Law & Order (1990) s10e02 Episode Script


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.
How do we know it's there? 'Cause I seen it.
Where? If I tell you, you won't pay me.
Let's go.
All right, it's down near the construction site.
But that's all I'm saying.
How much? Five each.
I got mine.
All I got is two.
Forget it.
Come on, that's seven for the both of us.
Yo, you wanna see it or not? Two bucks or I'm calling the cops.
And what're you gonna tell 'em? Peace out.
There was a 911 call about a dead kid in the construction area.
Me and my partner took the job.
That's where we found him.
He was dead when you got here? I reached in and felt for a pulse.
Thanks, Stevens.
BRISCOE: Son of a bitch.
Kid's seven or eight, neatly dressed.
Till somebody pulled his pants down.
Yeah, I'll check for signs of sexual abuse.
Maybe all this creep needed was a little peek.
All right, let's pull him out.
My guess is the perp nailed him out here, and then hid his body in the pipe.
ED: Looks like blood on his scalp.
There's something in his mouth.
Let me take a look.
It's a triple A battery.
Crazy son of a bitch.
The kid's a John Doe.
We checked Missing Persons.
There's no reports matching his description.
Well someone's gonna miss that little boy sooner or later.
Patrol's canvassing the neighborhood with his picture.
Only got two teams, Loo.
How about calling the borough for some extra bodies? I'm on it.
Anything on that 911 call? Communications can pinpoint the location once they find the tape.
Hey, it's Saturday.
The M.
's working.
Cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage.
From the way the skull fractured, you're looking for a blunt, irregularly shaped object.
Like one of the 10,000 rocks near the body? When was he killed? Uh, maybe an hour or two before they found him.
Kid was clean.
No tearing, no fluids.
I found particles of sodium chloride on his hands.
Salt? Yeah, the large grain kind.
Maybe from some kind of snack item.
Were there any prints on the Triple A? Latent couldn't lift anything useable.
(CELL PHONE RINGING) I can tell you it was inserted post mortem.
Who knows why? Green.
Hang on.
Communications got a hit on the 911.
SHORTY: I didn't call the police.
We have your voice on tape.
Yeah, well my voice sounds like a lot of kids.
We traced the call to your phone.
You can do that? It's cool, you don't want to talk to us, I know how you feel.
But we have a murdered child.
You saw the body.
I had nothing to do with it, I swear.
How did you know where he was? This kid I know told me.
Why'd he do that? I don't know.
He wanted money to show us the dead kid.
What's a dead kid go for these days? Five bucks.
I just heard about this on the news.
What's it have to do with Jonas? Your kid was selling tickets to see the body.
What the hell? Come on, Dad.
You have three seconds to explain this.
I just heard a bunch of kids talking about it in the park.
I never even seen it.
Who are these kids? Just some kids.
The girl who told me where the body was was on my Little League team, like five years ago.
What's her name? I don't remember.
I don't.
She was just this dork who was scared of the ball.
I have his team photo inside.
All the kids signed the back.
Do you remember Jonas, from the Asteroids? He said you knew where the body was.
He was in the pipe.
BRISCOE: Do you know the boy's name? I saw a man put him there.
You saw this, Tara? Do you know this man? No.
But you remember what the man looked like? Not really.
Come on, Tara.
You can do better than that.
Was he black or white? White.
ED: You must have noticed his hair.
He had short hair.
And sideburns on his face.
Why didn't you tell me? You told me not to play over there.
So what were you doing? Mrs.
Padden, please.
How about his clothes? He had a blue uniform.
And he smelled like gas, like from a car.
You were close enough to smell him? After he put the boy in the pipe.
When he walked back.
He didn't know I was watching him.
We had the witness sit down with an artist.
We're figuring the perp works in a gas station or auto repair.
Yeah, there's no hit on the MO and all our local pervos are accounted for, so this guy may have a clean sheet.
So we'll canvass in sectors around the murder scene.
Yes, Lennie has the assignments.
I want you to flash the victim's photo along with the sketch.
Somebody may have seen the boy with Mr.
Nobody reported the kid missing? Maybe the kid's from out of town.
