Archives for posts with tag: clothing

This is a 2007 habeas petition by a convicted spousal abuser, it is denied. A weird quirk of this story is the presence of an unidentified person in ninja clothing.


Civil Action No. 7:07CV00344
2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65873

Decided September 6, 2007, opinion by District Judge Jackson L. Kiser dismissed the habeas petition:

Petitioner Robert Edward Patterson (“Patterson”), a Virginia Department of Corrections inmate proceeding pro se, brings this action for writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254. Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss, pursuant to Rule 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, to which Patterson filed a timely response, making the matter ripe for disposition. Upon careful review of the extensive state court records and the pleadings and exhibits submitted by the parties, I conclude that Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss must be granted.

Tina Patterson (“Tina”) and Patterson married in June of 2000.

On June 5, 2002, Tina obtained a protective order prohibiting Patterson from having any contact with her, including that he not call, write, follow, stalk, or harass her. The order was to remain in effect for two years.

On July 15, 2002, at about 11:00 p.m., Tina returned home after visiting and drinking a beer with a friend. She later heard suspicious noises outside her home. Tina called her friends June Gerholdt (“Gerholdt”) and Gene Barnett (“Barnett”) to report what she had heard. When Tina went outside to investigate the noises, she saw a man in a black “Ninja-looking suit.” Tina turned around, and was struck in the face by Patterson with both his fist and an Igloo cooler. The person in the “Ninja” clothing ran away and disappeared. Patterson continued to strike Tina in the head and mouth, causing her injuries.

Patterson was ultimately convicted in the Circuit Court of Amherst County upon convictions of spousal rape, abduction, and two counts of violating a protective order (Circuit Court Case Nos. CR02011612-01; CR02011612-02; CR02011541 and CR02011590-00). On December 14, 2001, he was sentenced to a total term of thirty years and twenty-four months, with fifteen years suspended.

The facts do not make clear who that person in Ninja clothing was. The defendant claims he has been framed by his (ex)wife, that the sex was consensual and that she’s trying to punish him for claims he brought against her. Other elements of the wife’s story were corroborated by physical evidence at the scene, the jury obviously believed her, and this district court finds no reason to overturn the conviction.

Appeal denied February 2008, writ of cert denied Oct 2008.

Another case of police officers in ninja garb. Here in Bell v. City of Topeka, the police execute a search warrant and are accused of unreasonable force. The Court sides with the city, granting summary judgment.

DAVID L. BELL, Plaintiff,
CITY OF TOPEKA, KANSAS, et al., Defendants.

Case No. 06-4026-JAR
496 F. Supp. 2d 1182

Decided July 9, 2007 by District Court Judge Julie A. Robinson

Plaintiff claims that after he was pulled from the car, officers slapped hand cuffs on him and slammed him face-first into the car, causing plaintiff to suffer a dental injury. Afterwards, plaintiff was beaten on his legs and lower back, and then he fell to the ground on his knees. Officers then picked plaintiff up, carried him a couple of steps, and then dropped him back down, forcing him to lie face down in a puddle of water. Lieutenant Pase saw the officers remove plaintiff from the car, but he did not see plaintiff being taken to the ground because he could only glance over occasionally while tending to his duties. Lieutenant Pase also saw the officers bring plaintiff toward the street where he lay face down on the ground.

Sergeant Erwin stayed with plaintiff while the officers proceeded with the execution of the search warrant. Plaintiff contends that he asked Sergeant Erwin if he could move so that he would not have to be face down in the water, and Sergeant Erwin’s response was, “Shut the fuck up right now before I put my foot on the back of your mother fucking neck and hold you face down in that water until you drown.” After that, plaintiff claims that Sergeant Erwin made comments such as “I ought to shoot you.” After the scene was secured and officer safety was under control, Lieutenant Pase told Sergeant Erwin to pick plaintiff up off of the ground. At that point, officers wanted to search plaintiff, who told them, “the only thing lower than a mother fucking crackhead was the mother fucking Topeka Police Department.” He also told an officer, “Kiss my ass and good luck.” The officers then told plaintiff that they needed to search his car, and they warned him if they cut themselves on the broken glass from his crack pipe that he would be in trouble. Plaintiff laughed and told the officers, “You stupid mother fuckers, you broke the glass–broke the windows of my car. There’s–the car is full of glass.” Throughout the events that evening and in the early morning, plaintiff describes the officers as being dressed in black, “ninja-like clothing” and wearing masks. Plaintiff was then put into a car for transport to the jail. Plaintiff asked the officer who was transporting him to loosen the handcuffs, which the officer did. Plaintiff was at the jail for approximately twenty-six minutes before he was released at about 1:26 a.m.

