Law & Order (1990) s13e12 Episode Script

Under God

NARRATOR: In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
These are their stories.
I thought you said you had a room? I said I had a place.
Seriously, I've got just enough for you and then cab fare.
No watch, no jewelry, nothing.
You think I wanna rob you? I know I'm not going near that bridge.
Then here.
Come on.
It's freezing out.
I'll get you warm.
Like I said, half and half.
Oh, God! That's all right, baby.
That's okay.
No, it's not.
(GASPS) MARTINEZ: Says he was partying at some club nearby.
Took a wrong turn home.
I'd find that more convincing if his fly was zipped.
So what's his story? Well, I don't want to touch him until the M.
Shows up, but there's some blood on the picnic table.
Looks like he bopped his head.
His head bump is the least of his troubles.
This guy's got lead poisoning.
Any of the neighbors hear shots? We just started knocking on doors.
All right.
Tape off the area and start a canvass for the murder weapon.
You got it.
ED: Hey, Lennie.
Whoa! High roller, huh? Separated by denomination.
Looks like somebody just knocked off a street dealer.
Yeah, what a shame.
The vic was Scott Giddins.
That's supposed to mean something? BCI had his prints on file.
Five arrests in three years.
All narcotics related.
He could have won gold for skating.
Not a drop of time.
Any witnesses? One woman heard two shots.
Well, I, for one, admire the shooter's restraint.
VAN BUREN: How's that? It's pretty hard to get worked up over a dead drug dealer.
How many times do I have to remind you, Detective Briscoe? All life is sacred.
Not when it peddles the kind of crap our Mr.
Giddins peddled.
Giddins lived around the corner from where he was shot.
Maybe we should check out his place.
Lennie, you wanna take a walk through the projects? GINA: I said go away.
Ed, I think we've got a problem.
Yeah, I need a bus.
Breathing's shallow.
Possible overdose.
Tell them it's a rush.
Look, I'm not a crack whore, if that's what you're thinking.
BRISCOE: How old are you? Old enough to party with who I want.
Like Scott Giddins? That's right.
Hey, I don't care one way or the other.
He probably doesn't either, being as how he's dead.
Look, I don't know what's going down here.
A few days ago, my friend Ron introduced me to this guy.
And you shacked up with him? I needed a fix.
He was dealing.
But the problem is, Gina, when we knocked on your door, you told us to go away.
Which tells me you thought you knew who was knocking.
ED: What you wasting your time for, Lennie? Just book her on possession and move on.
GINA: Okay.
A guy came around.
Maybe a couple of days ago.
He kept banging on the door.
You get a look at this guy? Through the peephole.
He was Puerto Rican or something.
He had this thing on his face.
Like a blotch.
What do you mean, blotch? On his skin.
There was this big, red thing.
He kept saying he was owed money.
These were found in your boyfriend's apartment.
The E.
Doctor didn't know what they were.
Do you? Only he told me if I touched them, he'd break my legs.
It's Nazi speed, also known as Ya Ba.
Oh, like the Sisterhood.
That's Ya-Ya.
"Ya Ba" is Thai for "crazy medicine.
" You ask me, you gotta be crazy to take it.
One bad dose and (EXCLAIMS) You're flatlined for sure.
Hey, you seen this guy on any of your lists? Scottie! What happened? He must have moved up in the world.
Ya Ba's not the easiest to lay your hands on.
BRISCOE: So, there's probably a short list of suppliers? Yeah, and I'll be damned if I know who they are.
Well, actually, you'll be damned if you don't.
I heard a rumor about some people scoring some at a club on the Lower East Side.
Other than that, I don't know how to help you.
Well, it's a good thing you're not Narcotics.
Oh! Wait a minute, you are Narcotics! Hey, don't blame me, all right? Blame the Mayor.
Blame Osama.
Half my unit's been redeployed.
Anyway, this spot on the Lower East Side, is that off the Williamsburg Bridge? Yeah, in a place called Gammaville.