Or the doer's one of his parents.
I got two Pakistanis working here plus one Tamil, one Nigerian.
This looks like Bruce Willis.
What about this boy? You see him this morning? Oh, my God.
Is that a yes? No, no, no, this boy comes with his mother to buy the Lotto.
You're sure? She lets him pick the numbers.
Sometimes she charges her gas on her Visa card.
Aaron's just seven.
What's he have to do with the police? Was he wearing a navy blue T-shirt and white Reebok sneakers this morning? He's at my sister's in the village.
Did you speak to either one of them today, Mrs.
Polansky? Well, not since this morning.
But I just got back from work.
Oh, my God.
Where is he? We're sorry.
(WHIMPERS) I left him alone for an hour.
Ruth was supposed to get him.
We found him near the highway construction.
Why didn't she call me? Oh, my God.
He's dead.
Aaron, my baby.
(SOBBING) Why don't we call your sister, huh? Yeah, why don't we? I came by to pick Aaron up, but no one was home.
I thought my sister took him to work.
She's done that before.
Why didn't you call your sister at work? I did.
Oh, God.
I guess she didn't get her message.
Could Aaron get out by himself? He was tall enough to reach the lock.
ED: Was their door locked when you got there? It was, but I have keys.
I should have kept calling.
Why don't we go upstairs to your sister? Uh, can anybody get in the front door? You gotta have keys or get buzzed in.
You remember seeing a guy go in with a blue uniform, like a gas station jumpsuit, something like that? Late 30's, short hair? Could be.
Sounds like 1-B's boyfriend.
Dale Varnette? Yeah? Your boss says you were on a break this morning around 10:00? Yeah, that's right.
We need to talk.
Richie wanted his car an hour ago.
Richie's gonna have to wait.
You visit your girlfriend this morning? She say I did something to her? Why did you have a little eye-opener with her? Hey, pal, she made me a cup of coffee.
So you couldn't have been there very long.
I was in a hurry to get back to work.
That's why you took the shortcut through the construction site? Construction site? Yeah we got a eye witness puts you there with a little boy.
Little boy? What the hell you talking about? The kid you abducted from your girlfriend's building.
No way.
No way.
All I did was have a cup of coffee, and go back to work.
Anybody see you leave? Yeah, okay, yeah.
There was this girl there, She was standing in front of the building.
You're gonna have do better than that.
Brown hair, kinda skinny, wearing a Knicks T-shirt.
She was by the building? Yeah.
She was standing by the door, like she was waiting for somebody.
You're gonna have to come down to the station while we straighten this out.
Why couldn't you just find my witness? We already did.
BRISCOE: Here's the problem, Tara.
You say you saw the man by the construction site.
I did.
But we think you saw him by the little boy's building, on 46th street.
I wasn't at the building.
BRISCOE: You sure about that, Tara? Why do you think she's lying? I'm not lying, Mom.
I swear.
Did you pass by that building any other time today? No.
All right, Mrs.
Detective Briscoe is going to take you to fill out a CB 12-14.
What's that? Cab Fare Requisition Form.
Yeah, so the City will pay for your transportation home.
While your mom's taking care of that, Tara, can you help me with something? All right.
We're trying to catch the man that hurt that little boy.
I told you everything I saw.
I noticed your mom rubs her lip, when she's unhappy about something.
Like this.
Right? And when you're nervous, you twirl your hair with your finger.
It's just a habit.
I think you do it when you're telling a lie.
Do you recognize this man? That's the man I saw at the pipes.
We talked to him.
He says you saw him at the little boy's building.
He's lying or you're lying.
I'm not.
I'm going to speak to you like a young woman, Tara.
Do you understand how important this is? If you don't believe me, you can ask my friend.
Someone else saw what happened? Jenny.
She's my best friend.
Her friend Tara says they were playing by the highway construction yesterday.
Oh, yeah? It was just for a couple of minutes.
Tara made me go.
Wasn't Gabbie watching you? She had to go somewhere with her father.
Did you see something happen down there? You mean with the man in the blue uniform? That's right.
Well, there was this man and he had this kid who was like dead or something, and he was putting him inside a pipe.
