Law & Order (1990) s12e15 Episode Script

Access Nation

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.
That moron in 6B still doesn't recycle.
The building could get a citation.
I should drop these on his doorstep.
What do you think? Don't be such a stone-crusher, Frank.
He's just having a rough time, is all.
What are you talking about? How do you know? Help-wanted section.
Circled ads.
Come on, look.
He's got kids to support, huh? So, cut the guy a little slack, all right? You're always so quick to Judge people.
Yeah, well, if he is not responsible enough to recycle, it's probably why he lost his job in the first place.
Miguel, give me your cell phone.
Frank, you're not gonna call him now, are you? No, no, we got a real problem here.
I didn't know we were selling tickets to this one.
They all live on the block, Detective, they just wanna know what's going on.
Yeah, well, unless they're witnesses, they're gonna have to read about it in the paper tomorrow.
All right, you got it.
All right everybody, let's go.
I'm sorry, you gotta move it back.
What's the flavor this morning? Stabbing.
Couple of maintenance men over there found her under a pile of trash bags.
She been out here all night? Body temp's ice cold.
Looks like multiple wounds.
Did you get an ID? Haven't found a purse or a wallet yet.
Wait a minute.
Movie tickets.
From the Trudeau.
The art house? That's a couple of blocks from here.
All right.
So, she got out around 10:00, 10:30, she's on her way home Runs into the wrong guy Show's over.
This woman's really dead, huh? Well, it ain't a bad hair day.
I sell, like, 200 tickets a night.
That's pretty hard, just to remember one person.
Okay, what if this woman bought them with a credit card? Do you have a stub? Uh-huh.
Yeah, actually, these were bought through Moviefone.
It'll just take a minute.
If you know the name of the person you'd like to ID, press one.
This is the one she saw.
Yeah, Les Artistes d'Amour.
The painter shows why passion is the highest form of art.
Sound like a date movie.
Sounds like I'm home watching the Knicks game.
Well Two tickets.
She had to go with somebody.
Here you go.
The person's name on the credit card is Tracy Conley.
Hey, can I keep this? Uh, would you just spell the name for us, please? PATRICIA: Tracy was supposed to come by for dinner tonight.
Her message is still on the machine.
It was so rare that we actually got a chance to see our daughter these days.
Why is that? Tracy just finished her PhD in psychology.
She was always working so hard.
Yeah, we saw the diploma in her apartment.
Columbia? She followed in her father's footsteps.
You're a psychologist? I mostly teach.
I don't have a practice anymore.
(SOBS) Her whole life, she just wanted to help people.
How God could take away somebody like that.
We're very sorry, ma'am.
I know how hard it is to lose a daughter.
Who did this to her? ED: Right now, we don't know.
But we think she may have gone to the movies with someone prior to the attack.
Who? We don't know that either.
Right now, we're hoping to find this person and that he or she may be able to provide us information about what happened.
Are there any names that pop into your head? Maybe a boyfriend? Tracy never really shared much about her personal life.
She was 34, and we wanted to see her get married and have kids.
I think she just got tired of us asking.
Was there anybody that you might have asked about recently? Last time she said something about someone who coached basketball.
At a high school, I think.
But I don't think it was very serious.
(WHISTLE BLOWING) Sorry about that, I just wanted to get practice started.
It's okay.
Like I was saying, Tracy and I went out a few months.
When's the last time you saw her? Maybe four, five weeks ago.
Was this a serious thing? I mean, you just seem pretty upset.
Well, there was just some unfinished business between us.
Unfinished business? I was never quite sure why she left.
Oh, so she broke it off.
First few months everything was great.
Then Tracy, she just backed the hell off.
Stopped returning my calls.
Guess now I'll never have the chance to find out why.
Is it possible there was somebody else? Could have been for all I know.
You never could tell with Tracy.
She was pretty hard to read sometimes.
Where were you last night, Matt? Home.
Anybody with you? No.
I live alone.
I spoke to a couple of friends on the phone.
I'm sure there's a way you guys can check on that, or something.
You know what the last thing I said to her was? ED: What's that? Have a good life.
Tracy Conley, Just finished her dissertation.
Had a therapy practice up on 60th Street.
