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"Dying on the vine"

Posted by Lewis on November 28, 2005

In Reply to: "Dying on the vine" posted by ESC on November 25, 2005

: : : "Dying on the vine" I heard it used by a traffic court judge in reference to a misdemeanor case. I want to know what it means. I've heard it used in other situations not related to legal situations. Does anyone know what it means, or if there is a special legal meaning?

: : A vine is the part of a plant, usually a vegetable or fruit plant, that supports the fruit as it is growing.

: : When the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten someone takes the fruit off the vine.

: : If the fruit is left too long on the vine after it ripens,it starts to spoil and rot and wither away.

: : So if something is "dying on the vine" then it is starting to wither away and disappear.

: : I don't think the phrase has any particular legal meaning.

: : Maybe the judge was referring to a case which has been scheduled,rescheduled and postponed so many times that the case is now dying on the vine or about to be abandoned by the prosecution.

: Good ol' Merriam-Webster says:
: die on the vine : to fail especially at an early stage through lack of support or enthusiasm. Let the proposal die on the vine.

no specific legal meaning in England, but it sounds like an expression that particular judge has picked up and expresses the idea of a case becoming stale through the metaphor of the vine. grapes wither to become raisins.
the judge suggests that there is a lack of commitment to progress. staleness only really matters if delays mean that memories would be affected, although there are artificial 'limitations' on when cases are decreed stale irrespective of actual memory.

a good metaphor