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Jack Thompson Disbarred 522

Posted by timothy
from the it-burns-it-burns dept.
Sockatume writes "The Florida Supreme Court has approved Judge Dava Tunis' recommendations for the permanent disbarment of John B. "Jack" Thompson, with no leave to reapply and $43,675.35 in disciplinary costs. The ruling is a step up from the enhanced disbarment that had been suggested by the prosecution, which would have forbidden him from reapplying for ten years. Thompson has 30 days to appeal the ruling before the disbarment is permanent. Thompson responds to the ruling."
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Jack Thompson Disbarred

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  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:47PM (#25155161)
    The Gamepolitics link is to the recommendation, not the approval. My bad. The correct link is this [kotaku.com].
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:47PM (#25155167) Journal
    From Jack's press release regarding his filing of some kind of emergency injunction aggainst the bar:

    Thompson always wanted to own a Bar. Now, armed with multiple US Supreme Court rulings that no state bar can do what it has done to Thompson, he is set to own that Bar.

    1. Doesn't he mean "pwn" that Bar?

    2. Thompson knew this was going to happen, so last week he file an action against the bar; now he claims his disbarment was retaliation. Nice pre-emptive strike last week, Jack -- too bad it's as transparent as day that it's unrelated to the numerous reasons the Florida Bar Association decided you're unfit to practice law.

  • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:49PM (#25155211)

    From what I limitedly know about the Bar (in Indiana) is that once you've been disbarred in one state, you cant reapply in any other states.

    Any lawyer types care to comment?

  • by j0nb0y (107699) <jonboy300@yahooCOUGAR.com minus cat> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:51PM (#25155253) Homepage

    Every state bar requires a background check before allowing anyone to sit for the bar exam. The background check of Jack Thompson would reveal the Florida disbarment, and there is approximately a zero percent chance that any state bar association would let him sit for the exam.

  • by Coopjust (872796) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:58PM (#25155355)
    In his response, he accuses the bar of acting against him to protect the "unethical" conduct of the State Attorney general against one of his clients. He goes on to insinuate that one of the justices didn't actually know anything about the case (scratch that, it's an outright accusation:

    it is fascinating that Justice Cannady, who has undoubtedly reviewed absolutely nothing about this disciplinary case, has put his name to this disbarment order on the day that he was served with the federal civil rights action. What a coincidence.

  • by The Only Druid (587299) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:05PM (#25155435)
    I want to be really clear here: disbarrment is beyond uncommon. It's happened a handful of times, nation wide, in the last few years. Even suspensions are difficult to get. Most bar proceedings that go anywhere result in, at most, a public slap on the wrist and a note on your record.

    Even suspensions are survivable.

    Jack Thompson, among other things, submitted porn to the courts, accused multiple judges of bribery in open court and public filings, violated numerous ethical rules regarding practice without a license, good character, etc. He falsely represented himself as being the lawyer for criminal victims, profited off their suffering, and then lied in court about it. He accused other lawyers of just as bad offenses, without a shred of evidence. On a more personal level, I can confirm that years ago, he physically broke into at least one lawyer's office to drop of papers and "scare" them (I know the lawyer personally).

    Jack Thompson is a festering boil on the hide of the law.
  • Not Quite... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:13PM (#25155571)

    Now that Jack is defying the court order requiring him to have another member in good standing of the Florida bar to submit motions for him,

    From TFSCD, "The Court approves the corrected referee's report and John Bruce Thompson is permanently disbarred, effective thirty days from the date of this order so that respondent can close out his practice and protect the interests of existing clients. If respondent notifies the Court in writing that he is no longer practicing and does not need the thirty days to protect existing clients, this Court will enter an order making the permanent disbarment effective immediately. Respondent shall accept no new business from the date this order is filed."

    It looks like he is disbarred 30 days from the date of notice, not immediately. They do graciously allow him to be disbarred sooner if he wishes.

  • by querist (97166) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:21PM (#25155703) Homepage

    I am speaking from my understanding as a licensed chiropractor. (I don't practice any more except for pro bono cases. I much prefer my computer-related work now.)

    The _theory_ behind a professional licensing board is that members of a profession that requires extensive and specialized education are the only ones qualified to make informed judgements regarding the practice of that profession. These judgements include, but are not limited to, appropriate standards of practice including what would be considered "unprofessional conduct".