The preliminary M.
report puts time of death sometime around 11:00,11:30.
Cause was multiple stab wounds to the upper torso.
Multiple as in how many? Nine.
So we're looking for an overachiever.
What about witnesses? Anyone find a weapon? We should be so lucky.
Nine stab wounds.
What about an EDP? You talk to the precinct yet? Unfortunately for us, the neighborhood has a clean bill of mental health.
Do we at least know who she went to the movies with? Well, the ex that we talked to was at home with an alibi.
He couldn't tell us whether she was seeing somebody else or not.
So, what's next? Well, talk to the parents again.
See if we can find out who her girlfriends were.
If she met someone new, she may have told one of them.
All right.
Tracy didn't stay in relationships very long.
You mean like with Matt? He made the classic mistake they all did with her.
Which was what? He cared.
Tracy had a commitment problem.
Whenever anyone got too close for comfort, she'd push them away.
Just what you look for in a therapist.
It never interfered with her work.
Actually, in a way, it gave her a little more insight into people.
Okay, what about other exes.
I mean, did she generally leave them on good terms? There weren't any stalkers hanging around, if that's what you're asking.
Was there anybody new on the scene? Somebody she might have gone to the movies with Monday night? A new guy? No, I would have heard about that.
Wait a minute.
You said Monday night? BRISCOE: Right.
Tracy always spent Mondays with her little sister.
Her parents never mentioned anything about her having a sister.
Tracy and Monique weren't related.
We tell everyone interested in volunteering for Mentor Alliance that it's more than just taking a kid out to lunch once a week.
You are looking at a potential five-to-10 year commitment.
That must weed out a lot of people.
It's definitely not for everyone.
Tracy was the perfect candidate though.
Why is that? She had roots here.
Steady job.
I remember her interview, too.
She said that she wanted the most difficult girl we had.
ED: Really? She said the whole point of volunteering was to help someone before they fell through the cracks.
Monique Thomas, 15.
Father was killed when she was 11.
Discipline problems in school.
Sounds like a tough customer.
She had three previous mentors prior to her placement with Tracy.
How was it going? There were some rough spots, but Tracy said that she wanted to stick with it.
And you guys tried her at home? No.
We had this strange notion that, in the middle of the day, a 15-year-old might actually be in school.
Monique doesn't exactly make education a priority in her schedule.
When was the last time she was here? Tuesday.
Day after the murder.
As you can see, she doesn't exactly spend a lot of time here.
This has gotta be the boyfriend.
Recognize this guy? Andre Suarez.
He was a senior until he dropped out a month ago.
What are the chances these two love birds are together right now? Yeah? Monique here? Who? Monique.
Then one whose name's all over your chest, Romeo.
No, man, she ain't here.
BRISCOE: We already tried her house.
You know the age of consent for somebody in this state, Andre? Monique? Who are you? We're not truant officers.
So, what do you want? You gotta take a ride with us.
We need to ask you some questions about Tracy Conley.
Hey, yo, man, you can't be asking her no questions, man.
She's only 15.
Oh, so you Johnnie Cochrane now? Shut up.
Don't worry about it, slick.
We already talked to her mom.
You called my mother? Yeah, she's waiting for us down at the precinct.
Come on.
If my daughter said she went to the movies with Tracy, and then straight home, then that's what happened.
Thomas, if you don't let Monique answer the She doesn't need to.
Look, are we done here? I gotta get back to work.
She makes legal aid feel like a day at the beach.
Let me take a shot.
She's all yours.
I'm Lieutenant Van Buren.
Oh, great.
So you gonna tell us we can't leave now? 'Cause if you think you're gonna rail road my daughter, you're not.
No one's trying to rail road anyone.
Well, then this is just a waste of time.
Well, I know how it can feel that way, especially since you probably don't have a lot of free time either, do you? That's right.
Look, I'm a working mother raising two boys.
I know how hard it is.
Why do you think your mother does that, Monique? So you can have a better life.
Same reason she probably got you the mentor, right? Tracy was a good influence.
I'm sure she was.
But what I can't figure out is if Tracy helped Monique, why you won't let Monique help Tracy now? Because she doesn't know anything.
Well, now, see, I think maybe she does know something and is just afraid to say.
And if you want to protect your daughter, Ms.
