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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 ?
HOME FREE J From top, Bert with Peggy in the 1980s, the couple in the 70s and proud Margaret with picture of her dad ON THE RUN Z Left, Bert in Brussels, where he posed as deaf mute, his dog tags and, below, train ticket to Paris and fake French passport IN UNIFORM 3 Bert before war and, right, with wife Peggy and Army report telling family that he was missing
As she is deaf mute, police could not recover her.'
Just as Joe begins to let his emotional guard down, even falling in love with deaf mute pharmacist Fon (Charlie Young), the hit man discovers Surat intends to double-cross him.
The 38-year-old deaf mute was badly burned and police are probing the incident at Lennox Castle Hospital, near Glasgow.
A man was about to tee off whenhe felt a tap on his shoulder and a stranger handed him a card that read: 'I am a deaf mute. May I play through, please?' Theman angrily gave the card back, shook his head, and, muttering, whacked his ball 250 yards on to the fairway.
And if that doesn't compromise him enough, he then falls in love with Fon (Charlie Yeung), a deaf mute pharmacist, whom he manages to successfully woo despite his questionable day job.
Deaf mute Daniel Kerr had warned 50-year-old Flora to act her age when she said she wanted to be tattooed.
+++++ MARIA BARTOCCINI has been sent a pounds 70 fine for talking on her mobile while driving but she is a deaf mute. Maria, 35, said through her solicitor in Rome: "I'd love to be able to talk and hear so I can use a phone." +++++ Ex-bed and breakfast landlady ELIZABETH WYATT, 50, has been named Britain's best neighbour.
Set in the Thai underworld, the film centres on Kong (Pawalit Mongkolpisit), a professional killer who is a deaf mute, but whose ruthless efficiency with a pistol speaks volumes.
A KNIFE thug who launched an unprovoked attack on a deaf mute was jailed for six years yesterday.
A PSYCHO who killed two people, including a deaf mute Big Issue seller, was jailed for life yesterday.
Wragg admits smothering deaf mute Jacob, who had genetic disease Hunter Syndrome, at home in Worthing, West Sussex, last July.

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