Smack in the middle of the Latin Playboy turf.
They have a thriving protection business.
Gang unit should have a file on these guys.
A red blotch on the face, that ain't no gang ID I ever seen.
Good thing you don't stick out in a crowd, Juan.
Might've taken us more than ten minutes to find you.
Find me for what? Murder of a dealer named Scott Giddins.
Never met the guy.
We have an eyewitness who says you been banging on his door.
I doubt you were collecting for the March of Dimes, Juan.
Giddins owed you money for dealing on Playboy turf, then he ends up dead.
Now, if you don't want to connect the dots, we will.
I'm not saying nothing.
Suit yourself, bro.
No, come on.
Why you gotta move so fast? Okay, okay.
Look, G was stalling me.
But nobody from my house laid a finger on the guy.
He paid up.
Why would we pop G over rent? The dude was a seller.
He printed money, man.
The only reason why G got popped is because he's a pendejo.
Didn't always think.
Pissed people off.
What people? Local yokels.
This guy with a lead pipe chases him for three blocks.
He sold some bad stuff to his kid, and the kid OD'd.
ED: This guy with the pipe have a name? Yeah, something Parker.
Dives a Greyhound or something.
Hey! Where you guys going? You gonna give me a lift back to my place, right? Takes 900 calls, and finally you show up! Excuse me? Those kids across the street.
Can't sleep.
That damn boom box playing day and night.
What do I have to pay taxes for? I'm sorry, ma'am.
We're not patrolmen.
We're looking for Bill Parker.
We heard he lives here.
Sure, drag off the good guys.
Your tax dollars at work.
I'm sorry about the mess.
Hey, I've been there.
So when's your little girl due? In May.
How did you know it was a girl? Our nursery had candy stripes.
This used to be my son's room, but I know.
You lost him about a year ago.
Are you here about David? No, this man was shot a few blocks away from here.
Do you recognize him? Could be anybody.
Any reason why I should? Take a closer look, Mr.
I hope to God he's dead.
BRISCOE: Sometimes the Big Guy answers your prayers.
You think I had something to do with this? In a perfect world, I'd hold him down while you smacked him with that pipe you chased him with.
In a perfect world, Davie wouldn't be dead.
In a perfect world, the police would have arrested that bastard and locked him up forever.
I may have lost my temper once, but I didn't have anything to do with this.
Well, just for the record, where were you on Wednesday night? At our weekly meeting down the block.
The Neighborhood Watch.
Unfortunately, people don't join the Watch until after they've been affected personally.
It took Davie's death to get Bill involved.
So, what, you guys just roam the streets with weapons? Flashlights.
We're prophylactic, not punitive.
So what do you discuss at these meetings, what kind of batteries to use? Scheduling, who's available when.
Bill Parker was at the last meeting? He brought the soft drinks.
Good old Bill.
Do you know what kind of hell he's gone through? His son died, and the man who killed him was still out on the corner, selling poison.
Well, maybe instead of carrying flashlights, you should carry cell phones.
Uh-huh, and call who? You? We've tried that, thank you.
You people seem to have raised the white flag on that war on drugs.
Well, we can't.
We live on the battlefield.
Do you remember what time this meeting broke up on Wednesday? Um Around 11:00.
I mean, why? What's this about? Well, let's just say that when the prophylactic doesn't work, we're the punitive.
ED: How long do you think it's gonna take before Father Hogan calls Bill Parker? Isn't that his job? To cover up a murder? No.
To offer consolation.
Consolation or congratulations? I mean, I got the feeling this guy didn't mind if his parishioners ignored the Fifth Commandment.
Well, I'm just wondering if Moses would have had the great good sense to turn the other cheek in a case of somebody like Mr.
Thou shalt not kill, except drug dealers? Ones who sell to kids, yeah.
Well, that rewrite might be okay to Moses, but it ain't to Pataki.
We should go see if Bill Parker owned a piece.