Thomas, she needs to tell us the truth, right here, right now.
Look at me.
You telling the whole story here? Don't you look away from me.
You wanna earn respect in this world, you look a person in the eye when they ask you a question.
Now, do you know anything about what happened to Tracy? He was just supposed to grab her purse, not kill her.
VAN BUREN: Who are you talking about, Monique? His name's Arnold.
What else can you tell me about him? I just have his cell number.
That's all I know.
Mom, I'm so sorry.
ED: It's cold out here.
Try him again.
Yo, Arnold.
What's up, man? It's E.
, Monique's friend.
You said 10 minutes.
Turn around.
So, what you want? Weed, coke? Just a little bit of (GRUNTS) Down on the ground! One more step and you're dead! Get down! You okay? Yeah, man.
Get up! Assaulting a police officer.
You're in big leagues now, bro.
Spread 'em! Give me that.
Oh, yeah.
Oh, that's a base hit.
Check this out Tracy Conley.
You just hit one out of the park, kid.
Looks like Arnold here's been a guest of ours before, Lennie.
Apparently, he beat up a girlfriend, took 1-to-3 for it.
Well, Arnold, let me just say on behalf of the New York City Police Department, it's a pleasure to have you back with us.
ED: You got a history of assaulting women, huh? Yeah, that's me.
They make easy targets, don't they? Especially for somebody as big as you.
That's what you were thinking when you saw Tracy Conley, right? Who? The woman Monique set up for you.
That's right.
She gave you up.
Okay, so now what? BRISCOE: So, you're admitting you robbed her? You already have the plastic.
And that woman's probably in there right now, pointing her finger at me.
What woman? The one I took off, Tracy.
Oh, so now you crazy? Look, I already confessed.
Y'all need to back up off me and tell me what the damn plea is.
Tracy's not in there because you killed her, Arnold.
What are you talking about? You stabbed her nine times, Arnold, you think she was gonna live? No, I didn't stab nobody.
You took her money, and when she resisted you stuck that knife No, I didn't do nothing! If I gotta knock your head on all four of these walls, I will.
Look, I split when some guy ran up to try to help her.
I swear, I don't know nothing about her being dead.
VAN BUREN: Detective! Let him go.
You wanna tell me what the hell happened in there? Kid got a little personal when we collared him.
And? And I was trying to get a statement.
Preliminary forensics on his knife.
It wasn't the murder weapon.
The kid's still got a record for this kind of thing, Lou.
We'll hold him on the robbery for now.
But in the meantime, we just got a call from Conley's office.
Something's going on there, and you two need to check it out right away.
We got here and these two therapists are arguing, accusing each other for stealing from your vic.
We figured it's your case, you sort it out.
Okay, who wants to tell us what happened? (BOTH ARGUING) Whoa, whoa.
One doc: at a time.
Last night, Tracy's parents called me to ask if I could come in and pack up her belongings.
You never told me that.
Wait a minute.
Who actually works in this office? There are three of us.
Myself, Dr.
McBride, and Tracy.
We see clients different days, split the rent.
Yeah, but the rule is you're not allowed to come in when you are not seeing patients.
So, that's what this is about? Your boundaries being violated? I came in, the office door was open, Dr.
Gerring was packing up Tracy's laptop.
BRISCOE: Is that right? Yes, but I I told him to stop, but he refused.
Said it was none of my business.
That's when I called the cops.
Gerring, you are aware that there's a criminal investigation going on regarding Tracy Conley's murder? I was just trying to save some research.
ED: What research? Tracy and I had been working on a book for over a year.
(SCOFFS) We were trying to keep it quiet until we had a publisher, lest anyone steal our idea.
You two see other patients, or you just treat each other? So, you saw Tracy regularly outside this office? We'd meet, we'd work over the Internet.
BRISCOE: When you heard about Tracy's murder, your first reaction was to worry about your research? I know how it sounds, but we put a lot of work into this project.
Tracy would have wanted me to finish.
And you'll take all the credit.
Well, we're still gonna have to take this.
GERRING: But I haven't downloaded the files yet.
If I were you, I'd be more concerned about downloading the details of your alibi for Monday night.
And we're sure Gerring's relationship with Conley was strictly professional? His wife seems to think so.
