Law & Order (1990) s05e17 Episode Script

Act of God

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.
"Oh, Morris, how much trouble can one little dog be?" Did she ever walk you once? When, June? It's gotta be 20 below.
What's the matter, your pipe frozen? Come on, another dog did it.
You could do it, too.
Thank you.
(EXPLOSION) I didn't see anybody.
I was cleaning up my dog's crap, the whole place blew up.
We found the baggie over there.
You think Forensics wants it? No.
What about my dog? She ran away.
She's afraid of loud noises.
Then she's living in the wrong town, pal.
Keep an eye out for his dog.
Maybe a homeless guy lit a fire.
It's a cold night.
Hell of a can of Sterno.
Not if he put it on top of a propane tank.
We're trying to reach the construction company, see what kind of flammables they had around.
Nobody's answering the night number.
So what, we just sit around here all night? Hey, why don't you arson guys build us a campfire, and we'll toast some marshmallows? We're tracking the seat of the explosion.
When the site cools, we start sifting.
Now, you keep your guys from messing up the scene.
LOGAN: Lennie! Over here.
It's a kid.
Where'd they find him? Up there.
Hey, did you see his face? It must have been smashed by a girder.
Did he say anything? He was crying.
He's lucky they heard him.
Let's hope he keeps rolling sevens.
Four hours in surgery.
What can they be doing? Mrs.
Cuneo, I know this isn't easy, but do you have any idea what your son was doing on that construction site? I work all night.
Subway token booth.
I tell him to stay in.
Well, was there any problems with Robbie in terms of lighting fires, anything like that? Robbie's never been any trouble.
BRISCOE: He have any friends who might get in trouble? Gangs? He's only 12 years old.
They start pretty young these days.
You want to know what he was doing on that building? Mountain climbing.
I took him to the Adirondacks last summer.
He met some college kids, they showed him how to use ropes, harnesses, carabiners.
Took him up a stone face.
He was crazy for it.
He was climbing that building? Closest thing there is in this city to a mountain.
Cuneo? Yeah.
I'm sorry.
This is preliminary, but that explosion was no accident.
Nitroglycerin, sodium nitrate, ammonium oxalate.
Straight dynamite.
What, are you talking chemistry courses in your spare time? What spare time? I had a case once, back before you were born.
Guy tried to bomb his wife, he wound up blowing up the cat.
This guy knew what he was doing.
The dynamite was positioned at support beams and tie girders, and then tamped with cement bags to center the blast.
Blow the beams, blow the building.
At least our man was considerate enough to aim the collapse on to the back of the lot, not out into the street.
Yeah, well, we're gonna give him a good citizenship award as soon as we catch him.
What did he use for ignition? Detonating cord, blasting caps coordinated by a kitchen timer.
The kind you can buy in any dime store.
Yeah, the guy set the alarm and just went for a stroll.
Where did the dynamite come from? On site? No, it was a renovation job, so there was no blasting.
Someone could have carried it in in a shopping bag.
You got 50 suspects before you do your first interview.
Rotten building inspectors, mobbed-up haulers, protection racket enforcers, insurance scams.
We're thinking about dropping in on the building owner, seeing if his policy's up to date.
Don't let me keep you.
It was built as a mercantile center in the 1880s.
Wonderful architecture.
The idea was to gut it and partition the floors into small suites around a central reception area.
And everything was partitioning smoothly? Oh, sure.
Once I'd convinced the city I wasn't disturbing any ancient Indian burial grounds, and the Landmarks Commission I wasn't destroying any sacred moldings, and the environmental people And your insurance was all in order? Yes.
So you'll be collecting how much? $4.
8 million.
And it's the worst thing that's ever happened to me.
Oh, sounds like you had a pretty nice life so far.
That money just makes up what I'm out of pocket.
I had that building 90% leased to an ad agency and a publisher.
That was money in the bank for the next 20 years.
You still own the property, correct? Yes.
Until the dead boy's mother sues me for negligence.
Gaston, it's somebody's fault that boy is dead.
Yes, I know, but it's not mine.
The site was under the control of the general contractor, Buzz Palley.
I'm supposed to be doing an inventory, the bomb squad cops won't even let me on the site to get to my office trailer.
