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Judge Recommends Guilty Verdict for Jack Thompson 235

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pariahs-that-still-get-airtime dept.
GamePolitics is reporting that a Florida Judge has recommended that Jack Thompson be found guilty on 27 of 31 counts of misconduct and is awaiting a Florida Supreme Court verdict to back him up. Thompson is striking back with allegations against the Judge and others, complaining that loyalty oaths were never signed. "Tunis made 21 recommendations of guilt in relation to Thompson's participation in Strickland vs. Sony, an Alabama case in which the anti-game attorney represented the families of two police officers and a police dispatcher slain by 18-year-old Grand Theft Auto player Devin Moore. Tunis also recommended that Thompson be found guilty on four out of five counts relating to his 2006 attempt to have Rockstar's Bully declared a public nuisance in a case before Miami Judge Ronald Friedman. An additional two guilty counts stemmed from a non-video game matter."
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Judge Recommends Guilty Verdict for Jack Thompson

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:11PM (#23494660)
    Please stop submitting Jack Thompson stories. His only point to his shenanigans is to gain press via controversy. Please don't give it to him by crossposting stories about him to Slashdot, Fark, etc. etc.
  • by benfinkel (1048566) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:17PM (#23494728)
    But man are they throwing the book against him. I have no love for the frivolous nature of the lawsuits and ridiculous manner he presents his arguments but it sounds like they're really going over the top. I mean, that list of charges against him reads like every lawyer's trial strategy.
  • Re:Gotta love Jack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:17PM (#23494732)
    Except he wastes court time, i.e. our tax money, on his self-promotion crap. Give him a blog and let him rant, fine. But it's time the legal profession was reigned in over their bogus lawsuits.
  • No controversy here. More like "ha ha, you had it coming".
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:34PM (#23494942) Journal

    Who is Jack Thompson?
    A man who knows no restraint to further a cause that has religious roots and backings by watchdog groups whose only goals are to overstep their bounds.

    A man who stood up on Fox news the day of the Virginia Tech shootings [cnet.com] (when the bodies of slain students were still warm) and told the nation that he was certain we would find video games in the shooter's bedroom. He then later turned one of the funerals into a media circus and photo op.

    A man who has overstepped laws designed to give Americans freedom and the right to enjoy entertainment in their homes. He has taken the The Bill of Rights into the restroom and wiped his ass with it.

    A man who, after overstepping his bounds an pushing extreme values of the political Right, asked for members of the Bush family (which he erroneously thought would be allies) to remove his disbarment [wikipedia.org] from the Florida courts. Name Jeb & George [slashdot.org] ... who ignored the tool that was merely carrying out their core values.

    You have a man who has tried to undo the separation of church and state. This same man has been operating in a court of law and using false correlations while pushing his own moral and religious beliefs. He is completely divorced from the sense of Justice and the American People. This same man will soon suffer under The Justice of The United States of America or my faith in it will soon falter ...
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:38PM (#23494998) Homepage Journal

    .. police dispatcher slain by 18-year-old Grand Theft Auto player Devin Moore.

    You could have also phrased that as, "..police dispatcher slain by 18-year-old fluoridated-water drinker Devin Moore."

  • by nuzak (959558) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:43PM (#23495066) Journal
    The way I heard it was:

    If facts aren't on your side, pound on the law. If the law isn't on your side, pound on the facts. If neither the law nor the facts are on your side, pound on the table.

    That describes JT more accurately. Procedurally, he's a moron -- he's actually gotten himself barred from filing directly to the Florida Supreme Court. Then again he's not exactly that sharp when it comes to facts or law either.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radarjd (931774) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:46PM (#23495108)

    Basically, he hates the 1st Amendment, and isn't afraid to make a ridicules lawsuit to try and censor people.

    That's sort of like saying "Al-Quaeda hates freedom" -- I don't think Thompson hates the first amendment, it is just (in his mind) trumped by other values. He has further picked a particularly poor method for promoting his values.

    To be more technically correct (and as this is slashdot, that's the best kind of correct), I'd say he believes that video games (and other media) containing sexual or violent content are the root of all evil, and that he'd rather have no video games (or other media) than the possibility that the games could contain sexual or violent content.

    This particular story relates to disbarment proceedings against the man for repeated poor (and illegal) conduct.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:50PM (#23495138)
    How are you posting on slashdot without Firefox and Linkification? Heretic!
  • Loyalty Oath (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ohio Calvinist (895750) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @01:58PM (#23495230)
    While I love what the judge has done to this asshat, I think first (if it is not) that all judges should sign these oaths, and second, that if he was supposed to, and didn't, the judge should get fined for leaving an open door for a "not guilty by technicality" to occur over something so minor. I'm a programmer for the County Schools and I had to sign the loyalty oath to the US and California consitution when I got my parking pass just to program, I'd hope they'd hold a judge to this rather simplistic requirement (its not like having to take a physical or anything, and if it is a problem for him, he shouldn't be on the bench.)