Why don't you go ahead? I've got a couple of calls I want to make.
All right, man.
Don't forget, Moses don't sign your paycheck.
What is this? Get me drunk, I'll confess to something I didn't do.
I just thought we'd be more comfortable here.
I got a problem, Bill.
I mean, the cards are stacking up against you.
Now, my partner wants to bring you in for questioning, but You're looking out for me.
Well, the thing is, maybe I understand the situation a little better than he does.
Maybe you know wallpaper, but you don't know anything about my situation.
I know the world's a better place, now that Scott Giddins isn't in it.
And where were you before Davie died? Where was anybody after? Knowing and proving it in court are two different things.
She was 24.
A guy like Giddins killed her.
Did he go to jail? Yeah.
The thing is, I get up every morning, I brush my teeth, I shave, and I kick myself for not putting a.
38 between his eyes.
Maybe then Do not say "closure.
" No such thing.
This is great.
My kid dies, and no one lifts a finger.
Somebody kills this creep, here you are with a thousand questions.
Not a thousand, Bill.
Just one.
I'm telling you, this guy wants to confess.
He wants to call a press conference and shout, "I killed the bastard.
" I almost had him.
Yeah, and if you did, it would send our case directly down the crapper.
Come on, we were just two guys sitting at a bar.
Yeah, but when one of those guys is a detective investigating a murder, the other guy gets to have his rights read to him.
Unless Unless what, Ed? You think I tried to dump the case against Parker? I wasn't going to say that, Lennie, but since we're on the topic, a bar? A first-year legal aid can get that confession tossed out for I can think of at least ten reasons off the top of my head.
Well, then I guess I'm lucky he didn't confess.
Do you want this guy to walk? No.
But I can't blame him for taking care of the scum we didn't do anything about for a year.
Well, why do you suppose Parker waited so long? Hey, he tried the good citizen route.
It didn't work.
You know, maybe something happened at that Neighborhood Watch meeting that set him off.
It was pretty routine.
Talked about patrol shifts, scraping together money for a set of Nextels, some gang tags spotted over at Jefferson Middle School.
Nothing that would make Bill blow a gasket.
Jefferson Middle School, isn't that where David Parker went? Our boys played hoops together.
Davie had a hell of an outside shot.
Look, I know where you're headed, but there's nothing there.
No way Bill could have killed that lowlife dealer.
And you're so positive because you're tight with him? I'm positive because after the meeting broke up, I walked Bill home.
Funny, he didn't mention that.
Yeah, well, maybe you didn't ask.
If this guy did his job as bad as he lies, he wouldn't be able to pick his nose.
Anyway, I'm thinking that the mention of Davie's old school might have stirred up some memories.
A couple of weeks ago, I'm sitting in this joint on the east side having a hamburger.
A guy sits down at the table next to me, and I blurt out, "Ron.
" Who you talking about? Lichtenstein from the 16? Ron Darling from the '86 Mets.
Do you know what my first thought was? I've gotta call Cathy.
She always had a thing for him.
She's been gone six years.
I don't know.
You lose a kid, everything stirs up memories.
So, if we find one person from that meeting who contradicts Mr.
Locksmith, we can threaten him with obstruction, force him to flip.
Yeah, but he probably speed dialed every member of the Watch before we even hit the street.
Meaning 25 more versions of the same damn story.
So, we find one non-member who saw Parker come home.
Between 11:00 and midnight? Most people are watching Leno or asleep.
Not with that damn boom box going day and night.
Why would we remember what happened last Wednesday? Because some old lady couldn't sleep on account of this boom box.
Now, being public servants, we can confiscate this thing as a public nuisance.
What time we talking about Wednesday? ED: It was between Can't help you.
All right, Ed, read the box its rights.
Whoa, whoa.
Hold on, hold on! Wait a minute.
What he means is, we can't help you because, you know, we went to get some eats.
Didn't get back till around, like, midnight.
Davie's dad, he's a bus driver or something, right? Yeah.
