US judges use Wikipedia as a courtroom source





It is an encyclopedia written by nobody but Wikipedia is rapidly becoming prime source material for American judges.

A search of court decisions by the New York Times turned up more than 100 rulings that have cited the online encyclopedia since 2004, including 13 from the circuit court of appeals, one rung beneath the supreme court; America's highest court has yet to succumb to the site's call.

Despite its status among the 20 most popular sites on the internet, its reputation suffered when several cases emerged of entries being tampered with by pranksters or containing errors. In 2005, a writer was falsely accused of being linked to the assassinations of John F Kennedy and his brother, Robert, by a Nashville delivery driver playing a joke on a co-worker. The writer, John Seigenthaler, who had served as an administrative assistant to Robert Kennedy and was one of the pall bearers at his funeral, was not amused.



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