.
Shaeffer passed your polygraph exam is not very compelling.
Especially since he had two years to practice up.
Three witnesses dispute the version of events put forward at the trial.
Now, that may be true, but Mr.
Einstadt tried this case.
He assures me that the credibility of these people is suspect.
Have you seen Partell's record? Mmm-hmm.
I'm still not convinced.
Are you gonna ignore the exculpatory evidence? There's not nearly enough to outweigh the verdict.
Both men fit the same general description.
Will you at least interview the witnesses? We're not gonna undermine a legitimate conviction because a few doubts have surfaced.
How many people does Mr.
Partell have to kill before you'll look into it? You don't have to get sarcastic, Mr.
McCoy.
I'm asking you to investigate the possibility that a mistake was made.
The jury has spoken.
The system needs finality.
The system needs credibility.
I'm sorry, Mr.
Robertson, I don't understand your position.
The fancy credentials you have on your wall downtown don't give you the right to come up here and question my judgment.
If you won't do something, Mr.
Robertson, we will.
We'll be indicting Francis Partell for committing a murder in your jurisdiction.
"Indictment number 4520," "People v.
Francis Partell.
" "Charge is Murder in the Second Degree.
" How does he plead, Mr.
Hauser? This doesn't even merit a plea, Your Honor.
I'll take that as a not guilty.
The murder my client is charged with occurred in the Bronx.
The murder occurred 488 yards from the Bronx River, and according to CPL 2040-4C, both counties have jurisdiction.
But someone's already been convicted and sentenced for this crime in the Bronx.
What's going on, Ms.
Carmichael? The People have exculpatory evidence as to the Bronx defendant which strongly incriminates Mr.
Partell.
JUDGE: So, let me get this straight.
The State of New York has two men in jail for a crime that only one of them committed? It's straight out of Kafka, Judge.
Doesn't res judicata bar you from proceeding against a second defendant? Well, Your Honor, Mr.
Partell wasn't a party to the Bronx case, so he can't use it to shield himself from prosecution.
It's the same with double jeopardy.
It's a vendetta.
They can't pin a Manhattan murder on him, and this is the best they've got.
Here's what I'm going to do.
I'm reserving my ruling on bail until after an evidentiary hearing, but if your case looks shaky, Ms.
Carmichael, I'm going to dismiss it.
The Bronx D.
A.
just called me.
He's furious with you two.
Well, he might want to direct his anger at the cops up there who screwed up the initial investigation.
Is there misconduct involved? Nothing willful.
Inertia, maybe.
Water running to the lowest level.
Well, why are they so reluctant to address this? Beats the hell out of me.
You know, you can't do this job and second-guess yourself.
You'd never got any sleep.
When I make a mistake, I lose sleep.
What lets Robertson off the hook? I'm sure it's not easy living in Manhattan's shadow all the time.
He's probably not very happy that it's us dropping this on his doorstep.
I have to work with this man, you know.
JACK: He's not working with us, Nora.
He forced our hand.
Partell's a drug dealer who kills people for nickels and dimes.
We're convinced he got away with murder.
I'll breathe a little easier when you convince Judge Taylor.
VERONA: After we left the club, my friends and I were walking to our car.
Then we heard shots.
We saw the bouncer from the club on the sidewalk, and a man with a gun running across the street.
Was the man with the gun the same man you testified you saw being thrown out of the club earlier that night? No, he was not.
Thank you.
Isn't it a fact that the two friends you were with identified someone else as the shooter? Yes, but I think they were wrong.
How much did you have to drink that night, Mr.
Verona? Well, I don't remember exactly.
But you were intoxicated? Somewhat intoxicated, yeah.
Can you say with absolute certainty that my client shot Mr.
Jackson? No, I can't.
I was outside the club smoking a cigarette.
I saw Taz come up to Vincent and start shooting.
What else did you observe? After he shot him twice, he, uh, kept trying to shoot more, but it looked like he ran out of bullets or something.
So, he started kicking Vincent on the ground.
What happened next? After he kicked him a few times, he ran down the street and got into an SUV.
Were you in the club when the police responded after the shooting, Ms.
Pistone? Yes.
Did you tell them that the man you knew as Taz was the one who shot the bouncer? I didn't want to get involved.
And for the next four days, you didn't contact the police? I was kind of scared at first because he's a drug dealer.
But I I felt guilty about it, so I called Crime Stoppers.
