Law & Order (1990) s11e10 Episode Script

Whose Monkey is it Anyway?

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.
Since when are you such a financial wizard? Because I have a 401 k? I have a savings account, I have life insurance, and my brother-in-law just put me in a mutual fund.
I don't want to hear about anything else.
When it comes time to retire, you're gonna be crying in your beer.
(MONKEY SCREECHING) What the hell is this? There's one of 'em But where are the rest of 'em? Oh, God.
(CHATTER ON POLICE RADIO) Who is he? According to his ID, his name is Ronald Lee.
He's a molecular biologist.
Any idea what he died from? Not really.
All I can see is the one bite mark on his hand.
Must've bitten clear through the glove.
Forcible entry? Not to the doors, not to the cages.
The monkeys were infected with something, right? They weren't here to learn how to ride unicycles.
According to what the lab people said, half of them were infected with a recombinant AIDS virus.
Any sign of them? Only the one.
(MONKEY SCREECHING) This the perp? Yeah.
Two guys who work here got him back in the cage.
And what's your story, huh? They said one of 'em gets out they fight like hell to not get put back in.
So would I.
TONG: Seventeen monkeys were taken.
Eight of them were infected with a strain of Simian immunodeficiency virus that's been genetically modified with human AIDS virus.
How likely is it that they'll infect anybody else? Suffice it to say that anyone who gets near them is at risk of being bitten and infected.
We have no idea where these monkeys are? Not as of yet.
At this point, I think it's inadvisable to go public with the fact that the Center for Disease Control is involved.
All it's going to do is create unnecessary panic.
If we don't manage to locate these monkeys in a reasonable period of time, I'm derelict in my responsibilities if I don't go public.
What's reasonable? Seventy-two hours.
We'll do the best we can.
I want updates.
Yes, sir.
Uh, Dr.
Tong, could you just stick around for a minute? We need to ask you a few questions.
Have we heard from the M.
? Well, they put the preliminary cause of death as anaphylactic shock, probably brought on by an allergic reaction to something in the monkey's saliva.
Well, if the guy was allergic to monkeys, what was he doing working in the lab? According to the M.
, anaphylactic shock doesn't require a pre-existing allergy.
Well, what are you thinking for motive? The monkeys go for between five and eight thousand per, and there were 18 of 'em.
Robbery would be a possibility.
Another possibility is if they were making progress on an HIV vaccine, it could have been a case of industrial espionage.
Well, has anyone received word of an animal rights group being involved? Not so far.
Because there was a fatality, most groups that would do this sort of thing might not be quick to claim responsibility.
Has this particular research facility been the target of protest? We'll let you know.
People find out we use primates, we catch heat.
Well, what kind of heat? Oh, protests.
Nasty letters.
Some threats.
Any, uh, threats against specific people? Oh, yeah.
I had someone call and say they were gonna stick a needle in me like we do to the primates.
Sounds like you don't take it too seriously.
I just lost a close friend and a gifted bio-chemist.
I also lost, potentially, years worth of research.
I take that very seriously.
What I won't do is be intimidated by these people.
Can you give us any specifics on who these people are? Talk to my head of security.
He knows who they are.
The last demonstration we had was in September.
Like, 20 people walking around in front of the entrance with signs.
A couple of 'em got inside and poured blood on the floor.
My guys detained them until the cops got here, and we pressed charges for trespassing and criminal mischief.
What kind of a security system do you have in place? Electronic key access to this wing of the building.
Separate access to where the monkeys are kept.
Any history of electronic keys falling into the wrong hands? Well, it's been known to happen.
Computer hackers figure out how to replicate the code, they can fabricate something that fools the scanner.
But did it ever happen here? It happened at a research facility in Wisconsin.
Um, from what I understand, they had a break-in, some files were destroyed, and they never apprehended who did it.
This last protest, where they broke in and poured the blood, what was the name of the organization? They called themselves All Living Creatures United.
We really take no satisfaction in Mr.
Lee's death.
Oh, I'm sure that'll be of great comfort to his family.