Also, his alibi checks out.
Hotel receipts and airline tickets prove he was in Boston at the time of the murder.
I'd still like another crack at Arnold.
Well, he lawyered up once Monique agreed to cooperate against him for the robbery.
Look, he's not going anywhere, Detective.
You find a murder weapon or a witness, I'll bring it to the D.
In the meantime, we follow this investigation where it leads us.
Now, what was so important about this research that Gerring tried to steal her computer? Some psychology study he says they were working on.
A study about what? We're not sure.
Well, keep digging into what's left of her personal life or get someone to check out this research.
Maybe there's a patient worth taking a look at.
SKODA: Certainly a wide cross-section of subjects your therapist had in this study.
ED: We were hoping that somebody would just pop out at you.
If I could've gotten into her individual session files, maybe, but those are all password protected.
The only thing that's readable are her general notes.
Anything interesting at least? Basically, those notes are clinical assessments of forty something males and females who correspond to research on early socialization attributed to pre-school exposure.
You lost me after "basically.
" Your shrink was trying to predict anti-social behavior by looking at her subjects' early childhood experience.
Did she predict that somebody would grow up and murder their therapist? You'd have to get into her actual session notes.
That's where any clues would be.
BRISCOE: What kind of clues? First thing I'd look for would be some sort of physical abuse.
Possibly sexual.
And because the nature of your murder was particularly vicious, I'd focus on anyone who could've felt betrayed by their therapist.
At 150 an hour that'd be practically everybody, wouldn't it? So, how do you break somebody's password? If I told you, you wouldn't come to see me anymore.
We're in.
Can you print out the names of her patients? Just need to find the right file.
Wait, that's pretty interesting.
What's that? When did you say this murder occurred? It was the 19th.
Why? Pretty much all word processing programs record the time and date of files modified, let's you see the last time you worked on it.
All these have dates showing they were accessed before the 19th, but this one ED: Was modified the day after the murder.
Can you pull up that file the way it was before it was changed? I told you, Detective, I can pull up anything.
Virgil Rice, male, Treated for depression and anxiety related to stress in the workplace.
That's what the file said after it was changed.
This is how it read before.
Four years on a rape charge, previous conviction for assault, released from Sing Sing six months ago.
It's a whole different Virgil Rice.
If he was seeing Tracy Conley as a condition of parole Doesn't look like things went too well.
Tracy's notes from the original file show Virgil's boss caught him downloading porn off the Internet at work.
She was about to recommend a parole violation.
He'd be facing five years.
Only according to her notes, she never got to tell his P.
Her next report wasn't due for a couple of weeks.
Rice found out.
He was in her office three times a week, for six months.
Yeah, so she turns her back, goes to the bathroom, he sees her notes, gets a hold of her password somehow.
That's exactly the kind of betrayal scenario Skoda said we should be looking for.
Pick him up.
Would you say your orange juice had too little pulp, too much pulp, or just the right amount of pulp? It's The Three Bears.
Virgil Rice.
What's this about? It ain't about O.
So, you been getting your head shrunk, Virgil? Three times a week, exactly like my P.
told me.
But then, I'm sure you know that.
ED: So, you went on Tuesday? Yeah.
I went.
Conley wasn't there.
I figured something came up.
You know what I find curious, Virgil? You haven't asked us what this is all about.
Cops are like sharks.
The more you thrash, the more they attack.
Is that what it's like when you rape women? I'm in recovery.
Does your recovery include downloading porn off the Internet? I don't do that.
That violates parole.
ED: That is exactly what we thought when we read about it in your file.
BRISCOE: You know, they told us that the problem with that delete button is that you always leave a little copy someplace on the hard drive.
Now, tell me, what kind of a perv would stab the only person who's trying to help? He's a rapist.
Any woman I know would want you to rot in jail.
Tracy Conley at least thought you were worth trying to rehabilitate.
You don't know what you're talking about.
She counseled you.
She listened to you.
She had her own agenda She was your therapist.
Her agenda was trying to help you.
She was out to screw me from the very beginning.
She got what she deserved.
(KNOCK ON DOOR) Jasmine Kosovich, Mr.
Rice's attorney.
Sorry to break up the party.