Why didn't you tell anybody? Tara said not to tell.
She's in 7th grade.
Mom, can I go back to the swings now? Sure, sweetie.
Maybe you should have a talk with her.
BRISCOE: At some point we may need your daughter to view a line-up.
Well, you already have her friend.
Why do you have to drag her into this? I say we've got enough to charge Varnette.
Tara Padden ID'd his photo.
And Varnette ID'd her, in front of the dead kid's building.
Maybe he noticed her at the murder scene.
Not a bad scam.
Turn the eyewitness into his alibi.
I'm not buying it.
I still think the kid is lying.
Because she plays with her hair? You played cards with her, Ed? Varnette's lawyer calls here every 10 minutes to ask what we're holding him on.
Look, if he walked the boy out of the building, someone had to have seen them.
I'll buy you some time.
You bring me a witness.
His name is Dale Varnette.
He's got a girlfriend in 1-B.
He doesn't look familiar.
What about you, Jake? You remember seeing this man? Look, we're trying to catch a movie.
The man came here yesterday? BRISCOE: Yeah, did you see him? I don't remember him.
FRED: Is that it? Jenny was here Saturday.
Maybe she remembers.
Jenny Brandt? He knows her from school.
She wanted me to see if I could come outside.
She said she would get me a hot dog.
Did you go with her? I don't like to play with her.
She hits.
Maybe you can still make that movie.
What do you think, Lennie? The two girls came by to lure Jake with a hot dog? The salt on Aaron Polansky's hands.
Maybe he didn't want a hot dog.
WOMAN: Thanks.
Sold about five dozen pretzels yesterday.
Saturday is my best day.
You remember this kid? His name's Aaron Polansky? I don't think so.
Try putting him with a couple of girls, Lot of little girls in the neighborhood.
One of them had blond hair and pigtails.
She was 10 cents short.
Cute kid, looked like she was gonna cry.
So I let her slide.
I was hoping you were wrong.
Oh, I got a knot in my stomach just thinking about this.
It all adds up.
Jenny goes inside while Tara waits outside.
Varnette said she was hanging out by the building.
Maybe there's something we're missing.
Call the parents, have them bring the girls down for a talk.
Ed had some rapport with the older girl.
Once Lennie got the mother out of the way.
Okay, you take the 10-year-old.
Her mother will have to be in the room.
The other girl's 13.
So you can talk to her without a parent present.
Are you sure about that? I'll let the mother listen through the one-way.
If she wants to stop, I'll let you know.
Sounds good.
I'm giving you a little slack here, Ed.
Just don't break the rope.
You understand, you can get a lawyer if you want? I don't think we need a lawyer.
Now, yesterday morning, Jenny, you went out to play with your friend Tara? First Tara came over and we watched some cartoons.
Then Mom said we could go to the playground.
You were supposed to be with Gabbie.
BRISCOE: Do you know a boy named Jake Hansen? Yeah.
Did you go to his apartment? I went with Tara.
We just wanted to see if he could come play with us.
You told me you were going straight to the playground.
No, I didn't.
This isn't fair.
Why is everyone asking me questions? This Jake Hansen, he lives in the same building as the boy that was murdered? That's right.
You know something? My husband had a lawyer.
Maybe I should talk to him.
He had a lawyer? Vince is in jail.
For what? Stealing cars.
I wanna make a phone call.
ED: Remember how we talked about what you saw at the construction site, Tara? I saw the man with the blue uniform.
Remember how I said you were getting to be a young lady? Yeah.
Young ladies only tell the truth, right? Right.
Unless they're bad young ladies? I know you're not really bad.
I know that in my heart, okay? Okay.
So I want you to tell me the truth about what happened.
I did.
You go to IS 48? Yeah.
Like school? It's hard.
You still play little league? Just soccer.
Ooh, maybe I'm talking to the next Mia Hamm.
I'll never be as good as her.
But you're getting better though, right? I guess so.
When I was a kid, all my friends tried out for the basketball team.
But I pretended I was sick.
Because you weren't good enough? Yeah.
I never told anyone that before.
I feel better now that I told you.
