Law & Order (1990) s07e23 Episode Script


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.
Is he back there? Nobody's back there, Susan.
We're the dregs of the party.
I thought you two were hitting it off.
And the boat docked and he sprinted for the door.
I don't think they call it a door, Sally.
He'll probably call.
Well, if he doesn't, I'll call him.
That's against the rules.
So is sitting home eating Häagen He just started shooting.
I saw him behind that column.
I didn't see his face.
I think he was wearing a trench coat.
Did he say anything? I don't know.
I didn't hear a thing.
The woman in front of me was shot.
And that man is dead.
He was standing right next to me.
A group over here took most of the fire.
We've got three people injured, and this one dead at the scene.
There's a few shell casings scattered down the pier, and five in a bunch over here.
Looks like 9mm auto.
So if the gun throws right, the shooter had to be standing about right here.
It was a cocktail cruise.
United Jewish Charities.
We're the young leadership committee.
That just means we're willing to ask our friends to donate.
Was there any trouble during the boat ride? You think it was one of us? Well, right now, sir, I don't know what to think.
Detectives! We got another fatality.
We found a woman in the water.
She was caught on a piling.
We got her purse.
She must've fell off the pier during the shooting.
Lorna Kaminsky, 27.
NYU grad student.
We've got something else.
The shooter must've had some time on his hands while he was waiting for the boat to come in.
Good thing he wasn't a better shot.
It was crazy.
We were walking past the garage.
There must have been 20 of us.
When the shooting started, we looked back.
The man with the gun started running right at us.
He was still shooting.
Were you near Miss Kaminsky? I was talking to her.
We were gonna go out for a drink.
I thought we'd just been separated in all the confusion.
Did you see the man who was doing the shooting? It was dark.
We were all running.
What? I bumped into somebody and fell.
That's how I broke my ankle.
God, I hope I didn't push her off the pier.
They say I was pretty lucky.
The bullet missed everything important.
Well, if you were really lucky, it would have missed everything.
The man next to me, he looked pretty bad.
He's dead.
And another woman fell in the river and drowned.
Some cruise.
It was an anti-Jewish thing? We're not sure what it was yet, Miss Beckner.
Nobody's claimed credit.
If I hadn't broken up with my boyfriend, I would've been at his country house in Westchester.
Oh, God! The things we do to meet men! I thought this was a fundraising group? It is.
But they make it a singles fundraising group.
Raise money for Israel, maybe meet a Jewish doctor.
This isn't the way I wanted to meet the doctor.
Miss Jacobs, did you see the man who shot you? No.
Did you see anything unusual, as the boat pulled in? Only that the guy I was talking to suddenly took off before the shooting.
He said he had a limo waiting for him.
Weston had to catch a plane.
I got him to JFK in 35 minutes.
Why the rush? The boat was supposed to dock at 9:30, but it didn't get in till 10:00.
So where's Mr.
Weston now? Los Angeles.
Come on, we were out of there before the shooting started.
So you were waiting around the pier while the boat was being late, right? Yeah, from 9:00 p.
I'm always half an hour early.
Well, did you see anybody hanging around there wearing a trench coat? I was reading the Daily News in the car.
I only saw a bunch of cabbies waiting, like me.
There weren't any cabbies when we got there.
You think they want to sit around and talk to cops all night? A bunch of foreigners? What kind of foreigners? I don't know.
Turks, Arabs, when was the last time you saw a white taxi driver? Did you notice the names of any of their cab companies? Yeah.
There were a couple from Sunshine.
We got Hamas.
We got Islamic Jihad, we got Gamaat Islamiya.
That's Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman's club.
The guys who blew up the World Trade Center? Actually, that's still a little vague.
You do keep track of these people? Of course.
We're the great Satan.
It's our job.
To the extent our satanic courts will actually give us warrants for the taps we need.
So who's been striking blows against Zionism lately? Several dead guys in Tel Aviv.
It's got to be something being a cop over there.
