(redirected from muteness)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to muteness: Apraxia of Speech


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 ?
At the same time, to suggest that muteness be linked to empowerment risks merely inverting this binary.
eloquent muteness of the boy as victimized bony alalus.
This emotional muteness is one of the most threatening elements of the book.
But the first, a recurrent tactic of what Alain Badiou would call "anti-philosophy" (from Pascal to Lacan himself) finds its withdrawal towards muteness becoming indiscernible from that of the victims of the powers it would contest.
To summarize the symbolic actions in chapters 3-4: In 3:24-27, Ezekiel's role as a prophet of rebuke is transformed into a mission of muteness and passivity; he also symbolizes Israel's paralysis during the upcoming siege.
Fraysse shows that Hester's muteness is both unruly and submissive, as the Puritans' injunction to speak can be understood as an order to remain silent.
Hearing that provides sounds of immense satisfaction, Gives way to muteness of sizeable dissatisfaction.
Peretz, Polish Yiddish short-story writer, poet, dramatist, and essayist who dominated Jewish letters and thought at the turn of the twentieth century, uses muteness in "Bontzye Schveig" ("Bontshe the Silent") to pose thought provoking questions designed to challenge Diaspora Jews to re-examine their place in the modern world.
In his work there are the silences; a muteness pointing to an allusion to that which is not disempowered but hidden.
For instance, she describes the characters in Ana Poliak's La fe del volcan (The Faith of the Volcano, 2001) as marginalized victims of the neoliberal economy that by their muteness and impenetrability are irreducible to cultural dissection, and are therefore able to maintain their dissonance and plurality.
His writing credits include several television series in the UAE, as well as the plays Circles of Muteness and The Story that Sheherezade Didn't Tell.