"Law & Order" Thinking Makes It So (TV Episode 2006) Poster

(TV Series)



Jack McCoy: Even Alan Dershowitz, the Babe Ruth of civil rights, said that under some circumstances, torture is not only justifiable, it's obligatory.

A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia: That's right. To find a ticking nuclear device hidden somewhere in New York City.

Jack McCoy: So it's okay to torture someone to save a million lives?

A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia: There's at least an argument for it.

Jack McCoy: What if the bomb wasn't in New York City? What if it was in Rugby, North Dakota, where only a couple of thousand people would be at risk?

A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia: That's a bogus argument.

Jack McCoy: I don't think the Grants would agree. Let's not forget that Mitchell Lowell kidnapped their little girl.

A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia: Let's also not forget that we have a Constitution. Call me a stickler, but I think we should at least pretend to follow it!

Jack McCoy: And I think that the Constitution should be used less as a shield for the guilty, and more as a sword for their innocent victims.

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Jack McCoy: Like it or not, in evaluating the case against Mitchell Lowell, Detective Fontana's actions are irrelevant and must be ignored. Like it or not, the law says that you must focus only on what the defendant did. I'm realistic; I know you're good people, and as such, it's next to impossible that you could ignore what you heard, or didn't hear, in this courtroom. And I also know that by asking you to weigh the defendant's actions against the police officer's, Mr. Dworkin is, in effect, appealing to your fundamental sense of fair play. Is that a bad thing? Heck, what's good for the goose is good for the gander; we all know that. Fairness is all. Or is it? Does Mr. Dworkin's fairness leave any room for justice? That fairness exists in a vacuum, while justice, on the other hand, cannot. In Mr. Dworkin's vacuum world, we'd have to treat a rapist the same as we'd treat a man who made love to his wife. After all, they've both performed the same physical act; it's only fair. In Mr. Dworkin's vacuum world, the terrorist must be treated the same as the soldier who tracks him down and kills him. Of course he does; each of them has taken a human life, and what's fair is only fair. In Mr. Dworkin's vacuum world, the man who takes a little girl hostage while attempting to rob a bank, as long as he feeds her well, must be treated better than a cop who used excessive force in trying to save the life of that innocent child. It's only fair, but is it just? The benchmark of a civilized society is the quality of its justice. In this society, we put kidnappers and bank robbers behind bars.

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Randolph J. 'Randy' Dworkin, Esq.: Without Fontana's abuse, my client wouldn't have told him that the girl was on the boat, Fontana wouldn't have located her, and she certainly wouldn't have been in the courtroom to connect him to anything!

Judge Walter Bradley: Please tell me you got something to link him to the robbery, Mr. McCoy.

Randolph J. 'Randy' Dworkin, Esq.: [Jack doesn't say anything] In that case, Your Honor, I move for a complete dismissal of all charges.

A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia: Wait. If we can establish that the police would have discovered Julie Grant's location, separate and apart from the defendant's coerced confession...

Judge Walter Bradley: You'd make my day, Miss Borgia.

A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia: The harbor master informed Mrs. Lowell that the defendant was on her boat before he showed up at her house. I'm sure she'll sign an affidavit to that effect.

Jack McCoy: Once the defendant refused to cooperate, Detective Fontana surely would have interrogated Mrs. Lowell about everything concerning his visit.

A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia: She certainly would have mentioned the harbor master's phone call. Detective Fontana would have followed up, and he would have found the kidnapped child. This establishes inevitable discovery and makes all of the evidence admissable.

Judge Walter Bradley: Thank you, Miss Borgia. Motion denied.

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