Why do they give unidentified corpses the name John/Jane Doe?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    The name John Doe is used as a placeholder name for a male party, in a legal action, case or discussion, whose true identity is either 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 where it may have originated.

    The female equivalent is Jane Doe, whilst a child or baby whose identity is unknown may be referred to as Baby Doe . Additional persons may be called James Doe, Judy Doe, etc. However, to avoid possible confusion, if two anonymous or unknown parties are cited in a specific case or action, the surnames Doe and Roe may be used simultaneously – for example, "John Doe v. Jane Roe".

    The Doe names are often, though not always, used for anonymous or unknown defendants. Another set of names often used for anonymous parties, particularly plaintiffs, are Richard Roe for males and Jane Roe for females (as in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court abortion decision Roe v. Wade).

    Even outside specific legal and medical contexts, the name John Doe is often used in general discourse and popular culture to refer to an unknown or "typical" person.

    The name was used at least as far back as 1659, in England.

    The Oxford English Dictionary states that John Doe is the name given to the fictitious lessee of the plaintiff, in a now obsolete legal action (ejectment), the fictitious defendant being called Richard Roe.

  • 1 decade ago

    John and Jane are the most popular male and female name. Doe is a female deer.

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