I got an email recently from someone who said my including frequent citations (e.g., "People v. Smith," "State v. Smith") is a distraction when someone is reading a post.
I'm afraid that didn't really surprise me. I find it tedious to put all those short citations in, and I'm sorry if they are distracting.
He seemed to think I include them because I'm a compulsive (even nerdy) law professor type who HAS to have a citation for every statement, even when it's referring back to a case I've already cited in full.
I am enough of a compulsive (though perhaps not nerdy) law professor type to include citations for every statement I make in a law review article . . . because if I don't, the law review editors who are working on that article will insist that I do. (Sometimes they even want more than I've already included.)
I'm not, though, compulsive (or nerdy) enough to need to repeat short citations over and over in a blog post. The reason I include them is this: Very early in the history of this blog, I did a post on a case and did what I always do: Summarized the facts in the case from the court's opinion or quoted the facts as given in the opinion. All I know about the facts in a case is usually what I read in the opinion; sometimes I look for more facts in online news stories; when I do that, I cite those stories for whatever I take from them.
When I did this with the case I wrote about very early in the history of this blog, I ran across a . . . shall we say, very strange man. I got well over 40 emails from him, none of which really made any sense. He accused me of "ruining his life" (???), among other things; and some of the emails were at least implicitly threatening.
I had not included the repetitive short citations to the opinion in that post, even though it was obvious that the opinion is where the facts I referenced came from. As a defensive tactic, in an attempt to avoid encountering another person like this fellow, I began using the repetitive cites. I really doubt it would have made any difference if I had used them in the post on this case, but they make me feel better, at least.
So . . . I'm sorry for the stuttering citations. Some people just make things difficult.
Friday, September 18, 2009
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ed in texas
You, uhhh, didn't include any citations for any of your statements.
(I'll stop now)
Never underestimate the ability of a blog reader -- or a judge -- to be confused about the source of a statement on the blog or in the brief.
I for one find the citations very useful.
Thanks, ed, for pointing that out . . .
Good point, Bracton . . . even though I think most of those who read this blog can probably figure out what's coming from a case and what's mine.
Thanks, Anonymous . . . I tend to like cites myself.
Never underestimate how crazy the Crazy Internet People can be.
would footnotes help here?
ah . . . footnotes . . . don't tempt me. ;->
The meticulous citations are one of the things I appreciate most about your blog. It's only distracting if you haven't learned how to read opinions. Please don't change a thing.
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