Well, right now your trailer is under about eight feet of rubble, Mr.
I got nothing to do for a while.
What can I do for you? Do you have any idea who might have wanted to shut you down? Who didn't? Unions are screaming bloody murder from day one.
I manage to put up buildings without them.
It's the only way I can ever make a low bid.
Well, dynamite's kind of a drastic way to settle a labor dispute.
They're picketing, boycotting, blocking the gate.
Well, that's part of the drill, isn't it? A week ago Thursday, just after quitting time, three shots come out of nowhere.
Two through my trailer, one into a cement bag.
And you think it was union people? The picket line went dumb, but I figure it was one of them or Calvin Tiller.
Self-proclaimed king of the blacks.
He screams about jobs for minorities until you pay him off to go away.
And you didn't pay? There wasn't enough room in my bid to cover extortion.
(PEOPLE SHOUTING) The man send you boys to see me? LOGAN: Yeah.
He told me to ask you personally about an incident on Church Street last night.
May I see your identification, please? You wanna check my teeth now? You see this, people? CROWD: Yeah.
The black man tries to get ahead and here come the police.
Tiller, we have to ask you a couple of questions.
Yeah, well, I'm a little busy right now trying to get some justice for the community from the B&C construction company.
That's right.
We're trying to get a little justice for a boy who was killed last night.
You here to arrest me? No.
Yeah, well, then if you want to see me, make an appointment.
MAN 2: That's right.
Palley and I couldn't come to an understanding, so I moved on to a greener pasture.
LOGAN: You walked away? What about "justice for the community"? Justice is like everything else.
It's negotiable.
In other words, you negotiate a payoff for yourself, and to hell with the brothers on the line.
Look, I spread it around.
My people are happy.
But you weren't happy, were you, Calvin? 'Cause Buzz Palley wouldn't ante up.
So I moved on.
So maybe you wanted to say a dramatic goodbye? Look, I shut them down, not blow them up.
It's a nice living.
Why take a chance on messing up a good thing? Maybe Palley just pissed you off.
I never make the mistake of getting emotional about my work, Detective.
All Palley did was confuse me.
My price is very reasonable.
But he wouldn't even talk.
Some alibi.
"I'm not an arsonist, I'm an extortionist.
" It plays for now.
Yeah, union time.
Not tonight.
Palley goes non-union to save a buck, and it comes out of the workers' hide.
You can't live on the wage, anymore.
Somebody took the work.
The desperate and the stupid.
They each do three or four different jobs.
No work rules.
Safety codes out the window.
No wonder the damn building fell down.
The building fell down because somebody dynamited it.
Probably some scab carpenter filling in for a mason who confused explosives with mortar.
Look, why don't you save the speeches for Labor Day? I'll give you a short one.
My men build buildings.
They don't blow them up.
They just fire warning shots.
Nobody got arrested for that.
We're gonna take another look.
You take another look, you're not gonna find zip.
Stevens, your men did push that job a little hard.
If anything, they were restrained.
Palley's the one that's been playing hardball.
He nearly ran over three pickets with a cement truck.
Never a dull moment at that work site.
What was the picket captain's name? Roy Beggs.
He's in the shape-up hall down there.
Palley didn't give us the jobs, that's bad enough.
But he didn't give us any respect.
Oh, come on, what do you want him to do, send milk and cookies to your picket line? We maybe get a little too close to the gate one day.
He has to gun a truck at us? Barney Collins breaks his elbow diving for cover.
Something like that, you're gonna want to retaliate, right? Hey, I went to see Palley.
Firm but polite.
He said the next time he aimed a truck at us, he wouldn't miss.
We were a bunch of losers, on and on.
He practically dared us to shut him down.
And did you? We didn't have to.
Palley got fired off the only other job he had going two weeks ago.
This one was headed for the crapper, too.
You notice how Palley antagonizes everybody? I mean, these guys, Tiller Stupid.
Unless he's got an agenda.
Let's go talk to the guy that fired him.
I fell in love with Palley's bid.
I should have taken another look at Palley.
Why? He get his pliers mixed up with his wrenches? No, he got my money mixed up with his.
He's non-union, so I expect some hassles.
