Recently , there has been some discussions among Tennessee criminal defense lawyers about a motion that has been filed by a Tennessee prosecutor. An Assistant District Attorney has filed a motion in limine to preclude the defense attorney from referring to the state’s attorney as " The Government’ during trial. The motion asserts that referring to the Assistant District Attorney as the government is derogatory , oppressive , and will inflame the jury. So the government does not want to be called the government . No statute or any authority was cited in the motion.

I find this motion a little hard to swallow. District Attorneys use words to paint their picture . Words like defendant , victim , and even criminal defense attorneys strike some reaction among juries.

What does the Assistant District Attorney want to be called ? General , Assistant District Attorney General , by their last name , or simply the State of Tennessee are their suggestions. Interestingly , Tennessee has a tradition of calling Assistant District Attorney  "Generals" for some historical reason tha tis unknown to myself. Surely , this inflames a jury to give them more credibility by giving them a army rank.

Here is my suggestion for truth in labeling during a criminal trial;

  • Victim =  Mr. or Ms._____
  • Defendant =  Mr. or Ms.____
  • State’s Attorney = Mr. or Ms.______
  • Criminal Defense Attorney = Mr. or Ms. _____

Once we put labels on people such as Republican or Democrat , folks already start judging. I have to admit that I call the state the government during trial because the assistant district attorney represents the state which is the government.

Here is my final suggestion let’s just call the state the evil empire.