Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Martinez v. Cate (9th Cir. - Sept. 11, 2018)

When you read legions of cases in the Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeal, you tend to learn some street lingo, since portions of the transcript below are sometimes reproduced in the opinion.

For example, this opinion refers to someone allegedly saying that he "shot this fool, shot this scrap."  I've seen that before.  "Scrap" is a derogatory name (usually used by the Norteño gang) for someone in their rival gang, the Sureño.  So the speaker is saying that he shot a rival Sureño gang member.  Got it.

(Judge Tashima confirms my preexisting knowledge when he drops a footnote that says "'Scrap' may be a derogatory term for Sureño members."  But I must say that I thought that it was definitely a derogatory term.  Full stop.  So I bothered to look it up.  And reviewed some of the -- get this -- over 250 published opinions in California state and federal court which mention that, yeah, it's definitely a derogatory term.  So no surprise that I knew what it meant.  The judiciary's said it a ton of times.)

By contrast, there was another phrase in today's opinion that was new to me.  One person allegedly says:  "I’ll peel your guys’ cap back."  Now, I know that "cap" usually means "shoot".  But in this context, that doesn't work.  You're "peeling" the "cap" back.  Not "capping" a guy.  It's a noun here, not a verb.  So I couldn't necessarily figure out from first principles what it meant.

Though my default rule in all these settings is that whatever lingo means, it translates into "I'm going to shoot you."  As is indeed the case here.  Though I think it specifically means to shoot someone in the head.  I assume the reference is something akin to "scalping" someone with a knife, only this time with a bullet -- having the bullet "peel" the victim's "cap" (scalp) off.  Just a different way of making a particular threat.

Not nearly as common as the other phrase.  But now a part of my lingo.  "Gonna peel your cap."

Though I suspect I'll have few opportunities to use this newly acquired knowledge in my particular line of work.