A 2007 article in the New York Times noted the frequency with which judges cite Wikipedia in their rulings. The article noted that, at the time, more than 100 judicial rulings had relied on the accuracy of the online encyclopedia. This included rulings from 13 federal courts of appeals.
Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit threw out convictions in a cockfighting case because a juror had used Wikipedia to research an element of the crime. The basis of the decision was concerns about Wikipedia’s reliability, given its “open-access nature.” [Anyone can register and modify a Wikipedia article].
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog was curious and researched the trend for citing the Internet encylopedia. The result? The WSJ found that in between 2007 and last week's date, federal courts of appeals have cited Wikipedia about 95 times. Some of those incidents have a rather humorous bent.
The WSJ article, Which Federal Appeals Court Cites Wikipedia Most Often? April 23, 2012, 7:35 PM, may be read here.
An earlier post on this blog, Jeff Zoeller: Wikipedia Cited in Courts Around the World is a fun read.
Another post on this blog, Who's Got His/Her Head in the Sand? discusses another of Judge Posner's more interesting published decision in which the judge criticized counsel for not citing legal authorities in support of propositions in the brief submitted--the opinion was illustrated.