Unfortunately, his job put him in the front lines of a struggle.
We're not asking for a sound bite here, Ms.
We just want to know who in your organization was present at the facility.
I wouldn't have that information.
Do you encourage your members to break into animal research labs? We encourage our members to follow their consciences.
Oh, so as long as their conscience tells them to, you'd support an action like this? I I'm not saying that.
BRISCOE: You refuse to give us a list of your members? There is no list of members.
There are 17 diseased animals unaccounted for, Ms.
If you think you're gonna be able to protect anybody's identity, you're very much mistaken.
The two detained at the demonstration, one of them is Maxine Walden, twenty-one, dean's list.
The other one is Barry Pratt, previously arrested for assault, burglary, and possession of burglary tools.
I'll take care of number two.
So, what's the difference between Vegan and Vegetarian? Vee-gan.
No animal parts of any kind.
So, what, no milk, no eggs, no cheese? That's right.
That's kind of restrictive, isn't it? Well, if you're really interested, I can get you some reading material.
Uh, I was just making conversation.
Do you know anything about this research lab that got broken into? No.
Any idea where monkeys hole up when they're on the lam? No, I have no idea.
You were arrested in a demonstration at this lab a few months ago.
That's right, I was.
You been back there since? No.
Where were you last night? I was playing basketball at the Anybody we can call to verify that? Well, I have the team roster on my Palm Pilot.
You want to see? Yes, we do.
You're here because I have a record, right? It isn't for the food.
His alibi checks out.
He hasn't been talking to animal rights groups in Wisconsin? None that we can identify.
And his e-mails tell us nothing? The only name that means anything is Maxine Walden.
Who's that? The other protester who was detained at the demonstration.
Might be worth a visit.
The day of the demonstration was the last time you were at the lab? Yes.
So, what? It was just a passing fancy? I'm involved in various actions related to animal rights.
That was the last time I was at that particular location.
So how come you didn't get arrested that day at the lab? I was let go.
I think the question is why you were let go.
I think I was late for a doctor's appointment.
The security guard took pity on me.
You expecting intruders? No.
Then what are you doing with a stun gun? There were some incidents with women being attacked on the way back to the dorm.
I got it for that.
Where'd you get it from? A friend of mine got it for me.
I'm not going to tell you who that friend is, 'cause I don't want to get him in trouble.
You know, these are illegal in New York City.
We're gonna have to take this away from you.
Take it.
We're also gonna have to contact the D.
's office.
You could be in a lot of trouble.
You know, the more cooperative you are, the more likely they are to let it go.
I'll take my chances.
What are your security officers armed with? Nightstick and a stun gun.
And who was supposed to stay with the demonstrators? If I remember correctly, it was Peavey and Castellano.
And they were supposed to wait with the demonstrators until the cops showed? Peavey decided to let one of 'em go 'cause she had a doctor's appointment.
He came to me with a whole sob story about how she was just an innocent kid, got caught up in things.
Is Peavey working today? Day off.
Do you have an address where we can find him? Mmm-hmm.
He lives with his mother.
He likes it here.
He could afford his own place.
Well, with rents in the city being what they are, time enough when he gets married, huh? I hope I live that long.
ED: What, no prospects? None that he tells me about.
Do you have any idea where we can find him, Mrs.
Peavey? Well, is Is he in some trouble? BRISCOE: No, no.
We just need to ask him a couple of questions.
His friend, Alsie, has a boat on City Island.
I think he said he was going there.
(STAMMERS) Now, you're sure he's not in any kind of trouble? I ain't seen him.
His mother said he was coming over here.
I ain't seen him in over a month.
He's coming over here, it's news to me.
You two have a falling out? Nah.
His mother gave us the impression you were best friends.
(SCOFFS) What can I tell you? I ain't seen him.
BRISCOE: What do you go for on this thing? Ah, fluke, weakfish.
When blues are running we go for them.
George go out with you? Yeah, he used to.
We used to go out together all the time.
ED: What happened? I don't know what happened.
