Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Urban Dictionary Cited in Judicial Opinions

Perhaps you know and love Urban Dictionary, or perhaps you consider it gauche. Either way, it's an important online tool to be aware of if only for the fact courts are now looking to the online, crowd-sourced dictionary for assistance with judicial decision-making. The New York Times reports
In the last year alone, the Web site was used by courts to define iron (“handgun”); catfishing (“the phenomenon of Internet predators that fabricate online identities”); dap (“the knocking of fists together as a greeting, or form of respect”); and grenade (“the solitary ugly girl always found with a group of hotties”).
But be wary of turning to this source for all (or in fact even the occasional) legal need; search cases in your jurisdiction for evidence of prior use of this and other crowd-sourced websites (e.g., Wikipedia) to get a sense of how the judges you'll be in front of view these tools.