Defense attorney Drew Justice was the subject of a motion filed by Williamson County Assistant District Attorney Tammy Rettig, seeking to stop him from referring to prosecutors as "the government" during proceedings for an attempted aggravated burglary case. He responded with a motion seeking to limit the language used by prosecutors, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Friday.
"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,'" Rettig wrote in her motion. "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."
Justice's motion said if the court agreed to Rettig's request, he would insist on his client being referred to as "mister," "the citizen accused" or "that innocent man" instead of "the defendant."
The motion said Justice would also prefer not to be referred to as "lawyer" or "defense attorney."
"Rather, counsel for the citizen accused should be referred to primarily as the 'defender of the innocent,'" Justice wrote. "Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation 'Guardian of the Realm.'"
Justice said he would also accept another title.
"Whenever addressed by name, the name 'Captain Justice' will be appropriate," he wrote.
The "defender of the innocent" concluded his motion by asking for the state's motion to be denied "as lacking legal basis."
Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper said Rettig's motion was tossed out by the judge.
"He said the word 'government' wasn't derogatory," he said.