And on the Hudson? Any blows against Zionist cocktail cruises? Nothing's popped on the wires.
No unusual channels opened or cash flowing.
Did you run the roster from Sunshine Cabs? Yeah.
One hit from our watch list.
Nidal Salam.
Veteran of the Holy War against the Russians in Afghanistan.
If you ask him nice, he'll show you his wounds.
Do you know Agent Mulcahy from the FBI? He used to follow me and take my picture.
Well, we'd love to see what he took of you Sunday night.
It would not be very interesting.
I was home, sick.
Did anybody see you there? My wife, my two daughters, my three sons.
Listen, if I wanted to kill Jews, I would just run a red light in my taxi.
This is New York City.
Well, yeah, but then you might lose your hack license.
Look, I wasn't at the pier that night.
I didn't have a car that night.
And I wouldn't go there anyway.
Why not? Are you allergic to water? To Egyptians.
The Egyptian drivers meet there.
In their heads, they are the princes of Arabia.
I am from Yemen.
To them I am a donkey.
It's a terrible thing.
Sadat made peace.
Sadat was a dog.
He was against killing.
I am against killing.
Everybody is against killing.
The question is how to bring it to a stop.
Hey, is this what you were talking about last Sunday night at the pier? No.
About music.
The Top 40.
I think we'd better question you guys individually.
I don't have time.
I have to get back to work.
We were with each other.
We heard the shots.
We left.
Before the boat got in, who else was around besides you? Some other taxicabs.
Various people.
Anybody in a trench coat? Yes.
I saw him.
I noticed because he was acting strangely.
Mahmud! Everybody else was coming or going.
He was just standing.
Where? Where the cars were parked.
Latent's been over the shell casings from the scene.
They've got some partials.
Not enough to run through the system.
We may have something else here, Lieut.
One of the cab drivers saw a man waiting in a trench coat here, in the garage, before the boat came in.
Now, he was waiting there when the big group walked by.
That's the group with the woman who fell in the river.
Then he shot at the smaller group and ran away through the big group.
It's a funny way to hunt Zionists.
Unless he had a specific target.
Then he sends us on a wild goose chase through the whole Arab League.
Six people in the second group.
Who's the target? Well, the dead guy's a good place to start.
What do we know about him? Well, the business cards in his wallet give his name as Larry Rice.
But no one's claimed the body.
A guy like this, there's usually a mortuary wagon waiting outside as soon as the autopsy's over.
You have his business card.
What's the problem? Occupation: "Entrepreneur.
" What the hell is that? The address is on 2nd Avenue, but there's nobody home.
Well, he got shot after a singles cruise.
Maybe he was a lonely guy.
What, no credit cards? No driver's license? Sometimes they get stolen.
Yeah, but he wasn't mugged.
Todd Wexman, CPA.
McAllister and Grossman.
His accountant? I'm sorry, but Mr.
Wexman isn't in.
We just need some information about somebody who might be a client.
Larry Rice.
Rice? I don't think so.
There's no Rice.
Well, we think Mr.
Wexman might know him.
You know where we can reach him? No.
And it's not like Mr.
What isn't? He hasn't been in for two days.
And he hasn't checked in.
I'd call his wife, they live in Connecticut, but he said she was taking the children to visit her mother, and I don't know where that is.
Conroy, do you happen to have a picture of Mr.
Wexman? Yes.
In here.
That's Mr.
Wexman with Mrs.
Alexandra and David and the baby.
Conroy, I'm afraid your boss is in our morgue.
Wexman, I'm very sorry.
I can't stay here long.
I want to be with my children.
Of course.
I just have to ask, does the name Larry Rice mean anything to you? Why? Was he involved with killing Todd? No.
It seems that your husband sometimes used that name.
No, he didn't.
He carried ID in that name.
He rented an apartment in that name.
He booked himself on the dinner cruise in that name.
That can't be.
Did he spend many nights away from home? I told the detectives, he traveled on business.
