Chapter One ; "The defense calls James Lee Mitchell III to the witness stand." ; Hearing his name, Jimmy looked up in surprise. For once, it sounded like Daddy was proud of him. Mama leaned close to his ear. ; "Go ahead. All you have to do is tell what you heard, just like we practiced this morning at the kitchen table. Your daddy is counting on you." ; "But Mama--" ; "Mr. Mitchell, are you intending to call your son as a witness in this case?" the judge asked. ; Mr. Laney jumped to his feet. His freckled, round face flushed bright red, and his voice rose in protest. ; "Your Honor, I discussed this with Mr. Mitchell as soon as I received his list of potential witnesses. This is highly improper. His son is mentally limited and not able to provide competent testimony. Parading him in front of the jury is inflammatory, prejudicial, and inherently unreliable!" ; Tall, with light brown hair and dark, piercing eyes, Daddy responded smoothly. ; "Judge Robinson, I believe the district attorney misstates the legal standard for competency to testify in the state of Georgia. It is whether a witness understands the nature of a judicial oath. Age and intelligence are not the final arbiters of the capacity to offer probative testimony. That determination rests with the Court, and I'm prepared to lay the foundation necessary for this witness to testify. The fact that he's my son is irrelevant." ; Mr. Robinson removed the pen clenched between his teeth and peered over the edge of the bench at Jimmy. The young boy stared back through thick glasses held in place by large ears. Jimmy shared the same hair color as his father, but his eyes, like those of his birth mother, were pale blue. Average in height for a sixth grader at Piney Grove Elementary School, Jimmy ran his finger inside the collar of his shirt and pulled at the tie around his neck. ; "How old is he?" the judge asked. ; "Twelve, but he'll be thirteen in a few weeks," Daddy replied. ; "His chronological age is not an indicator of his mental capacity," Mr. Laney responded quickly. "We're not dealing with a normal--" ; "Gentlemen," the judge interrupted. "We'll take up the competency determination outside the presence of the jury. Bailiff, escort the jurors to the jury room." ; Jimmy watched as the people sitting in chairs on the other side of his daddy left the courtroom. One black-haired woman wearing a cobalt-blue dress looked at him and smiled. ; Pointing in her direction, he whispered to Mama, "Does that lady in the blue dress know me?" ; "That's Mrs. Murdock. She's a teacher at the high school." ; "I hope I'm in her class when I go to high school. She looks nice. What does she teach?" ; "She teaches English." ; "Oh," Jimmy said, disappointed. "I already know English." ; As soon as the last person left and the bailiff closed the door, Mr. Robinson spoke. ; "Mr. Mitchell, proceed with your evidence as to the competency of this young man to testify." ; Jimmy watched Daddy pick up a legal pad and turn to a new page. ; "Admittedly, Your Honor, Jimmy is mentally limited. However, that doesn't automatically eliminate his capability to offer testimony with probative value in this case." ; "What kind of testimony?" Mr. Laney asked. "The defendant is charged with felony possession and intent to distribute over two pounds of cocaine. To bring in an impressionable child who can be maWhitlow, Robert is the author of 'Jimmy' with ISBN 9781595540638 and ISBN 1595540636.