I hope I'm never in a situation where I need a public defender.
But if I ever am, I'll want the one who represented Ted Reynolds on Chicago Justice Season 1 Episode 11.
In real life, public defenders are overworked, underpaid, and often don't have the time to devote to their clients that private attorneys do, leading to a situation where poorer people don't get the adequate defense to which they are entitled.
Ted's lawyer, on the other hand, was a fierce advocate who did her best to stop the State's Attorney's office from playing games to get an indictment and was tough on witnesses during the trial.
The whole case hinged upon the question of what to do about a hit-and-run fatality that apparently happened because a woman thought she had to rush to save her daughter's life.
Jeffries: So no one was kidnapped?
Stone: It was a virtual kidnapping.
Jeffries: Unfortunately, Christopher Jones' funeral is real.
Jeffries wanted the woman tried for reckless homicide, Valdez wanted her seen as the victim of a crime, and everyone agreed that no matter what, justice couldn't be utterly be served because Chris Jones was dead and couldn't be resurrected.
I thought Jeffries' claim of reckless homicide was a little over the top.
Jane didn't hit him because she was racing the car next to her or because she was distracted by trying to post a selfie on Facebook. She was speeding and didn't stop because she thought it was the only way to save her daughter's life.
The fact that her daughter hadn't been kidnapped was irrelevant. Jane was the victim of a cruel prank but believed Emma's life was in danger. I had to wonder what Jeffries would have advised the team to do if Emma had been in danger at the time of the fatal accident.
Valdez: A quiet donut. ADQ. Each person should be punished only for the harm they caused.
Jeffries: First of all, I went to law school too. Secondly, this woman ran down an alderman. I'd say that's pretty damn harmful.
Valdez: She was trying to save her ten-year-old daughter!
Jeffries: Who was probably bored out of her skull because she was at the museum with her classmates. Charge her. The more the better.
But if Jeffries' suggestion was ridiculous, so was Stone's.
My understanding of felony murder is that death has to be a reasonable and expected outcome of the original crime for it to apply.
For example, if someone is shot during a burglary, the burglar can be charged with felony murder even if he didn't shoot the lethal weapon because it's reasonable to think that there may be a confrontation with a homeowner during a burglary that can lead to death.
I'm not sure that standard applies here. On the one hand, it may have been reasonable to assume that Jane could crash her car as a result of Ted's prank call. On the other, hitting an alderman who was recently the victim of a different prank is not a logical consequence of this crime.
Felony murder seemed like a bit of a stretch.
At least Stone didn't try to charge the environmental activist. After all, if he had not poured his prune juice and soap on Chris, Chris would not have gone outside and got hit by a car.
Antonio: Why do these people give me a headache?
Laura: Maybe it's all the CO2 in the air.
Antonio: Or maybe it's all the methane coming out when they open their mouths.
The question of when activists go too far and commit crimes in the name of protest is an interesting one, so it's a shame this didn't get more airtime. Instead, that whole issue was quickly shuffled to the side when it was determined that Jones had been hit by a random stranger who had nothing to do with the environmental group.
It would have been interesting to at least hear some news about the progress of the activist's trial or for Stone to decline to prosecute because had bigger fish to fry.
There wasn't enough time in the hour to devote anymore to this interesting question than what was brought up in the first few minutes, but I still yearned for some closure.
Bobby, Chris' colleague on the transportation committee, was adamant about bringing his killer to justice and I would have loved to hear his perspective on the felony murder case.
It might have been interesting for him not to be happy that Jane's story didn't put the environmental activists' activities in the spotlight and to pursue an agenda of his own.
Ted: Why didn't she call the cops?
Antonio: She was ordered not to.
Ted: Well, that's the first time she did what anyone told her to.
Anyway, the fascinating story wasn't of this murder. It was what the heck happened to Ted and Jane's relationship.
Ted claimed that his family was a priority and that he worked four jobs to support them, yet he was willing to trick Jane into thinking their daughter had been kidnapped to get revenge on her for demanding more alimony than he felt he could afford.
Jane claimed that she loved Ted once but that he had become selfish and vindictive.
Somehow little Emma was pretty well-adjusted and believed her parents loved each other and would never hurt each other.
Ted: Emma and I were just having dinner.
Antonio: That's good, cause the food at Cook County sucks.
Laura: In other words, you're under arrest for felony murder.
Ted: What? What did Jane tell you?
Emma: Daddy, can we have ice cream?
Ted: Yeah, just a second, sweetie. [starts to close door]
Laura: We can do this in one of two ways. Either you can come with us without a fuss and this nice social worker can sit with Emma while she finishes her dinner or we can drag Daddy out kicking and screaming in front of his ten-year-old daughter.
I wondered what Emma thought about first her father and then her mother were put under arrest. I was surprised she was as forthcoming as she was with Laura since she'd been subject to being left with a social worker while her dad was in jail and probably knew Laura's job was to keep him there.
The resolution of this story was also a little bit strange.
When Jane was in handcuffs, and the cops took off the cuffs to put them on Ted, I wondered if this was at all realistic. The cops then agreed not to charge Jane because she'd got a confession out of Ted.
I wondered how admissible that confession was and whether Jane would get off without any charges in a real-life situation that went this far.
It was entertaining, though, and far better than the usual Perry Mason-like ending, in which a witness breaks down and confesses on the stand.
What did you think of "AQD"? Did Stone's felony murder claim make any sense to you? Did you like the ending to this episode, or did it seem pat and convenient to you?
Weigh in below, and don't forget if you missed anything you can always watch Chicago Justice online to get caught up.