We're waiting for concrete so we could build a retaining wall before we do our blasting.
Job involved demolition? Some.
Did Palley have access to the dynamite? He was the GC.
He had all the keys.
So, anyway, I pay for materials as they're ordered.
Sol pay for the concrete.
It never shows up.
Palley said the union workers at the yard wouldn't load it.
And meanwhile, Palley has your money? No.
He's got my concrete.
I called the yard.
It's non-union.
They loaded the concrete, but Palley delivered it to the job he's doing with Gaston.
Palley's stealing from you to buy materials for his other job? That's it.
You know the babe in the woods act doesn't quite go with the Armani suit, Mr.
Don't you check out the finances of the contractors you hire? I wasn't building the World Trade Center, Detective.
Palley said he could handle it.
I took him at his word.
You'd be very popular at our weekly poker games.
His bid was low.
Sometimes contractors take on a break-even job just to amortize their equipment.
Let's pretend Palley was having a money problem.
Now he comes to you and he says he can't afford to finish the job.
Do you give him more money? We had a contract.
He does the job at the agreed-upon price, or I sue him.
Even if it puts him out of business? That's his problem.
You had a contract? Well, there was a standard force majeure clause.
Contract's void if the job shuts down by war, tidal wave, terrorist violence, act of god Bombing? Yes.
Job's over.
And Palley's off the hook? So I'm having a little cash-flow problem, so what? You've got more than a little problem, Mr.
We looked.
You've been bouncing checks from here to Bronxville.
Your bank cut off your line of credit.
What are you people, the police or the IRS? What is this? If you couldn't afford to finish Gaston's renovation, that gave you a hell of a reason to make the place go boom.
LOGAN: Right on Robbie Cuneo's head.
That kid was 12 years old, Palley.
You could have picked up the dynamite easy from that job you got fired from.
There's a lot of dynamite around.
Look, that explosion put me out of business.
No, Mr.
It saved you from bankruptcy.
No, no.
No what? When that job exploded, I was 48 hours away from getting $2 million.
More than enough to finish in the black.
What were you expecting, a visit from the tooth fairy? I was expecting an investor in my construction company.
I returned from China last night.
This is first I heard of the explosion.
Well, Mr.
Palley says you were planning on investing with him? Is this part of a criminal investigation? No, just a background check.
It's off the record.
I am from Hong Kong.
We will be reuniting with China in two years.
My family is exploring investment opportunities in several countries.
And one of them was Mr.
Palley's construction company? It was a possibility.
Palley and I had several dinners together before I went out to China to investigate another possibility.
A plastic toy factory in Fujian.
Yeah, well, he says the deal was set.
Does he? When a company needs an investment to expand, that's good.
When a company needs an investment to survive, that's not good.
We heard Palley was belly-up.
I took his books with me to study on the flight.
By the time we reached cruising altitude, I knew we would be investing elsewhere.
Did Palley know this? I called from the plane.
I left a message with his wife, Christine.
No, I'm not Mrs.
I'm Buzz's sister, not his wife.
Well, this is the address he gave us.
Is Mrs.
Palley here? Buzz isn't married.
He's been camping on our couch ever since that explosion ruined his trailer.
He was living on the construction site? Oh, just for a little while.
So, he doesn't have his own apartment? He was looking for a new place.
Well, his old place, did he move out because he was having trouble paying the rent? No, nothing like that.
Look, Buzz isn't here right now.
Well, we know all about his money problems, Mrs Lyttle.
It was just a temporary thing.
Buzz has got a new contract he's very excited about.
He's at the Buildings Department right now.
Now what? I'm trying to get this paperwork through before the clerks take another coffee break.
Those for the new job? Yes.
I'm still in business.
Is that a crime? It is if you freed yourself up for the new job by blowing up the old one.
I told you.
I was expecting And we talked to Mr.
Did you know he's back from China? Then I assume he told you we had a deal.
Actually, he said to send regards to your wife.
Did you get married and forget to tell your sister? I wined and dined Mr.
Kee a few times.
My girlfriend came along.
Your girlfriend? Chris Chappel.
I told Kee she was my wife.
Chinese, they like to do business with a stable family man.