    This is intended to protect the public from unqualified and/or unscrupulous practitioners. Usually, this works well. However, it is possible for the boards to become "good ol' boys' clubs" in which they are more concerned for each other than the public. Fortunately, this is usually rare. Many licensing boards include a "member of the public" (that is, someone who is _not_ licensed in the professon) in order to help prevent such abuses.

    Since the licensing board controls who is licensed and, thus, who is allowed to practice the profession, unless otherwise allowed by law the highest sanction that they can impose is to bar the offender from ever practicing that profession again. Lighter sanctions (again, unless also allowed monetary damanges by law) include temporary suspension of a license for various periods of time or other license-related sanctions. I have heard of chiropractors having their licenses revoked and being required to re-apply as if a new graduate, including needing to take all of the exams again. I have also heard of chiropractors being required to take and pass classes to demonstrate an understanding of the areas that resulted in the disciplinary actions. (Fortunately, I have never been subject to disciplinary action by any licensing board.)

    So, the theory is that the licensing board can revoke a license in order to protect the public from someone who is deemed unfit to practice the profession. For lawyers, for historical reasons, that licensing board is usually called the "bar" or the "bar association".

    And I would _hope_ they would do thorough background checks on school teachers.

  • Re:Not Quite... (Score:3, Informative)

    by egomaniac (105476) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:24PM (#25155737) Homepage

    You misunderstand. This has nothing to do with his disbarment; rather GPP is referring to a previous court order prohibiting him from submitting briefs that were not signed by another bar member in good standing.

    By submitting this motion he has violated that order, though I doubt much will come of it since he has already been disbarred.

  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hairy Heron (1296923) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:24PM (#25155743)
    Conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar.
  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:27PM (#25155793)
    You mean aside from recklessly ignoring court orders and abuse of his position as a lawyer? Perhaps you should read up on his activities [wikipedia.org].
  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hyppy (74366) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:39PM (#25155947)
    In many places, it's illegal to continuously file frivolous lawsuits.
  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Speare (84249) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:41PM (#25155997) Homepage Journal

    Jack is going to call out against video games until he dies or retires.

    Um, hope nobody has to explain to you that being disbarred IS a retirement. He's retired. He cannot practice his profession legally. He may start a new career as a news commentator (Nancy Grace already filled CNN's quota for shrill moralistic harpies but there's always CBS or NBC or something). That's a separate career if it ever materializes, so as of now, he IS retired.

  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <{shadow.wrought} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:42PM (#25156007) Homepage Journal
    I'm not aware of any illegal activities

    IANAL, but I've worked with them for years now as a paramalegal. There are ethical rules that attorneys need to follow (some of which we follow, too). AFAIK, Thompson was acting contrary to many of those standards which are part of staying with the bar, hence his disbarment.
  • Re:Discomprehension? (Score:5, Informative)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:00PM (#25156291)

    Admission to the bar is the term commonly used in the United States to indicate that a person is licensed to practice law as an attorney at law.

    Being disbarred is a gramatically correct term referring to the act of revocation of a licence to practice law.

    Basically this decision means Jack Thompson is unable to earn his living as an attorney (at least in Florida) any more.

  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by KillerBob (217953) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:09PM (#25156437)

    Read the Kotaku link on it... as of this writing, it's still up, while the other one is slashdotted...

    http://kotaku.com/5054772/jack-thompson-disbarred [kotaku.com]

    The document they posted is quite brief, but for those who don't feel like reading the whole thing, the paragraph that answers your question is paragraph 4:

    Among the extensive findings of fact presented in the report, the Court takes particular note of the following which occurred during the three-year period at issue in five counts in these cases: (1) respondent made false statements of material fact to courts and repeatedly violated a court order; (2) respondent communicated the subject of representation directly with clients of opposing counsel; (3) respondent engaged in prohibited ex parte communications; (4) respondent publicized and sent hundreds of pages of vitriolic and disparaging missives, letters, faxes, and press releases, to the affected individuals; (5) respondent targeted an individual who was not involved with respondent in any way, merely due to "the position [the individual] holds in state and national politics;" (6) respondent falsely, recklessly, and publicly accused a judge as being amenable to the "fixing" of cases; (7) respondent sent courts inappropriate and offensive sexual materials; (8) respondent falsely and publicly accused various attorneys and their clients of engaging in a conspiracy/enterprise involving "the criminal distribution of sexual materials to minors" and attempted to get prosecuting authorities to charge these attorneys and their clients for racketeering and extortion; (9) respondent harassed the former client of an attorney in an effort to get the client to use its influence to persuade the attorney to withdraw a defamation suit filed by the attorney against respondent; and (10) respondent retaliated against attorneys who filed Bar complaints against him for his unethical conduct by asserting to their clients, government officials, politicians, the media, female lawyers in their law firm, employees, personal friends, acquaintances, and their wives, that the attorneys were criminal Case Nos. SC07-80 and SC07-354 Page Three pornographers who objectify women.