His employer says he traveled very rarely.
What are you saying? That Todd led some kind of secret life? We were married 13 years.
I know my husband.
Good champagne, but it's dusty.
This caviar has mold.
Rice didn't have much company.
No ladies, huh? Hey, the guy wasn't too swift, if you know what I mean.
Co-eds at the Beach.
Well, at least he had a sex life.
What? He had to sneak away from his wife to watch a porno? Rey, this is a guy who could have chosen any name in the world, and he picked Larry Rice.
And he managed to make it to a singles cruise.
But did he make it on the singles cruise? Mr.
Rice had been to several of our events.
This whole thing is so scary.
We've canceled all public meetings until we know who did this.
What can you tell us about Mr.
Rice's socializing? He was very shy.
On the cruise he spent most of his time talking to me.
Did you ever hear the name Todd Wexman? I don't think so.
Why? It's not important.
What can you tell us about the people who were shot? Susan Beckner is a travel agent.
She recently went out on her own.
Did she have a business problem? No.
She was a generous contributor, and she raised a lot of money from other people.
She even brought half a dozen checks on the cruise.
And one of them bounced.
From an Old Europe International.
I've been meaning to tell her.
What about the other woman? Sally Jacobs does something in retailing.
Did either of them have a problem? Business or personal, anything you knew about? Not so someone would shoot them.
These are all nice people.
Your witnesses say the shooter fired five or six times at the group next to the boat.
We found two slugs in the boat.
And any number could be in the river.
But we also found one in Sally Jacobs and one in Larry Rice or Todd Wexman or whatever his name was.
What about Susan Beckner? That bullet was a through-and-through.
And look at this.
Her dress.
Black rim around the edge of the bullet hole.
Bullet wipe.
From soot deposited on the surface of the bullet, as it moved down the barrel of the gun, which in this case wasn't very clean.
The dead man's shirt.
Look at the bullet hole.
No black rim.
The bullet went through Susan Beckner into him.
So if the shooter was actually aiming, Wexman wasn't the target.
She was.
Who'd want to kill me? I sell airline tickets.
I go to the movies.
I don't know any street gangs.
You owe anybody money? No.
We have to ask.
Do you gamble, use drugs? I drink too much coffee, and I went to Atlantic City once and I didn't like it.
You said, at the hospital, that you'd recently broken up with somebody.
Yes, but he's not violent.
I think he's already seeing someone else.
Let's work it the other way.
How many people knew you were going on that boat ride? I told my mother, maybe a couple of friends.
And I mentioned it to a client I saw that afternoon.
On a Sunday? He needed some airline tickets in a hurry for a tour group that was stranded in Sofia.
Bulgaria? We're going to need a list of those names.
My mother? So who takes vacations in Bulgaria? Bulgarians, for a start.
But these Bulgarians were in a rush to get back to New York? Well, the trip was over, and I was committed to bringing them back, but the charter plane had mechanical problems.
That gave the charter airlines financial problems So you ran over to see Susan Beckner? Well, I'm not licensed to issue plane tickets.
She is.
She sold me 40 tickets.
Made a lot of money.
I got my group home, went over to my girlfriend's to celebrate.
You think I shot Susan Beckner because everybody was too happy? You're Escapade Holidays? That's me.
We can do charter rates for as few as 10 people if you have a group.
And you use a different company name for your trips to Eastern Europe? Old Europe International.
Old Europe? You made a contribution to United Jewish charities.
Fifty bucks.
Susan asked me to, and I was trying to make a good impression.
I just talked to Susan Beckner.
The check Coburn gave her for the airline tickets was good.
Thirty-two thousand dollars.
But his $50 check to her charity bounced? Yeah.
The charity deposited their check on Monday, the morning after the cruise.
Now, she didn't deposit Coburn's check till three days later, because she was in the hospital.
And I talked to Coburn's bank.
He had less than $50 in his account on Monday.
Two days later, he got a big wire transfer from a travel agent up in Canada.