We saw him when we got back from the bodega.
At midnight? Yeah, midnight.
That's why I remember.
I saw him walking some priest out.
All right.
That's funny, Father Hogan never mentioned a midnight house call.
Confessions 'R Us.
We deliver.
I'm sure you know I'm not at liberty to discuss conversations I have with my parishioners.
Does that include lying about whether the conversations ever took place? You asked me when Bill left, not whether I had seen him later that evening.
You sure you want to be splitting hairs with the police, Father? Oh, no, I respect the law, Detective.
But until the Vatican tells me otherwise, any conversation I have with a congregant remains between them, me, and God.
All right.
Well, if God happens to tell you how Bill Parker got a gun, would you please give us a call? 'Cause however he got it, it wasn't legal.
Thank you, Father.
The other day, I took a cab to the squad.
What's that, I didn't say I was at my place.
Anyway, the point is, the driver had a piece right out in the open, on the seat next to him.
And you're thinking bus drivers do the same thing? Hey, what country do you live in? Port Authority policy prohibits drivers from carrying firearms of any kind.
So what would you do if you found a driver was packing? I wouldn't.
Well, what about passengers? Is it like boarding an airplane? Some bus companies search passengers at random.
Guy sees that happening, he ditches the gun in the men's room, in the garbage, whatever.
You know, you could take on all of al-Qaeda with the crap these companies find.
What do you do with the weapons they confiscate? Evidence locker.
Suppose I'm a driver, could I get into that locker? Only way in is if you had one of these special-issue, non repro keys.
Or a friend who could pick a lock.
The fact is, we had a hiccup last week.
44 was misplaced.
Sounds like probable cause to me.
You get out of my boy's room.
I'm sorry, Mr.
Parker, this search warrant authorizes us to search the entire apartment.
What could you possibly think that you'll find in here? A revolver? Do you really think that I would hide a gun in David's room? Hey, Ed, remember what this looked like two days ago? Ours took a week to finish.
(HOLLOW SOUND) Officer, we're gonna need to break through this sheet rock.
More insulation (EXCLAIMS) The.
44 caliber kind.
William Parker, you're under arrest for the murder of Scott Giddins.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
I understand why you lied to me before, Bill.
Nobody wants to go to jail.
Not with a little girl on the way.
But you gotta know, if the slug that we took from that dealer's body came from that gun, you're gonna miss your little girl's first steps, her first communion, her confirmation.
If I was you, I'd try to help myself.
He killed Davie.
That's right, he did, but guys like him, they don't stop with just one death.
Guys like Giddins, they've been known to get violent, get physical.
Been known to threaten innocent citizens.
Judges know that.
So do juries and D.
Hell, Bill, people get let off on self-defense every day of the week.
You can take the cop out of the father, but The problem is, Giddins wasn't armed when we found him.
(KNOCK ON DOOR) Lieutenant, there's some priest here named Hogan.
Says he's got information on the Giddins homicide.
Send him in.
ED: Father.
You have the wrong suspect in custody.
All due respect, Father, it's not looking that way.
My detectives found the murder weapon in his apartment.
I can explain that.
ED: Be careful, Father Hogan.
We have witnesses that put you with the Parkers on the night of the murder.
So, if he confessed to you and you're lying to protect him, that's obstruction.
I'm not lying.
Bill Parker didn't confess to me.
I confessed to him.
I killed Scott Giddins.
Bill Parker was a sculptor.
Did you know that? Metalwork.
He would take these pieces of industrial steel, this junk really, and turn them into works of great beauty.
When David died, he stopped.
It was as if Scott Giddins had ripped out his soul and stomped on it.
I understand why he'd seek vengeance.
I reminded him that he still had a wife and a baby on the way, but still he felt that if he did nothing, he would be tortured in this life.
And if he acted, he would be damned in the next.
That's why I told him to give me the gun.
Hold on, Richard.
I appreciate your help, Jim.
This is something I have to do.
Bill Parker gave me his gun.
