John Doe

Legal Definition and Related Resources of John Doe

Meaning of John Doe

A fictitious lessee who, the plaintiff alleged, has been dispossessed by the defendant or by Richard Roe claiming under him. See ejectment . Also as used in a search warrant , case report , text book or other legal document the term refers to an unknown or nonexistent person . Garner v state , 423 S. W.2d 480, 220 Tenn. 680.

John Doe Alternative Definition

A name given in legal proceedings to a party whose true name is unknown. It was the name which was usually given to the fictitious lessee of the plaintiff in the mixed action of ejectment. He was sometimes called “Goodtitle,” or “Jackson.” So the Romans had their fictitious personages in law proceedings, as Titius, Seius.

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John Doe in Historical Law

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This definition of John Doe is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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This term is a noun.

Etimology of John Doe

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fictitious plaintiff in a legal action, attested from 1768 (in Blackstone). The fictitious defendant was Richard Roe. If female, Jane Doe, Jane Roe. Replaced earlier John-a-nokes (1530s) or Jack Nokes, who usually was paired with John-a-stiles or Tom Stiles. Also used of plaintiffs or defendants who have reason to be anonymous. By 1852, John Doe was being used for “any man whose name is not known;” Britain tended to preserve it in the narrower legal sense “name of the fictitious plaintiff in actions of ejectment.” John Doe warrant attested from 1935.


See Also

  • Doe







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