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Ohhh, the government!

Posted by R. Berg on January 24, 2001

In Reply to: Further information posted by Minuit on January 24, 2001

: Many thanks to R. Berg.

: It is indeed a legal question -- the law requires that the government reply to a defendant's "not guilty" plea "by return mail" and the reply was posted about 18 months later. I was unable to find anything in the statutes or law books regarding the meaning of "by return mail" and so I turned to this forum, with gratifying results.

: Thanks again! And I'll check the latest OED.

You're welcome. The speculation in my first posting that someone could easily mistake the meaning of "return mail" is now much less relevant. It's still true that a government employee might not know the "official" meaning of the phrase as given in dictionaries, but in the situation you describe there's no excuse for not finding out.