The Court found the Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the police department had negligent training or negligent supervision or that there was unreasonable use of (or excessive) force. Therefore the city’s motion for summary judgment was granted.

In yet another decision on a habeas petition there is reference to “Ninja-type” clothing involved in the underlying criminal activity. In this case the Court denies and dismisses with prejudice the petition of John Robert Tory, “convicted by a jury in Knox County, Tennessee, of first-degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery; he was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of life and 22 years, respectively.”

HOWARD CARLTON, Warden, Respondent.

No. 3:05-cv-169
2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16484

Decided March 14, 2006

The opinion by Judge Leon Jordan quotes the facts from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals (the direct appeal), including:

A search warrant was obtained for the defendant’s residence and was executed while the defendant was present. During the search, police found and seized three sets of “black Ninja-type clothing,” including two hoods, a tee-shirt and other items of clothing, nine millimeter and .38 caliber ammunition, and a sawed-off shotgun.

The defendant was taken into custody and, after being advised of his constitutional rights and signing a waiver of same, he was questioned at some length.


The reason they went to the house was to rob the victim. Defendant and his two associates wore black Ninja-type hoods and the defendant was armed with a nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol.

In a 1998 opinion about suppression of statements made to police officers while in police custody after requesting an attorney. The Court decided that defendant’s statements made to police were admissible.

US v Thornton
CRIMINAL NO. 97-50021-01
17 F. Supp. 2d 686

Decided – September 1, 1998

Opinion by Honorable Paul V. Gadola:

Defendant Ervin Junius Thornton II has filed a motion to suppress his alleged out of court statements made to a law enforcement officer. Defendant argues that these statements should be suppressed at trial due to a violation of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. On July 23, 24 and August 18, 1998, this Court held an evidentiary hearing on defendant’s motion to suppress. For the reasons set forth below, this Court will deny defendant’s motion to suppress out of court statements.


According to [police lieutenant] Koger’s testimony, Thornton’s statement included the following assertions: that he had been paid $ 10,000 by Jewell Lamont Allen and Tederick Jones for the murder of David Strickland; that the reason for the murder was that Strickland had been indicted and Jewell Lamont Allen was afraid he would talk; that the weapon he used was a nine-millimeter and that Tederick Jones (“Teddy”) conducted surveillance during the murders; that the clothing he wore was a black “ninja-outfit;” that he was involved in drug trafficking; and that he had purchased drugs from Allen.


Defendant further revealed that the weapon he used was a 9 millimeter handgun and that Tederick Jones (“Teddy”) conducted surveillance during the murders. He further admitted he was involved in drug trafficking and that he had purchased drugs from Allen, as well as that the clothing he had used was a black ninja outfit.

What is a black ninja outfit? Is it difference than a black outfit? And should it be hyphenated or not? This Opinion writes it both ways (“ninja outfit” and “ninja-outfit” and it doesn’t really explain what makes the outfit ninja, except that it was used in surreptitious surveillance during a murder-for-hire and related to drug dealing (marijuana and cocaine). The court also can’t decide how to write the gun’s description, “9 millimeter” or “nine-millimeter”. But as with “ninja face masks“, “black ninja hood“, and “ninja pants“, I wonder what is actually being conveyed by this adjective except conclusions of criminal behavior.

Meanwhile, the defendant, Thornton, was convicted at trial and lost his subsequent appeals (See 99-1275). The Supreme Court also denied cert in 2000 (531 U.S. 1179), and a recent 2006 motion for relief of judgment based on claims that evidence should have been suppressed at trial was denied for being untimely and without merit (Thornton v USA, 97-50021).

US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit decided US v Collins and US v Streeter in a consolidated opinion filed, June 29, 1990. At issue was the validity of the police officer’s search and also of the court’s sentencing. The Court here decides that the search and police conduct were proper but vacates the sentence of defendant Collins because of a misapplication of the Drug Quantity Table. His case is remanded for resentencing.

United States of America, Appellee, v. Ernest R. Streeter, Appellant. United States of America, Appellee, v. Robert Jay Collins, Appellant
Nos. 89-5217SD, 89-5247SD
907 F.2d 781

Despite finding no police misconduct the Court refers to D.E.A. as ninja:

a search warrant was served upon the Collins residence, and an arrest warrant was served upon Collins by four D.E.A. agents dressed in black fire-proof “ninja” outfits.

This particular case has been criticized, distinguished and superseded in subsequent cases; there is continuing dispute over how to weigh whole marijuana plants and federal sentencing guidelines.

But this case is an important case for NinjaLaw because it reveals two common language functions of “ninja” in Federal Court opinions. First, it describes attire. Second and more interestingly, it describes law enforcement personnel. Both of these attributes are trends we will see again in future NinjaLaw cases.