You know sometimes when you try to keep a secret, it hurts to hold it inside of you.
But if you have a friend to share it with, it feels better, right? I want to be your friend, Tara.
I think you have a secret, about what happened to that little boy.
(SOBBING) Hold my hands, Tara.
It's okay.
Go ahead.
We're friends, right? ED: I wanna share that secret with you.
It's okay to cry, Tara.
All that pain you're feeling, I want you to give some of that to me.
I'm not gonna let anybody hurt you if you tell, okay? I promise.
We didn't see the man at the construction.
ED: Okay, good.
Who was there? Tell me who was there.
It It was me and Jenny.
What did you and Jenny do? We took him there.
The little boy.
Did somebody hit him? Jenny did.
Jenny hit him with a rock.
More than once? Like this.
Did you hit him? Just Jenny.
Did you know Jenny was going to hurt him? No.
What did you do after she hit him? He wouldn't wake up.
So we put him in the pipe.
And you pulled his pants down? Yeah.
Why did you do that? I don't know.
Jenny said to.
It's okay, Tara.
Thank you for telling the truth.
You're a very good young lady.
(SOBBING) CLERK: "Docket numbers 556 and 557.
"In the matter of Tara Padden and Jennifer Brandt.
"Murder in the second degree.
" (CROWD MURMURING) How old are these children? Miss Brandt is 10.
Miss Padden is 13.
We may transfer her to Supreme Court and prosecute her as an adult.
Let us know, Ms.
You want bail? There's obviously been a lack of parental control here.
I represent Tara Padden.
Your Honor, Ms.
Carmichael assumes my client is guilty.
CARMICHAEL: She confessed, Judge.
The statement was elicited by an aggressive officer, who pressured her to tell him what he wanted to hear.
I'm moving to suppress the statement.
I'll put the matter over for a hearing.
What about Miss Brandt? She denies any participation in this.
Miss Padden's statement indicates Miss Brandt was the one who hit the victim with a rock.
Tara's a liar.
She blames everything on me, 'cause she's older.
JUDGE: Quiet down, Miss.
I'm releasing these children to their parents.
Your Honor But I am requiring electronic ankle monitoring.
You should've been there.
The ankle monitors we had didn't fit.
We had to punch extra holes.
If it wasn't so pathetic What about this confession? If there was manipulation, her mother could have jumped in.
"Share your pain with me, "the next Mia Hamm.
" What I hear is damn good police work.
I see an overzealous cop.
This didn't make you uncomfortable, Anita? Maybe I could have pulled him back a little.
But it doesn't mean it didn't happen the way the girl said.
Or she made up a story to please an authority figure.
CARMICHAEL: Is Dale Varnette still in custody? We released him.
As far as we're concerned, the case is closed.
It could all fall apart at the suppression hearing.
Well, now, that depends on you, Counselor.
Those girls killed that little boy.
(DOOR OPENING) SPECTOR: The police did everything possible to manipulate this little girl.
They bribed her with a Happy Meal.
They chatted about her hobbies.
JACK: The detective was creating a bond of trust with the suspect.
Or an atmosphere of coercion.
Why did Detective Green suggest details of the crime to her? This wasn't a kid who wouldn't talk without a little prodding.
A little prodding? This was a snow job on a girl who repeated the sixth grade.
JACK: The police are allowed to use deception during questioning.
With an adult, who's presumed to have the intelligence and experience to evaluate these lies.
JACK: The mother could have stopped it at any time.
Why did the police exclude her? When they interviewed Tara previously, the mother was inhibiting her.
And why wasn't Detective Green's partner present? Detective Green had already established a rapport with her.
He's been cited twice for excessive force.
He held her hand.
Are you accusing him of excessive kindness? I'm accusing him of railroading a child.
All right, I've heard enough.
I've reviewed the interrogation.
It's apparent the police acted in a manner calculated to manufacture an admission from an immature This so-called confession is inherently unreliable, it doesn't pass due process standards, and I won't consider it.
Motion to suppress is granted.
What do we have to do? Put an A.
In every precinct? Lieutenant Van Buren made a judgment call.
She made the wrong judgment.