LOGAN: So where'd you meet Palley? On a job? CHRIS: Yeah.
I kind of stand out from the other guys.
Is it tough being the only woman on the job? I hold my own.
I don't want to be rude or anything, but shouldn't you guys be out trying to find out who blew up that building? Well, we have to be just a little bit methodical, Miss Chappel.
We'd like to clear up a couple of points with you.
Did you take a message for your boyfriend from a Mr.
Kee about three weeks ago? I don't know.
When? It's kind of important.
He told you to tell Palley that their deal was off.
Is that what Mr.
Kee says? Well, do you want us to bring him over so you can play 20 Questions with him? Okay, I remember.
Well, did you give the message to him? No.
What? You forgot? I didn't want to be the one to give him the bad news.
I figured Mr.
Kee would send him a letter or something.
You think she's lying to protect Palley? Well, he's not my type, but there's no accounting for taste.
If he knew that his angel from the East wasn't coming through with the bucks, he might've thought he had no choice but to blow that building.
If he didn't know, he'd hold off until he heard from Mr.
Which brings us back to square one.
Today's topic, "Do female hardhats lie?" No.
Square one is, "Did Palley build that bomb?" He had access to dynamite.
Ask the bomb squad if they found bomb-making materials in Palley's trailer.
We divided the scene into a grid.
We're still sifting, section by section.
BRISCOE: Did you get to the trailer? Yeah, it was in the collapse zone.
A lot of the structure landed on top of it, including the beams where the charges were set.
So, can you tell the difference between what's in the trailer and what fell on top of the trailer? Yes.
It's a three-dimensional grid.
We measure depth.
Yeah, well, this is where we came in.
Did you find anything in the trailer? What do you mean, like batteries? Pieces of wire? Safety fuse? Nope, just file cabinets.
Office supplies.
Plus personal effects, right? No.
No clothes? No toilet kit? Just office stuff.
Yeah, but Palley lived in the trailer.
If he had anything personal in that trailer, he moved it out before the explosion.
Jeez, isn't that a coincidence? I kept most of my stuff at my sister's place.
There wasn't much room in the trailer.
Your sister's place is four miles away.
What'd you do? Run there every time you had to change your underwear? I kept a few things with me.
I took them to the laundry that day.
Yeah, what about your toothbrush? You take that to the laundry, too? Half the building is on my trailer.
My toothbrush could be mixed up with pieces of the fifth-floor conference room.
So what about you? I mean, you live there.
The building blows up in the middle of the night.
Where were you? I couldn't sleep.
I was taking a walk.
Well, that either makes you the luckiest son of a bitch that ever lived, or you've been lying to us since we laid eyes on you.
I'm telling you the truth.
You told us there was nobody at the site at night.
But you were.
I couldn't tell people I couldn't afford an apartment.
You couldn't tell us, because then we'd know you were broke and had a motive to blow that building.
I couldn't tell anybody.
Word gets out I'm busted, it's vulture time.
I'm out of business.
Hey, we saw the contract for your next job.
A sweet deal on the East Side.
And all you had to do was finish the Gaston job, solvent, to get to it.
I was gonna finish the Gaston job fine.
Then how come you practically begged those union guys and Calvin Tiller to shut you down? You can't roll over for those people.
They wouldn't do you the favor of shutting you down, so you did it yourself.
You killed a 12-year-old boy.
How does that feel? I want to call a lawyer now.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) And that concludes the entertainment portion of our program.
Do we let his lawyer walk him home? There's no witness, no physical evidence.
There is motive, a pile of circumstances, a stack of lies.
With some very creative explanations.
Do you gain anything from another day or two? Not unless an eyewitness crawls out of the rubble.
Let's see how Mr.
Palley likes Rikers Island.
Arthur Palley, you're under arrest for arson and murder.
You got the right to remain silent.
Anything you do say, can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Do you understand? PENCE: Talk about your rush to judgment, McCoy.
What'd you do, outrun the proverbial speeding bullet on your way to the grand jury? It didn't take a superhuman effort to convince them, Mr.
Access to dynamite, financial need, lying to the police.
To the grand jury, that sounded like means, motive and evidence of a guilty conscience.
You slice it thinner than the prosciutto at Primavera.
