[a paroled ex-con has been murdered]
Det. Joe Fontana: I love a public service homicide, don't you?
D.A. Arthur Branch: You know, this case reminds me of something a wise old country lawyer once said. He said "You know, the first question that you ask in any murder case, did the deceased deserve to die?".
Detective Ed Green: Sheryl, do you know why he was in prison?
Sheryl: I was, like, in grammar school when that happened. If it happened.
Det. Joe Fontana: So, uh, you're not worried about any of this?
Sheryl: About what?
Detective Ed Green: Okay, listen. We're gonna give you a card. If you need anything.
Sheryl: What would I need?
Detective Ed Green: How did you two meet?
Sheryl: Oh, uh, I read an article about him, and then I wrote him a letter, and he wrote back. So I looked him up on the Corrections Department website. They even had a map and instructions.
Det. Joe Fontana: Must have made visiting day a snap.
Sheryl: Yeah, well, we just wanna put this all behind us. You know, get married, get on with our lives. Jake's so good with my kids.
Detective Ed Green: You have kids?
Sheryl: Yeah, a boy and girl. They've been so happy since he moved in with us.
Det. Joe Fontana: Wait a second. This guy is living with you?
Sheryl: Since he left the halfway house.
Det. Joe Fontana: Well, what the hell is the matter with you? If you want to screw up your own life, be our guest, it's a free country. But to bring this guy into your house with your kids?
D.A. Arthur Branch: You're still here.
Jack McCoy: I'm writing my closing statement.
D.A. Arthur Branch: You're gonna take it all the way to the jury.
Jack McCoy: No reason not to. That tape was pretty damning.
D.A. Arthur Branch: That's your call, but a part of me wouldn't mind seeing this whole thing go away.
Jack McCoy: Me, too.
D.A. Arthur Branch: You know, this office has cut a deal with the likes of Jacob Lowenstein. We could do the same thing with Joyce Draper.
Jack McCoy: I'd be happy to if she'd allocute to what she did.
D.A. Arthur Branch: She won't?
Jack McCoy: I spoke to her lawyer, dangled the possibility. She won't accept any sort of guilty plea.
D.A. Arthur Branch: I guess she's determined to see this thing through, too.
Jack McCoy: Apparently so. He's putting her on the stand.
D.A. Arthur Branch: [sardonic chuckle] Tread lightly.
Captain Donald Cragen: Lowenstein was a coked-out crazy creep. He used Carla as a punching bag for years. Bruises, broken bones. By the time we got there, her jaw was so swollen, she couldn't talk.
Detective Ed Green: What about the little girl?
Captain Donald Cragen: She was black, blue, and burned. When I'm having a bad night, this is the one that comes back and haunts me.
Detective Ed Green: His P.O. said he had a son?
Captain Donald Cragen: Ezra. Two years old. Malnourished, neglected. Spent most of his time tied to the radiator like a dog.
Det. Joe Fontana: Parole officer also said that he's living on Long Island.
Captain Donald Cragen: I'll get you a name and address. He was doing well last I heard.
Detective Ed Green: Happy ending, considering.
Captain Donald Cragen: Speaking of happy endings, how's Lowenstein?
Det. Joe Fontana: Well, he's still on the critical list.
Captain Donald Cragen: I hope he lingers a long time in excruciating pain.
Jack McCoy: It's frustrating, as a prosecutor, when you're sure someone's a murderer but the only thing you can convict them of is tax evasion or assault. It's frustrating. But it's fundamental; you can't punish a crime that you can't prove. That's where the penal code meets the Declaration of Independence. What do you do as a cop, if you're sure there's a bad man on your beat but you don't have a made case against him? You don't frame him. You can't harass him. You make the case. You definitely don't shoot him. So, what should you do, as a citizen, if you're sure a monstrous predator has been released from prison because they couldn't hold him any more under the law? Write your own law? Run him down in the street? You make sure that the state enforces its rules. You get them for violating parole the day he moves in with Sheryl. You have the cops at the door. You make sure they watch him, and if they don't, if the system messes up, if he hurts someone, like Lowenstein could have hurt Sheryl's little girl, you sound the general alarm. You call the police and the papers, you go on TV, you make a scandal. Not a plan to commit murder. Joyce Draper is talented and brilliant. She might be the smartest person in this room. She's a sympathetic defendant, and Jacob Lowenstein was a repulsive victim. It doesn't matter. Joyce Draper murdered Jacob Lowenstein deliberately, with malice of forethought. And there's no reasonable doubt about that whatsoever. She didn't even really try to explain his blood on her car, because she's betting on you to let her get away with it. Citizens, no matter what their role, if it's a doctor, or a police officer, or a prosecutor, or a juror, may not take the law into their own hands. Joyce Draper belongs in jail, long enough to make it plain that we as a society will not tolerate citizens choosing who lives and who dies. And it's up to you to put her there.