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Black's Law Dictionary is a Hoax and there is no such thing as "capitus diminutio"

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posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 02:35 AM
Why Black's Law Dictionary is a Hoax

I have bee doing a lot of research into the whole capitus diminutio maxima thing. Supposedly what capitus diminutio maxima means is that your name appearing in all capitol letters (JOHN DOE) on any legal documents are not actually representing you, but are representing a corporate entity of you. This means you have surrendered your rights and have gone from freedom to bondage. Sounds fishy to me.

Now the reason I was looking into this was because I had to appear in court last week, and naturally, if this was true, I would want to take full advantage of it. So I met my lawyer in court, a man named Gary Porter, and asked him about capitus diminutio and explained to him what it was. He told me that he'd never heard of it before and that it was absolute baloney. Now this lawyer is not just some court appointed BS lawyer...he is very expensive and good at what he does, so I give him some credibilty. That's when I started thinking and wanted to do some more research on my own.

So I looked it up online and found mostly conspiracy websites that contained the info, but I wanted to find sources outside of conspiracy sites. So I found this on Yahoo Answers:

Answer: I'm a lawyer and I am not familiar with the term. According to one site I read it is a term referenced in Black's Law Dictionary but no online legal dictionaries I checked had the term. The word capitis in Latin has to do with the head, not with capital letters.

The US Constitution is the supreme law of the country (see Marbury v. Madison) and contains nothing about this alleged doctrine. However, it does abolish slavery (14th Amendment). As such, there's no legal support for this alleged doctrine. The Admiralty Courts (which some sites claim are the way this doctrine is invoked) are inferior courts to the Supreme Court and the lower federal circuit courts. (See Article III of the Constitution).

This doctrine did exist in Roman Law ( but had nothing to do with capital letters at all. That's just invention by people with too much paranoia and time on their hands.

Source: Yahoo Answers

Hmmm...seems to me that this backs what my lawyer was saying also. And after reading this, I decided to do a little more digging to find out about Black's Law Dictionary because that is where this lawyer said is the only place he's heard of it being published, and I'd never heard of Black's Dictionary before.

So after some more searching I found this:

Montreal, PQ (Reuters) - Sarah Medhurst (nee Black) shocked journalists and legal scholars at a press conference held at the Black family estate Monday when she revealed that Black's Law Dictionary, a highly regarded legal reference text, was originally written as a joke by her eccentric great grandfather Henry Campbell Black.

Medhurst appeared unapologetic, suggesting that the Black family had never tried very hard to keep it a secret. "Have any of you actually taken the time to read it?” she asked, flipping open the renowned text.& nbsp; “Look at page 840 for instance. 'John-a-Nokes'? Or how about page 347? 'Correality – the quality or state of being correal." She then cast a challenging look around the room...

You can read the full article here: and here:

So what does all of this mean?

This my friend, means two things.

1. That capitus diminutio is not real and holds no legal bearing and

2. That Black's Law Dictionary is a hoax and opens up an entirely new can of worms having to do with the fact that it is cited in countless legal situations because:

Black's Law Dictionary is the most widely-used law dictionary for the law of the United States. It was founded by Henry Campbell Black. It has been cited as legal authority in many Supreme Court cases (see Secondary authority). The latest editions, including abridged and pocket versions, are useful starting points for the layman or student when faced with an unfamiliar legal word. It is the reference of choice for definitions in legal briefs and court opinions...

From Wikipedia.

Does anyone realize the magnitude of this screw up?

[edit on 6/15/2008 by Mad_Hatter]

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 04:33 AM
Well, well...It seems that you're right on track here. Even with all of the references I've heard thrown around, I never thought to double check it...Until now. And here I'd thought that I earned the Scholar title showing with my avatar...

The ran a straight Google Search (not even Google Scholar!), which shows over 10,000 entries revealing the hoax.

Starred & Flagged

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 09:01 AM
So if I am getting you correctly you are saying the whole capital letter thing is a hoax that should all the conspiracies should be disregarded correct?

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 10:18 AM
John-a-nokes seems to be nothing more than an earlier version of John Doe, which is used in law all the time.

Correality seems to be a perfectly legitimate term as well.

From my years spent in club Fed, (don’t ask) I know that Black’s has been somewhat under attack by the powers that be, apparently in an attempt to change some meanings and hide legal truths. Most law schools haven’t used Black’s for decades now. I have to wonder if the keepers of Black’s estate today aren’t joining in on the decades long battle to change the reality of law as it’s practiced. I’m not a lawyer, nor did I play one in prison. Just my 02.

