Justice (2006)

Season 1 Episode 13

False Confession

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Unknown on FOX

Episode Recap

Luke Winters lies dead in a pool of blood in his room. His 15 year old babysitter is arrested for the crime. When Tom Luther and Ron try to get in, the police continue to obstruct them, and by the time they sneak in Jenny's been forced to confess. At the same time Alden meets with the neighbor who confirms that she saw Jenny with a baseball bat.

Alden meets with Jenny, and she reveals that she never meant what she said. She explains that the alarm went off, which was why she was carrying the bat (she figured it was better to be safe than sorry). When nothing seemed wrong, she shut the alarm off, only to hear a thump. When she came up, she saw Luke lying on the floor in a pool of blood. She also explains that she told the cops she suspected that Luke had fallen from the 10 foot high bookcase. She also tried to call Luke's dad, but he ignored her. Alden is visibly shocked, after watching Luke's father denounce her on American Crime, although her name isn't mentioned.

Luther meets with ADA Reese, and he accuses her of playing politics with the case. She reveals that Jenny signed a Miranda Waiver, and that she wants Jenny tried as an adult. Meanwhile, Shaw talks to the Marshalls, and explains why Jenny broke. They assure the family that a reasonable bail is guaranteed. While discussing the hearing that will determine whether or not Jenny will be tried as an adult, a vandal throws a stone through the window. This prompts Ron to persuade the parents to televise the hearing because it will allow them to humanize Jenny.

As all this is going on, Alden is assigned to look after Jenny (seems she has a soft spot for teenagers). She talks to Jenny about her problems. Her date has dumped her, her Mom's been getting threatening phone calls, and her life is generally miserable. While looking over the witness list for the hearing, they discover that Jenny's best friend Emily is on the DA's list. Jenny confesses that she said some things about Craig Winters, but is adamant that it was just a crush. Unfortunately, Jenny decides to call the Winters out of pity, which causes the defense to lose the hearing. At the same time, two new breaks come up. First, they have confirmed that the test of the baseball bat (which the police say is the murder weapon) was inconclusive. If they can get into the Winter's house, they can test the bookcase. They get a court order to enter the house. Second, they can prove that the cops edited the confession. Luther also explains that the chief interrogator, Mendoza, was a soldier who broke terrorist suspects, and who now breaks Harco gangbangers. Ron asks "What chance did a 15 year old babysitter have against that?"

At the house, Craig and Reese are reluctant to let Ron Alden and Dr. Shaw in, and Craig rants about how Tom has no clue about the pain he's in. Tom is able to pacify him, and they enter the house. Shaw tests the bookcase and confirms that if Luke fell from the bookcase the fall would have killed him. So they decide to get another court order; the tests later turn up inconclusive. The team loses the hearing to exclude the confession. At the trial prep, Ron explains that they will have to attack the parents, since juries want someone to blame, and the parents were technically negligent "Who puts a 10-foot-high bookcase where a child can climb it?" Tom is supportive, but Luther and Alden are hesitant, feeling that it is too risky. Eventually they agree. They learn from the jury consultant that the accident theory could work if they get it out first. To improve their odds, they air a news piece describing how the police use interrogation techniques to get confessions which are sometimes false.

The segment turns out well, and at the jury selection Luther asks a Hispanic juror whether her child had an accident. She explains that her daughter broke her arm playing on the swing. Luther asked whether she felt she could have stopped it, and whether she blamed anyone. The mother admits that there was no one to blame, but that she could have watched her daughter more closely. As they leave, Craig furiously calls Luther a son of a bitch, asking how he could do that. As the trial commences, the first witness up is Mendoza. Luther cross examines him, and establishes that Mendoza had essentially bullied Jenny into confessing. He then shows that Mendoza basically cut and pasted the confession tape (at one section Mendoza's watch says 7:30, the exact instant before it's 4:30). Mendoza desperately argues that he had camera problems, and that he did his job. Luther counters that by his own admission his job was to solve the crime, and accuses him of forging evidence. When Reese objects, Luther asks if it's true the medical examiner couldn't prove the baseball bat theory; Mendoza grudgingly admits this to be true. Luther simply says "No further questions" as Mendoza simply seethes at him.

Craig Winters testifies next, saying that Jenny was obsessive and used to call him all the time. Tom examines him, and gets him to admit that most of the calls were fairly innocent. He then points out that Craig drank a lot the night Luke died. Craig says so what. Tom tells him "accidents happen, and maybe you accidentally didn't hear the several times she warned you that bookcase was a danger." After returning, Tom expresses discomfort. Jenny takes the stand, and gives her side of the story. Reese cross examines her, and calls up Seth Rose (a child Jenny babysat) who claims that Jenny hit him. Luther remains calm, and asks Seth if he wants to be there. Seth says no, prompting Luther to dismiss him, only to call Seth's mom as a rebuttal witness. Seth's mother is asked when Seth told her, how she felt, and how the conversation went. She admits that she was scared when Jenny got arrested, that Seth told her afterwards, and that she essentially questioned him. Luther uses this to convey that when she got scared, she unknowingly upset her son, and as a result, when she questioned him she unintentionally convinced him that the best way to make her feel better was to tell her that Jenny had hit him.

At the Verdict, Jenny says that she should have done a better job, but Alden tells her that she doesn't deserve to go to prison for a crime she didn't do. After a tense delay, the Verdict is revealed: Not Guilty. The team, Jenny, and her parents are happy, although Reese and Craig are not. Craig angrily yells at them for "letting her get away with it," and storms off, leaving Jenny to sob in her parents arms.

The Death of Luke Winters: Luke tries to climb the bookcase, and falls. The confession is shown to have been extracted through force and intimidation.
No results found.
No results found.
No results found.