So if Susan Beckner hadn't been shot, she would have deposited her check right away on Monday and it would have bounced.
And she would have canceled his tickets and he would've wound up with 40 angry people stranded in the Balkans.
That can't be too good for business.
I think it's time you checked his alibi.
Hank was here Sunday night.
We stayed in.
All night? Yes.
We were relaxing.
My boyfriend's not a murderer.
We're just concerned that a man under financial pressure What financial pressure? Coburn was having a little cash flow problem, which could have caused him a business problem.
Hank is very successful.
Maybe that's what he tells you.
I'm not stupid.
And I don't date poor men.
Miss Trang, I've just been informed that you're the registered owner of a Glock semi-automatic pistol.
It's registered.
You mind showing it to us, please? I don't have it right now.
Where is it? Why did you bring me here? I didn't do anything.
Maybe not, Miss Trang, but we really would like to find your gun.
I told you.
It was stolen.
We don't believe you.
I don't care what you believe.
This came for you, and more bad news for you, Miss Trang.
The fingerprints on your gun license application match some partial prints on shell casings at the murder scene.
I didn't have anything to do with that! What about your boyfriend? Did he borrow your gun on Sunday night? No.
If you gave it to him knowing what he was going to do with it, you're guilty of murder.
I'm not guilty of anything! Why are you protecting such a poor man? He's not poor.
He's very important in the travel industry.
He sends people to exotic hospitals.
You want to see his bank statement? As of Monday morning, he had $47 in his checking account.
Let me see that.
And another 60 bucks in his savings.
That's not possible! He owns a townhouse! We pulled his credit reports.
He rents the townhouse and the furniture and his car.
The only thing he probably owns are the checks he's been kiting.
That son-of-a-bitch.
What does he think I am? Miss Trang.
I could have better men than him in a minute! Miss Trang! Sunday night? He borrowed my gun.
He told me to lie to you.
Where is he now? I don't know.
He carries a phone.
Give me yours.
Honey, can I see you tonight? I'm wearing the red silk.
Carolyne, I've got something good for you! Hey, Hank Coburn, you're under arrest for murder.
I would have worn my red silk, but it's in the wash.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Come on in.
This is Victor Panatti, with the State Attorney General's office.
Good morning.
Jamie Ross.
Jack McCoy.
Panatti wants to know how the Coburn case is coming along? One of the cabbies picked Coburn out of a line-up.
We can tie him to the murder weapon.
You charged him with second-degree murder.
Is that what you plan to present to the grand jury? Yeah.
But you could've found that out with a phone call.
The governor would like to see Coburn tried and convicted of first-degree murder.
He wants the death penalty? Two innocent people were slaughtered over airline tickets.
It seems appropriate.
I'm not sure the facts support it.
Your investigation just started.
I'm sure you'll find some facts that do.
We'll look into it.
Thank you for stopping by.
Thank you, Mr.
McCoy, Miss Ross.
I think Coburn deserves the death penalty, too, but I don't know if we can give them what they want.
They want to look tough.
Yes? Put them through.
This is Adam Schiff.
Say that again.
Yes, I know where it is.
Tell the driver I'm coming down.
See what you can come up with for the governor.
It's a multiple killing.
That puts it in the running for murder one.
The statute's very specific.
Both deaths have to be intentional.
He meant to kill Susan Beckner with the bullet that killed Wexman.
Law 101, intent follows the bullet.
That's one.
The other, the drowning, is not so obvious.
Coburn was firing into a crowd.
If Miss Kaminsky was killed by a bullet or by dodging one, we can argue Coburn has the same liability.
And Coburn will argue that he doesn't.
Talk to the witnesses.
Find out exactly how she ended up in the water.
I told the police.
We heard shots.
We saw this maniac running toward us, firing a gun.
We tried to get out of his way.
How close to you was Miss Kaminsky? Just about where you are.
Between me and the edge of the pier.
Was there anybody else near her? No.