I don't think these kids are innocent.
Little girl killers? CARMICHAEL: You can't believe it because they wear knee socks and pigtails? Could have been an accident.
The battery in the boy's mouth, the victim's pants Sounds like an adult offender.
You have something beside this confession? There were salt particles on the victim's hands.
Jenny bought a pretzel right before the murder.
Case is built on salt particles? We have a witness who put Jenny Brandt in the building at the time of the abduction.
Who's the witness? An eight-year-old.
Detective Green take his statement? I don't think this Tara Padden is smart enough to pull this off.
Maybe the younger girl pulled the strings.
Gabbie's been babysitting for Jenny since the Brandts moved in, about five years ago.
Is she hard to take care of? If you don't do exactly what she wants, she just loses it.
Like, if I'm watching TV and not paying attention to her, she throws a total fit.
Does she get along with other kids? She's okay with girls, but I don't think she likes boys too much.
What do you mean? She once borrowed my 16 Magazine and blacked out all the eyes on the boys.
She said she wished they would all just die.
Has she always been like this? She's always getting into fights with boys at school and it's gotten a lot worse since her father went to jail.
You wouldn't believe what goes on in their apartment though.
Like what? Her mother tells her all about her boyfriends.
They don't even close the bedroom door.
She knows more about sex than I do.
Does Jenny have any contact with her father? Jocelyn won't let her see him.
I felt bad for her.
Don't tell Jocelyn, but I let Vince talk to Jenny on my phone.
And how recently was that? Last time was a couple of days before the police came.
VINCE: You think my daughter did a murder? JACK: That's what her friend Tara says.
Well, maybe this other kid's full of crap.
There is corroborating evidence, Mr.
She's 10 years old.
She can barely ride a bike.
She lured a seven-year-old boy from his apartment.
There was a battery stuffed in his mouth.
A battery? What if they find her guilty? You gonna put her in one of those juvie homes? That's one possibility.
Those places are pretty rough.
CARMICHAEL: It's not as rough as her home environment.
Your wife has sex with her boyfriends while Jenny's in the room.
(WHISPERS) That bitch.
And I'm locked up in there.
Auto theft is a non-violent conviction.
We can have you moved to a facility closer to the city.
There's a possibility of work release.
(SIGHS) Oh, God.
JACK: You know what, Mr.
Brandt? You help us, we'll help her.
I gotta think what to do here.
We are not the enemy.
You think we want to slam a 10-year-old child? (BREATHES DEEPLY) There's this picture I gotta show you.
JACK: Jenny sent this to her father just before she was arrested.
It's Aaron Polansky.
With batteries around his head.
It's just a child's drawing.
The girl holding the rock, that's Jenny.
It's a pictorial confession.
It implicates both girls.
Well, if that's Tara, she's just standing there, like she said all along.
I had a hard time believing it myself.
Now I'm convinced.
They're murders.
If you brought us down here to plea bargain, I'm not interested.
Isn't your objective to do what's best for her? Locking her up with other out-of-control kids is hardly the answer.
I'm fighting the charges.
Easy for you to walk away.
You're in juvie court.
My client's facing a life sentence.
She's three years older.
Jenny led her by the nose.
Jenny didn't know what she was doing.
Here's my notice.
I'm pleading not responsible.
(DOOR OPENING) Sharkey's conceding Jenny committed the murder.
She's claiming she's mentally ill? Too young to appreciate the consequences of her actions.
The judge buys it, it's a total walk.
Well, maybe there's something to it, Jack.
She is 10 years old.
I don't know.
Old enough to rope in an accomplice, and lie to the police.
I'm calling Skoda for a psych work up.
How did you feel when your father left? I didn't care.
It didn't make you sad? Nope.
But you wrote letters to him in jail.
You must have missed him? My mom got a boyfriend right away.
Byron the Beast.
Why did you call him that? Because he was smelly.
When did you smell him, Jenny? You know, whenever he came near me.
Did he ever get really close to you? No.
Did he ever touch you? No.
Make sure you write that down.
I saw Byron touch Mom.
They did all kinds of stuff.
I hate him! Did you want to hurt him? I wanted to.
