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Don’t say ‘government’ in court

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A Tennessee assistant district attorney has admitted it: “government” is a dirty word.

Assistant DA Tammy Rettig filed a motion to prevent defense attorney Drew Justic from using the phrase “the government” in an upcoming trial on the grounds that the term is “derogatory,” according to court documents.

“The State believes that such a reference is used in a derogatory way and is meant to make the State’s attorney seem oppressive and to inflame the jury,” Rettig wrote in a motion filed in the Williamson County Circuit Court.

Justice told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he “just thought it was a little bit silly,” and filed a fitting motion in response: he wanted to be called “Captain Justice” instead of the defense.

“I mean, obviously, if I were just blatantly insulting them in court, then the judge could block that,” Justice told TheDCNF. “But they were just trying to nitpick exact terms I could use.”

In addition to changing his own name, Justice argued that calling his client “the Defendant” could turn a jury just as much as the word “government.”

“This rather archaic term of art,” Justice wrote in his motion, “obviously has a fairly negative connotation…the word ‘defendant’ should be banned.”

“The designation ‘That innocent man’ would also be acceptable,” Justice noted.

When addressed by name, the attorney demanded to be called “Captain Justice,” but gave the court other options — so as not to constrain Rettig in the proceedings.

“Along these same lines, even the term ‘defense’ does not sound very likeable,” Justice added. “So to prevent the jury from being unfairly misled by this ancient English terminology, the opposition to the Plaintiff hereby names itself ‘the Resistance.'”

Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper, Rettig’s superior, told the Tennessean that they didn’t appreciate Justice’s response.

“We’re a little disappointed at the response that talked about ‘Captain Justice, Defender of the Realm,'” Helper said. “From my perspective, it seemed a little bit — I don’t know what the right word would be. The response did not appear to be in good faith.”

The court ruled in favor of using the word “government,” Justice told TheDCNF.

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