He, uh He lost his interest in fishing.
He said it was the same thing as hunting, which he also didn't want to do anymore.
He say why? Ah, it was taking a life.
I said I ain't exactly up nights worrying about the life of a fluke.
(CHUCKLING) What did he say to that? He got mad at me.
He says, uh, "There's enough other protein sources on the planet" "so we don't need to slaughter animals.
" Now, I know he didn't come up with that on his own.
Turns out, he's seeing some girl.
She's into all that no meat, no leather kind of thing.
Anyway, that was the last time he came around here.
Whoever did it, do you actually think they meant to kill anyone? Letting diseased animals out of their cages? That could be considered a little risky.
They're diseased because they were injected with a virus.
Where can we find George? I have no idea.
Do you realize that interfering with a criminal investigation is a felony? I am not interfering with anything.
If you're helping him, you're interfering.
Are you guys trying to intimidate me? 'Cause if you are, it's not working.
When's the last time you saw George? I don't know, last week some time.
Are you two romantically involved? That's none of your business.
If you'll excuse me, I'm late for class.
Hey, Miss Walden, if people start getting bit by these animals, your friend's gonna go to the top of the FBI's Most Wanted list.
I don't know what friend you're talking about, but anyone who cared enough about those animals to rescue them would make sure they're not running around loose.
They'd make sure they were safe.
Well, we'll pass along your assurances to the people in Washington.
He's not showing up for work.
His mother doesn't know where he is.
Or at least that's what she says.
Well, Maxine's the key.
We sit on her, he'll show up.
I'll talk to the D.
A about a wire tap.
We're thinking he might've tried to place the monkeys in a refuge of some kind.
Well, we're gonna check the tristate area for any complaints involving non-domestic animals.
That might at least tell us who'd be willing to take them.
Vietnamese pot-bellied pig breeder.
Oh, now doing time for mail fraud.
Faye Ireland.
Who's that? One of the queens of the tight sweater movies.
She's running an animal refuge in Putnam County.
Had a tiger get out and terrorize the neighborhood.
You want to meet her, Lennie? I was thinking she might know something about the monkeys.
(GIGGLES) I had a chimp that got rescued from a circus, but he died last year.
And that was it for the primates.
We thought maybe somebody contacted you looking to place some spider monkeys.
These were the monkeys that were rescued from the lab? That's right.
I'm sorry, I can't help you.
Well, where would somebody who rescued monkeys go? If they were responsible, they'd find an animal refuge run by someone who knew what they were doing.
How many places are there like that in this area? Not enough, given how many animals are out there needing rescuing.
Could you provide us with a list of names? (SIGHING) These people do what they do because of their love for animals.
We're all vulnerable to problems with neighbors.
We don't really like to call attention to ourselves.
You found me.
I'm not going to help you find anyone else.
Ireland, unless we find these monkeys by tomorrow morning, there are gonna be men from Washington standing right where I'm standing now.
They're gonna turn your place upside down they're gonna quarantine your animals, and they're not gonna take no for an answer.
(MONKEYS CHITTERING) BRISCOE: You're in a world of trouble here, guys.
MAN: I have no idea what you people are talking about.
All we were told was that the monkeys needed a home.
ED: Where were you told they came from? From an animal trainer.
Is this the animal trainer that called you? It was someone who got them away from the animal trainer.
Then they were stolen.
No, no, no.
They were rescued.
We didn't delve into where they came from.
We were told they needed at least a temporary home.
We agreed to provide them with a temporary home.
We quarantined them away from the other animals.
We had them examined by a vet.
We were taking care of them.
We know something about taking care of HIV infections.
Who brought them here? (STAMMERING) Well, he didn't give a name.
What did he look like? Ordinary looking.
I wouldn't know him again if I fell over him.
You two better get your things together.
We're gonna take a little ride into Manhattan.
Why? Receiving stolen property.
Listen, all we do is take care of sick and abused animals.
You can tell all that to the D.
Right now, you're under arrest.
No, no.
