Literary Reviews, Page 112

"Diminished Capacity," by Andrew Zimmerman Jones (continued)

So incensed is Price at the judge’s ruling, the seasoned lawyer succumbs to his rage and blasts the judge even after warnings of contempt. However, before the bailiffs can arrest the zealous attorney, Price is struck down by an apparent psionic attack by his own client; one that ironically leaves him in the same condition as the boy’s first alleged victim.

With Price now out of the picture, the way is paved for Elaine Robinson, Price’s junior associate, to step in for the defense in her long awaited chance to establish her reputation with such a high profile case; a motivation which Billy instantly senses. Such is her ambition that, despite having been present when her senior colleague had been stricken down by her new client, she seems curiously unconcerned that a similar fate might lie in her near future.

The story then progresses to become somewhat reminiscent of the scenario presented within the movie Philadelphia in which an ambulance-chasing tort lawyer suddenly develops a conscience when he reluctantly takes the case of a dying fellow attorney who had been discharged from his firm when it was discovered that he was afflicted with AIDS. In a similar vein, Robinson becomes increasingly sympathetic to her client on a personal basis as she delves into the circumstances of the initial alleged mental assault, fighting her client’s reluctance to expound his contention that it had been an accident.

Despite her pleas to her client that he allows her to plead the insanity defense, Billy stands on his principles and refuses to maintain that he is crazy. After a plea bargain offered by the boy—over the protests of Robinson—which would entail his agreeing to a lobotomy is refused by the district attorney’s office, Robinson cajoles the boy into allowing her to at least plead diminished capacity. She explains that the accident defense has no chance as the law does not allow for the possibility of “accidental rape.”

During the course of her sessions with her client, Robinson discerns the depth of the anguish felt by her youthful client; the loneliness engendered by his “gift” that renders him a “freak.” The boy’s sensitivity and angst shine forth through the veneer of his presumed callous, sociopathic inclinations. The child’s self-loathing is palpable as evidenced by the emotional scars left by his father who seems terrified of him and is willing to testify against his own son. Click to continue:

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