Have you even considered that someone else had motive to plant that bomb? The police investigated Calvin Tiller, the unions.
No, this bombing wasn't business.
It was personal.
That building was made to fall on the trailer where my client was living.
Are you rehearsing your opening statement? No, I'm telling you, you're about to commit a miscarriage of justice.
Police ever question Hank Chappel? That figures.
I don't have time today to play What's My Line? Who's Hank Chappel? He's my girlfriend's husband.
Palley's girlfriend is married? The police didn't tell us.
Don't you work here, too? If I were Palley, I'd want to give the jury an alternate theory of the crime.
Blame the husband.
Blame the mafia.
Blame the bogeyman.
Now, sometimes the bogeyman is guilty.
The building did fall on the trailer where Palley was living.
We're going to look into it.
We don't even know if this guy knew his wife was having an affair.
Should we start with him? No.
Start with the wife.
Buzz said my husband did it? He doesn't even know about me and Buzz.
Are you sure? Hank's the kind of guy that if he thought I was fooling around, he'd mention it.
Oh, not shy about his feelings? Oh, I know what you want me to say.
Jealous, bad temper You got yourself a killer, right? Wrong.
You already arrested one innocent man.
What, do you want to arrest another one? If your husband didn't do it, all we want is to clear him.
Now, where was he the night of the bombing? He was home.
What, all night? I had a long day.
I went to bed early.
I'm not sure what time he got home.
He works late? If that was it, I wouldn't have looked twice at Buzz.
No, Hank's got himself a custom-fit stool over at a place called Barclay's.
Second from the end.
Ever since he moved here from Jersey.
What about Monday night, two weeks ago? Rangers played Boston at home.
He was here.
You talking about Hank? Did he stay for the post-game party? Look, Hank's good people.
Things just haven't been going his way.
You mean with his wife? What are you? Some kind of a cop? That isn't much of a secret, is it? How long has he known? Everyone who's set foot in this bar has known for the last two months.
But Hank's been calming down about it.
He tells people? Look, you ask around, you're gonna hear about the night he had nine 7&7s, and he stood on the bar and said he was gonna shoot the guy.
I seen that.
Someone did shoot at the guy.
It wasn't Hank.
I know bar talk, and that was just bar talk.
I'm telling you first.
Three days after Hank Chappel's outburst in the bar, the shots were fired into Palley's trailer.
Everyone assumed it was the union.
Now you assume it's Chappel? He claimed credit in advance.
Even if he got drunk and took a few potshots at Palley, it doesn't mean he came back and blew up the building.
For the past year, Chappel's been working as a pick-and-shovel day laborer.
Before that, he was certified for demolition work with explosives.
Suspended because of a drinking problem.
I don't believe this.
Get a search warrant.
HANK: What the hell is going on here? This is my apartment.
Christine, what's going on? CLAIRE: Are you Hank Chappel? Yeah.
We're executing a search warrant.
Please just sit over there till we're done.
LOGAN: We're done.
38 caliber.
How about this? Blasting caps, detonator cord.
His license is suspended.
I guess he was moonlighting on the side.
What are you telling me? She was sleeping around? Come on, Hank, we talked to your bartender.
You told the whole world that your wife was sharpening somebody else's pencil.
Well, okay, maybe I had a feeling she was, but it wasn't that big a deal.
Oh, so it didn't bother you at all? Maybe she wasn't the only one, you know, who's knocking one off on the side.
You were cheating, too, Mr.
Chappel? Yeah.
I mean, I figured Christine was entitled to even the score.
And taking potshots at Palley, is that part of your forgive-and-forget philosophy? I didn't shoot at anybody.
Chappel, the ballistics laboratory has already matched the slugs in Palley's trailer to your gun.
Do you want to stop wasting our time? I was drunk.
I just wanted to scare him.
And when he didn't take the hint, you thought you'd just drop a building on his head? I swear on a stack I did not set no bomb.
Okay, we got two balls in the air.
Time to decide which one to catch.
Well, jealousy.
Demolitions expert.
Took three shots at Palley.
And Palley? Motive and circumstantial evidence.
Right, got it.
The bomb squad matched the detonating cord found in Hank's toolbox to fragments found at the scene.