Byron's too big.
Did you ever think about hurting someone else? Sometimes I think about hurting a little boy.
Hurting how? Hit them over the head and make them cry.
Kill them and leave them with no clothes on so they'll look stupid.
Do you have these thoughts often? Uh-huh.
Since when? I don't know.
A long time.
Have you tried hurting other things, like a pet? There was this tabby cat that lived in my building.
It used to like me 'cause I gave it ice cream.
So what happened to it? I gave him some ice cream, but, I put some cleaning stuff in it, you know like for the floors.
And it like started screaming and choking and everything.
Then it went dead.
It was way cool.
That makes me so angry, Jenny.
How could you do that to a helpless little animal? I don't know.
Is that how you felt when you hit the little boy? It wasn't cool or anything like with the cat.
I just hit him with a rock.
He deserved it.
He wouldn't stop crying.
When the boy didn't wake up, what did you think? I don't know.
That he went dead.
That's why I put the battery in his mouth.
To give him some electricity to wake him up, like they do in the hospitals.
Jenny's been emotionally abused.
Maybe physically.
She lashes off when her anger reaches the boiling point.
So we lock this girl up? Get used to it.
More and more girls committing violent crimes.
I don't see anything for Jenny except a future of escalating anti-social behavior.
What makes you say that? Emotional abuse, the snuffed cat, the blacked-out photographs.
Her lack of response when I went after her.
Her fantasies about hurting little boys.
Yeah, previews of coming attractions.
She's graduated to murder.
She's not gonna stop.
You sound pretty sure.
Kid's a done deal.
She's a textbook serial killer.
We just got her early.
You've read the reports, Ms.
Jenny Brandt is damaged goods.
So what do you want? Consent to restrictive placement until age 21, reassess when she's an adult.
I'm sorry.
She's too young to just throw in the towel.
She's deeply disturbed.
She needs to be kept away from little boys.
We can stipulate Jenny be housed in a facility with psychiatric services.
She can get treatment on the outside.
The best you can get under the Family Court Act is five years, Mr.
And I'm not helping you get it.
Five years in a youth facility, it's not gonna solve the problem.
That's the law, Jack.
Our hands are tied.
Not if we can convince Miss Brandt to commit her daughter.
An open-ended psychiatric confinement? If the system doesn't have a place for this girl, we've got to make one.
So I sign the papers and they put Jenny in a mental hospital? As long as your application is approved by a pre-certification committee.
And how long does she stay? Until the doctors think she's no longer a threat.
Well, that could be forever.
Your daughter is a predator, Ms.
She needs to be somewhere where she can't hurt other people.
Jenny's all I have.
You did the best you could, but you can't handle her.
(LAUGHS) Go ahead.
Blame me for this.
We're not blaming anybody.
Your daughter needs help.
I am not putting Jenny in a mental institution.
We're done.
Well, that solves my problems with this.
You promised me you would help her.
This is helping her.
You said Jenny'd be in a juvie home, not a nut house.
That was before we knew what we were dealing with.
Look at the people here, Mr.
Jenny's on her way.
Are you gonna watch or you gonna help her? (SIGHS) You two have been on the road? Peconic Correctional Facility.
Vince Brandt signed the commitment papers.
State head-shrinkers.
In the past year they released three subway pushers and a man who dined on his neighbor's liver.
There's no other way.
What about the way the state legislature prescribes? They never conceived of a Jenny Brandt.
Legal Aid wants her back at home.
I'm not going to let that happen.
I don't want this office coming off inhumane.
Inhumane to whom? To Jenny or to the society on which she wreaks havoc? What do you got planned for the older girl? Attica? We cut a deal with the lawyer.
She's pleading as a juvenile offender.
We're leaving sentencing up to the judge.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Well, Jenny's lawyer caught wind of it.
She filed a motion to stop the civil commitment.
We'll fight it.
Skoda convinced me, he'll convince Judge Solomon.
Jenny's lawyer has an expert too.
We've retained Elizabeth Olivet.
Wasn't Dr.
Olivet formerly affiliated with the D.
's office? And now she's in private practice, specializing in children.
She's examined Jenny and feels that Mr.