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @02:07PM (#23495346) Homepage Journal
    The man is a Fundamentalist Christian who believes he received guidance from God to eliminate video games.

    No, seriously.
  • by CrashPoint (564165) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @02:10PM (#23495386)

    Please stop submitting Jack Thompson stories. His only point to his shenanigans is to gain press via controversy. Please don't give it to him by crossposting stories about him to Slashdot, Fark, etc. etc.
    Screw that. Jack Thompson's incompetence makes him a detriment to his own insipid cause. The more time he spends in the spotlight, the better.
  • by cowscows (103644) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @02:21PM (#23495522) Journal
    If the public wants to have a reasonable and adult discussion about violence in video games, I don't think that's something to be afraid of. Just as our culture went through similar grumblings about movies and television, and almost repeatedly about music, it's a valid conversation to have. There's a useful discussion to be had about the appropriateness of certain types of games for particular age groups, and the most effective ways to introduce children to various things they might experience through games. At the end of the day, we've still got the first amendment, and not a particularly realistic chance that video game violence will somehow end up banned.

    What's most likely going to happen is that a smattering of state laws will get passed and quickly be overturned because they're unconstitutional. Ten more years or so down the line, there will be enough people in positions of authority who grew up as gamers that the issue will mostly go away. There will still be the occasional whining and controversy, just like we've got with movies/tv/music today when a game really decides to push the envelope, but most people won't give it a second thought anymore.

  • Re:Gotta love Jack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @02:26PM (#23495596) Journal

    But it's time the legal profession was reigned in over their bogus lawsuits.
    The legal profession has a perfectly functional (but slow) system of dealing with bogus lawsuits.

    The reason Jack Thompson has been allowed to get away with so much asshattery is because the justice system defaults to not disenfranchising people.

    This is a good thing.
    Keep it that way.
  • Re:Loyalty Oath (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @02:41PM (#23495810) Journal
    Frankly, I think it's appalling that McCarthy era loyalty oaths are still on the books. I hope the refusal to sign was intentional, and that this issue is persued to the point of being fired, which would then create an outcry in the judiciary leading to the legislature overturning this fascist act.

    What's wrong with a loyalty oath you ask? Take a look at what's happened to our government over the past few years, could you honestly swear loyalty to *this* government? What if it got worse?

    If you think about it, anyone who really meant their oath to "defend the Constitution of the United States... against all enemies, foreign and domestic" would have taken up arms against this government a long time ago. Ever since Wickard v. Filburn [wikipedia.org] it's been clear that even the SCOTUS is a domestic enemy of the Constitution.

    Dissent is an essential part of a democratic society. People who disagree with current policy should not be discriminated against, even if they are communists.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @02:45PM (#23495862)

    A man who, after overstepping his bounds an pushing extreme values of the political Right, asked for members of the Bush family (which he erroneously thought would be allies) to remove his disbarment [wikipedia.org] from the Florida courts. Name Jeb & George [slashdot.org] ... who ignored the tool that was merely carrying out their core values.
    To be fair, haven't Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton shown far more interest in censoring video games than George Bush?

  • by not_anne (203907) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:14PM (#23496244)
    Even fair a minded discussion on the topic doesn't have much weight. There just isn't any credible evidence of direct causation that video games make people into murderers. If it were true, there would be over 3 million new murderers running around because of GTA4 alone.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by catbertscousin (770186) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:14PM (#23496252)

    "God is very powerful, and He's not real pleased with Rockstar right now, nor with those who defend it. Watch out. Fire and brimstone on the way."
    I seem to recall God having some strict words about people not taking His name in vain . . . is that why you're losing, Jack?
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:16PM (#23496284)
    That moron would probably think of himself as a modern-day Job... never underestimate an idiot's ability to continue a line on non-thinking, no matter how dire (read: logical) the situation is....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:17PM (#23496302)

    Or do you just hate religion in general?

    This being Slashdot makes that question somewhat rhetorical.

  • by Kamots (321174) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:19PM (#23496330)
    "The 'video game community' surely seems exercised about someone who is a 'joke' and who is accomplishing nothing. You all seem rather bothered and worried about a nonentity. God is in this battle, and I am privileged to be a foot soldier. You all should be concerned, not about me, but about Him." -JT

    Naw... there's no religious roots there...
  • by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:29PM (#23496434)

    The legal profession has a perfectly functional (but slow) system of dealing with bogus lawsuits.
    Shall we make a date to revisit this question once the various SCOX kamikaze suits are finished?
  • Re:No big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johneee (626549) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:42PM (#23496592)
    Huge difference between labelling content (which is what Tipper was going for - dunno about Hillary) and censoring content (which is what Thompson wants).

