12 July 2007 | MarieGabrielle
An important message about our American justice system...
This film is based on a true story and presents a cautionary tale of state social services and what happens to a family once they are in the system and wrongfully accused by over-zealous prosecutors.
Basically Lisa Hartman Black and her husband Chris Meloni, live in a middle-class suburb in Washington state. They have a newborn and some financial issues. Cloris Leachman is very good as the spiteful mother-in-law.
The baby first becomes sick so Hartman takes him to the nearest hospital, Hollingsworth Poison Control Center. The baby at first recovers, and the doctor informs them that he had antifreeze in his system. Unfortunately the child dies, and social services steps in and unjustly accuse the mother (Hartman). She is railroaded into prison and doesn't have money for a good defense lawyer.
Chris Meloni ("Law and Order") is very sympathetic as the loving husband who does all he can to get his wife freed from prison. He stands by his wife even when his own mother says, "I never liked Laurie, she probably did it". Unfortunately that is still the attitude here, as many are unjustly accused and thrown into jail.
Eventually, Laurie gets an attorney (well portrayed by James Staley), who is arrogant and uses her defense as reasonable doubt: he has won all of his cases, he says, and the jury will not convict. Well, that plan fails and Hartman is sentenced to life in prison.
Her husband fails to be deterred and now has a mission to prove his wife innocent. He eventually retains attorney Orr (David Ogden-Stiers) who researches the illness her child died from. It is a rare genetic disorder but the prosecution conveniently left out the medical facts. Eventually, she is released and in reality had a considerable civil suit against Washington State and the hospitals and social worker who testified against her. A frightening and true story. 9/10.