Well, that's not circumstantial.
I was due in Judge Friedman's chambers eight minutes ago.
I'm probably already in contempt.
Can anybody here make a case for Palley over Chappel? Sold.
Arrest him.
Stand up, Mr.
Henry Chappel, you're under arrest for arson and the murder of Richard Cuneo.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will Mr.
Newbill, you're with the Division of Safety and Health of the New York Department of Labor, which formerly licensed Henry Chappel? He had a blaster's certificate.
He was qualified to handle explosives for use in the controlled demolitions of structures.
And in your opinion, would someone with Mr.
Chappel's qualifications have been able to construct and detonate the bombs used in this demolition? Yes.
Would such a person have been able to detonate these bombs in such a precise way that the building would have collapsed on Mr.
Palley's trailer? Yes.
Thank you.
Newbill, how do people get a blaster's certificate? They take an exam.
How do they study for the exam? They read books.
Books on how to set off explosives? Those would be the most useful ones.
Isn't it possible that any adult with sixth-grade reading skills could have made this bomb? If they could pass the test.
I was having an affair with Mr.
JACK: And your husband knew it? Objection.
She cannot testify as to what someone else knew.
Chappel, did you ever tell your husband that you were having an affair with Mr.
Palley? Objection.
That would be a confidential communication between a husband and wife.
So it would, Mr.
So I don't have to answer? JUDGE CAFFEY: You do not.
All right, Mrs.
Chappel, how long before the bombing did you begin your affair with Mr.
Palley? About six months.
And how many nights a week did you spend with him in his trailer? Your Honor.
You have to answer this one, Mrs.
One or two.
All night long? Yes.
And your husband was at home those nights? I suppose.
So one or two nights a week for six months your husband waited for you at home, but you never came? Objection.
Asked and answered.
So unless your husband was stupid, Mrs.
Chappel, he had to know what was going on.
Objection! Withdrawn.
Nothing further.
Palley told us that he'd taken his clothes to the laundry that day.
And what did you make of this explanation? Well, I thought it was one coincidence too many.
What action did you take? My partner and I consulted with our supervisor and with Assistant District Attorney Kincaid, and we proceeded to arrest Palley.
At this point in time, did you think you had your man? Oh, sure, but Are you aware of any new evidence that would explain away the coincidences that aroused your suspicions about Mr.
Palley? No, I'm not.
Thank you.
Detective Briscoe, before you arrested Mr.
Palley, did you or anyone else check to see if he had in fact taken his clothes to the laundry? No.
Did you find any bomb-making materials in his possession? No.
Before you arrested Mr.
Palley, were you aware that his lover, Chris Chappel, was married? No, I wasn't.
You didn't bother to find out? Since we already had a viable suspect, it didn't seem pertinent.
Does it seem pertinent now? Yes.
In retrospect, Detective Briscoe, is it fair to say that the arrest of Mr.
Palley was premature? I suppose so.
No more questions.
I knew about her and Palley, but that was ending.
She and I were working things out.
If you were working things out, why did you fire a gun at Mr.
Palley? I didn't fire at him.
If I had I wouldn't have missed.
I'd had a few drinks.
I was letting off some steam.
So maybe you had a few more drinks, let off more steam and bombed that building.
Look, that was precision demolition work, all right? I would have had to be cold sober to do it.
And I wasn't cold sober very much around that time.
Chappel, did you dynamite that building at 435 Church Street? No.
I never would.
I didn't have any reason to.
Thank you.
Chappel, what happened to your blasting certificate? It was suspended.
And why was that? I showed up at a job site after I'd been drinking.
And what happened? The GC asked me to leave the site.
And what happened next? We had an argument.
I hit him.
He called the police.
I see.
You said when you fired your gun at Mr.
Palley, you missed on purpose.
That's right.
Even though you'd been drinking? Right.
If you could fire a .
38 caliber pistol with precision when you'd been drinking, why couldn't you rig dynamite? It's not the same thing.
But you're a demolitions expert.
You could have rigged that bomb blindfolded, couldn't you? I don't know.
I don't even know how it was rigged.
So if it had been a simple bomb, then you could have rigged it drunk? Maybe.