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 10:31 AM
Mr. Black, in his life, was one who knew that the constitution was to be used to further the peoples rights, not the governments controll. Is it any wonder that his writings would be denegrated by the Powers that Be, using disinfo up to and including terminology that isn't even true latin to confuse the populace? His ideas do not fit in with the new age in this country where the states and its residents don't have any power. Only the Feds do and we must dance to they're tunes. (tongue in cheek) "THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW"!!!!!


posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 10:33 AM
I'm certain you're right about capitis diminuto (please note correct spelling). More information than anyone really needs about the Roman institution of that name here.

However, about Black's Law Dictionary being a hoax: a search on the Reuters site doesn't turn up any such story. Maybe it's been cached, or whatever? Did you try to find it?

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 11:03 AM
I have never heard of this business with the capitalization before. In fact, captions of all caps are quite common. Every day I see documents that have been filed with the courts where everything in the caption is in all caps. (The caption is that part of the pleadings above the actual content, where the court, case number, parties, etc. are set). For example, most pleadings that I have seen look like this:




CASE NO._________




And as far as Black's Law Dictionary is concerned... I know that it is sometimes cited in court opinions or in law review articles, but only for the legal definition of a term. Most of the time, courts will rely on the use of a term as found in other courts' opinions before they go to Black's. Black's is helpful in law school, as sometimes it is impossible to understand a case if there's one term that you just don't get.

Also, I practice law in Louisiana, which is a civil law state. Sometimes I use Black's to look up common law terms that I am not familiar with. As it's not a common law state, it's not often that I do that, but it is sometimes helpful. If a lawyer in a common law state has never heard of a term, it's possible that the reason for that is that it is a civil law term, and the reverse is also true.

Black's is not the only law dictionary out there, even though it is the only one that I've ever used. It's just a collection of terms and definitions (many outdated). Even if, as has been said in this thread, the dictionary was prepared as a "joke," that wouldn't mean that every single term or definition in it was made up.

I have to agree with the lawyer who said that this was an example of paranoia.

[edit on 15-6-2008 by TheHypnoToad]

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 11:56 AM
The only problem I have with the source of Blacks law dictionary being a hoax is that it comes from a Reuters article from 2003. I tried to search Google's cache and found nothing. I checked on the Reuters website to find archived articles and they only archive 2007 up to 2008. Not very useful. I have emailed Reuters about the alleged article and will see how they respond to it.
So that is the only thing that I am working on absolutely proving right now....that indeed that news article did originate from Reuters.

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 12:04 PM

Originally posted by mybigunit
So if I am getting you correctly you are saying the whole capital letter thing is a hoax that should all the conspiracies should be disregarded correct?

Yes, mybigunit
...that name is hilarious.

Any conspiracy involving or relying on Capitis Diminuto should be treated as merely a conspiracy theory and nothing more.

You could use it as your court defense if you'd makes no difference to me. I'm not the one that would get crazy looks and lose my case because of it. *shrug*

However, I am working on finding more info to support the fact that Black's Law Dictionary is in fact a hoax.

[edit on 6/15/2008 by Mad_Hatter]

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 12:30 PM
This link contains some information on the compilation of Black's Law Dictionary:
Henry Campbell Black

And more on the editing of the 8th edition of the dictionary:
Guide to Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed.)

I have found no evidence that the Black family are actually involved in the editing of the dictionary, as the article linked by Mad Hatter would suggest. I also did research on the name of the woman in the article... Sarah something-hurst, which escapes me at this precise second. I can't find anything tying anyone with that name to anything having to do with Henry Campbell Black or the dictionary, except for references to that same article. And other references to that same article never even showed that it was from Reuters. That may have been added somewhere along the way to make the story seem more credible.

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 12:41 PM

I have a question for you since you seem to be an attorney. Do you have an actual copy of Black's Law Dictionary? If so, could you check and see if there is anything included about Capitis Diminuto? I have read from multiple places that this seems to be the only law book containing that particluar "law." I would love for someone that actually has the book to look this up so this rumor of that law can be put to bed.

Also, I agree that the article from Reuters is questionable. That's why I have emailed them directly about it.

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 06:55 PM
reply to post by Mad_Hatter

I thought about going and dragging that book out earlier, but it's just so damn heavy, I was hoping that someone else who had one would post! Happy to oblige, though!

The following definitions are from Black's Law Dictionary, 8th edition. Published by Thomson-West, and edited by Bryan A. Garner (editor-in-chief):

Capitis deminutio (from Roman law) A diminution or alteration of a person's legal status -- Also spelled capitis diminutio.