McCoy's position is based on a bunch of voodoo psychology.
With all due respect to Dr.
Olivet, a parent has a right to commit a mentally ill child.
Except the mother opposes it and there's a family court charge pending.
Aren't you usurping the authority of the Family Court, Mr.
McCoy? If that's a problem, we'll drop the prosecution.
Do you see what's happening here? Mr.
McCoy's short circuiting Jenny's defense by committing her.
I'm trying to protect the public from a killer.
You're making it up as you go along.
JUDGE: You know something, Ms.
Sharkey? We have a 10-year-old killer here.
McCoy's position has some merit.
Judge I want to hear from both your psychologists.
And anyone else who has some insight on this child.
Then I'll rule, on the whole ball of wax.
JACK: After examining Miss Brandt, what's your diagnosis? The child is a sociopath.
In layman's terms? Enormous anger, which she directs at other children.
She's desensitized to violence, lacks empathy with her victims.
Basically, she exists in an emotional vacuum.
Is this condition likely to change? Sure.
It'll get worse.
She's already demonstrated a pattern of escalating violent behavior.
There's no reason to think it'll end.
In your opinion, did Jenny comprehend that she was killing this boy? She's had fantasies about it for at least a year.
And she was perfectly clear to me about killing her neighbor's cat.
I don't see why it would be any mystery to her.
Jenny's never been in therapy, right, Dr.
Skoda? It wouldn't help.
How can you possibly know that? She shows all the signs of a recidivist violent predator, torturing small mammals Are you trotting out the McDonald's Triad? These so called predictors have been discredited in over 20 studies.
Okay, forget about predictors.
She's already killed someone.
SHARKEY: And you know, she'll do it again.
SKODA: I know I don't want to take that risk.
If she were my patient, she'd be institutionalized.
So you'd give up on her without even trying to treat her? I have no problem trying to treat her, behind bars.
A little dispassionate, don't you think, Doctor? I'll save my compassion for next kid she kills.
OLIVET: Jenny was in a car accident when she was four.
I ordered some CT scans on her brain.
There's frontal lobe damage.
Studies link this with poor impulse control.
So in your opinion, is the cause of Jenny's violent behavior organic? In part.
I'm not saying her family problems aren't a factor, but abuse alone doesn't necessarily cause violence.
SHARKEY: Is she responsible for her actions? DR.
OLIVET: My examination points to identifiable biological and psychiatric factors which diminish her culpability.
Jenny doesn't process right and wrong the way you and I do.
And her fantasies of harming a child? Everybody has inappropriate fantasies.
Given time, Jenny's fantasies can be refocused.
So her condition is reversible? It's worth a shot.
There is no reason to give up on this child.
Olivet, is there any medication for the kind of frontal lobe damage you described? Not yet.
Any drugs in FDA trials? No.
And I know all about Dr.
Skoda and his penchant for easy chemical fixes.
But there are other therapies.
Talk therapy, behavior modification.
JACK: Do they work? Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
And if they don't, Jenny Brandt will kill again? Nobody knows that, not even Dr.
But there are no guarantees, are there? I'll give you one guarantee, Mr.
You lock this child away in an asylum for the criminally insane, and you're wasting whatever chance you have of fixing her.
Jack, I don't get it.
Why are you going after this kid? She killed a little boy.
I thought you were a victims advocate? I am.
But I don't like to see a colleague who has no clinical expertise in children trying to put away a 10-year-old.
I think all that expertise has turned you soft, Liz.
Too bad we don't have time for 10 rounds.
Everything was fine with Jenny until Vince went to jail.
SHARKEY: When Jenny started to have problems in school, Mrs.
Brandt, did you do anything about it? Oh, Jenny and I would talk.
She said the boys she hurt were teasing her or something, so she had to fight back.
I tried to teach her not to be so physical, but I guess it just didn't get through.
Do you realize now that your daughter has a serious problem? Oh, believe me, I do.
I'm so sorry for the parents of that boy.
If you send Jenny home, Your Honor, I will do everything I can to help her.
I promise I'll watch her like a hawk.
This will never happen again.
So the point is, Ms.
