In 1992, convicted bank robbers appealed their conviction.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JASON KEITH WALKER, Defendant-Appellant.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. LARRY BAXTER STALLINGS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 92-5159, No. 92-5160
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOUR
TH CIRCUIT
Decided – December 16, 1992

On appeal, the Court affirmed the convictions and the sentences. The Court explained the circumstances of how these bank robbers were caught, mentioning a “ninja-style motorcycle” with “ninja-style” set in quotes in the opinion:

On August 16 and September 19, 1991, the North Duke Street branch of the NCNB National Bank in Durham, North Carolina was robbed. In both incidents, a man wearing a dark, visored motorcycle helmet entered the bank, brandished a pistol and threatened violence, and robbed the same teller. At the appellants’ trial, the teller and other bank employees testified that, because of similarities in voice and mannerisms, they believed that the same man committed both crimes. J.A. at 58-59, 68, 77-78, 126-27. After each robbery, witnesses saw the perpetrator exit the bank, jump on a “ninja-style” motorcycle driven by another individual, and ride off.

After the September robbery, a city maintenance supervisor followed the fleeing motorcyclists. From a distance, the supervisor saw the motorcyclists speak with the driver of an automobile and then drive off. The police eventually stopped the automobile and apprehended the driver

Unlike the sentence preceding, the quote “ninja-style” is not cited and it is unclear where the Judge got that from and why motorcycle is not also in the quote. It is also a Per Curiam opinion so it is unclear which of the three sitting judges (or their clerks) is responsible for the ninja usage.

I take this moment to note how “ninja” is used as a descriptor. Ninja is a brand name Kawasaki motorcycle (see previous NinjaLaw case of Kawasaki Motorcycle) but here the word used as a generic descriptor of a type of motorcycle with no explanation of what that means exactly. In the previous NinjaLaw post about “ninja pants” the court first referred to them as “black karate pants”. What exactly does the “ninja” adjective serve to imply?

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