A Judicial Footnote with Captain Picard

We can take judicial notice that Judge Eduardo C. Robreno is a Trekkie.

Enterprise-DIn a case with RICO charges against six police officers, the Court held that a Federal statute was clear that a person would be criminally charged for “knowingly making an omission with the intent to impede the investigation.” United States v. Norman, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21660, at *16 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 23, 2015).

As soon as you can say, “There…are…five…footnotes,” Judge Robreno beamed the following down to the opinion to highlight the point:

As illustrated by Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s reprimand of Cadet Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, The First Duty (syndicated television broadcast Mar. 30, 1992): “You told the truth up to a point, but a lie of omission is still a lie.”

Norman, at 17-18, footnote 5.

Judge Robreno has an incredible life story of escaping Castro’s Cuba, years of hard work, and becoming a Federal judge who has overseen the complex Multi-District Asbestos Litigation that has over 10,000 claims. The fact the Judge can incorporate a Star Trek The Next Generation quote into a footnote only makes him more impressive.

We know there are hundreds of Judges who love Star Trek. The number of judicial opinions quoting this nearly 50-year-old series only highlights the stories have meaning to many people. There are the cases that seem like a no win scenario; there are times lawyers have to communicate by metaphor to the jury; there are moments in the arena when an attorney has to make an argument by hand out of bamboo, sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate; and then there are the others where lawyers can channel their inner Samuel T. Cogley and argue to Court, “I speak rights!”

I think it is safe to say that Judges will be quoting Star Trek in “infinite diversity in infinite combinations,” well into the 23 Century.

Judge Robreno, keep boldly going.

Previous articleThank You, Leonard Nimoy
Next articleDebriefing Agent Carter
Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, the ABA Web 100 for Best Legal Blog and Podcast categories, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.