Anonymous asked in Social SciencePsychology · 1 decade ago

Why do they call dead unknown bodies John and Jane Doe????

just wondering

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Got this Answer from Ask Yahoo. Hope your curiosity is satisfied! =)

    We found the answer to your question at The Word Detective, a treasure trove of etymological explanations written by syndicated columnist Evan Morris. Morris, in turn, says he discovered the origin of "John Doe" in a book called What's in a Name?, by Paul Dickson.

    The phrase is older than you might think. "John Doe" dates from the reign of England's King Edward III (1312-1377). A famous legal document from this period labels a hypothetical landowner "John Doe," who leases land to a "Richard Roe," who then claims the land as his own and kicks out poor John.

    The names don't have any particular relevance, other than the fact that a doe is a female deer, while a roe is a smaller species of deer. But the land dispute in question became a famous legal debate, and the names survived their circumstances.

    The online legal dictionary FindLaw defines John Doe as a "party to legal proceedings (as a suspect) whose true name is unknown or withheld." The female equivalent is Jane Doe or Mary Major. A second male suspect is dubbed Richard Roe, and subsequent ones are referred to as John Stiles and Richard Miles.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is used as a temporary name where the true identity of a person is unknown, or its to conceal their identity, or because they don't know whether the person actually exists.

    Originally, John Doe was used as a fictitious name in regards to property disputes in legal cases (the plaintiff). Richard Roe represented the defendant. This was purely done to avoid unfairly evicting a person.

    The women in a property dispute were known as Jane Doe & Jane Roe.

    As you can see, the term John/Jane Doe is used more loosely in today's society.

  • 1 decade ago

    These names 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 of England's King Edward III.

  • kyle
    Lv 4
    4 years ago


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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    The name "John Doe" is used as a placeholder name in a legal action, case or discussion for a male party, whose true identity is unknown or must be withheld for legal reasons. The name is also used to refer to a male corpse or hospital patient whose identity is unknown. This practice is widely used in the United States and Canada, but is rare in other English-speaking countries (including the United Kingdom itself, from where its use in a legal context originates – see Origin below). The name Joe Bloggs is used in the U.K instead, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. The name "John Doe", often spelled "Doo," along with "Richard Roe" or "Roo" were regularly invoked in English legal instruments to satisfy technical requirements governing standing and jurisdiction, beginning perhaps as early as the reign of England's King Edward III (1312–1377).[4] Other obsolete fictitious names for a person involved in litigation under English law were John-a-Noakes, or John Noakes/Nokes and John-a-Stiles/John Stiles.[5] The Oxford English Dictionary states that John Doe is "the name given to the fictitious lessee of the plaintiff, in the (now obsolete in the UK) mixed action of ejectment, the fictitious defendant being called Richard Roe". This particular use became obsolete in the UK in 1852: As is well known, the device of involving real people as notional lessees and ejectors was used to enable freeholders to sue the real ejectors. These were then replaced by the fictional characters John Doe and Richard Roe. Eventually the medieval remedies were (mostly) abolished by the Real Property Limitation Act of 1833; the fictional characters of John Doe and Richard Roe by the Common Law Procedure Act 1852; and the forms of action themselves by the Judicature Acts 1873-75." Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Respondent) v Meier and another(FC) (Appellant) and others and another (FC)(Appellant) and another (2009).[6] The term 'John Doe Injunction' (or John Doe Order)[7] is used in the UK to describe an injunction sought against someone whose identity is not known at the time it is issued: "8.02 If an unknown person has possession of the confidential personal information and is threatening to disclose it, a 'John Doe' injunction may be sought against that person. This form of injunction was used for the first time since 1852 in the United Kingdom when lawyers acting for JK Rowling and her publishers obtained an interim order against an unidentified person who had offered to sell chapters of a stolen copy of an unpublished Harry Potter novel to the media".[8] Unlike in the United States the name (John) Doe does not actually appear in the formal name of the case, for example: X & Y v Persons Unknown [2007] HRLR 4.[9] [edit] Court cases The landmark 1973 United States Supreme Court abortion case Roe v. Wade gets half of its name from Jane Roe, an anonymous plaintiff later revealed to be Norma McCorvey. A Toronto woman, publicly known only as Jane Doe, waged an 11-year court battle against the Toronto Police Service after being raped in 1986, alleging that the police had used her as bait to catch the Balcony Rapist. She won the case in 1998, and was named Chatelaine's Woman of the Year that year.[10] She published a book about her experience, The Story of Jane Doe, in 2003. A Doe subpoena is a tool of discovery that a plaintiff may use to seek the identity of an unknown defendant. Doe subpoenas are often served on online service providers and ISPs to obtain the identity of the author of an anonymous post.[11] Serial killer Richard Laurence Marquette confessed to the murder of an unknown woman identified only as Jane Doe.

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know why. But with modern tech, there are a lot less "unidentifiable" bodies than there used to be.

  • 1 decade ago

    What else could they call them? I can't think of anything.

  • 1 decade ago

    What do you think, they should call them; bonnie or clyde?

  • 1 decade ago

    i dont know

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