So, the theory is he killed her because she was about to violate his parole? He owed another five years.
And she was foolish enough to disclose that, prior to filing her recommendation? I talked to his parole officer.
She hadn't told him yet.
So, how did Rice find out? Well, somehow he got access to her computer.
And the day after the murder, Rice's file was altered.
Anything mentioning his parole violation was deleted.
I thought those files were password protected.
Well, according to our techie, they're not all that hard to break these days.
And three sessions a week, he would have had plenty of opportunity.
It also doesn't explain how the file was altered the day after she was killed.
Unless he broke into her office.
There weren't any signs of forced entry.
The file wasn't altered on its own.
Well, I'll have Briscoe and Green toss his place again.
There's nothing in the kitchen.
I found some keys in a desk drawer, but nothing that looks like the key to the office.
You know, Lennie, this doesn't make any sense.
I checked this dude's rap sheet, his MO was deserted streets and parking lots.
I figured, if he had the talent to break into somebody's place, he'd have done it already.
Maybe he never needed to break in before.
What are you saying, this shrink made house calls? I'm saying maybe he got all his information over the phone.
"A Cyberhead's Guide To Eavesdropping.
" Yeah, let your fingers do the walking.
Looks like he sent her a worm.
Worm? It's sort of like a computer virus.
It was probably sent to her as an attachment to an e-mail.
She opens it, and he's in.
Reason number 37 for me not to open my e-mail.
Don't nobody send you e-mail.
Whoever sent this was able to monitor her activity keystroke by keystroke.
Oh, wait a minute, are you telling us that Rice was able to see everything that she typed as she typed it? Every website she visited, every document she worked on.
What about altering her files? He would have had complete control of her laptop, as if he was sitting at the keyboard.
BRISCOE: How hard is this to do? Anyone with a computer can do it.
Can we prove Rice sent the worm that you found? CAMP: She deleted the e-mail.
It still leaves a fragment on the hard drive, but ED: Not enough to reconstruct who actually sent it.
So, as far as the court's concerned, we have an interesting theory and not much else.
Not necessarily.
I also found something on his computer.
Information he couldn't have gotten from the worm program by itself.
What sort of information? CAMP: Bank accounts, credit history, her driving record.
And this.
Raped? In college.
The computer tech found posts she'd made to a survivor chat room.
They were in a file on Rice's computer.
A rapist finds out his therapist is a rape victim.
Explains what he meant when he said that she was out to get him.
He fits Skoda's pattern of a patient who would have felt betrayed.
And he obtained all this information from the computer worm program? No, he got the chat room posts before he ever sent Conley the worm.
From where? An online data brokerage company called Access Nation.
We think he came across the company while he was doing telemarketing.
Data brokerage? They're kind of like an online Pl firm.
We found the references to them on Rice's computer.
They probably were the ones who sold him the chat room posts.
If they did, we're gonna need a witness.
Nail it down.
Well, we've been pretty much immune from the whole tech downturn.
In fact, the market for personal data just gets bigger and bigger, especially in the wake of September 11th.
People want to know what their neighbors are up to, you know? Exactly what kind of services do you provide? We sell information gathering services, as well as software.
In other words, spyware.
Well, the information's already out there.
We just hunt and gather.
What about chat room postings? May I ask why you want to know? We're investigating a case involving one of your clients.
We're just trying to figure out what kind of information he bought here.
I'm afraid I can't divulge that.
It's a homicide investigation.
I'm sorry, but we contractually guarantee the privacy of all our clients.
I can be back here with a subpoena in an hour.
Divulging our techniques would be revealing trade secrets.
If you're gonna come with a subpoena, you better bring a big one.
They're hiding behind trade secrets.
Which probably gives them enough of a legal argument to delay our subpoena.
Is there any other way to tie Rice to them? We can link four charges on his credit card to Access Nation.
The first ones were for information packages.
The last one was for the worm.
This guy was a stalker by nature, Jack.
So, he stumbles on the fact that she's a rape survivor, he buys the worm And the fuse is lit.
It's hard to believe a person's life can be so easily accessed.
(KNOCK ON DOOR) So much for chatting with my college roommate in London for the price of a local call.
But all this is still speculation.
