Saturday, February 3, 2007

Courts' Use of Wikipedia

The New York Times had an article this week about courts citing Wikipedia -- which they've done over a hundred times since 2004. Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but Selectively, New York Times, Jan. 29, 2007.

Meanwhile, the Washington Supreme Court cited Wikipedia last week. State v. O'Neal, 2007 Wash. LEXIS 60, (Jan. 25, 2007), Washington courts link, involved the issue whether defendants were "armed" for the purpose of a firearms enhancement for a drug offense when they had guns in their home but were not in holding them at the time of their arrest. When Justice Chambers was relating the facts, he stated that a "loaded AR-15 (a civilian version of the military M16) was found in one bedroom" -- and supported the parenthetical with a footnote citing Wikipedia. This seems typical of the sort of uses mentioned by the New York Times: a side point that might add interest or context to the opinion but is not at all central to the resolution of the case. (Justice Sanders, in dissent, did not cite Wikipedia.)

Justice Chambers cited Wikipedia again on Thursday, this time to support a literary allusion: "As Sherlock Holmes might have said to Dr. Watson, 'It is elementary, my dear fellow,' . . ." PUD No. 2 v. North American Foreign Trade Zone Industries, LLC, 2007 Wash. LEXIS 125 (Feb. 1, 2007)(Chambers, J., dissenting), Wash. courts link.

Thanks: Kris Henderson

Updates -- See also:

No comments: