From the end of a post by Houston Defense Lawyer Mark Bennett:
Astute prosecutorial readers will note that in the last paragraph I referred to "the government" rather than "the State." This is another illustration of the point. "Government" means roughly the same as "State", but "government" is a word toxic to the State. Even people who are inclined to trust the State, or the Commonwealth, or (lie of lies) "the People" find good reasons in their life experience not to trust the government.
Reminds me of a story told by Austin defense lawyer Bill Allison. Bill heads the University of Texas Criminal Defense Clinic (where as his student I first heard this anecdote many years ago) and also the UT Innocence Clinic. Among his many achievements is representing Christopher Ochoa, who was finally released after a wrongful conviction.
Bill had finished up a fairly lengthy trial in federal court, at least several months, where the government is referred to as “the government”. Soon after that, he was trying a Possession of Cocaine case (or something like that) in State court, where the tradition is to refer to the prosecutor as “the State”.
Mostly out of habit, he just kept saying “the government this” and “the government that” until… the prosecutor actually objected to being called “the government”. The jury apparently looked bewildered at this; and seemed somewhat amused when Bill changed gears slightly and referred to them as “the State government” for the rest of the trial.
It’s a practical illustration of Mark’s point. “Government” is essentially a dirty word to many jurors, especially in Texas. May as well use it from voir dire to closing.