In a fairly recent criminal case in Tennessee, an Assistant District Attorney General asked the judge to make the defense attorneys stop calling her "the Government," even though she actually represented the government, which was charged with prosecuting the defendant. That's the way trials work. The DA claimed that the term was derogatory and prejudicial. She suggested an alternative title of "General R______." The defense attorney, appropriately named Drew Justice, issued a response to the request. He opened with a free speech claim, but then it got better, as the defense came up with acceptable terms for their side. First, the defendant should be referred to by his full name.
Alternatively, he may be called simply "the Citizen Accused." This latter title sounds more respectable than the criminal "Defendant." The designation "That innocent man" would also be acceptable.
Moreover, defense counsel does not wish to be referred to as a "lawyer," or a "defense attorney." Those terms are substantially more prejudicial than probative. See Tenn. R. Evid. 403. Rather, counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the "Defender of the Innocent." This title seems particularly appropriate, because every Citizen Accused is presumed innocent.
Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation "Guardian of the Realm."
Further, the Citizen Accused humbly requests an appropriate military title for his own representative, to match that of the opposing counsel. Whenever addressed by name, the name "Captain Justice" will be appropriate. While less impressive than "General," still, the more humble term seems suitable. After all, the Captain represents only a Citizen Accused, whereas the General represents an entire State.
There's more to the response. Ya know, if the word "government" has become so derogatory as to prejudice a jury, maybe the government should do something about its reputation instead of hiding its role. Read the whole story at Lowering the Bar. -via Metafilter