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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 ?
Altogether, 137 examples of final muted es notated in five alternative patterns were accounted for within the songs surveyed.
Ebisons Harounian Imports' palette of muted pinks and beige creates a striking floral.
virginica (to 100%) occurred at elevations of >0.60 m NGVD at the least muted sites (SL1, 2, 3, and ML), but was virtually absent at elevations of >0.60 m NGVD at the most muted sites (CM, TE1, and TE2).
With muted voices many Baptist women faithfully served their churches and conventions anyway.
This paper is an introduction to the critical feminist theory of muted groups, as developed by Cheris Kramarae, and argues it is a communication theory of revolutionary proportions.
As if you care a damn, there is the geranium green of the leaves, the almost cinnamon tint of the flowers, echoed in the small soft bird's cap, the forlorn dead leaf, the muted cornflower blue of the pot with darker shadows.
My slight arms encircled her, and every muted sob that shook her shoulders passed like jolts of electricity through my arms and into my chest.
The technique of muting, today most often associated with brass and stringed instruments, was also applied in the 18th and early 19th centuries to woodwind instruments, especially oboes and clarinets.(1) The muted oboe was used for both technical and expressive reasons in a wide variety of musical styles.
Where history catches fire or appears, uninvited, in the photograph taken in Amsterdam, burned in America, muted by the damage which is also one of the instruments, a part, even the most beautiful, of the orchestration, no paradise is false.
Instagram now says that "the accounts you mute will not be aware that you've muted them.
"Muting preserves the muted account's ability to reply to a tweet sent by the muting account, blocking precludes the blocked user from 'seeing or replying to the blocking user's tweets' entirely," she said.
There's also the benefit that the accounts users mute will not have any knowledge that they have been muted.