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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 ?
Mr Muter was also elected into the Worshipful Company of Woodturners in London.
Mr Muter said the cracked section of wall should be taken down by hand and the masonry carefully stored for future use, based on a proper record of the structure.
"In the last few years we have seen more and more interest from chain pharmacy," Muter says.
Past attempts to permit self-paced reading of computerized text with small windows have typically resulted in poor efficiency (Chen & Chan, 1990; Chen, Chan, & Tsoi, 1988; Muter, Kruk, Buttigieg, & Kang, 1988).
'If I get Sh20,000 for two goats, then Sh6,000 is deducted plus some other charges and taxes, then it means I will remain with little cash compared to the mountain of needs I have,' Muter said.
Mr Muter said Bailey apparently built the towers as a pair so that his adversaries would not be sure of his precise whereabouts in times of danger, doubling his chances of survival.
Goals for the Tavern came from Brad McLellen (2), Craig Muter and Matty Graham.
Ryan McKee and Ross Muter had kept the hosts in it after Jonathon Wright and Matty Hayton had netted for Delaval.
I could only recognise two for definite - Harry Cooper, a very good friend, and Tony Muter, and almost certainly Jean and her husband Ray.
Ross Muter netted a second-half hat-trick, including two in a matter of minutes, to increase Newbiggin's lead after Brad Higgins had opened the scoring midway through the first half.