Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 10 years ago

when do you use the name John Doe?

6 Answers

  • Tina
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    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).

    John Doe is sometimes used to refer to a typical male in other contexts as well, in a similar manner as John Q. Public, Joe Public or John Smith. For example, on various forms, the first name listed is often John Doe, along with a fictional address or other fictional information, to provide an example of how to fill out the form. The name is also used frequently in popular culture, for example in the Frank Capra film Meet John Doe. John Doe was also the name of a 2002 American television series.

    The female equivalent of John is Jane Doe, whilst a child or baby whose identity is unknown may be referred to as Baby Doe. A notorious murder case in Kansas City, Missouri referred to the baby victim as Precious Doe.[1] 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". Other variations are John Stiles and Richard Miles, now rarely used, and Mary Major, which has been used in some American federal cases.[2]

    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).

    Bearing the actual name John Doe can cause difficulty, such as being stopped by airport security or suspected of being an incognito celebrity.

    Source(s): Sources in text of answer.
  • 4 years ago

    I think it refers to the death register listings. Where a body is unidentified, it is given the name John if male, and Jane if female. The Doe or do surname is an abbreviation of ditto, which was used in death registry recordings where the surname is unknown. It is just assumed that the dead person has the same surname as the previous person on the death registry. There is a film called "Meet John Doe" which starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck which might help. John and Jane were just the most common christian names when this practise was started.

  • 10 years ago

    John Doe is used for unidentified dead people. The opposite is Jane doe for a females.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Yes, it means they don't know the persons real name. For a female you use Jane Doe.

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  • It is a legal term used when the criminal/victim/etc. is not known. If it is a female, the term to use is Jane Doe.

    Source(s): life; legal clerk
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    The police use it when, for example, they recover a corpse and haven't identified it yet and thus don't know the person's name.

    It just means unknown.

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