We can't leave without providing care for the animals.
We can't help you with that.
No? Well, then I hope you're prepared to subdue me by force.
Because I'm not leaving my animals.
We can do that.
Damn it, what is it that you want from us? We just want to know who brought you the monkeys.
His name's George.
BRISCOE: Where's George, Mrs.
Peavey? Did you ever stop and think that maybe somebody left those cages open by accident? You know, you're not helping your son by concealing where he is.
He's a grown man.
He don't tell me where he's going.
Peavey, lying comes naturally to some people.
You're not one of those people.
(SNIFFLES) Oh, he's so mixed up.
We're not gonna hurt him.
He's at his friend Alsie's.
BRISCOE: George Peavey! This is the New York City Police Department.
Please come out with your hands above your head! (CHATTER ON POLICE RADIO) If you do not come out, the boat will be boarded and you'll be taken off by force.
Put your hands behind your back.
It's a lousy day for a boat ride anyway.
How tough do you think it's gonna be to prove that you were the one that broke into the lab? I don't know.
You ought to consider it, don't you think? Whoever broke into the lab caused Ronald Lee's death.
Maybe by accident they did.
I don't think the D.
's gonna see it that way.
Yeah, and the more cooperative whoever broke into the lab is, the better it's gonna be for them.
I don't think I should say anything.
And the better it's gonna be for Maxine.
What does this have to do with Maxine? Come on, George.
No! I No, she didn't break into the lab.
ED: She didn't plan it with you? No! She didn't put the idea into your head that these monkeys needed to be freed from these cages? That they needed to be rescued from the experiments that were being done to them? Oh, she never said that.
We think she did.
She's a committed animal rights activist, and we can prove the two of you are romantically involved.
From there, it's just connect the dots until we charge her with conspiracy.
No, I don't want you to charge her with anything.
She didn't do anything.
Are you saying you did this all on your own? Yeah.
Yeah, that's what I'm saying.
We'll want a full written statement to that effect.
CARMICHAEL: We have a confession that he broke into the lab with the intention of freeing the monkeys.
What are we charging him with? Man two.
Isn't that a little steep? He had knowledge of the health hazard they pose.
He knew one of them got loose, he did nothing about it.
I think it's the correct charge.
Can we make it stick? I think we can.
If you're talking about pleading to burglary three, trespassing, I'll even throw in criminal mischief, we're all ears.
Bringing culpability for the death of that researcher? Forget it.
A researcher working on developing an AIDS vaccine dies as a direct result of your client's actions.
Are you really that confident about taking that to a jury? Oh, you're a long way from establishing the result was anything like direct.
Monkey is let out of cage.
Monkey bites man.
Man dies.
How much more direct do you want it? That's not the way the jury will see it.
How will the jury see it? George Peavey's heart was in the right place.
If his head was a little slow in catching up, that's no reason to send him to prison.
Criminally negligent homicide, going once Going twice Pass.
See you in court.
JACK: Did you perform the autopsy on Ronald Lee, Dr.
Rodgers? I did.
What did you determine was the cause of death? Anaphylactic shock brought about by a reaction to an antigen carried in the saliva of a monkey.
Were you able to determine how Dr.
Lee came to be exposed to this saliva? He was bitten.
Were you able to determine which monkey bit him? The bite marks matched those of the monkey found at the scene.
Thank you, Dr.
I have nothing further.
Is a monkey bite always fatal, Doctor? No.
What made it fatal this time? Dr.
Lee had a reaction to something in the saliva.
Seemed to be an odd choice of employment for him to be working with monkeys if he was allergic to them, would it not? Objection.
I'll allow it.
He didn't have to have a pre-existing allergy to have the reaction he did.
Were there any signs that the monkey attacked Dr.
Lee? No.
In fact, a single bite on the hand would suggest that it was Dr.
Lee reaching for the monkey when he was bitten, isn't that correct? I don't know enough about primate behavior to comment on that.
So had Dr.
Lee not been trying to grab the monkey, and had he not been allergic to the degree that he was, we probably wouldn't be here today, would we, Doctor? Probably not.