No, I was the closest.
You told the police you bumped into somebody.
Is it possible it was her? I've thought about that.
Things were pretty chaotic.
But no, I'm sure it wasn't her.
Did the gunman point his weapon toward you? He wasn't shooting right at us.
It was more like he was shooting in the air.
Ballistics said their findings are consistent with Coburn firing in the air.
Which means he didn't intend to kill them.
He just wanted them to get out of the way.
He caused the panic which led to Kaminsky's death.
At most it's depraved indifference.
Murder two.
Nice try.
How about this? It's murder one if a person is killed in the course of a robbery.
He paid for the tickets with a bad check.
That's larceny.
And then he shot Susan Beckner to prevent her from depositing the check, which makes it robbery.
We still have to show intent.
If he meant to cover the check when he gave it to Beckner, there's no larceny and no robbery.
He saw his girlfriend that afternoon.
See what he told her.
Should we bring Adam up to speed on this? No.
He's at Cedar's Hospital with his wife.
She had a stroke.
That's all I know.
Hank took me to Saint Kitts in the summer, Bali during the monsoons, London in February.
Always in the off season.
That should've told me something.
It didn't cost him a dime.
It was all comped by the local tourist bureaus.
Sounds like a rough time.
It was a waste of time.
My parents were so happy for me.
They thought he had money.
Apparently so did Susan Beckner.
You knew he was buying tickets from her? Yes.
He did that instead of taking me to Barneys for a pair of shoes.
I'm sorry.
He told you he was paying her with a bad check? Oh, yeah.
He wanted me to know all about his credit problems.
Look, I already went over this with those detectives.
I didn't know what Hank was up to.
So he just told you to wait here while he went to Susan Beckner's? No.
I went to Barneys by myself.
He called me on my cell phone and told me to meet him.
Where was he calling from? He didn't say.
We checked the incoming calls on his girlfriend's cell phone.
Coburn called her from your office.
Ooh, does that make my phone an accessory to murder? Why was he here? I booked a charter with him and he asked me for an advance on the payment.
How much? A little over 40,000.
He said he needed the check that day.
He even offered to discount the fares if I paid him now.
Did you? Absolutely not.
The tour's not for another five months.
He gets his money 60 days in advance.
Not a minute sooner.
He knew that? Of course.
That's how we always do business.
No reason to change now.
How is she doing? She still hasn't regained consciousness.
What do the doctors say? What they always say.
Wait and see.
What'd you come up with? We can make first-degree murder work, Adam.
An intentional death during the commission of a robbery.
What robbery? The airline tickets.
He used force to keep Beckner from depositing the check.
Six hours after he took the tickets.
I wouldn't call that a continuous act.
According to People v.
Dekle, it's for a jury to decide if it is.
Dekle pulled a knife on a security guard after he stole a television.
Hardly the same thing.
The robbery statute specifies the use of force to compel the owner of the stolen property to To engage in the conduct which aids in the commission of the larceny.
Which means pointing a gun into the face of a bank manager, forcing him to open up the safe.
Besides, didn't Coburn cover that check? Four days later.
He made no credible attempt to cover the check until after the shooting.
What attempt did he make? He hit up a travel agent for an advance on some bookings.
The agent said Coburn had no reasonable expectation of getting any money from him.
Forget it.
You have a solid case for murder two.
Go get your indictment.
Adam, we have a pretty good case for murder one.
I agree.
Before Panatti dropped by, you were happy to send Coburn away for 25-to-life.
That's what we're gonna do.
Connect me, please, to Cedar's Hospital.
Thank you.
The governor was sorry to hear about your wife.
Tell the governor I appreciate his sending the Attorney General to express his concern.
Now what's really on your mind? This Coburn case.
Seems you didn't get the governor's message.
Your people are going for murder two.
That's what the crime warrants.
My people think it fits the requirements of the death penalty statute.
If you turn the penal law into a bag of pretzels.
The governor and I agree you should put the matter before a jury.
