Words you don't hear a whole lot: This court filing is hilarious.
A prosecutor recently asked the Circuit Criminal Court of Williamson County Tennessee to instruct another lawyer -- named Drew Justice (really) -- not to refer to her as the "government" any longer. That word, the prosecutor argued in a motion, "is used in a derogatory way" meant to "inflame" and cause "dislike" in the jury.
Justice responded -- in a formal motion -- with the suggestion that, if the court will be allowing attorneys to pick their own titles, he'd prefer to lose the designations of "lawyer" or "defense attorney," and be known instead as "Guardian of the Realm" or "Defender of the Innocent."
When being addressed by name, the Guardian of the Realm wrote in his court filing, he'd like to be called "Captain Justice":
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.
Along these same lines, even the term "defense" does not sound very likable. The whole idea of being defensive, comes across to most people as suspicious. So to prevent the jury from being unfairly misled by this ancient English terminology, the opposition to the Plaintiff hereby names itself "the Resistance." Obviously, this terminology need only extend throughout the duration of the trial — not to any pre-trial motions. During its heroic struggle against the State, the Resistance goes on the attack, not just the defense.
"I always did feel like Captain Justice would be a good superhero name," says Justice, who practices in a Nashville suburb -- he has, perhaps, the best law firm name in history for a criminal defense practice: Justice Law Office -- and that he does usually try to make his filings amusing, but "they are usually not quite as silly."
The Captain, whose Citizen is Accused in this case of attempted aggravated burglary, says he doesn't yet know how people at the courthouse are reacting to the media attention to his motion. He has gotten the judge's reaction, though, and it was positive.
"The judge orally denied the government's motion last week," he says. "He said that he did not think the term was derogatory. He said that he had already denied the same motion in another case, so my job turned out to be pretty easy."
As for the original motion, the prosecutor may actually have been onto something: A recent Pew poll found trust in the (federal) government at a near-record low.