Judgepedia:How to write articles about judges
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A successful article about a judge is comprehensive, well-written, well-organized, fair, balanced, reliably-sourced, and neutral in its point-of-view.
For an example of an ideal trial court judge page, visit: Judgepedia: How to create a judge page.
The article will allow a reader to learn about:
- The judge or justice's current position in a court.
- Legal background and education.
- Any notable information about the judge.
- How the judge thinks about the law; this should include information about notable rulings handed down by the judge or opinions written or joined in by the judge. It can also include comments or speeches the judge has made outside the courtroom that allow a glimpse into how the judge approaches and understands his or her role as a judge, and how the judge understands the task of judicial interpretation.
- The political affiliation of the judge, if it is known.
What to call the article
- Main article: Judgepedia:Naming conventions.
The title of the article should be the judge's proper name. Thus, an article about William Giovan of the Michigan Third Circuit Court isn't called "Bill Giovan" or "Judge Giovan" but instead is William Giovan.
If you are wondering whether an article on Judgepedia already exists about the judge you plan to write about, the best way to look using the Judgepedia search box is to enter just the judge or justice's last name. That increases the odds that you will find any relevant articles before you possible re-create the wheel.
For page names, article sections, and categories, Judgepedia contributors need to pay special attention to capitalization. A page, section or category about justices of a state supreme court should be called "Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court." In this example, the first word is (naturally) capitalized, as is the proper noun, the "Illinois Supreme Court." If you created a category for every judge in Illinois, that category would be called "Illinois judges" since "judges" in that example isn't a proper noun. Common sense should govern in naming decisions, but doing a search for similar names is a good practice when in doubt. The link above to "Naming conventions" is another good source of guidance.
A well-developed article about a judge or justice will include a variety of sections.
- Introduction: This gives the reader an 2-3 sentence executive summary of the judge in a crisp, encyclopedic tone. This should include the name of the court and position in which the judge currently serves, how the judge got into office (if appointed, by whom) and when his/her current term expires. If the judge is currently involved in an election campaign, retention campaign or some very notable public event or controversy, this should often be mentioned in the article's introduction.
- Judicial philosophy: What is known about the judge's philosophy?
- Education: Reliably sourced educational information on the judge, including undergraduate, graduate and law degrees and institutions.
- Career: A review of the key highlights of the judge or justice's career in the law. This might include information about law firms that employed the judge.
- Election or appointment: How did the judge attain his or her position?
- Awards and associations: A bullet point list of organizations a judge is affiliated with, and/or awards won should be supplied.
- Notable cases: This section includes information about notable opinions the judge or justice wrote or cases he or she has ruled on.
- See also: Link to at least one other page in which a reader of the judge's page might be interested.
- External links: The external links section of the article is where you place links to notable outside sources that provide significant information about the judge. This would generally include any biographies of the judge that are posted on official court websites, or a personal website or campaign website of the judge in question.
- References: The "reference" section of your article is where the footnotes appear that you have placed in the body of the text. See Help:Quick guide to editing for information on how to create a reference section.
Of course, there is a large degree of writing and editorial discretion involved in writing for Judgepedia. Sections on elections and campaigns are common, and we encourage our writers and editors to exercise their creative muscles when creating a narrative on a judge.
- See main article at Help:Categories
Categories are an indispensable way to organize and search for similar topics. Like goes with like, so every member of the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission should be tagged with the same category. In this case: [[category:Iowa judicial nominating commission]]. The more specific the category is, the fewer pages will be in it, and the more useful it will be.
It is advised that second, third (and etc.) words in a category be entered in lowercase, as [[category:Michigan Judges]] and [[category:Michigan judges]] will not lead to the same page. You need not capitalize the first word, the wiki software will do that automatically.
Citing your sources is required. The method for doing so has two parts. First, after the fact or quotation that you are citing you would enter a reference tag that looks like this:
- <ref>[URL of your source Text that will appear on the page as a link]</ref>. Another example: <ref>[http://www.google.com/ Handy search engine]</ref>
Next, you would create a "References" section at the end of the page and put a tag that looks like this below it:
See a reference tag in action by clicking the "edit" link in the References section of this page. 
- Judgepedia:General writing guidelines also contains information about topics such as 'Biographies of Living Persons and neutral point of view.
- How to create a judge page
- How to create a candidate page