Let them decide, Adam.
It's my decision to make.
You have a duty to apply the law.
If the governor wanted this statute to cover this crime, he should've thought of it when he wrote it.
Coburn fired into a crowd.
He killed innocent people.
It's a heinous act aimed at the heart of the city.
If I was convinced it was murder one, that's how I'd prosecute.
Don't dig your heels in, Adam.
I'm flying back to Albany tomorrow afternoon.
I'll expect to hear from you by then.
I don't like ultimatums.
The answer's no.
I won't give the grand jury murder one.
That's unacceptable.
I'm doing criminal justice.
I'm not doing politics.
Good night.
In view of District Attorney Schiff's reluctance to apply the law, the governor has invoked his authority under executive law 63, and removed him as the prosecutor in the case against Henry Coburn.
Furthermore, the governor has instructed me to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the case.
I've designated Deputy Attorney General Panatti to lead the prosecution team.
Panatti will seek an indictment against Mr.
Coburn for murder in the first degree.
I'll now take your questions.
One more.
Can he do that? Did it to Johnson up in the Bronx.
Johnson implied he'd never seek the death penalty Under any circumstances.
This is different.
What will you do? About what? Yes? Yes, I saw the replay on the news.
I understand.
Yes, 9:00 a.
Is fine.
See you then.
That was Panatti.
He wants me to help him prosecute Coburn.
No one knows this case better than you.
And frankly it's been a while since I've been in the courtroom.
What would my role be? Lead attorney.
We both want the same result for Henry Coburn.
How we get there is entirely up to you.
I want to discuss it with Adam Schiff first.
I understand.
Look, I'm as big a fan of his as the next guy.
When it comes to the death penalty, he's old school.
He's signed off on three capital cases since the statute was passed.
If he wasn't preoccupied with his other situation, he'd probably sign off on this one as well.
I hope I can tell the Attorney General you're on board.
What's Panatti got you reading? This is for my own edification.
Robbery, A to Z.
Murder one is tenable, Adam.
Who're you trying to convince? You do what you have to do.
You're still welcome to my Scotch.
There's a rumor you wrote a letter of resignation.
I did.
The premise being I'm getting too old for this nonsense.
Had a nice line in there about making the justice system a political piñata.
Had? I tore it up.
Some things are out of your hands.
I've got to sit there and take it.
Not this.
What are you gonna do? I'm gonna take the governor to court.
He's suing to be reinstated as prosecutor on the case.
Lots of luck.
From what I've read, the governor's order isn't subject to review.
He can remove any D.
, whenever and wherever.
I guess we'll find out if that's true.
What about you? What are you going to tell Panatti? There are a hundred good reasons to take this case.
And one better one not to.
You want to charge up Hamburger Hill with Adam? It wouldn't feel right playing for the other team.
I thought the other team was Henry Coburn.
This only helps him, Jack.
I've got to go.
You know what this means, Jamie? Panatti will be calling you next.
He already did.
I'm starting to work with him tomorrow.
The autopsies on Wexman and Kaminsky.
The meds on Beckner and Jacobs.
Ballistics report.
Bank records.
You convinced me.
You're ready for trial.
Now can we talk about something else? Anything you want, Mr.
Well, let's start with a plea bargain.
Your client's idea? No.
But if you put something fair on the table, I can bring him around.
What do you think is fair? Well, just between you and me and this desk, we all know this charge of murder one is a lot of huffing and puffing.
We don't happen to agree with that.
Say you convict my guy on murder one.
The governor's already written my appeal for me.
Removing Adam Schiff raises all kinds of due process challenges to a conviction.
So what do you propose? Coburn pleads to two counts of second-degree murder.
He serves 15-to-life.
For two dead and three wounded? You don't like it, make me an offer.
We're making no offers, Mr.
This case will be decided by a jury.
Pleasure not doing business with you.
They're gonna beat us over the head with Mulroy v.
That's what worked for them against Johnson in the Bronx.
