Novak enlists Clark's assistance in obtaining evidence to remove a judge from the bench after his bias in two child abuse cases leads to the death of a child and and the wrongful incarceration of an innocent woman.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Olivia Benson
Odafin Tutuola
Dr. George Huang (as B.D. Wong)
Karen Campbell
Rosalin Silvo
Katie Campbell
Matthew Sussman ...
Lawrence Alcott
Rebecca Luker ...
Wendy Campbell


The team is investigating the death of baby which was adopted by a couple with children already. Autopsy reveals that the baby was poisoned. They learn that the mother was not interested in adopting. So they arrest her. At her arraignment the judge appears to be ruling in her favor which Casey finds odd. He later cites Elliot for contempt. They learn that he favors certain people and is hard on others. They learn that in another case he wouldn't allow evidence that would have exonerated a woman who was also charged with poisoning her child. So Casey decides to look into and also tries to have the judge removed. Written by

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Release Date:

11 May 2004 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on the case of Patricia Stallings, whose 1st son died of what was thought to be poisoned with antifreeze. While incarcerated,Stallings gave birth to another child, who exhibited the same symptoms, was found to have had MMA, which has the same signs of antifreeze poisoning. Additional tests were run on the 1st child's blood samples, which proved he also has MMA; exonarating Stallings. See more »


INCORRECTLY REGARDED AS GOOF: When Stabler arrests Karen Campbell he does in fact say she is under arrest for attempted murder, not murder. When he says the word "attempted" he says it quietly, but it's still discernible and the subtitles also say "attempted murder". See more »


A.D.A. Casey Novak: [to Judge Taft] The People request that Your Honor recuse himself from this trial.
Judge Oliver Taft: On what grounds?
A.D.A. Casey Novak: That your conduct indicates a clear bias toward the defense. Recusing yourself now would preserve the appearance of impartiality on the part of this court.
Judge Oliver Taft: Judges are charged to examine their conscience for any hint of bias and then decide accordingly. Perhaps we should do that more often? I'm satisfied that I'm impartial in this case. Your motion is denied, Ms. Novak, but I do thank you for your ...
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References Leave It to Beaver (1957) See more »

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Casey gets on the judge's case
8 February 2013 | by See all my reviews

This episode of SVU belongs to Diane Neal as ADA Casey Novak who loses a case because of a biased judge and the victim, a little girl later dies because of her mother's acquittal in a bench trial. Christopher Meloni has a score to settle with that judge because he gives him some time in the slammer for a contempt citation. Tom Skerritt plays the judge just likely to elicit a little contempt.

Sad to say though Skerritt's performance was a bit too broad and possibly due to the writing. This judge was obviously influenced by what John Forsythe did in the Al Pacino classic And Justice For All.

Possibly the hour format did not allow for a character to be drawn with accuracy. Forsythe played the same kind of judge who got to think he was God Almighty on the bench. Skerritt though never was given a reason to behave as he does.

Check out And Justice For All and see what I mean about which character you think was better portrayed.

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