Here are two instances in which Steve's motivations lead his actions in two instances:
1. In "Journal #1," As the trial begins, Steve listens to the testimony of the second witness called by the State Assistant District Attorney, Sandra Petrocelli. She questions Sal Zinzi who is an inmate in Rikers, convicted of receiving stolen goods. Zinzi testifies that he learned of the robbery of Mr. Nesbitt's store. Prosecutor Petrocelli suspects that Zinzi is offering testimony in order to cut a deal so that he can be released early because other inmates have threatened to rape him. Ms. Petrocelli asks Zinzi if he knows when he is lying and when he is telling the truth; Zinzi says he does, but the prosecutor responds to his answer,
"Let me get this straight....You'd buy stolen goods for profit, rat on somebody to save your own hide, but you're too goo to lie. Is that right?"
When Steve hears this exchange between Petrocelli and Zinzi, his memory is stirred, and he recalls a similar behavior on his part. In the "Flashback" in which he is twelve and with his friend Tony, the boys are in the park of their neighborhood and Tony brags of his pitching ability; he picks up a rock and throws it in order to demonstrate his skill, but he does not throw well. Bragging, Steve picks up another rock and pitches it; however, his rock hits a woman. When the man with her asks who has thrown the rock, Steve yells, "Tony, run!" Naturally, the man thinks Tony is the one who has thrown this rock, so he punches Tony. After the woman convinces the man to leave with her, the boys sit on the ground.
TONY I didn't throw that rock. You threw it.
STEVE I didn't say you threw it. I just said "run." You should've run.
Ashamed now of his words after hearing Zinzi lie in a similar fashion, Steve realizes that he was motivated selfishly to save himself, and he sacrificed his friend because of this desire by lying.
2. After Steve is exonerated, he happily moves to hug his attorney Ms. O'Brien, but she cringes. Steve wonders, "What did she see that made her turn away?" After returning home, Steve films himself as though he can delve inside his being and understand "the road to panic that I took." Ms. O'Brien suggested to the jury that Steve was not involved because he gave no signal after coming out of the store, and she convinced them that there was reasonable doubt. But, his attorney knew that Steve lied on the stand about his connection to the others, just as he lied to implicate Tony.
"Mr. Harmon was involved. He made a moral decision to participate in this getover,"
After listening to Mr. Harmon and being rejected by Ms. O'Brien, Steve's guilt haunts him after the trial, and at home he sets up the camera before a mirror and films himself as though he can achieve an objectivity in his perspective of himself. He notes that his father has "moved away" from him in their relationship. "I understand the distance. My father is no longer sure who I am." Neither is he, for he compromised his integrity just as he did with Tony in the park.