    Quoted, unmodified. Every paragraph of the filing is pertinent... it's only about a page's worth of text, so well worth the read. And IMHO, it's well worth disbarring him. And the only way he's affected *me* personally was that, thanks to one of his initiatives, I had to ask the staff at EB Games to sell me a copy of Bully, because they didn't have it actually *on* the shelves.

  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:33PM (#25156899) Journal

    Disbarment doesn't have anything to do with illegal activities...You should read the trial transcripts. I read them as a lark, because I get a kick out of JT's nutbaggery, but I lost my enjoyment about halfway through reading all the testimony from lawyers and judges about a truly obscene level of harassment.

    It's clear that they felt that bringing a suit against him for libel and slander would only further his aims, so you see, for example, a prominent partner at a law firm, another member of which was involved in a suit against JT, being publicly accused of peddling pornographic materials to minors. A clear attempt at intimidation.

    Likewise the Alabama case, when the judge revoked JT's pro hac vice after JT's blatantly contradicted the Judge's instructions regarding talking to the press, which also included some basic lies regarding his status on the case (the pro hac vice had not been approved when he started representing himself as the actual lawyer on the case, which he couldn't have been without the PHV). After the PHV was revoked, JT started making criminal racketeering charges against the judge, and the judge who had held the seat previously, who, as in the first case, wasn't even involved.

    Imagine being dragged through the mud by a rabid, paranoid jackass who is just out to intimidate someone else whom you happen to know.

    Here is a link to the Referee Report Recommending his disbarment [libsyn.com] (pdf warning). It's part funny, and part disgusting.

    It's frankly amazing that he got away with it as long as he did. You'd think, if gamers were as violent as he swears we are, someone would have killed his dumb ass.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:45PM (#25157135)

    Have you actually been following the cases? Thompson has done more than just to piss off some judges. In many cases, he crossed the line of professionalism. The problem with Thompson is that you are his personal enemy if you oppose him in anyway whether it was your job or whether you simply ruled against him. If you read the judge's opinion against Thompson, you would see that. And the ABA (not AMA) had nothing to do with this: The Florida Bar has disbarred Thompson. Other states will not accept you as an attorney once one state disbars you.

