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Drinking and Driving

Alcohol and the Law

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Court Facilitators' Guide

What People are Saying


New Hampshire
Public Television
PBS Online
About the Program

Just One Night Script
Prologue Scene 5 - A Whole New World
Scene 1 - Who's Tom Boyle Scene 6 - For Better or Worse
Scene 2 - Accidents Will Happen Scene 7 - The End?
Scene 3 - Family Matters Epilogue
Scene 4- The Letter of the Law

Scene 4 - The Letter of the Law


Now the legal process begins, and I'm looking at negligent homicide. There's a  couple of words for you?  Negligent homicide.  What does that mean?  Kind of  sounds like it was all just an accident, doesn't it?  I'm sorry.  Didn't really mean it.   And I'm looking at maybe 1/12 to 2 years, something like that and that's all right.  [Tom steps down - takes a few steps and looks directly at camera.]  Then we  hear the crime has been elevated and it's going to be handled by the attorney  general's office.  That's not good news.  In fact, my case is going to be   prosecuted by the assistant attorney general,   John Stephen, and that's bad  news for me.  You see, John Stephen's focus in his legal career is to prosecute  fatalities in alcohol-related crime.  He's a serious guy and I learn that he is  going to charge me with manslaughter.  Now there's a word I get.   And not only  that, but they want 8-16 years of my life. 

Tom starts to walk back towards staircase.. 

So what do you do?   In my life, the way I was brought up, if you do something,  you take responsibility for it, and you do what you can to fix it.  I did it, so I plead  I plead guilty to manslaughter.  And now that I'm guilty, it's time to go in for  sentencing. 

Tom goes out of frame...... 

EXT. CONCRETE CORRIDOR. Tom walks into frame from beyond the side wall of corridor and follows camera going away from medium security.

And sentencing is a weird thing. You go into the courtroom and the victim's  family is over here, and there's John Stephen, the assistant attorney general,  and my lawyers, and the courtroom is packed with 150 people who have come to  support me from all over the country, to tell the world what a good guy I am. The  judge comes out - it's very emotional - she bangs her gavel and says ‘Mr. Boyle  is here having plead guilty to manslaughter.' 

Dissolve back toTom on camera ... 

I'll be honest with you, that's when it hit me.  I don't have a speeding ticket.   Never had an accident in my life.  But manslaughter I get.  There's a word.  And  you know, that's what it was.  My passenger, Brian Colgan died horribly. [ He  pauses for a moment.] Horribly.
[ Tom resumes.] So anyway, all these people  get up and say what a great guy I am.  I'm a good this, I'm a great that.  You'd  think I was Mr. Wonderful.  And so Mr. Wonderful is found guilty - and   sentenced. And then these guys come up and they shackle me.  And I go out of  the room, with 150 of my friends around me, and family, and they bring me  down to a cell. [Tom and the camera rotate and swap positions so that now the  camera is backing Tom up against the rail that overlooks the prison yard.] This  is the real deal now. My lawyers come down, and they're all excited.  4-8 Yeah!,  Like I won the lotto or something. And I did, because the prosecutor wanted  8-16 years. So I really lucked out here. [Tom reaches the railing.] 4-8 years in  prison and I'm a lucky man. 

Tom turns to look over his shoulder at the prison building. Camera pans to follow his gaze. Fade to black and then up on ...
Scene 5 - A Whole New World