Motion to suppress Rice's statement and the contents of his computer.
SERENA: "She got what she deserved.
" That's an admission.
What they did violates doctor-patient privilege.
Virgil Rice signed a waiver of any privilege as a condition of parole.
His therapist was free to share the contents of his file with his parole officer and the state of New York.
Just because my client signed a waiver shouldn't give some guy from the Department of Transportation the right to read his medical file.
Never happened.
When Tracy Conley was murdered, her possessions passed to her parents.
They consented to a search of the laptop.
But not her patients' files.
When the police broke that password, it was the same as if they broke the lock on her file cabinet, then they used that information to obtain a statement from Mr.
Rice and to search his apartment.
I'm sorry, but I can't imagine anything more personal than a medical file.
Parole or no parole, I am not comfortable with the police sitting with a technician, breaking a password obviously intended by his therapist to keep the public out.
Take the information in the medical file out of the equation, there is no reason for the police to search Mr.
Rice's home.
JACK: If Your Honor conducted a hearing, I'm sure these detectives would tell you that a violent felon with connections to the victim would be first on their list of people whose homes they'd search.
People's position's correct.
While the defendant's statement was obtained using the contents of his medical file, the items recovered from his apartment weren't and would have been inevitably discovered.
Your client's statement is out.
Everything else is in.
She ruled Rice had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his therapy files.
Despite the parole waiver? Well, she still took issue how we accessed Tracy Conley's computer files.
If we hadn't, Rice would still be out there.
So, we have no physical evidence, no witnesses.
Everything still adds up, the motive, the worm program.
I think we can get a jury to add two plus two.
And a good defense attorney can get them to say it's 17.
Offer him a plea.
So, this guy murders our daughter and all he gets is 10 years for manslaughter? Ten plus the five for violating parole.
He'll serve 15.
But only 10 for Tracy's murder.
PATRICIA: I can't believe this.
How could his confession be suppressed? SERENA: I know that it's hard to understand.
What does that mean exactly? PATRICIA: It means the police screwed up.
Patricia, please if they opened this guy's file when they weren't supposed to, they screwed up.
Now, why should Tracy get penalized for that? Please.
Let's try to figure out what's happening here.
This isn't helping.
I'm sorry.
I just Isn't there anything we can do? Can we talk to the judge? I'm afraid that won't help.
PATRICIA: Our only child was murdered.
And you come and tell us that the man who killed her had his privacy rights violated? But when that creep was stalking our daughter online, where was the law for her? Who was protecting her rights? Parents are right.
Rice's privacy is protected by the court, while their daughter's life is an open book being read by a convicted rapist.
Like it or not, judges are going to hold the government to a higher standard.
The threat faced by Tracy Conley had nothing to do with the government.
If you're talking about Access Nation, there's nothing in the law that prohibits what they did.
They repeatedly sold personal information to a convicted criminal.
Concern for Tracy Conley's safety was non-existent.
I've got those Grand Jury subpoenas.
What subpoenas? Access Nation.
LEWIN: Now, wait a minute.
If we go after these people, we're going to have to prove they knew there was a danger here and that they recklessly chose to ignore it.
SERENA: Take a look at what they're peddling.
When they gave Rice the worm, they gave a predator the tools to stalk this woman.
I've been doing some investigating on my own, and I've got both your files.
You bank at Citibank.
These are your account balances.
I also got all the websites you've ever visited.
And by the way, you really shouldn't use your grandmother's name as your password for absolutely everything.
You're reading a biography by Eleanor Roosevelt.
You listen to a lot of Beatles and fusion jazz, and you've got what I can only describe as a very weird obsession with the Clash.
I know what movies you've rented and pretty much your entire medical history.
And sumatriptan, is that for migraines? I could read yours.
Rice may have killed her, but let's at least find out if Access Nation was the one who put the knife in his hand.
Do you believe in the free flow of information, Mr.
McCoy? Your willingness to apply that policy to a convicted rapist is precisely why we're here.
Is there a question, Mr.
McCoy? Virgil Rice retained the services of your company four different times.
Each time he sought information about just one person.
We'd like to know if you or anyone at Access Nation ever asked him why.
BRANSON: You don't have to answer that, John.
No, I wanna answer it.
