Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 decade ago

Who came up with the names Jane Doe and John Doe for unknown people?

2 Answers

  • ira a
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The "John Doe" custom dates back to the reign of England's King Edward III, during the legal debate over something called the Acts of Ejectment. This debate involved a hypothetical landowner, referred to as "John Doe," who leased land to another man, the equally fictitious "Richard Roe," who then took the land as his own and "ejected," or evicted, poor "John Doe."

    These names -- John Doe and Richard Roe -- had no particular significance, aside from "Doe" (a female deer) and "Roe" (a small species of deer found in Europe) being commonly known nouns at the time. But the debate became a hallmark of legal theory, and the name "John Doe" in particular gained wide currency in both the legal world and general usage as a generic stand-in for any unnamed person. "John Doe" and "Richard Roe" are, to this day, mandated in legal procedure as the first and second names given to unknown defendants in a case (followed, if necessary, by "John Stiles" and "Richard Miles"). The name "Jane Doe," a logical female equivalent, is used in many state jurisdictions, but if the case is federal, the unnamed defendant is dubbed "Mary Major."

    In Friedman v. Ferguson, 850 F.2d 689 (4th Cir. 1988), the plaintiff pro se somewhat famously used the following creative variations on John Doe: Brett Boe, Carla Coe, Donna Doe, Frank Foe, Grace Goe, Harry Hoe, Marta Moe, Norma Noe, Paula Poe, Ralph Roe, Sammy Soe, Tommy Toe, Vince Voe, William Woe, Xerxes Xoe.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because Antonio Pedrovna, Joseph Rosenburg, Kimiko Yamamoto and Ishmael Yusuf Mohammed would require spelling and a thought process.

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