This conversation is over.
A week later, I used it to kill Mr.
Where did it happen, Father? North of the Williamsburg Bridge underpass.
Do you recall what Mr.
Giddins was wearing? A leather jacket.
Blue jeans.
A gray shirt.
I shot him in the stomach.
The police showed him photos.
This man was a plague on the earth, a drug pusher whose poison killed children.
The police could arrest him, but nobody could convict him.
Why did you return the gun to the Parkers? I went to the Parkers to tell them justice had been done.
He hid the gun to protect me.
You stop.
That's enough.
Now, you and Parker may think you're being clever, but I'm not gonna sit in the front row while you commit suicide.
I'm still his counsel, and I'm ending this interview right now.
Father Hogan is looking for martyrdom, or sainthood, or whatever other ridiculous thing you get these days for being entirely selfless.
In the secular world I believe they call what he's looking for "reasonable doubt.
" And this bogus confession raises more than enough for an acquittal.
Unless we don't charge Bill Parker.
You want to indict Father Hogan? Why not? He did confess.
Oh, come on, Jack.
Whatever problems you might personally have with the Church Have nothing to do with this.
I'm just proposing that if the two of you are right and this is all a scheme to confuse a jury, let's do an end run of our own.
One confession.
One defendant.
No doubt.
He's got a point.
My guess, by confessing to something he didn't do, the Padre's already scored enough points to impress the pants off Saint Peter.
And what if he doesn't feel the same way? We've got about 20 hours before we have to charge them or let them go.
Now, if you want to come up with another plan, be my guest.
If you think I'm gonna turn on my husband, you're crazy.
That's not why I'm here.
Actually, I'm here for Father Hogan.
He sent you? In a way.
He confessed to the crime.
So, why is Bill still in jail? Because it's obvious to us that Father Hogan is lying to protect him.
Did Bill say he killed Giddins? He's scared.
He hasn't said anything.
But he didn't say Father Hogan did it.
So I can't do anything then, can I? You can help me to convince Father Hogan that there is a better way to help your husband than by throwing his own life away.
I'm sure you don't want the wrong man to be convicted.
I'm not asking you to incriminate your husband, but if you could just tell me anything.
You bastards! Bastards! If only you did your job, a good man like that wouldn't have to He did it for us, you know.
He did it so Bill wouldn't have to.
Wait a minute.
Are you saying that Father Hogan did kill Scott Giddins? You'll be happy to know that we released Bill Parker.
(EXCLAIMS) Thank God! Come on, Jack.
I'm not going to fall for that.
None of us here wants a trial, Father.
We're prepared to accept your confession and offer you a I will not accept a deal.
Richard, please.
Just go ahead and tell them how you made up the whole thing.
I don't think he can do that, Jim.
We found this jacket in the Father's closet at the rectory.
So he has bad taste in clothes? That's not a crime.
The people in the Neighborhood Watch wear them when they go out at night.
The sleeve tested positive for gunshot residue.
I can offer you ten years, Father.
WHEELER: Give us a minute.
That won't be necessary.
JACK: You should listen to your lawyer, sir.
With the coat and the confession, you don't stand a chance with a jury.
I will not pled guilty.
Then you're looking at 25-years-to-life.
I confessed to killing Scott Giddins.
I did not confess to committing a crime.
Killing is not a crime, when it's God's will.
BRANCH: Is he serious? Here's Wheeler's Notice of Affirmative Defense to prove it.
Justification? "Yes, I killed.
But God told me to.
" Well, you gotta admit, it's a lot more creative than "The Devil made me do it.
" Next up, virgin sacrifice.
The fact is, this country could use a double dose of whatever God's got on special today.
But not in a courtroom.
Why not? Aren't we "One nation under God"? Don't tell me you believe Father Hogan's "orders from above" defense? On the contrary, it goes against everything I do believe.
The law recognizes situations where killing is justified.