In that case, we're done.
Redirect, Your Honor.
Rodgers, according to your familiarity with the crime scene, was the monkey in or out of its cage when Dr.
Lee was bitten? Out.
Nothing further.
JACK: You were Mr.
Peavey's supervisor, is that right? Yes.
Had Mr.
Peavey worked in the immediate vicinity of where the monkeys were kept? Yes, he had.
Are there signs saying that the monkeys are biologically hazardous? Yes, there are.
Had you ever brought it to Mr.
Peavey's attention that some of the monkeys were infected with a highly virulent strain of the AIDS virus? I brought it to the attention of every man I had working for me I never wanted them to forget it.
Why'd you do it, George? Well, the monkeys had been given this experimental AIDS vaccine, and they were starting to inject them with the AIDS virus.
Now, nobody knew if the vaccine would work and everybody expected that probably most of the monkeys would die.
And I didn't think that was right.
Did you make any kind of arrangements for the monkeys after you took them out of the lab? Uh, I arranged with this animal refuge place to take them.
What did those arrangements entail? I gave the two guys with the refuge, uh, $15,000 to cover the cost of caring for them.
Where did you get the money? I had a '64 Impala that was my dad's.
Uh, one owner, always garaged Uh, I sold it.
When my dad was dying, and it got so my mom couldn't take care of him anymore, we put him in a hospice, so they could take care of him.
Uh, and they made it easier on him.
And I wanted someplace that'd do the same for the monkeys.
Did you know Ronald Lee, George? Yes.
How do you feel about the fact that he died? Objection.
How the defendant feels is irrelevant.
Okay, Mr.
McCoy, if that's the case, I have no further questions.
What did you do after that monkey escaped, Mr.
Peavey? GEORGE: I tried to catch him.
For how long did you try? Uh, I don't know.
15 minutes, 20 minutes.
I imagine you were fearful of being caught if you stayed too long, were you not? Yes, sir.
So, after 15 or 20 minutes, you left.
Yes, sir.
Did you call the authorities and alert them there was a monkey loose? No.
You told no one that a monkey infected with a deadly virus was out of its cage, and that anyone entering that lab was vulnerable to being bitten and infected? Objection.
Asked and answered.
GEORGE: I know, I should've.
I You know, I didn't think the monkey would bite anyone.
I You know, I I looked at his face when he was out and jumping around, and, you know, he just seemed so happy to be out of that cage.
If he was so happy, what kept you from catching him and taking him with you to the animal refuge? Your Honor, there's an objection before the court.
Was it fear of being bitten? Move on, Mr.
At what point did you inform the authorities, Mr.
Peavey? Never.
I have nothing further.
What's the sympathy factor for the defendant going to amount to? Hopefully less than for a victim who dedicated his life to AIDS research.
So we're feeling fairly confident, are we? (KNOCKING ON DOOR) Yes, we are.
Peavey's moving for a substitution of counsel.
It's the defendant's desire to present a defense with which I don't agree and I'm not competent to prepare.
As such, I'm asking the court to relieve me as counsel.
You've been around a long time, Howard.
What's the defense that you're not competent to prepare? I think Mr.
Oyler is in a better position to explain it.
Well, simply put, Your Honor, it's essentially an expansion of self-defense.
Give me that again? A justification defense is available when someone uses force under the reasonable belief it was necessary to defend themselves or others.
Other persons.
Peavey was of the belief the circumstances required him to take the actions he did.
Tell me, Counselor, that you're not asking me to be the first judge in history to rule that monkeys are persons.
Well, much as it's my feeling that such a position would be entirely well-founded morally, that's not what I'm asking.
Since a defense of justification turns on reasonableness of belief, not objective criteria, the only question is whether or not the defendant was reasonable in his belief that the monkeys were entitled to be saved.
Your Honor, the law of justification defense does not pertain to the defense of monkeys.
The reasonableness of the defendant's belief is irrelevant.
