Oliver Taft
Oliver Taft.jpg
Name Oliver Taft
Occupation Judge
Pathology Corrupt judge
Alleged proxy murderer
Status Alive
Actor Tom Skerritt
First Appearance "Poison"

Oliver Taft was a corrupt judge whose class biases determined the convictions in high-profile cases. 

Background

Taft wrongly convicted Rosalin Silvo, a low-class, uneducated, unmarried woman who had two daughters from two different fathers, for the poisoning murder of her eldest daughter via antifreeze. During the trial, Taft disallowed the use of evidence and testimony provided by the defense that would have proven Silvo's daughter had a rare genetic disorder that had symptoms similar to that of antifreeze poisoning, and that her death was actually caused by drugs the hospital used to treat her misdiagnosed condition. He also had Silvo's defense attorney held in contempt and then blackballed throughout the courts with other judges for attempting to challenge him, which led to the attorney quitting criminal law to save his career.

Poison

Ten years later, Taft wrongly acquitted Karen Campbell, who tried to poison her adopted daughter Alexis, believing that, being a high-class, educated, married woman with a stable home environment, she loved her daughter. During this trial, he agreed to the defense's request to waive the jury, ensuring he alone would decide her fate. He also suppressed Katie, Karen's biological five-year-old daughter, from being a sworn witness, thus preventing her crucial testimony from being admitted as evidence, and had Detective Stabler held in contempt of court for challenging his decision while on the witness stand.

Once ADA Novak investigated Taft's other court rulings, she found Silvo and had her released from prison when it was discovered her daughter was not murdered. Afterwards, Karen succeeded in killing Alexis and was arrested, but she claimed Taft had told her in an ex parte communication during her first trial that she should kill Alexis to spare everyone the hardship of caring for her. Taft was soon arrested and charged, but the charges were immediately dismissed due to the lack of physical evidence. Novak later subpoenaed Taft to testify in Karen's murder trial, during which she forced him to admit to his class bias with Karen in her first trial and with Silvo ten years prior.

In the end, Karen was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury, via Taft's testimony, and Taft himself was forced to face the public following the revelations about his bias. During this, it was revealed that Taft had suffered major damage to his career as a result of his testimony and the overturning of Silvo's conviction: while he was allowed to remain on the bench for the time being, he was transferred to Civil Court, and all of his previous decisions were investigated to determine whether or not he made biased decisions on other cases.

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