Self-defense, defense of others, the death penalty And in all of those instances, the use of deadly force must be in response to an imminent threat and be reasonable.
Here comes the part where he tells you belief in God isn't reasonable.
A priest claiming he heard God? How does a jury determine credibility? We ask juries to dive into deeper deductive waters all the time.
We don't ask them to ponder the existence of God.
But we don't have to.
The court already acknowledges His existence.
"In God we trust.
" That's the building, not the law.
My point is, how can both the court and the legislature acknowledge the existence of God, yet deny a defense premised on that existence? If a layperson tried to assert a "God told me to" defense, the court would render him incompetent to stand trial.
So if you talk to God, you're pious, and if he talks back, you're crazy? You said it, I didn't.
Well, then let's give Father Hogan an Article 730 exam and see if he's competent to stand trial.
God bless.
Do you believe in God, Dr.
Olivet? Yes.
And yet, you question whether I'm crazy for claiming I received His guidance.
I'm simply doing my job.
I'm sure the Roman soldiers said that, too, when nailing Jesus to the cross.
Do you think of yourself as Jesus? (LAUGHS) No.
No, no.
I'm just noting a parallel.
Jesus could return tomorrow and people would write him off as an illusionist, the next David Blaine.
Society has a habit of explaining away miracles, and then saying God must not exist because there are no miracles.
And you're going to prove them wrong? I'm not on a crusade, Dr.
A man was destroying my community, poisoning my neighbors.
I prayed for guidance, and the guidance I received was that I should kill him.
At the time, did you know that it's wrong to kill someone? I knew that killing is usually wrong.
I knew that my actions were against the laws of man.
And I I knew that they were against every instinct I have as a human being.
Then why did you do it? Because that's what God asked of me.
And you had no choice but to follow His instructions? We all have a choice.
We all know what God expects of us.
The question is, are we strong enough to do it? He understands the charges against him and is capable of aiding in his defense.
But he doesn't seem to understand the difference between right and wrong.
On the contrary, he understands perfectly.
It can't be wrong if God told him to do it.
SERENA: And that's not crazy? Father Hogan believes he gains enlightenment through prayer.
If that's crazy, then half the world should be committed.
One man's delusion is another man's faith.
And we're supposed to convince a bunch ofjurors that they were delusional all those Sundays that they went to church? No.
You need to convince Father Hogan to look reality in the eye.
I understand your predicament, Mr.
Do you understand mine? Actually, I do.
I'd think it would include willingness to accept punishment.
I'm willing to be punished, but what I'm not willing to do is to plead guilty.
Are you sure you want to do this, Father? Do you really want to put religion on trial? Religion is already on trial.
Islam is being tainted by fanatics, Judaism is being threatened by the recent rise in anti-Semitism, the Catholic Church is crippled by a sex scandal.
For the first time in the world's history, three major faiths are in crisis.
Then perhaps that makes this the worst time in history to challenge their validity.
No, on the contrary, maybe now more than ever God wants us to reexamine our faith.
And if those are the consequences of my defense Amen.
And if you lose? Where did your faith go, Ms.
Southerlyn? You contact Bishop Durning? He'll be more than happy to testify.
Of course he will.
He can't have murder added to the mounting list of priestly iniquities.
You're really enjoying this, aren't you? There's nothing quite like walking into a trial with an uncontested confession.
Yeah, that's what I thought.
Smile, Serena.
This is our Inherit the Wind.
This is where we get to prove in a court of law that there is no big guy up there with a white beard, pulling invisible strings.
So what did those nuns do to you? That's irrelevant.
Anybody who knows that he knows gets my hair up.
If you want my advice, Jack, I think you should just let Father Hogan's confession speak for itself.
No good can come out of debating religion.
Maybe I should have told that to the nuns.
I thought he just took my gun to stop me from doing something stupid.
I had no idea that he would take matters into his own hands.
So, he didn't tell you beforehand what his plans were? No.
I never would have let him.
Because even through your grief, you realized that killing is wrong.