I didn't do it.
Do you love your wife? Yeah.
So how did you feel when you thought about her being with Buzz Palley? I didn't think about it.
You didn't think about it the night you fired your gun? It didn't come to mind all those nights your wife didn't come home? I thought about how we were gonna work things out.
Just as soon as Buzz Palley got tired of having your wife in his bed.
Didn't you wish he was dead? Of course I did! But I didn't kill him.
But you tried.
Foreman, has the jury reached a verdict? Yes, we have, Your Honor.
On the first count of the indictment, arson in the first degree, how do you find? We find the defendant, Henry Chappel, guilty.
On the second count, murder in the second degree, how do you find? We find the defendant, Henry Chappel, guilty.
You wanna celebrate with a drink? Okay, sure.
If you're buying.
Going out to dance on Hank Chappel's grave? I'm sorry about the cross-examination, Detective.
I just had to rule out Palley as a suspect.
Hey, no problem.
They pay me plenty to look like an idiot.
It wasn't personal.
I know, but it got me thinking.
Palley says he avoided getting killed when the bomb went off because he was out taking a walk.
It sounded bogus, but coincidences do happen.
Yeah, but if he was taking a walk, how come he never came back? I checked the reports of all the officers who were at the scene.
Palley showed up at 6:30 a.
, his usual starting time.
So either he walked to Paramus, or he knew the building was gonna blow.
Because he was the one who blew it.
Nobody noticed this before? Nobody thought about it that night.
Palley wasn't a suspect.
He could have come running back from his walk and said he'd just heard the explosion.
He didn't wanna have to tell us that he was living in the trailer.
That would have made him a suspect.
So he set the bomb, grabbed his stuff and walked away? And never looked back.
You know, in retrospect, it does seem fair to say that the prosecution of Mr.
Chappel was premature.
Look, this doesn't prove anything.
But I don't feel like celebrating yet.
You got a conviction.
Some cop trying to save his reputation is not evidence.
Well, we're trying to get some.
We got a wiretap on Chris Chappel's phone all weekend.
So you think it was her and Palley? What Briscoe said makes sense.
If Palley was telling the truth, he would have shown up at the scene a few minutes after the explosion.
And Mrs.
Chappel had access to her husband's demolition supplies.
Yep, husband had to know that.
If he didn't make the bomb, why couldn't he have pointed a finger at his wife when you arrested him? Denial? Love? Maybe he was covering for her.
While he takes the fall? This guy's better than Romeo and Juliet.
What are you getting from the wiretap? Chris and Palley have talked three times about dinner plans, not dynamite.
Well, that's progress.
And the surveillance warrant expires in 14 hours.
So shake them up.
You got her number? CHRIS ON TAPE: That DA called, he told me to come in, Buzz.
PALLEY: Just calm down.
Why would he call? He's got to know something.
Hank's been convicted.
Thank God, but if they find out what happened Don't worry, they don't know anything.
Have a drink.
I'll see you later.
That's the end of the tape.
And the warrant.
Add that to Palley's stack of lies.
And his mystery walk to nowhere.
Arrest them.
Pardon my ignorance, but isn't my client's husband already in jail for this crime? Yeah, because he was framed.
PENCE: Last week you said he was guilty.
We stand corrected.
Actually, Mr.
McCoy, you stand nowhere.
First, you've convicted someone else, which is a hell of a burden to overcome in bringing a new charge.
Second, your tape recording is ambiguous at best.
And finally, no jury is ever going to hear it, anyway.
It's a joint motion to suppress.
This meeting is over.
The application for the warrant is insufficient on its face, Your Honor.
Well, perhaps I've been at this too long, but this looks fine to me.
A list of alleged lies by Mr.
Palley, detonator cord found in Mrs.
Chappel's apartment Judge Finkel found it met the threshold of probable cause.
It's not my place to HARTMAN: Begging Your Honor's pardon, the issue is not what's included in the District Attorney's affidavit, but rather what's omitted.
Specifically, that another man had already been convicted of the crime.
Is that so? The Church Street bombing, Your Honor.
This is that case? The history is irrelevant.
The itemized evidence was sufficient for these defendants.
That's all that's required.
