Attorney Requests To Be Called 'Defender Of The Innocent' - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Attorney Requests To Be Called 'Defender Of The Innocent'

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by Adam Ghassemi

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Court documents show Williamson County Assistant District Attorney General Tammy Rettig filed a motion in May that she not be referred to as "The Government" during an upcoming trial.

Rettig wrote it's become common for some defense attorneys to do so and she believes it's "derogatory" and meant to "make the State's attorneys seem oppressive and to inflame the jury." Instead, she only wants to be referred to by name, title or simply as the state of Tennessee.

The motion is related to an attempted aggravated burglary case where Drew Justice is the defense attorney.

Justice filed a response saying the state "offers precisely zero legal authority for its rather nit picky position" and granting it would violate the First Amendment, but "should the 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."

That's when things get interesting.

Justice also says the term "the defendant" should be banned and the court should only refer to his client by name, "the Citizen Accused" or "the innocent man."

He goes on to say instead of "lawyer" or "defense attorney" they should call him the "Defender of the Innocent," "Guardian of the Realm," or even "Captain Justice."

Instead of calling their side the "defense" they'd like to be called "the Resistance."

He ties it all together by concluding, "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."

During a hearing last week, a Williamson County Circuit Court judge reportedly denied the state's motion and Justice's colorfully written response.

By phone Thursday, he said he did after learning some judges will deny motions which prevent attorneys from referring to members of the DA's office as "the government."

Williamson County DA General Kim Helper said they commonly file the motions restricting the usage, but it depends on each case and the defense.

Helper points out the irony is public defenders usually call state attorneys "the government" during trial while they, too, are paid by Uncle Sam.


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