    I'm all for labelling so that people can make informed choices. I'm way against censorship so that I'm allowed to make those informed choice.
  • The real victims (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Seska (253960) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:57PM (#23496816)
    Having painfully(1) read GamePolitics' coverage of the trial, I find myself concluding that the real victims of Thompson are not gamers but the lawyers and judges of Alabama and Florida. As gamers, we can ignore him and go back to playing our games while occasionally enjoying schadenfreude at his expense.

    The lawyers and judges that had to deal with him endured harassment, patently false accusations, completely incoherent arguments, abuse of law and process, and threats at every turn. It made me glad to be on the receiving end of only the news stories about him.

    (1) Both because Thompson's rants are difficult to parse and because GamePolitics.com's servers were awful.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:59PM (#23496830)

    I don't think the bar association had any major issues with the lawsuits themselves. There are all sorts of lawyers out there, but as a lawyer he has to follow the professional code of conduct. The things he accused of doing:

    1. making false statements to tribunals (perjury)
    2. disparaging and humiliating litigants and other lawyers (professional misconduct)
    3. improperly practicing law outside of Florida (professional misconduct)

    Each of these is a serious charge and the judge has determined that enough evidence exists. I don't know Jack Thompson but his actions suggest a man who doesn't think that any rules apply to him.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @05:31PM (#23497866)
    "I win" means God supports me and wants me to win.

    "I lose" means God supports me but is testing me, and I must work harder, and He will eventually help me to win.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:55PM (#23498594) Homepage Journal
    That would be your definition of freedom. GP is suggesting that Al-Qaeda have a different definition.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:57PM (#23498612)

    Basically, he hates the 1st Amendment, and isn't afraid to make a ridicules lawsuit to try and censor people.
    There are a lot of very smart people that believe that the 1st Amendment does not protect obscene speech -- including two Justices on the US Supreme Court. They don't hate the Amendment, they just disagree with you on what counts and 'speech' that is worthy of protection -- in their mind, obscene speech doesn't even get in the door.

    Their reasoning is that the 1A is intended to protect expressive conduct (which is why you can burn the US flag even though it's not technically speech -- it's expressive conduct). Pornography, to them, is not speech for the purpose of expressing ideas but rather "titillation of prurient interest". As much as I don't agree with them, I have to respect that their interpretation is not unreasonable or ridiculous and that they are, in fact, intelligent people that love freedom as much as I do despite our serious philosophical difference about the meaning of that freedom.

    We are more permissive of government regulation in these circumstances because it is clear from the context in which exchanges between such businesses and their customers occur that neither the merchant nor the buyer is interested in the work's literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. "The deliberate representation of petitioner's publications as erotically arousing . . . stimulate[s] the reader to accept them as prurient; he looks for titillation, not for saving intellectual content." Thus, a business that "(1) offer[s] ... hardcore sexual material, (2) as a constant and intentional objective of [its] business, [and] (3) seek[s] to promote it as such" finds no sanctuary in the First Amendment.
    Justice Scalia, Dissenting in US v. Playboy http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/98-1682.ZD.html [cornell.edu] (internal citations stripped)
  • Re:Loyalty Oath (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @09:39PM (#23499814)

    If you think about it, anyone who really meant their oath to "defend the Constitution of the United States... against all enemies, foreign and domestic" would have taken up arms against this government a long time ago.
    Taking up arms is not the only way to defend the US Constitution; it's important to heed the warning in the Declaration of Independence - Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @03:14AM (#23501820)
    I don't think that's right. The Court's ruling on books and film have always treated them as expressive even if they were sold with commercial intent (which was always the case). In order to qualify as commercial speech, it is a necessary element that the speech includes "representations of fact about the speaker's own business operations for the purpose of promoting sales of its products". So long as your work (GTA IV, Mercenaries II) purports to be an act of fiction you are clear of the commercial speech limitations to the 1A -- good luck with the obscenity/indecency/nuisance parts.

    In fact, the framers debated the a version of the 1A that put a direct exclusion on false fact:

    The people shall not be deprived of their right to speak, to write, or otherwise to publish anything but false facts affecting injuriously the life, liberty, or reputation of others . . . .
    See http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=US&vol=376&invol=254 [findlaw.com] NY Times not guilty of slander despite the clear commercial nature of the Times paper.

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