I lost a child, Mr.
Do you have any idea how much that hurts? It's like a knife in your heart that won't go away.
I'm sorry, Mr.
Parker, but I have to.
I know.
Please, tell us about the night Scott Giddins was murdered.
It was late.
Father Hogan came to my apartment.
That's when I noticed there were specks of blood on his fingers.
JACK: Did he tell you where the blood came from? No.
He didn't have to.
I knew.
Did Father Hogan tell you why he killed Scott Giddins? He said that God wanted him to do what man refused to do.
That God wanted that child killer off the streets.
That he wanted to keep our neighborhood safe.
He wanted to ease the grief that Scott Giddins caused my wife and me.
WHEELER: And you believed him? Do I believe in God, Mr.
Wheeler? Yes, I do.
That's not what I asked, Mr.
What I want to know is, if you actually believe God put the gun in Father Hogan's hand and told him to shoot.
Nobody can prove to me that He didn't.
Although the Church doesn't condone violence, God has historically been used to justify murder, from the Crusades to 9 l 11, by men who believed they were instruments of His will.
But this belief is usually a product of either mental illness, geopolitical ambition, or misinterpretation.
Did you hear Dr.
Olivet testify that Father Hogan was sane? Yes.
Do you have any evidence to the contrary? No.
Any evidence that he's a political zealot? No.
He's a good man.
So, under your paradigm, if Father Hogan received a message from the Almighty, he misinterpreted it.
That's correct.
The Almighty teaches us to save the sinner, not kill him.
JACK: He also teaches you to pray for His guidance.
Yes, but if that guidance calls for an act like murder, we should be skeptical.
I should hope so.
But that's what confuses me, Bishop Durning.
When it comes to something as important as murder, don't you think that God would be as specific as he could possibly be to eliminate any margin for error? Of course He would.
Otherwise, what kind of God would he be? JUDGE: Mr.
Wheeler? Nothing, Your Honor.
It looks to me like the Bishop just made our case.
Really? Then why do you suppose Wheeler didn't cross-examine him? What could he possibly ask? The top gun in the local church just said Father Hogan made a mistake.
Yeah, that's one explanation.
The other is that he realized your tactics were turning off the jury.
Why? How? Because an imperfect God is no God at all.
Did it ever cross your mind that the triers of fact in a murder case might not want to hear you air your disrespect of their faith? That's not what I was doing at all.
I can't beat this sanctimonious defense by tiptoeing around.
Besides, how do you know they wouldn't like it? If nobody's watching, they can cheat on their wives, cheat on their taxes, impose the death penalty, all without remorse, all without worrying about redemption.
Most people want comfort, hope.
They want to believe in something bigger than themselves.
You know what I believe? I believe that Father Hogan's pious platitudes and calm certainties ain't necessarily so.
I believe that anyone who wraps themselves in the flag or in the cloth to excuse themselves from the rules the rest of us mortals have to obey is pulling a fast one.
It pisses me off no end.
"I know what God wants.
" Come on, Serena.
It's ego or hubris or narcissism.
So, "God's dead"? I'm proud to say I don't know.
But I do know this, that Father Hogan's right to his convictions stopped at Scott Giddins' nose.
The first shot missed.
My hand was shaking.
I never held a gun before.
But you managed to hit Mr.
Giddins with the second shot? When I saw him fall back, I couldn't help but think, "God steadied my hand.
" WHEELER: God steadied it? God gave me the strength to follow His guidance.
But He wasn't the one who pulled the trigger, was He? No.
Scott Giddins was a drug dealer who terrorized a neighborhood for no other reason than his own greed.
He was a sinner.
What happened to the Fifth Commandment, Father? Scott Giddins caused the death of a young boy.
Exodus 20:13 may say, "Thou shalt not kill," but Exodus 21:12 says, "He that smiteth a man so that he die shall surely be put to death.
" Just to be clear, you killed Scott Giddins? Yes.
So under oath you're admitting you're guilty of breaking the law? Man's law, not God's.
