Author Topic: Should the law and lawyers casually say "plea of guilty" and "plea of innocent"?  (Read 22055 times)

maudionisio

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Jonathanfvaledez: You're right. “Amend” is the correct term when referring to making changes in the law and the Rules. It just so happened that Writegirl used “edit” in pointing out what she wanted to say.

chin

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Hello gentlemen, thank you for your replies. This is writegirl, I had difficulty retrieving my previous password so I decided to register again. I maintain my position that "edit" should be used and not "amend." I meant edit because we are just referring to a grammatical error.

I am not referring to any amendment, whether substantial or procedural.  :)

maudionisio

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WRITEGIRL: One cannot just edit the Rules of Coirt or a law. It must be amended. That's why I took your statement to mean amend, not edit. Since you actually meant edit, that could not be possible. If Congress made a grammatical error in crafting a law, it sould pass another law to correct the mistake. That is known as amendment. In the case of the Rules, the Supreme Court has the power under the Constitution to amend them and correct any mistake.

aurorariel

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This is a special communication.  As an accountant who is so used to jargons in accounting and in management, I have learned to recognize the right of various professions to introduce concepts and stipulate meanings.  A profession, not an individual adopt certain concepts and co-professionals accept them but with deference to good usage and grammar. 

It seems that we are referring to a phrase that is really a part of "Legalese" that takes advantage of English.  It seems too that individuals and professionals should stick to the proper expressions like "to enter a guilty plea" or "the defendant/someone plead guilty" or "found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." 

I plead guilty for having clicked the wrong key when I posted in another section a comment on "routinary or rutinary" and "dation in payment"  while I intended to post my comment in the section relating to "fiscalizer" and also "guilty plea."


pongster

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The way I understand it, "guilty" (while lexicon-wise is an adjective) is used in the phrase "plea of guilty" as a noun.  It is the same if it is a plea of "not guilty" as what the clerk actually enters in the records of the case as the plea of the accused is either "guilty" or "not guilty".  Although lately there have been accused persons who prefer to have entered in the records "innocent" as their plea.

Joe Carillo

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As I observed in an earlier posting, the strictly grammatical way to say those two noun phrases is as follows: "plea of 'guilty'" and "plea of 'innocent'," where the adjectives "guilty" and "innocent" are enclosed by quotation marks to indicate that they are single-word declarative statements rather than adjectives. Obviously, however, those quotation marks are so cumbersome to use for such short phrases, and are also lost in enunciation. We therefore can't blame lawyers for not bothering to indicate the presence of those marks by saying "plea of quote guilty unquote" or "plea of quote innocent unquote." As a result, "plea of guilty" and "plea of innocent" have become stratified in both the official and casual language of lawyers, forming part of their jargon that's known as "legalese."   
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 09:24:27 PM by Joe Carillo »

hill roberts

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Shouldn't lawyers now stop using words that lay people don't actually understand? Why do they have to use high-faluting language when they can use the more common, easily-understood verbs and adjectives? Why use "nefarious" when wicked is more common? Do lawyers have to use gobbledegook to impress upon their rivals? Or, perhaps, they prefer to sound like banks where no one understands what the  hell they are talking about? Why can't lawyers and banks simplify themselves for better understanding and avoid  problems that would and could multiply in the long run? ::)Making instructions  saner should be the way forward in this fast, high tech world of ours. I believe it is communication gap, verbal or otherwise, that tends to slow down any attempt to solve issues/queries quicker. We face problems in banks with their lack of common sense and that lack of personal touch attributed to bank managers in the good old days. Somehow, it's a way of confusing their clients to make more money from them--a trick to prolong their services and making sure that the less their clients understand what they are facing or experiencing, the better for these two "organizations" since they know how to manipulate words, phrases and long, tedious sentences---which, for the most part--clients don't bother reading. :o :-[

The Sh*t Detector

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There are only two pleas: GUILTY and NOT GUILTY.

A plea of GUILTY/GUILT is correct. Innocence is PRESUMED, therefore--from a legal perspective--an accused will never need to plea INNOCENT/INNOCENCE. For this reason, our Courts use the terms "guilty" and "not guilty" during arraignments and handing down of verdicts.

So--with all due respect to everyone in this thread--let's presume innocence and discuss only the grammatical merits of "plea of guilt" or "plea of guilty." ;D
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 08:31:02 PM by The Sh*t Detector »