Let's see, you didn't go to the local precinct.
You didn't leave your name so the police could use you as a witness, but you did call to collect the reward that was offered? That's not why.
Nothing further.
JACK: Why did it take you two years to come forward with this information, Mr.
Quintana? Taz used to be a friend of mine.
I didn't want to jam him up.
Did that change? We had a little disagreement about some drugs we bought.
Is that why you're accusing him now? I'm accusing him because it's true.
You have a felony conviction for selling drugs, Mr.
Quintana? Yeah.
And I'm sure you've made hundreds of sales for which you weren't arrested? I got a regular job now.
At the time you allegedly saw this happen, you had just smoked marijuana? Yeah.
And I'm sure you had a few drinks on top of that? Right.
Was there a DJ at Grand Slam the night you say you were there with my client? It was bands that night.
Which ones? I don't remember.
Can you remember any of the songs they played? How am I supposed to remember that, huh? I go out dancing almost every weekend.
Maybe you were just too high to remember.
This is nothing more than payback for you, isn't it? If I wanted to snitch on Taz, I would've done it on my own, a long time ago.
The cops came to me.
I just told them what I saw.
It's certainly not the most compelling case I've ever heard, but I find the evidence adduced at this hearing to be sufficient as a matter of law to sustain the indictment.
Mr.
Partell is remanded.
(BANGS GAVEL) You're going to lock up a second man for this one crime, Judge? Do you have any precedent that says I can't, Mr.
Hauser? That's what I thought.
And let me tell you something, Mr.
McCoy, I want your boss and the Bronx D.
A.
in my chambers tomorrow at 9:30 sharp.
You know, Jack, I found your case to be legally sufficient, but if you think those witnesses are going to convince a jury, (CHUCKLES) you've been doing this for too long.
Whether they do or not, we have an obligation to prosecute the case.
You also have an obligation not to make a mockery of the criminal justice system.
In my opinion, there's only one party here who's doing that.
Mr.
Robertson refused to look at the polygraph results, or re-interview the witnesses.
Where do you get off telling me how to run my office? I didn't come up here to he lectured at by an assistant.
Then talk to me, John.
Mr.
Shaeffer received a fair trial.
He was convicted by a jury in two hours.
Based on incomplete evidence.
We're not here just to amass convictions.
With all due respect, John, she's got a point.
What's the harm in taking one out of the win column? The harm is letting Ms.
Lewin thumb her nose at a legitimate verdict rendered by the people of my county.
So, how do we get past this territorial pissing match? This isn't about territory, Harrison.
One of you is going to walk away from this with egg on your face.
You know, right now, I could careless about my approval rating.
Let's all keep our eye on the ball here.
There's an innocent man who's serving a life sentence.
ROBERTSON: You haven't produced a scintilla of proof that the Bronx trial was tainted by perjury, or jury misconduct, or any illegality that the law recognizes.
If Ms.
Lewin thinks she can convict her defendant in the face of a contrary verdict, let her go right on ahead.
Can we get him to plead guilty? You can get anything for the right price.
Make him an offer.
We started this war between the boroughs to get the guy.
The whole point of the exercise was to make him pay for murder.
The whole point of the exercise is Tony Shaeffer.
He's doing another man's time, Jack.
If we get Partell to admit he killed the bouncer, Robertson will have to come around.
Two murders, Nora, and we let him off easy? I said make a deal.
I didn't say pony up the courthouse.
We're here to offer you a deal, Mr.
Partell.
Now, why would I want to make a deal if he says I can't lose? Is he going to do the time for you? You barely won the hearing.
Wait till I put on the witnesses who testified in the Bronx.
I think I can convince a jury that was a miscarriage of justice.
Please.
These people are not unsophisticated, Mr.
Hauser.
They watch the news.
They've seen convictions dropping like flies all over the country.
My boss needs his guilty plea to free an innocent man.
That puts him in a very advantageous position.
How advantageous? Man one.
Six-to-12? I was thinking along the lines of 10-to-20.
You want a plea or not, Mr.
McCoy? Personally, I'd rather he go to trial.
That way we can max him out when he's convicted.
Six-to-12.
And then you throw in the Manhattan case for nothing.
Six-to-12 concurrent for two murders? Look, if I cop to this, I don't want you coming back at me with that.
Not a chance, Mr.
Partell.
Seven-and-a-half-to-15, or you get your wish, Mr.