A hundred and thirty-five years ago, justification defense didn't pertain to the defense of slaves.
The law, Your Honor, evolves.
I want to go on record as saying that I do not believe the word "others" in the statutory language defense of others refers to monkeys.
What I believe, however, does not provide a conclusive basis for dismissing the argument.
That said, I'm going to leave it to the jury to decide whether or not the defendant's actions were reasonable.
You've got your forum, Counselor.
I trust you'll use it to serve your client, and not your cause.
(SIGHS) Who's picking up the tab for this? A defense committee was established by a few animal rights organizations.
For them, it's a test case.
What do we know about the lawyer? Well, he clerked for Harry Blackmun.
He made partner at Stroock.
He took a major pay cut to do animal rights law full-time.
He's going after a lot of legitimate people with this.
It has to be taken seriously.
JACK: Your Honor, I renew my objection to this witness being qualified as an expert.
Oyler? He's a full professor of bio-ethics at a major university.
He's published over 20 books.
JACK: His field of expertise is irrelevant to this case.
His field of expertise is central to our case.
Due to the nature of this case, I'm going to allow for a more liberal set of criteria.
The witness can testify.
Are you familiar, Professor, with the experiments being performed on the monkeys at the lab where Ronald Lee worked? I am.
What's your view of them? My view is that acts of unspeakable cruelty were being committed.
Is it not a well-settled principle that animals are necessary to scientific research? It's a well settled principle that they're available.
What does any of this have to do with the defendant's actions in this case? Your Honor, the witness is here to challenge the underlying assumption whereby animals are held captive and made to suffer.
Now, unless we're given a credible basis with which to challenge that, the defendant's actions cannot possibly be justified.
I'll allow it, to a point.
Serafian Would you change your position if the research done on the monkeys produced an AIDS vaccine? I believe there are other ways of conducting research that don't require the torture and slaughter of animals.
If I told you we could cure cancer by sacrificing 10 infants for research, would you approve? Make it easier.
Ten convicted murderers.
In either case, as a society, we wouldn't allow it.
The life and liberty of a human being is inviolate.
On what basis are the lives of animals deemed less so? The underlying belief that animals are not possessed of a soul has provided it.
How do you view the actions of George Peavey ethically? I view the death of Mr.
Lee as regrettable and tragic.
I view the actions of Mr.
Peavey as courageous and profoundly moral.
No further questions.
I'd like to ask you a few questions about your writings, Professor.
"One commits a greater offense against nature by killing a healthy primate" "than a severely retarded child.
" You've taken that out of context.
Put it in any context you like.
What I'm attempting to put across is that a healthy primate can experience both pain and the anticipation of pain more acutely than a severely retarded infant.
Hence, the primate suffers more.
And to you, the suffering of the primate is more offensive than the suffering of the infant? They're both offensive to me.
I'm not opposed to one and indifferent to the other.
"In an enlightened time, the liberation" "of the animal experimentation labs will be viewed" "as having the same moral imperative" "as the liberation of Buchenwald.
" The moral imperative is to end suffering.
In that, they are the same.
And so there is as much justification for the killing of an AIDS researcher in a primate lab as there is for the killing of a guard in a concentration camp.
I can think of circumstances where that would be the case, yes.
Thank you, Professor.
I have nothing further.
I started talking to George about animals being more than just property.
I told him how Gandhi said, "You judge a civilization by how it treats animals.
" You could tell it was the first time he ever heard that kind of thing.
Did it seem to have an effect on him? It's hard to say.
I knew he liked me.
I kind of figured he was telling me whatever he thought would do him the most good.
Did there come a time when you felt that the effect was genuine? It was when I told him about the pigs.
Would you tell the court what that was? Experiments were conducted on how severe burns affect pigs' appetites.
The pigs were tied down, fully conscious, and burned with blowtorches.
I showed him a videotape of it.
He hasn't been the same since.
OYLER: Ask to admit said videotape into evidence.
JACK: Objection.
May we approach? JUDGE: Counsel may approach.
This is irrelevant.
