Friday, April 28, 2006

Some Interesting Court Cases...

I was planning to note and comment on every new case that bases its decision on a DICTIONARY instead of jurisprudence or common sense, but alas, I discovered that there were 15 or 20 every day (state and federal) and I couldn't keep up.

Here is an interesting new one from the MA Supreme Court, using old dictionaries:
Com. v. Spearin, _ N.E.2d_, 2006 WL 1085175 (Mass., April 27, 2006) (foonote 6):
It cannot be said that an Eighteenth Century "house built for publick uses"
connotes anything other than a building open to the community or public at
large. Further, nowhere in § 3 is any mention of a place of incarceration or
house of correction, facilities understood at the time to be distinct
institutions. See, e.g., G. Jacob, New Law
Dictionary (1762) (defining "house of
correction" as "chiefly for the punishing of idle and disorderly Persons;
Parents of Bastard Children, Beggars, Servants running away; Trespassers,
Rogues, Vagabonds").

Here is a fun one where the court uses a dictionary to determine the meaning of "meaning" (Wittgenstein would be proud!)
Jones Sandall Zeide Kohn Chalal & Musso, P.A. v. Beasley &
- So.2d -, 2006 WL 1083552 at *2 (Fl.App., April 26. 2006)