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a person arraigned on indictment who refuses to answer a charge.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

MUTE, persons. One who is dumb. Vide Deaf and Dumb.

MUTE, STANDING MUTE, practice, crim. law. When a prisoner upon his arraignment totally refuses to answer, insists upon mere frivolous pretences, or refuses to put himself upon the country, after pleading not guilty, he is said to stand mute.
     2. In the case of the United States v. Hare, et al., Circuit Court, Maryland Dist. May sess. 1818, the prisoner standing mute was considered as if he had pleaded not guilty.
     3. The act of congress of March 3, 1825, 3 Story's L. U. S. 2002, has since provided as follows; Sec. 14, That if any person, upon his or her arraignment upon any indictment before any court of the United States for any offence, not capital, shall stand mute, or will not answer or plead to such indictment, the court shall, notwithstanding, proceed to the trial of the person, so standing mute, or refusing to answer or pleas, as if he or she had pleaded not guilty; and upon a verdict being returned by the jury, may proceed to render judgment accordingly. A similar provision is to be found in the laws of Pennsylvania.
     4. The barbarous punishment of peine forte et dure which till lately disgraced the criminal code of England, was never known in the United States. Vide Dumb; 15 Vin. Ab. 527.
     5. When a prisoner stands mute, the laws of England arrive at the forced conclusion that he is guilty, and punish him accordingly. 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 428.
     6. By the old French law, when a person accused was mute, or stood mute, it was the duty of the judge to appoint him a curator, whose duty it was to defend him, in the best manner he could; and for this purpose, he was allowed to communicate with him privately. Poth. Proced. Crim. s. 4, art. 2, Sec. 1.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the morning speech, Muto cited ongoing and future developments in the U.S.
Muto has scored once in 11 appearances for the Magpies and he will hope to help Japan win a fifth Asian Cup title.
As the upper house blocked Wednesday the candidacies of Muto and Ito, also a private-sector member of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, which advises Fukuda, only Shirakawa ended up gaining official approval from the Diet, pending the Cabinet's appointment.
MATSUE, Japan - Deputy Bank of Japan Governor Toshiro Muto said Wednesday it is not appropriate for the central bank to raise its key rates in accordance with market expectations of rising long-term interest rates.
NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Yoshinori Muto of Newcastle United walks outside during the Newcastle United Training Session at The Newcastle United Training Centre on October 31, 2018, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Muto said the Tankan data underlined the strength of Japan's corporate sector with raised corporate profit projections for fiscal 2006 through March 31 and strong capital spending plans for fiscal 2007, which began Sunday.
Muto played the full 90 minutes as Joelinton missed out through injury, and scored his spot-kick in the shoot-out.
But Muto has asked his team-mates to improve the service for the forwards after he managed to touch the ball just five times in 27 minutes.
Muto (above) touched the ball just five times in 27 minutes and found his first run-out of the season hugely frustrating.
A goal from Yoshinori Muto was enough for the Magpies to avoid the wooden spoon in the Premier League Asia Trophy as Bruce's players responded positively to his arrival.