If you think Biglaw has a quality control problem, then you should check out the tactical decisions coming from some prosecutors’ offices. You’d think there would be someone in the chain of command who would see motions like these come across the desk and say, “Hey, maybe this will make us look incredibly stupid.”
At least we hope this is a quality control problem. It’d be way worse if tactical decisions this asinine came down from on high.
Anyway, the government in this case made a huge mistake. Sorry, I mean “the prosecutors,” because they don’t want to be called “the government” anymore, and filed a motion in limine to that effect.
Thankfully, this clever attorney wrote an epic response trolling the prosecutors for their ludicrous motion….
This story comes to us from Williamson County, Tennessee. In the case of State v. Donald Powell, the prosecutors filed a motion in limine to ban the word “government” from the trial. Apparently, they felt that referring to the prosecution as “the government” would hurt their chances with the jury. How they managed to get a jury full of black helicopter-fearing, New World Order conspiracy theorists is a different question.
But defense attorney Drew Justice wasn’t having any of it. After thoroughly dispensing with the government’s lame argument on the merits, he couldn’t help himself from some world class trolling.
Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions for amending the speech code. 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 he 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.
We love posting hilarious responses to cease and desist letters — like here and here — but a snark-riddled court filing is really stepping it up a notch. Justice must be confident that the judge has a sense of humor. My only criticism of Justice is that he should have led with having his client retitled “the innocent man.”
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.
Let’s all raise a glass and toast Captain Justice, Guardian of the Realm. You have won this week’s award for best lawyer ever!