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"Juvenile"
SVU, Episode 4.09
Production number: E3112
First aired: 22 November 2002
  th of 502 produced in SVU  
th of 502 released in SVU
  th of 1271 released in all  
Cabot Juvenile.jpg
Written By
Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas

Directed By
Constantine Makris

Summary

A cancer patient who was growing marijuana in her apartment is found raped and murdered, sending the detectives on a hunt for two junior-high students, each blaming the other. The prosecution team is faced with the dilemma of trying the older boy as an adult, despite evidence that he was not mentally capable of being able to carry out the crimes.

Plot

A woman is found raped and murdered in her home and it is soon discovered that she is growing marijuana. She is bloodied but strangely covered by a blanket. The SVU squad is called to the scene where they find one weapon used in the murder (a telephone that knocked the victim out) along with a pile of vomit. Missing from the scene is a knife used to stab the victim.

Benson and Stabler end up interviewing a neighbor who explains she easily guessed that the victim grew marijuana as she never worked and was able to buy nice things, and there were people in and out of her apartment everyday. It is noted at this time that her son is attempting to hide in the background and listen to the conversation but he is shooed away by his mother.

The detectives follow up by questioning some of the city's marijuana users, but soon find out, thanks to an analysis perform by Dr. Warner, that the contents of the vomit matched the district's middle school lunch on the day of the murder. Now that they know a child was at the scene, detectives turn to the victim's neighbor's son, whom reveals he knew about the marijuana and told a kid at school his neighbor had a lot of money.

Benson and Stabler bring the fourteen year old child, Jeremy Brice in and discover he is socially awkward. He also skipped class the afternoon of the murder, however he refuses to say anything. Munch and Finn begin to search the lockers of the kids absent the night of the murder. In one boy's locker they discover the victim's I.D. and a bloodied knife.

The twelve year old student, Zachary Connor is brought in for questioning and blames everything on the fourteen year old. After Jeremy is shown that his friend turned on him, he begins to tell the truth, saying he didn't want to hurt anyone, that Zachary did the violent stuff and he threw up. He also covered the victim with a blanket, thinking no one should be left bloodied on the floor.

Now the squad is left with two stories. Stabler believes Jeremy and Huang backs him up, so everyone's mind is made up. Zachary is too young to be tried as an adult and is released to family court, while ADA Cabot disagrees with allowing Jeremy to be tried as an adult; however, Donnelly says he had plenty of opportunities to leave and chose not to, thus he was responsible.

Cabot isn't convinced, and seeing that she is too emotionally attached, Donnelly moves her to second chair and decides to try the case herself. The defense puts out a plea for insanity, saying that an adolescent's brain isn't fully developed. Their defense rested on the hands of a doctor, but Donnelly is able to make him imply that the data isn't fully proven, thus making the studies a theory.

Donnelly then questions Jeremy, confronting with the facts he had opportunities to stop his friend and leave himself. Jeremy breaks down on the stand, which causes everyone to feel bad for him, even Donnelly, who stops going after him. Remorseful for putting Jeremy in that position, Donnelly has Cabot call Zachary as a rebuttal witness and has Cabot question him. Donnelly basically tells Cabot to get Zachary to reveal the truth of what happened. Zachary starts off with blaming the whole thing on Jeremy, but soon admits he was responsible, and did it to gain popularity after Cabot challenges his statements about not being scared.

This ends the trial, and Donnelly and Cabot meet up with Jeremy and his mother in an attempt to make a deal: the shortest sentence is 5-10 years. The defense attorney tells them to take it, but Mrs. Brice insists the testimony of Zachary is enough to prove her son innocent. Cabot attempts to tell her that if the law finds Jeremy guilty, he faces a possible life sentence, but she believes her son can get off with no jail time, believing that Zachary's testimony proves that Jeremy is good and the jury won't send him to jail. To the grief of everyone involved, including Cabot and Donnelly, Jeremy is found guilty of second degree murder and first degree burglary. As Jeremy and his mother break down, the defense attorney polls the jury, revealing that they all voted guilty. Cabot and Donnelly stare at Jeremy sadly as his life is destroyed due to one bad choice.

Cast

Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast

References

Quotes

Munch: Members take turns growing their crop.
Cragen: How the hell do you know so much about it?
Fin: 25 years on the job and he's still a damn hippy.

Munch: Do you have any idea why cannabis is illegal in this country? Because William Randolph Hearst's paper mills were threatened by the hemp industry.
Fin: And that has nothing to the fact that it's a drug.
Munch: What do you call alcohol, tobacco?
Fin: Legal.

Stabler: An M.E. out of the morgue? Must be big.
Warner: Cragen told me you were here, lab finished analyzing the vomit from the crime scene.
Benson: Am I gonna wanna stop eating before I hear this?
Warner: Pieces of roast beef, a little of mozzarella cheese, kernels of corn and raisins. Luckily they haven't been in the stomach very long so everything was only partially digested.
Benson: (Benson pushes away her plate and Stabler starts eating from it) Yeah, I'm done.

Gina Bernardo: Elizabeth Donnelly is back trying cases? Or did your new boss demote you already?
Elizabeth Donnelly: Funny comments like that, it's a wonder both your legs aren't broken.

Bernardo: These are scientific studies proving that an adolescent's brain is significantly different than an adult's. That in fact, our brains aren't fully formed until we're in our early 20s.
Elizabeth Donnelly: And I can present scientific studies which proves my cat is trying to kill me in my sleep.

Cabot: If you put Zachary Connor on the stand, he's going to say that Jeremy did everything and I believe that's a lie.
Donnelly: I'm not putting him on the stand. You are. Jury already thinks I make little kids cry.

Background information and notes

  • The scenario of Jeremy Brice being charged with and convicted of murder even though he didn't actually commit the crime comes from the statute of felony murder. In felony murder, if someone dies during the commission of a crime, even if it is from something like a heart attack rather than outright murder, those who committed the crime are held responsible for the person's death as if they killed the victim themselves. In Jeremy's case, he was involved in the burglary in which Susan Oestreicher died and is therefore held responsible alongside Zachary. Cabot briefly mentions the felony murder statute while trying to convince Jeremy to take a deal.
  • Warner reveals her daughter is in the sixth grade.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

12 West 66th Street
Tuesday, November 12

P.S. 264
Office of
Principal Corrales
Wednesday, November 13

Office of
Alexandra Cabot
Assistant District Attorney
Thursday, November 14

Trial Part 22
Monday, November 18

5 6 7

Trial Part 22
Tuesday, November 19

Crossroads Juvenile
Detention Facility
Tuesday, November 19

Trial Part 22
Wednesday, November 20

Previous episode:
"Waste"
"Juvenile"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 4
Next episode:
"Resilience"
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