McCoy.
(SIGHS) You have a deal.
Now, tell us about Angela Jarrell.
(STAMMERING) There's nothing to tell.
I hired her to deal drugs for me, and she didn't do it.
Instead she's in a bar with some guy.
Was anybody with you? Just some guy that I was talking to while I waited for her to leave.
I followed her out to get the money that she owed me, and, uh she only had about 70 bucks.
So, you strangled her? Maybe I would've just scared her had she not broken my foot.
Either way, she just wasn't working out.
Francis Partell pled guilty this morning.
He gave a detailed admission about the Vincent Jackson killing.
I hope you're happy.
I'll be very happy when you dismiss against Tony Shaeffer.
It says here that Partell pled guilty to the other murder.
How much time did he get? Seven-and-a-half-to-15.
Concurrent? I'm not thrilled about it either.
(SCOFFS) How can I treat this as a serious admission? He said what he had to say to get his seven-and-a-half.
You're not going to continue to incarcerate an innocent man.
I didn't convict that man.
A jury did.
And now we know they made a mistake.
We don't know anything, we weren't there.
As far as I'm concerned, this does nothing to impugn the jury verdict.
(DOOR CLOSES) Robertson won't budge.
So, that's the end of the line for us.
And Tony Shaeffer stays in jail.
He can hire an attorney petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
With what? His mother's public assistance? He can file pro se, like every other prisoner.
Or I can do his writ.
What about the precedent it sets? I can file it as a private citizen if you think that would be more prudent.
I think the public would be hard-pressed to see the distinction.
I think the only distinction people see is between right and wrong.
Make sure my name is on your brief.
One man shot and killed Vincent Jackson in 1999.
Two men have been convicted of that crime.
This is a situation that can't be tolerated under the constitution.
But, Mr.
McCoy, how can we pick and choose between two legally rendered convictions? Only one of those defendants is asserting his claim of innocence.
What about those Isn't one of the hallmarks of our jurisprudence the sanctity of a jury's verdict? Sanctity should not be confused with infallibility.
The case books are legion with instances where juries reached erroneous conclusions.
If Mr.
Shaeffer were to be re-tried in the Bronx today with all the evidence now available for consideration, I submit he could not be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, as a matter of law.
His writ should be granted.
Good afternoon, Your Honors.
Justice Scalia writes in Hererra v.
Collins that there is no constitutional protection for prisoners whose sole claim of error is actual innocence.
That is precisely the case here.
The petitioner has alleged no legal error in his conviction.
So, Mr.
Robertson, if in fact the petitioner is innocent, what relief does he have? Let me say first that I don't believe that.
But according to the Supreme Court, if all he's saying is the jury made a mistake, he can ask the governor for a pardon.
That is his fail-safe in this kind of situation.
So, you're saying that this court lacks the power to void Mr.
Shaeffer's conviction? If this court chooses to follow Herrera v.
Collins, which is the law in the federal courts, it should not entertain the petition.
Not every problem was meant to be solved by the judiciary.
The court should exercise restraint and respect the jury verdict.
Any rebuttal, Mr.
McCoy? Tony Shaeffer should not have to argue his cause to an elected official whose political allegiances and ambitions might color his judgment.
That is why the founding fathers saw fit to establish an independent judiciary.
And judicial restraint does not mean judicial cowardice.
This is a copy of Mr.
Shaeffer's daily schedule in the general population at the Clinton Correctional Facility.
"6:00 a.
m.
, mandatory wake up, 6:30, inmate count," "6:45, mandatory meal," "7:15, mandatory vocational training," "11:00, inmate count, What's your point, Mr.
McCoy? He's had this same day now for the last two years.
Guilty of nothing more than stupidity.
He'll have this same day for the next five years Ten years.
This same day for the next 23 years at least, unless this court has the courage to admit the system failed.
It is the opinion of this court, with one dissent, that a writ of habeas corpus for Anthony Shaeffer is hereby granted.
(GAS PS) He is hereby released from custody, and his conviction for murder in the second degree is dismissed in the interest of justice.
(CRYING) I heard it was all smiles in the Shaeffer family.
I have to admit it was nice to get somebody out of jail for a change.
Well, I hope that's out of your system.
Well, I hope I don't catch a case near the Bronx.
That's, uh, Angela Jarrell's father.
He heard an arrest had been made, and drove in from Minnesota.