Mulroy only gives the governor virtually unfettered discretion to take over a case.
You're going to hang your hat on "virtually"? They could've said "absolutely.
" Take a look at Klosterman v.
It upholds the power of the court to overturn the governor's order.
The courts have the big stick.
We just have to convince them to swing it.
You have Gaynor v.
Rockefeller in that pile? We'll give the governor a little history lesson.
I'm hungry.
Chinese or Italian? Surprise me.
I'm ordering take-out.
I brought a salad.
How's Mrs.
Schiff? Still on life support.
Opening arguments in the morning? Bright and early.
Adam and I'll be across the street in civil term.
Good luck.
Same to you.
I told him I'd be cashing the check first thing Monday morning.
He said, "No problem.
" Then he asked what I was doing Sunday night.
I told him about the dinner cruise.
What were you prepared to do if his check bounced? I would've called the airline to cancel the tickets.
Then I would've notified the Travel Agents' Association.
And how would that affect his ability to conduct business? It's pretty serious.
He wouldn't have been able to buy tickets on credit anymore.
He'd have to pay in cash.
Thank you.
Miss Beckner, when my client bought tickets from you in the past, he made sure you were paid in full and on time? Yes.
So when he gave you that check that Sunday afternoon, did you ask him if he had enough money in his account to cover it? No.
It didn't occur to me.
You were confident that come Monday morning, you'd have your money? Yes.
Because when he had bought tickets from you in the past, he made sure you were paid in full and on time.
Isn't that right? Yes.
Thank you.
The governor has no business coming into New York County, telling us how to prosecute criminals.
That's the district attorney's job.
That's what I was elected to do.
The governor's hijacked this case from the citizens of this county.
He made a mistake.
We're here to let him know it.
Thank you.
Keenan! Mr.
Keenan! Mr.
Keenan! The State Constitution compels the governor to ensure the laws be faithfully executed.
He removed Mr.
Schiff to ensure the death penalty statute be applied uniformly throughout the state.
The laws also vest district attorneys with discretionary authority to prosecute cases as they see fit.
Are you implying that their authority is greater than the governor's? I'm saying that Mr.
Schiff's actions were within the law and in no way justified the governor removing him.
Well, the governor doesn't have to justify or even reveal the reasons for his actions.
Judge Cardozo said as much in Saranac Land and Timber.
History does not support Mr.
Governor Roosevelt said such state actions must be predicated on definite allegations of local misgovernment.
Governors have used this power only in cases of broad government corruption or police misconduct.
All Mr.
Schiff did was charge a defendant with a lesser count of murder.
Tyrrell, the governor's action here does seem unusual.
He practically begged me to advance him the money.
But he knew that's not how I do business.
Had he ever asked for an advance before? Yes.
And I didn't give him any money then either.
Thank you.
So it's your standard practice never to pay for a tour more than Yes.
In 1994, you booked a tour to the Angkor Wat ruins through Southeast Adventures.
Is that correct? Yes.
How far in advance did you pay for those reservations? Four months, but I had to.
Access to that area was restricted.
There was a long waiting list.
Last year you booked a cruise up the coast of Chile.
When did you have to pay for those reservations? Six months.
But, again, it was a special circumstance.
So you do make exceptions to your business practices? Yes.
Then it wasn't wholly unreasonable for my client to think you might make another exception? I guess not.
No more questions.
We're in trouble.
Half the jury were nodding in agreement with Axtell.
Really? I think you're over-reacting.
There's still a chance Coburn will take life without parole.
I think we should make the offer.
That's not gonna happen.
Panatti, I can read a jury.
They're not buying the robbery argument.
Maybe it's you they don't like, Miss Ross.
Starting tomorrow, I'll ask the questions.
Mulroy v.
Carey gives the governor unfettered discretion to supersede a district attorney.
His discretion is virtually unfettered, Your Honor.
Gaynor v.
Rockefeller said the governor must act within constitutional limits.
