I have no problem with your use of quotation marks: I use them a LOT and I think pretty much as you do. (And don't get me started on hyphens; or the difference between less and fewer.) No, "preferred" seems to be what was meant: I looked it up and it's a standard legal idiom, apparently. I thought I had seen it before. prefer charges Also found in: Idioms. See: accuse, arraign, book, charge, complain, impeach, implicate, incriminate, indict, involve, lodge, present, prosecute As for your footnotes, I am reminded that I was in a rather nice college when Kennedy was assassinated, and there was a commotion that we heard in chemistry class and a student burst in with the news --- and the prof, a chemistry professor this was, said immediately to us, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," and I thought, even at that age, whatever my father is paying for this education, it's not enough.