The use of slang in court proceedings can be tricky, especially in criminal cases where an uncommon slang term used by a witness can make a difference in a case. New York Times tech reporter Leslie Kaufman and law professor Greg Lastowka talk about how judges and lawyers have turned to sites like Urban Dictionary to help define slang terms and the legal implications of the trend.
NEAL CONAN: Yeah, it’s a crowd sourced dictionary, obviously. But crowd sourced, doesn’t that cause problems?
GREG LASTOWKA (Professor of law at Rutgers University): Not really. I mean, it’s a question of fact what a particular meant in a particular context. And I think that Urban Dictionary is a pretty reliable way to find out what people think a particular word means. And there are some concerns about it, but it seems like it’s a pretty solid source of evidence.