It's prejudicial.
It's pandering by the use of shock value, with no possible relation to the case at hand.
OYLER: We're trying to demonstrate the defendant's state of mind, Your Honor.
By showing pigs being burned with blowtorches.
It's what he saw.
It's what was being done.
It's not what was being done to these monkeys at this lab.
It's collateral evidence, Mr.
It doesn't come in.
Step back, please.
No further questions.
You had discussions with the defendant about the welfare of these monkeys in specific, did you not? Many of them.
And is it fair to say that the gist of these discussions was that these monkeys would be better off pretty much anywhere other than where they were? I think you could say the same thing about anyone who's locked in a cage and injected with AIDS.
In the course of these discussions, was mention ever made of the hazards to human beings if these monkeys were released from their cages? I'm sure George didn't intend for any humans to be exposed to them.
Was it ever discussed? No.
It didn't occur to you that if these monkeys were released or transported, there was at least a chance that something would go wrong and someone would be exposed? No, it didn't.
It didn't occur to either one of us.
Do you think maybe it should have? Objection.
JUDGE: Sustained.
Nothing further.
Tong, take us through what happens to the monkeys in your lab.
Take us through, if you will, how you obtain them, what you do with them, what happens when you're done with them.
We obtain them from large commercial breeding colonies.
We inoculate them with a vaccine.
We then inject half of them with an active AIDS virus and keep half of them as a control group.
What happens to the monkeys injected with the virus? Thus far, we've had some reasonably promising results.
There was substantial T cell production in response to the virus, which would indicate that the animals were fighting off the infection.
Has it ever happened that some of these animals, notwithstanding this wonderful vaccine, have succumbed to the infection? Yes, it has.
What's been your response on those occasions? Well, once it's clear that the animal has contracted AIDS, it's our policy to put the animal down.
When you say, "Put the animal down," you mean kill the animal? That's right.
How do you do that? We inject them with a lethal mixture of ketamine and pentobarbital.
And you do this so they won't suffer? That is exactly why we do it.
And if they don't exhibit symptoms of AIDS, we care for them until they live out their lives.
Now, this may come as a surprise to you, Mr.
Oyler, but the people who work with these monkeys do everything possible to minimize their discomfort.
Everything, that is, short of not giving them AIDS.
Counsel is arguing with the witness.
Are you aware of the fact that primates such as the ones used in your lab are capable of highly advanced communication? That they organize themselves into families and communities? Objection.
JUDGE: Sustained.
When you obtain these animals from these large breeding colonies, you frequently obtain brothers and sisters and cousins, is that not a fact? It's possible.
And when your experiments call for uniformity of genetic material, you will, on occasion, obtain a mother and its offspring, is that not correct? When that's what we're looking for, yes.
Then you're also probably aware that when one of these monkeys begins to exhibit symptoms of the AIDS virus which you injected them with, these mothers, brothers, sisters, and cousins are there to see it.
JACK: Objection.
JUDGE: Sustained.
OYLER: If it's not also objectionable speculation, I'd like to ask you, Doctor, when you put one of these suffering monkeys down, when you kill it, does that ever seem to register on the mothers, or the brothers, or the sisters? Animals are never put down in the same room as other animals.
So they're taken out of the room, never to return.
Do you think that registers? It's possible that it does.
I have no further questions.
Hmm, based on the number or jurors ordering hamburgers for lunch, I'd say we have more than a sporting chance.
Unless the meat-eaters start to feel guilty.
We're there on the law, we're there on the facts.
I don't think they'll let him go on guilt.
Well, excuse me.
I'm May Peavey.
I'm here to talk to you about my son.
Come in, Mrs.
Thank you.
I I don't want to take up too much of your time.
I know you're very busy.
How can we help you? Well I'm very worried that the people my son is listening to, they maybe don't have his best interests in mind.
Have you talked to your son about this? No.
He thinks I'm just overly protective.
Or that I've got something against this Maxine, which I don't.
I'm just so worried about him.
I thought maybe if you made him some kind of offer, he'd come to his senses.