And you believe that the law of God should trump the law of man? That's how I live my life.
That's why I couldn't ignore His wishes.
You heard his voice, did you? It wasn't a person to person call, Mr.
I acted upon the enlightenment that I received through prayer.
That's all? No burning bush, no pillar of fire? If you're asking for proof, I can't give you any.
That's the very essence of faith, Mr.
Belief, despite absence of proof.
And God wanted Scott Giddins killed? Mr.
Giddins caused a lot of suffering.
You thought he should be punished for his sins, did you? Yes.
Well, that's certainly convenient, your desires matching those of God! Objection.
I'm just wondering who spoke to whom.
Enough, Counselor.
After you received your marching orders, did you think about getting a second opinion? I mean, you know, check with your superiors at the Church? To doubt God? That would be hubris.
On the other hand, some might think it hubris not to.
WHEELER: Objection.
Counsel is testifying.
Did your lawyer tell you that an insanity defense was available to you? He told me a lot of things, but I know in my heart that I am not guilty.
I also know in my heart that a jury will believe me.
Then why did you hide the murder weapon? Mr.
Parker said JACK: Oh, I see.
Seeking the advice of man is wrong when it comes to committing a crime, but it's okay when it comes to covering one up? Is there any chance you simply wanted to avoid man's punishment for breaking his laws? Maybe we can come back to that.
Tell me this, Father Hogan, this suffering you said Scott Giddins caused the people in your neighborhood, specifically, you're talking about the Parkers? That's correct.
And in your mind murdering Scott Giddins would ease the pain of losing their only son? In God's mind.
Now, that's interesting.
Because if I remember correctly, Mr.
Parker testified that losing his son was like a knife through his heart which would not go away! A knife through the heart hurts, Father Hogan.
Your Honor So, if God wanted to ease the Parkers' pain, he really screwed the pooch on this one.
JUDGE: All right.
That's enough.
JACK: Tell me, Father Hogan, isn't it your job to comfort your parishioners? Yes.
But you couldn't do it, could you? You were impotent to ease the Parkers' pain.
Maybe it wasn't God who screwed the pooch, Father Hogan.
Maybe it was you.
JACK: It's your meeting, Mr.
We have to be in court, sir.
Call it off.
It's a little late for that.
But I did it.
Father Hogan didn't do anything.
He shouldn't be punished.
This is very noble of you, Mr.
Parker, but He confessed and you believed him.
Now why won't you believe me? The gun was in my house! Excuse me, this is a private meeting.
This is stupid, Bill.
I will not let you take responsibility for what I did.
Don't listen to him.
I am ready to go to jail.
Bill! BILL: Don't you see what he is doing to you? He is mocking everything that you believe.
Now, if the jury They won't.
If they lose faith Then, we still have ours.
What if that's not good enough? I prayed for the strength And your prayer was answered through me, Bill.
Well, this certainly makes things interesting.
Hey, you don't really believe him? It's not my call.
It's up to a jury.
WHEELER: Richard, don't.
This gives us reasonable doubt.
I can't let this man put himself in harm's way for me.
Going, going Fine.
I accept.
Are you staying? Can I ask you something? Tommy Suiter.
He lived two doors down from us on Damon Avenue.
He was a couple of years older than me, and as far back as I can remember, I followed him around like a puppy.
A VA hospital in 1968 was no place for a puppy.
It was pretty grizzly and it smelled bad.
The boy in the bed beside Tommy's had already passed away.
Tommy's right leg was somewhere in the basement.
What was left of his face was tar paper.
I squeeze in beside a priest who's urging Tommy to make a deathbed recantation of his sins.
Tommy smiles with the part of his mouth that still works and says, "What difference would it make?" The Priest moves on to the next bed.
Tommy says to me, "God forgive me if I'm wrong.
" I think that's the last thing he ever said.
It took a lot of guts.
I thought it was right.
Me? I'm still tagging along after Tommy.