    1. In Strickland, Thompson did not file paperwork for temporary admission to the Alabama bar before filing the lawsuit. In his completed application, he responded "No but see letter" when asked if he had ever been suspended or had any disciplinary actions by any previous bar. He had been suspended in 1992 by the Florida Bar. Anyone person can see that this answer was less than truthful. After the judge ordered a jag order for all parties, Thompson contacted media many times as well as members of Congress and President Clinton about the case. He also appeared on 60 Minutes to discuss the case. For these actions, the judge removed him from the case. Despite orders not to contact the court as he was no longer the attorney of record, Thompson continued to send the judge's office messages almost daily for a year after the case was decided.
    2. Thompson also alleged that Judge Moore was corrupt and could be bought. His main support for this was his conversation with a former judge who told Thompson this. The former judge has denied that he ever told Thompson this. Thompson however wrote letters to many people about how corrupt Judge Moore was.
    3. Thompson then harassed the attorneys for Sony in Strickland (Blank Rome) for months accusing them of fraud and sending them numerous emails and letters. In letters to everyone from President Bush to James Dobson, he accused the the law firm of "knowingly facilitated, by various means, the criminal distribution of sexual material to minors." To one of the lawyers, Rebecca Ward, he wrote "You disgrace us as lawyers. Shame on you. Shame on you as a woman as well." All of this was after he was removed from the case.
    4. In his dealings with Beasley Broadcasting Group, LLC, Thompson in his usual tactics offended their outside counsel Norm Kent enough for him to file a personal defamation lawsuit against Thompson. Since keeping Kent would be a conflict of interest and Thompson threatened to countersue Beasley, Beasley hired Lawrence A. Kellogg of the law firm Tew Cardenas to represent them in the future. Thompson badgered Kellogg to drop Kent's complaint which Kellogg correctly asserted he represented Beasley and not Kent. When Kellogg didn't respond for Thompson's emails for a week, Thompson went after Mr. Alberto Cardenas, managing partner at Tew Cardenas. In letters to Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Thompson wrote "More specifically, Mr. Cardenas personally and his firm collectively have actively protected the distribution of pornographic material to children. . ." and that Jeb Bush should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Alberto Cardenas "for his and his firm's role in the protection of a multicounty criminal enterprise.". Mr. Cardenas' only connection to Thompson was that his firm employed Lawrence A. Kellogg and represented Beasley. He personally never even met his client, Beasley.
    5. Thompson filed an injunction to stop the release of the video game Bully. Judge Ronald M. Friedman took the case and asked for an inspection of the game. With Thompson and Take Two's lawyers present, Judge Friedman looked at the game in his chambers. While the Judge found the game offensive to his personal tastes, he concluded that as long as the game was adequately rated (M), he could not prevent it's release as a matter of law. Thompson went on a campaign accusing the judge as "liberty-a tyrannical judiciary that thinks it is above the la
  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by HUADPE (903765) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:59PM (#25157365) Homepage
    He will have a very very hard time getting admitted to the bar of any other state or the federal bar.

    Bar associations take a disbarment, especially one as exceptional as this (lifetime) very seriously. I also doubt that he could, in fact, pass most states' bar exams.

    For those not familiar, getting admitted to the bar isn't just passing the exam, it involves being reviewed for professionalism. I imagine that he would piss off the reviewers in the same way he apparently pissed this judge off into giving the absolute most powerful punishment available.

  • Re:April fools? (Score:3, Informative)

    by FunWithKnives (775464) <<ParadoxPerfect> <at> <terrorist.net>> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @08:27PM (#25159865) Journal
    The USSR was not communist. A communist country has never been in existence. The closest the human race has ever come were the basic "share and share alike" systems of nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes thousands of years ago, where private property meant nothing and the community as a whole owned everything collectively. "Communist government," in fact, is an oxymoron, because communism is classless. You have to have anarchy to have a truly classless system. Communism is a utopian ideal that the human race will have to grow into in an evolutionary manner if it is ever to actually be realised.

    The USSR, while certainly not communist, did not fit the definition of socialism either. Socialism and democracy share a reciprocal relationship, and you can never truly have one without the other. Perhaps the USSR was somewhat democratic in the beginning, around the time of the first Five Year Plan, when the worker's councils still had a say in the economy, but it never really got anywhere after that, and when Stalin came to power as a full-on dictator, it was right out the window. The USSR was a planned economy, but it sure as hell wasn't planned by the people, it was planned by Stalin and the bureaucratic elite. I think of it as a form of state capitalism, but some don't agree with me on that.

    Sorry for the pedantry. I just wanted to try to clarify what communism is and isn't.
  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by that IT girl (864406) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @08:30PM (#25159889) Journal
    No, no, no, a thousand times no. I live in a very rural southern area full of some of the most conservative Christians you'll ever meet. About 95% of people I've conversed with on the subject think he's a complete moron. I am not, honestly, sure why he's so popular, unless it's just America's love of the sensational. If there's one thing I can glean from flipping through popular TV stations for 5 minutes, it's that the amount of stupid seems to be directly proportional to the ratings...
  • by trytoguess (875793) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:07AM (#25161965)

    Whoops, seems I forgot to directly answer your main issue...

    The reason I mentioned proving the nonexistience of god, is because that's the only way someone can justify their belief that people with religion = deluded and/or crazy. There're reasons faith can be harmful, but the basic idea that a entity in the sky cares for us is imo about as rational as say believing in luck, or thinking that an item is worth more/less just because of it's previous owner. We all have irrational quirks and beliefs. I'd say we save the smugness for those who're obviously deluded and believe in false things, not those that have hope, as strange as their views may seem to us.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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