We made him an offer.
That was before the trial started.
If anything, the attorney he has now will be less receptive than the one he had before.
I'm asking, won't you just try? If you're convicted of second degree manslaughter, you'll be sentenced to five-to-15 years.
Eligible for parole in five.
JACK: If you plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide, you'll be sentenced to one-to-three years.
George? Oh.
I thought you were the one who was supposed to answer them.
It's a reasonable offer.
I think you should consider taking it.
Could I talk to Maxine? I'll get her.
George has asked to speak to you.
Where is he? He's in the conference room.
You can come with me.
Apparently, he looks to you for guidance.
George actually knows his own mind pretty well.
Does he? If I take their offer, I could be out in as little as a year.
We go to the jury, we don't know what'll happen.
Isn't that right? Pretty much.
I think you should take their offer.
Well, that doesn't do much for this being a test case.
There'll be other test cases.
This was supposed to be a perfect one, though.
OYLER: You've done enough for the cause of animal rights, George.
No one's gonna hold it against you if you want to take their offer.
She told me about this guy, John Brown, who made this raid at Harpers Ferry to steal guns to free slaves.
You ever hear of him? Apples and oranges.
Pretty brave guy.
Yeah, he was.
What would he do? You've got to make this decision for yourself.
Thank you for your offer, Mr.
I'll stand trial.
There can be no argument but that what George Peavey did, he did out of conscience.
This was not a crime of vengeance or greed.
His action was motivated solely by the compassion he felt for the suffering of another living creature.
We're not accustomed to worrying about suffering, when it's other than human suffering.
We think nothing of killing animals to mount their heads over our mantles or to test for hairspray.
And when objections are raised, the people raising them are mocked as kooks, hopelessly outside the mainstream.
Because the basic unassailable principle that allows for us to take animals and do whatever we want with them is that they're property.
Much like a lump of coal or a plank of wood, or a truck, or a shovel, or a hammer, or a nail belongs to its owner, so too does an animal.
I'd like to remind you of a time in the not-too-distant past, when that same distinction was drawn based on the color of one's skin.
When Africans were packed into ships like cordwood and brought to this continent as property of their owners, and they had no rights, and their suffering did not matter, and anyone who objected was a kook and outside the mainstream.
My client is one such person.
He saw suffering, and he sought to end it.
That his efforts brought about the unanticipated tragedy in the death of Ronald Lee, should not force us to criminalize his intent, because his intent was good and decent.
It was his belief that to save an animal from suffering and death would be an action held reasonable by any enlightened society.
I believe one day our society will be so enlightened.
I hope and pray that day is today.
In the middle of the 14th century, there was a plague in Europe.
It killed some about a third of the population.
It was carried by fleas who were infected with a bacteria that was carried by rats.
We call those animals pests or vermin, and we take considerable pains to see to it that their populations are kept in check.
We do this whether it results in their suffering or not, because to allow their population to go unchecked risks another bubonic plague.
What does this have to do with a monkey confined in a lab? The answer is that they both represent how we as a society value human life above non-human life, and proceed accordingly.
Does that mean that we have no compassion for non-human suffering? Not at all.
I believe the men and women in this lab cared deeply about these monkeys.
It's just that they care for the men, women, and children who suffer and die from AIDS more.
But all of that, all of it, is beside the point.
How we treat animals, whether or not animals suffer, that is not the issue.
The nobility of the defendant's motives, that is not the issue.
The only issue in this case is whether the defendant is criminally responsible for the death of Ronald Lee.
There is no question the defendant willfully, knowingly, broke into that lab and took those virally infected monkeys out of their cages.
It was that action that created the potential for harm.
It was that action that caused the death of Dr.
And so, now, I ask you to do what the law requires.
JUDGE: Has the jury reached a verdict? We have, Your Honor.
What say you? We find the defendant guilty.
(WHIMPERS) George George, I'm so sorry.
Man's dominion over the animals remains intact.
And a jury decides to follow the law.
And a hero is born.