Brandt, you didn't watch her like a hawk? I tried.
You said you talked to her when she got in trouble in school, but did you do anything about it? Well, I grounded her.
You grounded her.
Well, what else could I do? Did you consult a therapist? No.
Did you investigate any intervention programs? No.
Did you do anything about it when she killed your neighbor's cat? I didn't know she did that.
Do you have any reason to think that there's anything you could do to stop her? I don't know.
So Jenny's just out there terrorizing other children? No, she's not a monster.
Please don't take her away from me.
She's She's my best friend.
(SOFTLY) Please, don't.
Your Honor, my client is 10 years old.
She has teddy bears on her bedspread and a Big Bird piggy bank filled with pennies.
And she killed a child.
It's so incongruous, it's almost inconceivable.
Olivet has testified that, because of her age, and because of the way her brain works, she simply couldn't appreciate that as she struck Aaron Polansky with a rock, she was killing him.
Jenny thought she could revive him with a one-and-a-half-volt battery.
It speaks for itself.
McCoy's position is to ignore the question of responsibility and brand Jenny Brandt a killer.
She'll never change, we have to put her away.
People change.
If anyone can change, it's a child.
And Dr.
Olivet has emphasized that this will not happen in a state mental hospital.
McCoy's solution is a solution of last resort.
Please, don't give up on her, Judge.
Jenny got dealt a lousy hand.
I look at her with pity and regret.
But Jenny Brandt is trouble.
She battered Aaron Polansky's head and stuffed him in a pipe.
Sharkey wants us to believe that she didn't appreciate what she did.
I don't agree.
Jenny daydreams about killing small boys.
She even had a trial run with a cat.
But ultimately what she could or could not appreciate is irrelevant.
Jenny is a loaded gun.
She's a cocked fist with a rock in it.
She needs to be stopped, before she kills again.
Olivet talks about sending Jenny to a state institution like it's a death sentence.
That turns the world upside down.
Aaron Polansky got a death sentence.
Jenny would get treatment.
Now everybody knows, state psychiatric care could be better.
But letting Jenny get away with murder won't help this girl.
How will she ever appreciate that her actions have consequences if there are none.
And how many children will she kill, before the adult criminal Justice System can take over.
Do we have to wait and see? Ms.
Sharkey would like us to cross our fingers and hope, hope that it won't happen again.
I have my own kind of hope.
I hope the state doctors can find a way to fix this girl.
I hope that it takes six months, but until they do, we can't afford Ms.
Sharkey's brand of hope.
We need to protect the Aaron Polansky's of this world, from Jenny Brandt.
Thank you both.
I'll render my decision tomorrow.
We're adjourned.
Sharkey gave a good closing.
I'd say it's a tossup.
You comfortable with your position? It's quite a row your hoeing.
You don't think it keeps me up at night? Nobody twisted your arm.
Would you want this kid loose in your neighborhood? The public is tired of violent children being sent to bed without their dessert.
Five countries in the world execute their children.
And we're one of 'em.
Where do we draw the line? On a case by case basis, like we always do.
Now we condemn this 10-year-old to state psychiatric care.
It's the worst possible solution, except for all the others.
And if Olivet is right? That's why I'm not sleeping.
JUDGE: What we have before us, is an angry little girl, who killed because of some deep turmoil, no one can adequately explain to me.
But I'm convinced, based on her age, and psychiatric make-up, that Jenny did not understand the consequences of her actions.
And if I believe she's not responsible for what she's done, I can't deny her the chance to evolve into a healthy young woman.
I must hold out hope that she can be treated, and rehabilitated.
And I don't think that's going to happen in a state hospital.
McCoy's fears about Jenny's future are well founded.
But I won't lock a child away because of a fear, or a prediction of future behavior.
I'm quashing your commitment papers, Mr.
McCoy, and releasing Jenny to the custody of her mother.
Brandt, get help for your daughter.
You and I are going to have a standing monthly appointment.
I want to know what's happening with this child.
We're adjourned.
(GAVEL POUNDING) (JENNY LAUGHS) Someone should call Aaron Polansky's mother.
I'll call her from the office.

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