You never can be sure about things you find on the internet but I have confirmed the names and locations as real. This does appear to be a real sequence of events.
It has come to this. The Assistant District Attorney General for the State of Tennessee sought the following ruling from the Circuit Criminal Court of Williamson County, Tennessee.
The State has noticed in the past few years that it has become commonplace during trials for attorneys for defendants, and especially Mr. Justice, to refer to State's attorneys as "the Government" repeatedly during trial. The State believes that such a reference is used in a derogatory way and is meant to make the State's attorneys seem oppressive and to inflame the jury. The jury members are instructed and take an -oath that they will decide the case impartially on the evidence presented. Attempts to characterize the State's attorney have no place in the courtroom. Attempts to make the jury dislike the State's attorney have no place in the courtroom.It is fun to play with this. On one level it is distressing seeing professionals behaving as grade school children - "make him quit calling me names."
Wherefore, the State asks for a ruling that during trial the attorney for Defendant refer to the State's attorney by title or name. Those titles or names are General Rettig, the Assistant District Attorney General, Mrs. Rettig, or simply the State of Tennessee.
On another level it is distressing that Government has become so clearly a pejorative word that it is probably a legitimate concern that the term could be considered prejudicial in some fashion.
On yet another level, it is distressing that the Government, with all its advantages and resources, should seek to tilt the field further in its favor by circumscribing speech.
But Drew Justice (yes he's a real attorney and that is his real name), the plaintiff's attorney appears to have the right attitude. Treat bullying and hauteur and seekers of special privilege with derision and mockery. His response to the State's motion is here. He takes a couple of paragraphs at the lead to dispatch the State's position on legal grounds. But he doesn't then stop there.
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 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.
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.
Along these same lines, even the term "defense" does not sound very likeable. 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.
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. Alternatively, the Citizen Accused moves for an order in limine modifying the speech code as aforementioned, and requiring any other euphemisms and feel-good terms as the Court finds appropriate.