Get Out of Jail Free card

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A Get Out of Jail Free card is an element of the board game Monopoly which has become a popular metaphor for something that will get one out of an undesired situation.

Use in the game[edit]

The U.S. version of Monopoly has two Get Out of Jail Free cards, with distinctive artwork; the one in the Community Chest deck shows Mr. Monopoly in his tuxedo, and with wings, flying out of an open (and presumably large) birdcage, and the one in the Chance deck, shows him being booted out of a prison cell in a striped convict uniform. Using one of these cards is one of the ways a player can get out of jail; the card reads:




The board game Monopoly entails moving around the board according to the throw of the dice and landing on houses on streets. One of the places on the board is a jail which holds a player, making them lose turns, until certain conditions are met. The get out of jail card frees the player from jail to continue playing and progression around the board without paying a fee. As the text on the card reads, the card can also be sold by the possessing player, to another player for a price that is "agreeable by both". However, since the card is considered to be worth $50 (since this is the price a player would need to pay the bank to get out of jail), the card is rarely sold for more than $50.[1]

In law[edit]

  • In 1567, the prize in Britain's first lottery, commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Frances Drake to raise funds for England's navy, included a kind of "get out of jail free card" which the winner could use to excuse any but the most serious crimes.[2]
  • In 1967, James Robert Ringrose, one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, presented a Get Out of Jail Free card to FBI agents after he was arrested.[3]
  • In the U.S. Supreme Court case Hudson v. Michigan (2006), the Court ruled that use of evidence against a defendant obtained through search warrants in instances that the police failed to knock-and-announce does not violate the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The majority opinion by Justice Scalia notes that suppressing evidence in such instances would amount "in many cases to a get-out-of-jail-free card."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The First National Lottery". British Library. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Dary Matera, FBI's Ten Most Wanted (NY, Harper Torch, 2003) page 43.
  4. ^ Hudson v. Michigan (2006) 546 U.S. 586 at 595, 126 S.Ct. 2159 at 2166, 165 L.Ed.2d 56 at 67 |url= |