Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Goldstein v. City of Long Beach (9th Cir. - May 8, 2013)

Ninth Circuit judges certainly know their way around a dictionary.

Thomas Goldstein spent 24 years in prison based upon the perjured testimony of an unreliable jailhouse informant, Edward Fink.

Judge Reinhardt describes the informant as "the eponymous Edward Fink."  Judge Thomas delves even further into the dictionary, calling him "the aptronymic Edward Fink."

EponymousAptronymic.  Informant = Fink.  Get it?

It's been a big year already for the word "eponymous."  In the Ninth Circuit alone, Judge Wardlaw used it last month in a lawsuit involving Donald Trump and Trump University, and Judge Berzon used this same term in a different opinion the previous month.  So Judge Reinhardt makes it three months in a row. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what June brings.  Maybe a reference to sprinter Usain Bolt?  Sexting Congressman Andrew Weiner?  The possibilities are endless.

But Judge Thomas ups the ante.  As far as I can tell, "aptronym" has never been used in any published or unpublished federal or state court decision.  Ever. 

And it works.

Let's keep 'em coming.