Judge Makes Friends Reference in Legal Decision


Showing solidarity with ‘90s kids everywhere, D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown referenced a Friends episode during her majority opinion on the case of U.S. v. Emor., which centered on civil asset forfeiture laws following the government-seized goods that Charles Emor—the founder of a special-needs school—stole from his own institution in 2007.

An excerpt from Brown’s decision, published Tuesday, states:

In an episode of the iconic 1990s television show Friends, Joey Tribbiani tries to dissuade Rachel Green from moving to Paris. Joey asks Rachel to flip a coin. If he wins the coin flip, she must agree to stay. Rachel flips the coin; Joey loses. When later recounting the story to Ross Gellar, a befuddled Joey says, “[w]ho loses fifty-seven coin tosses in a row?”Friends: The One with Rachel’s Going Away Party (NBC television broadcast Apr. 29, 2004). Before Ross can answer, Joey explains Rachel’s rules: “Heads, she wins; tails, I lose.”

Judge Brown accused the U.S. government of pulling a Rachel in this scenario, BuzzFeed reports. She stated that the government had claimed the seized property from Emor, saying it belonged to the Sunrise Academy. The government then was able to exclude the school from Emor’s criminal proceedings, saying they could claim its property back in a third-party forfeiture trial. When the school tried doing so later, the government dismissed their petition, stating that SunRise would not be able to get the stolen property back because it wasn’t a part of the initial case.

Just like that sneaky Rachel, the government was trying to have it both ways. Or as the old Italian proverb says, “Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca,” which means “to have the barrel full and the wife drunk.” I’m glad Brown put this Friends reference in for everyone to understand better, and eagerly await what’s next in her courtroom: Seinfeld, Sex and the City, anything’s possible.

Image via Getty.

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