Capitis Deminutio Maxima (from Roman law) The diminution of a person's legal status as a result of being reduced to slavery.

Capitis deminutio minima (from Roman law) The diminution of a person's legal status involving a change of family, while both citizenship and freedom were retained.

Capitis deminutio minor (from Roman law) The diminution of a person's legal status involving a loss of citizenship but not of freedom. Under the Empire, banishment for life to an island or other restricted area had this effect. Also termed capitis deminutio media.

So, basically, you had the definition somewhat correct, however the application was incorrect. It is no longer used at all, and is an ancient legal term used during time of the Roman Empire. And I promise you that there is no special meaning behind use of all caps on pleadings, unless it is for emphasis!

Also, in the preface to the dictionary, a large number of attorneys and legal scholars who helped edit the edition are thanked. The number is too great to retype here, as it would take forever, but nowhere did I see the name of that lady from the article, nor anyone with the last name "Black."

The preface also gives examples of some of the new terms added to this edition. They are all legitimate, and include terms such as "cyberstalking," "viatical settlement," "parental kidnapping" and "reproductive rights."

I won't put it up yet, in case anyone else has questions tonight. Hope that helps some!

[edit on 15-6-2008 by TheHypnoToad]

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 10:27 PM
Yes, well seeing as how we are not the Roman Empire and are not governed by Ancient Rome, then I think its safe to say that, in conclusion, on cannot use any form of capitis diminutio as a defense.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 12:39 AM
Then the question arises.....

WHY are all caps used on birth certificates, and on Legal Pleadings?

I can understand SO-AND-SO VS SO-AND-SO as that is a form of a "title" for a pleading, and so that makes some common sense.

But IIRC, all the legal FINANCIAL documents (I.e., bank loans, credit cards, etc.) I've ever signed had caps and lower case.

Why the difference?

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 12:49 AM
Excellent detective work Mad hatter!

Though im a bit skeptical now on both sides, it looks like we will all have to really research this and find out the absolute truth. I was getting excited at the prospect of not paying any taxes too

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 09:02 AM
It's an ancient law. Is this what nwo hopes to base new laws on when they attempt to squash the constitution? All the references to ancient things, such as gods of antiquity. Even when I was wondering if there was anything to this, I was thinking about the 2000 word essay I had to write on the Nurmemburg trials. The main point was that the germans had detailed their crimes against humanity in mountains of legal documents (pseudo-laws) and that once it was determined what was considered a crime, in the trials they only had to prove the identity of the signatures on the documents. So even if the PTB stop hiding and step out to hijack this country, their pseudo laws will eventually be crimes against humanity.

Also I found this in regard to color of law: The Supreme Court has interpreted the United States Constitution to construct laws regulating the actions of the law enforcement community. Under 'color of law', it is a crime for one or more persons using power given to him or her by a governmental agency (local, state or federal), to willfully deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:32 PM

Originally posted by sir_chancealot
Then the question arises.....

WHY are all caps used on birth certificates, and on Legal Pleadings?

Could it be something as simple as it is easier to read, on for instance, the small card that makes up a driver's license. Or that the letters are more clear when in upper case. Maybe there is a simple reason not a hidden agenda.

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 05:34 PM
Every legal document I have ever read with my name on it, has always had my name printed in all caps, even when everything else was in standard print. Someone show me a legal document where this isn't the case.

posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 12:51 AM
I disagree, A lawyer RE-presents you within the maritime admiralty jurisdiction. If you try to claim yourself as a natual person in common law jurisdiction by estople your challenging the whole legal system. Under those circumstances your lawyer dos'nt give a # about you. You have to learn this yourself and defend yourself. Even if you do establish yourself as a natural person there is still a list of tricks used by the court to bind you back to the status of plantation slave in admiralty law. Check out paradigm education group (Canadian). It deals with this issue and how it is used in the construction of stautes. Within statutes they regularily (through definitions that mean somthing totally different than the term meaning in the real world) trick people into accepting servitude through some type of benifit. Much like the freak that lures little children into their car with the lolli pop. If you'd rather think this is a ferry tale, it dos'nt surprise me because after all if it were true it would be on the nightly news now would'nt it ?

posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 12:19 PM
Few thoughts ;

Attorney - Client priviledge is not what everybody understands it to be .

One is effectively becoming a " ward " of the court upon appointing an attorney .

You are not a " person " ; you HAVE a " person " !!!

Capitalization of one's name-look-a-like is there to trick one into giving consent .

Stop letting your " Strawman " act like a child .

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