Imposing the death penalty to satisfy political ends hardly meets that standard.
That's just Mr.
Schiff's spin on the governor's motives.
Regardless, the governor's action is beyond review by any court.
What if I do reverse the order, Mr.
McCoy? Wouldn't this court just be substituting its own judgment for the governor's? I submit that's precisely what you're supposed to do, Your Honor, when circumstances warrant.
Your Honor, if we go down this road, every discretionary act by the governor becomes subject to judicial scrutiny.
Your Honor, if I may.
The governor's using his office to put a man's life in the balance.
He claims his power is absolute, beyond review.
That's arrogant.
It smacks of royal authority.
I don't think the Constitution allows it.
And I know the justice system can't tolerate it.
Your Honor Thank you, gentlemen.
You have made your positions abundantly clear.
I'll hand down my decision by the end of the week.
When Mr.
Veitch turned me down, I didn't know what to do.
I thought I could lose everything if that check bounced.
What did you finally decide to do? I had to stop Susan from going to the bank.
I remembered my girlfriend had a gun and I decided to use it.
Not to kill Susan.
Just to wound her.
And you thought of this after you left Mr.
Veitch's office? Yes.
It was stupid.
But I was desperate.
I didn't mean to steal from Susan.
I didn't mean to kill anybody.
I'm sorry.
I'm very sorry.
Thank you.
No more questions.
Let me see if I have this straight.
You gave a $32,000 check to Miss Beckner when you had only $47 in your bank account? Yes.
But I thought I'd have the money by Monday morning.
And then you asked her where she was gonna be that night just to be friendly? Yes.
When Mr.
Veitch turned you down, then you suddenly remembered your girlfriend's gun? Yes.
That's what happened.
In fact, Mr.
Coburn, you had it figured out when you walked into Susan Beckner's office, didn't you? No.
You always intended to defraud her of those tickets.
You always intended to use force to do it.
That's not true.
You expect us to take your word on this? I don't know.
That's the truth.
You have to believe me.
Can you think of a reasonable person who would? Didn't think so.
No more questions.
Redirect, Your Honor.
Coburn, you were originally charged with second-degree murder.
Isn't that right? Objection.
Go ahead, Mr.
But you were later indicted for first-degree murder.
Do you know why the charges were changed? No.
I ask Your Honor to take judicial notice that the charges were changed after District Attorney Adam Schiff was removed as prosecutor by the governor and replaced by Mr.
So noted.
Coburn, do you know why District Attorney Schiff was removed? Objection.
The witness isn't qualified to render an opinion.
I ask Your Honor to take judicial notice of the sworn affidavit filed by Mr.
Schiff in his civil action against the governor.
There's no possible relevance.
Panatti asked my client if he knew of a reasonable person who would believe him.
Schiff is a reasonable person.
I think his views are admissible as rebuttal.
Go ahead, Mr.
Petitioner's refusal to indict defendant on first-degree murder led to his removal.
Using his prosecutorial discretion, petitioner concluded there was insufficient evidence of intent to commit robbery to sustain a charge of first-degree murder.
I have nothing further.
Judge Barclay's decision.
I don't see the bottle of champagne.
He deferred to the governor.
The order isn't subject to judicial review.
He wimped out.
We made waves.
Sometimes that's enough.
They're waiting for me at the hospital.
Will the defendant please stand? On the first count of the indictment, murder in the first degree, how do you find? We find the defendant, Henry Coburn, not guilty.
On the second count, murder in the second degree, for the death of Todd Wexman, how do you find? We find the defendant guilty.
On the third count, murder in the second degree, for the death of Lorna Kaminsky, how do you find? We find the defendant guilty.
Always trust the jury.
That should leave the governor with some nice bite marks on the seat of his pants.
Coburn's lucky.
He owes you his life.
It was never about Coburn.
Excuse me.
You did good, both of you.
Come on.
We'll wait for him down the hall.
This is the form.
You sign here.
We hope for the best.