Law and Order

James Smith

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James Smith
Name James Smith
Title Defense Attorney
Occupation Attorney
Bar review essay grader (former)
Pathology Triple murderer
Family Unnamed parents (deceased)
Patricia Smith (sister)
Status Institutionalized
Actor Denis O'Hare
First Appearance "Pro Se"

James Stephen Smith was a schizophrenic defense attorney who thought women were the "the tools of his enemies" through an old story in the Bible called the wife of Heber.


Smith grew up with his sister in their home and eventually attended Princeton and majored in law with a minor in theology and had a girlfriend at the time. At the age of 23 he tried to strangle his girlfriend thinking she wanted to stick needles in his brain. This incident prompted him to be hospitalized for six months where he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Smith later attended University of Michigan Law School and got into trouble when he trashed an office. Despite this, Smith graduated summa cum laude law review, with a Postdoctoral Associateship in 1987 and passed the bar a year later. He routinely stopped taking his medication either because he thought he was cured or because he couldn’t stand the side effects. He tried taking his medication to get a job as an attorney at a law firm, but his condition made it impossible to get a job and James was depressed. He decided to stop taking his medication and when he committed a crime important enough, he would defend himself and prove everyone wrong.

Smith got a job at a bar review prep school grading papers, a few years later and started stalking a woman and was arrested for it. The ADA on the case, Kincaid, took a plea of harassment in the second degree for six months probation and a $500 fine. He lost his job and went to a soup kitchen for the next couple of months. During the time when he was off his medication on January the next year, Linda Bowers gave him some free samples out of pity and Smith started stalking her. When Smith followed her to her house, she called the police and Smith leaves the area. Smith walks in circles right outside apartment and the police arrive again and take him in. Smith refuses to give them his name so the cops drop him off at Central Park and the cops beat on Smith as a message to leave Bowers alone. Smith stays away from Bowers place and a few weeks later, attempts to purchase a Korean Army bayonet from a street vendor. When the vendor refuses to take his soup kitchen vouchers as payment, Smith steals the bayonet.

Pro SeEdit

Smith starts stalking Bowers again and a week later, Smith follows Bowers into a clothing store and pulls out his bayonet and slashes everyone in the store, killing three people including Bowers, and injuring one woman. Smith is arrested a week after the murders in the public library for assault after he pulls out his bayonet trying to resist arrest. Detectives Briscoe and Curtis interrogate Smith about the murders, Smith just sprouts gibberish. When the surviving victim identifies him, he is officially arrested for the murders. At his arraignment he pleads not guilty and recognizes Kincaid from when she prosecuted him and Smith is remanded. Smith fired his legal aid attorney, Lowe, and decides to represent himself and files a motion to that effect. McCoy argues against this, but the judge grants the motion in light of Smith’s legal arguments. McCoy has Lowe stay on the case as Smith’s standby counsel and Smith says he intends to file an omnibus motion to suppress.

When the judge denies the motion, Smith changes his plea to not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. When McCoy visits Smith in jail to discuss a plea, Smith refuses, stating that the person who killed those people isn’t him and won’t be punished for it. Olivet interviews Smith, whom Olivet characterizes as knowing he was a risk to others if he stopped taking medication, but didn’t care. On cross-examination, Smith gets Olivet to admit it's possible he was under duress from the side effects and couldn’t predict his future and instead casts blame on Kincaid for letting him off easy the first time. When the surviving witness takes the stand, Smith uses her rage against Kincaid to his advantage.

Smith meets with the prosecutors and his sister who try to insist he take a deal where he is supervised and has to take his medication. Smith then reveals he used this trial to prove he would have been a great attorney and won’t accept any deal, especially since he is winning. When his sister announces she will testify for the prosecution, Smith tries to stop her but has no grounds. His sister testifies that she warned him that he could hurt someone if he went off his medication, but he said they would just have to stay out of his way. She goes on to say how he needed help taking his meds. Smith takes the deal offered to his as a result, but stopped taking his meds and hid them in a cache in his cell, heartbroken over his sister’s testimony. At his allocution everyone witnesses his relapse in horror. McCoy sticks with the plea and the judge sentences him to 6-18 years in a mental facility. McCoy tells Kincaid that Smith sent him his summation and had they proceeded to the jury, Smith could have been acquitted. (L&O: "Pro Se")

Known VictimsEdit

  • Unknown date, Princeton, New Jersey: Unnamed girlfriend (attempted to strangle)
  • New York City, New York:
    • 1994: Ms. Weinstein (stalked)
    • February 28, 1996: The clothing store murders:
      • Irving Marx
      • Linda Bowers
      • Unnamed cashier
      • Joanne Ellis (survived)

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