Episode recaps by Tess Gerritsen
Judge, Jury and Executioner (Season 4, Episode 11)
Participating in a mock trial is an honor for only the most elite high school students, and Ashley Harper certainly makes the cut. Not only is she a top student, her mother is a judge, so she knows the law inside and out. But what happens next is something even the best attorney couldn't predict. Just as Ashley is making her opening arguments, her mother staggers into the courtroom and dies. At first it appears to be a natural death ... until Maura discovers a puncture wound at the base of the skull. Judge Harper was killed by in injection of Ritalin. Who wanted her dead?
As Jane and Maura puzzle out the homicide, Jane uncovers another crisis. Opening her mother's mail, she finds out that the IRS is after Angela for $27,000 in back taxes -- a fee that Angela can't possibly afford. It explains Angela's desperate hunt for cash, but why hasn't she shared the burden with her kids? Jane's also frustrated by Tommy, who's hired a shark attorney to rush him through a lawsuit. Why is everyone in her family not listening to reason?
The homicide case forces Jane and her team to take a closer look at Judge Harper's recent decisions, and one in particular stands out: a young first-time offender whom she sent to Starbridge Correctional Facility, a for-profit prison. Joey Williams died while at Starbridge, and his father has every reason to hate Judge Harper, but he had no opportunity to kill her. What was so special about Starbridge that made Judge Harper send so many offenders there?
Jane and Maura must now infiltrate a prison where secrets abound ... including the secret that just might explain why Judge Harper had to die.