A bad book about a good woman who came to grief in the legal system. Inez Garda, a thirty-year-old Cuban-Puerto Rican living in the Mexican-American community of Soledad, Calif., was raped one night when two drunken neighbors came to her home spoiling for a fight. Twenty minutes later she shot one of her assailants dead. Subsequently her trial for murder became a cause celebre of the Women's Movement, even landing her on the cover of Ms. magazine. During her trial Inez was adopted by a Berkeley feminist commune; her new-found sisters made her their queen bee and one of them, Sheila, said ""she had mystical talents operating from her belly button"" and expected to win over the judge by ""vibing him from the audience."" Wood is awed by all the tough-talking liberated females, dazzled by the luster of Charles Garry, the veteran radical lawyer who defended Inez, and disgusted by the ""military neat"" judge who tried the case. He manages to make Inez--with her false eyelashes, 120 pairs of shoes and religious medallions--the ultimate in radical chic. Nevertheless, she was convicted of second degree murder. Wood perceives the case as a clash between two cultures, ""Berkeley and Middle America,"" and, worshipful of the former, he's scornful of the latter. Inez, who was part of neither, was lucklessly trapped in the middle. The issues were similar to those in the recent Joanne Little trial, but Wood's righteousness and lousy prose get in the way. It's hard not to agree with the prosecutor that Inez' supporters--two of whom appeared in court wearing goatees and men's clothing--hurt her case. It's a shame.