HARTMAN: Irrelevant? That the jury found someone guilty of a felony beyond a reasonable doubt necessarily negates the presumption that someone else probably did it.
At a minimum, it should have been included in the equation.
The issuing judge found the application satisfactory, Your Honor.
Well, it doesn't satisfy me.
The tape is excluded.
We ran into some damn good lawyering.
Without the tape, there's no point in even going to a grand jury.
We've got a truckload of evidence against an innocent man and zip against the people who did it.
In the future, if we ever go to trial again, maybe we ought to know what we're doing.
The standard for conviction is reasonable doubt, not absolute certainty.
Hank Chappel will be happy to know that.
Get the guy out of jail.
Let me get this straight.
You want me to undo a jury conviction? The jury was wrong.
Somebody commit perjury? No.
Was evidence wrongfully admitted? No.
Did I commit reversible error? No, Your Honor.
Twelve reasonable people sat in the jury box.
They listened to the evidence which you so articulately presented over the course of eight days.
After they decided in their heart of hearts that Hank Chappel deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Who are we to argue? The problem is that Hank Chappel is innocent.
The problem is that you changed your mind.
But you're the prosecutor, not the jury.
So what you think doesn't count.
This is absurd.
This is the American system of justice, and I believe in it.
Don't you? You want me to release Mr.
Chappel? Find reversible error in the trial transcript or prove to another jury that somebody else committed the crime.
The only way we can get Chappel released is to prove his wife and Palley committed the crime.
Which we can't do because we convicted Chappel.
Joseph Heller would love this one.
The cornerstone of the system is that it is better for 10 guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to go to jail.
Someone should tell that to Judge Caffey.
I tried.
He believes in juries.
Well, juries make mistakes.
Then why is it that I feel like we're the ones who've been making all the mistakes around here lately? Maybe we should make another one.
That tape of Chris Chappel and Palley Yeah, what about it? It's dead.
What if we change our theory of what it means? What if Mrs.
Chappel was talking about having committed the crime not with Palley, but with her husband.
You believe that? If it were true, the tape would be admissible against her.
Her husband's conviction wouldn't hurt us, it would help us.
The fact that a husband has been convicted of a crime increases the probable cause that his wife was involved.
So we argue a theory we know is wrong to convict the right person? Who says it's wrong? The jury that convicted Hank Chappel says it's right.
Get Mrs.
Chappel in here.
PALLEY: Hank's been convicted.
CHRIS: Thank God, but if they find out what happened Very nice, but it's been excluded.
That's because we misinterpreted it.
What happened is your client committed the crime with her husband.
Nothing like changing horses in mid-stream, Jack.
I'm the first one to admit when I make a mistake.
All I have to do is admit it to a judge, and the jury's gonna hear Mrs.
Chappel's confession.
Oh, come on.
Her statement is open to a million interpretations.
But we have a corroborating witness.
You think Buzz is gonna testify? JACK: She's not referring to Mr.
She's talking about your husband.
Remember him? Hank won't lie about me.
Show him in.
I heard the tape.
We're going to get you out of here.
I've got a lawyer who says he'll appeal.
Christine, I'm in for 25 years and nobody is getting me out.
You put him on the stand, Jack, and you're suborning perjury.
A jury convicted him.
As far as I'm concerned, he's guilty.
And he certainly knows who his accomplices are.
I'm gonna tell them you were in it with me.
But, Hank, you know that isn't true.
True? I know what's true and it's Why did you do this to me? Why did you do this to me? HANK: Why? What are you offering, Jack? What does she have to say? It was Buzz.
He was desperate.
It was either blow up the building or go bankrupt.
I got him the cord.
(CRYING) We never thought anyone would be there.
And your husband? Just off somewhere drinking, as usual.
Arson two, man one.
Ten years.
Judge Caffey signed Hank Chappel's release order.
And Palley's lawyer called.
He wants to talk deal.
The hell with him.
He can do 25-to-life.
So you got the wrong man, then you got the right one.
One for two.
My batting average should be better than that.
You make big decisions in a hurry.
Then you press too hard.
That's part of your job.
With the fringe benefit that from time to time we convict someone who's innocent? It could be better.
We could have the death penalty.