The jury trials of my teen years, as depicted on such fine broadcast fare as I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show, invariably involved entertaining scenarios revolving around the most extreme –not to say cartoonish– good and bad representatives of humanity. These moot courts were always ably and loquaciously mediated by at least one esquire of renown, said worthy delving into the black heart of the matter and eventually wresting forth a satisfying (if bloody 1) dénouement.
Moreover it was not unusual to find the denizens of Mayberry or Manhattan hanging out in the courtroom on a daily basis, adding their two cents worth whenever they deemed something one of the major players said or did out of line with their jaundiced view of reality. Hell, spending time watching trials sounded like a hoot.
Unfortunately life got in the way; I’ve never had time to just sit around and take in a a trial or two. 2 And my friends who have sat on juries all uniformly express their dismay in the lack of excitement or even intelligence among all the official participants.
It seems life doesn’t always slice and dice, much less make julienne fries (even if you call now and buy 2 for the low low price of $9.99.)
However…now comes Tennessee v. Powell, where the prosecution has moved, in limine, that the defense should not be permitted to refer to the prosecutor, an Assistant District Attorney General, as “the Government.”
I know – what the fuck, right? Dude has issues…
In any event the lawyer for the individual being tried responded (unfortunately –by definition — out of the jury’s earshot) thusly:
First, the Defendant no longer wants to be called “the Defendant.” This rather archaic term of art, obviously has a fairly negative connotation. It unfairly demeans, and dehumanizes Mr. Donald Powell. The word “defendant” should be banned. At trial, Mr. Powell hereby demands be addressed only by his full name, preceded by the title “Mister.” 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.
WHEREFORE, Captain Justice, Guardian of the Realm and Leader of the Resistance, primarily asks that the Court deny the State’s motion, as lacking legal basis. Alternatively, the Citizen Accused moves for an order in limine modifying the speech code as aforementioned, and requiring any other euphemisms and feel-good terms as the Court finds appropriate.
I would have paid good money to watch Captain Justice deliver that scathing rebuke live.
It is certainly worthy of a two-part episode of I Love Lucy.