All of our clients fill out a detailed application, and in that application they're specifically asked whether or not they have a criminal record.
And you just take their word for it? We're not selling guns, Ms.
Southerlyn, we're selling information.
Intimate information, which placed in the wrong hands led to a woman's death.
If you're referring to Tracy Conley, you already have a defendant who pled guilty to her murder.
Any other questions about that seem a little irrelevant now.
We do simple detective work.
All we do is follow the bread crumbs people leave behind as they surf the net.
It's who you sell the bread crumbs to that concerns us, Mr.
I'm afraid this conversation is over.
If you have any further questions, they're going to have to be in front of a Grand Jury.
All the information to anyone who can pay and damn the consequences.
Why not? There aren't any.
What gets me is how they can sit across the table from us and claim that if they ask a question on a form that that covers it.
What gets me is they think we buy it.
Find out who Rice was dealing with.
I doubt a company with that much access to information is as ignorant about their clients as they claim to be.
Actually, I don't do investigative work anymore.
I'm a manager now.
A promotion.
Must have been fairly recent.
A few weeks ago.
But prior to that, you were an online investigator.
One of the people you tracked was a woman named Tracy Conley.
Name doesn't ring a bell.
What about Virgil Rice? Sorry.
You know, that surprises me, Mr.
Since you worked with Mr.
Rice on four separate occasions, each one involving Tracy Conley.
He's a convicted rapist.
He used the information you sold him to murder this young woman.
I just compile what's already out there.
You can call an invasion of privacy whatever you want, but my boss intends to make an example of somebody.
It can either be you or this company.
I told John he lied.
John McDowell.
I told him Rice had a rape conviction.
How did you find that out? Rice had multiple requests on the same target.
I got curious.
Only when I told McDowell about it, he got pissed.
Told me it wasn't my job to be checking into the backgrounds of our clients.
There's no question these people sold Rice the chat room postings with full knowledge of who he was.
When Kitson informed McDowell, he was told to forget it.
Then he got a promotion.
Probably hoping he'd keep his mouth shut.
I don't even think most people know that their chats are being archived.
But once someone like Kitson tracks how you access the Internet, they can pretty much find out every site you've ever been to, and everything you've ever said online.
Perhaps the privacy we're used to is a luxury we can no longer afford.
Since when did closing the curtains on my private life ever become a luxury? Since people started crashing planes into buildings and trying to set their shoes on fire.
No one's talking about limiting our ability to go after terrorists.
What we're talking about is holding this company responsible for invading a woman's privacy for profit.
Yes, except that it's companies like Access Nation who develop the technologies.
I mean, the Feds have a worm, Magic Lantern, only they use it to catch terrorists, drug dealers.
If we take away the private sector as a market for these products, we may never get them.
And McDowell just gets a pass? If we take down McDowell for his violation of privacy, that opens the floodgates for lawyers to attack us and our methods.
A judge has already forced us to cut a deal with one murderer.
You wanna train the police so the courts don't undermine us, there's a whole unit to do that with.
Tactical Assistance Response Unit.
But we can't let someone get away with murder just because it might make catching someone else tougher down the road.
I believe my attorney said any more questions would have to be in front of a Grand Jury.
Yeah, well, we're here to help arrange that.
What are you doing? What are you talking about? John McDowell, you're under arrest for manslaughter in the death of Tracy Conley.
You gotta be kidding me.
I wanna call my lawyer.
How about we just post your arrest on the Internet instead? You think about it.
KITSON: Every e-mail you send contains a hidden header with your IP address.
Assume we're all a little computer illiterate.
KITSON: It's the network address your Internet provider uses to connect you.
Once I link a person with it, I can search wherever that person's been online and what they've said or done once they got there.
Did you track Tracy Conley using this method? For Virgil Rice.
Did there come a time when your work for Mr.
Rice began to concern you? Yes.
When I found out he had a criminal record.
Did you tell anyone about those concerns? I told Mr.
What was his reaction? He ordered me to stop checking into the backgrounds of clients.
He said that it was against everything that the company stood for, that it was bad for business.
JACK: No further questions.
So, you knew Virgil Rice was a rapist? KITSON: Yes.
After you allegedly had this conversation, did you do anything about it? No.
