The funniest blog post I've come across today is David French's account of a trial in Williamson County, Tenn., an affluent suburban/exurban area just south of Nashville, in which prosecutors filed a motion asking the judge to order the defense attorney to stop referring to the prosecution as "the government." The gist of their argument: "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."
In response, the defense lawyer, a man with the felicitous name of Drew Justice, filed a motion — but I'll let David French describe the scene:
"He demanded his client no longer be referred to as 'the defendant,' but instead be called 'mister,' 'the citizen accused' or 'that innocent man' — since all defendants are presumed innocent until a judge or jury finds them guilty. As for himself, clearly 'lawyer' or 'defense attorney' wouldn't do him, well, justice. 'Rather, counsel for the citizen accused should be referred to primarily as the 'Defender of the Innocent.' ... Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation 'guardian of the realm,' Justice wrote."
In addition, since county prosecutors are addressed as "general" in court — their official title in Tennessee is assistant attorney general — Mr. Justice asked to be addressed as "Captain Justice."
French does not note whether the trial judge was amused, but simply that he denied both motions. Perhaps with a smile.