Did you contact Tracy Conley? No.
Did you warn her in any way? Mr.
McDowell told me not to do anything.
Do you have any proof of this conversation you said you had with Mr.
McDowell a few months ago? No, but Mr.
Kitson, the prosecutor's office came to visit you a few weeks ago and asked you some questions about your online investigation, didn't they? Yes.
Isn't it a fair statement that if you didn't implicate Mr.
McDowell, you might very well be the one on trial here today? Objection.
No further questions, Your Honor.
BRANSON: How did you feel about the death of Tracy Conley? Just horrible.
Did you have any idea that Virgil Rice posed a threat to her? No.
Did Robert Kitson ever tell you that Virgil Rice had a criminal record? No.
In his own application, Mr.
Rice denied having a record? That's right.
Did you ever check that information? In the first place, we guarantee the privacy of our clients.
Secondly, we view ourselves as a company that helps people stay safe.
The public uses our service to find out if a child's teacher has a drug problem, if their nannies or caregivers have a criminal record.
We track deadbeat dads.
The government even uses our service on occasion.
But aren't you trading in people's secrets? I think we've all learned over these past months that the more information that is available to us, the better.
There are plenty of dangerous people out there.
And I think most people are more concerned with being safe than with hiding the books they read.
SERENA: He's turning the trial into a referendum on whether the jury should be able to investigate their babysitters.
Well, you can't blame them for wanting to know if their neighbor's part of a terrorist cell.
What happens when the terrorist wants to know about them? Those chat room posts were a loaded gun.
McDowell has to be held accountable for who he sold them to.
I agree.
There have to be standards for who gets access to that kind of information.
You're talking about principles I've been fighting for my entire career.
But when the bullets are flying I had that tactical unit check to see if they could find any internal memos or documents.
They came up empty handed.
Well, the government's always two steps behind the bad guys.
One of our techies that I talked to told me that hackers actually chuckle at some of the technology we still use.
Then maybe we should be talking to the hackers.
JACK: Open access is a good thing? I believe so, yes.
Should a child molester be able to get access to a list of children living in his neighborhood? Ideally, no.
But he could buy that information from your company.
Yes, I suppose he could.
However, we ask our customers about criminal records.
Did you ever consider the possibility that someone with a criminal record might actually lie about it? Objection! Overruled.
It's not my responsibility to keep people from using information in away that might hurt others.
Information doesn't kill people.
People kill people.
I understand that someone was hurt in this case.
If I had any idea that that might happen, I never would have taken the risk.
Really? Because that's not what you said in your e-mails, Mr.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Didn't you ask your lawyers eight months ago whether your company might be liable if someone were harmed as a result of your service? Objection! Conversations with counsel are privileged.
Judge, I can establish a crime fraud exception to any privilege claim here.
Chambers, now.
Just what are you doing, Mr.
McCoy? Availing ourselves of the information age, Your Honor.
Eight months ago another one of Mr.
McDowell's investigators came to him with concerns about a client whose wife had an order of protection out against him.
This client was trying to locate the shelter his wife was staying in.
McDowell's counsel advised him to stop checking his clients' backgrounds.
Where did you get all this? Your company is not the only game in town, Mr.
The People retained the services of one of your competitors.
It took them less than a day to find the e-mails that went back and forth.
Apparently nothing is ever really deleted.
McDOWELL: This is outrageous.
SERENA: It doesn't feel good, does it? None of this matters.
Legal advice to a client is still privileged.
Not if he was advised to act in a reckless manner.
BRANSON: That is absurd.
If Mr.
McDowell sought the advice of counsel, how can he be considered reckless? JACK: The point of the crime fraud exception is to discourage attorneys from dispensing advice that counsels people to engage in criminal conduct, which is what your lawyer did when he advised you against background checks.
Neither of them can hide behind the privilege shield.
I suggest you talk to your client about a plea, Counselor, then I suggest you get your own lawyer.
Three-to-nine years in prison.
Plus the 15 Virgil Rice got.
That should give some peace to Tracy Conley's family.
Internet-tracking, face-recognition software, national ID cards, it's getting really frightening.
JACK: If people have to choose, they'll trade privacy for safety every time.
That's the problem, though.
You trade one for the other, you could end up losing both.