Youthful Killer's Lawyer Doesn't Buy "GTA Made Me Do It" Defense

September 26, 2006 -

The New Mexico attorney who defended teenage killer Cody Posey during his murder trial doesn't think much of Jack Thompson's latest video game lawsuit.

Gary Mitchell's skillful defense efforts kept Posey out of the adult prison system for killing his abusive father and stepmother as well as his stepsister in 2004. The lawyer told the Albuquerque Journal that anti-game activist Thompson had contacted him "numerous times" before the criminal trial, urging Mitchell to employ a Grand Theft Auto defense.

"I just didn't find it had any merit whatsoever," Mitchell said. The attorney is seen in the photo at left, conferring with Cody Posey.

According to the newspaper report, Thompson was encouraged to pursue a lawsuit against the video game industry by prosecutor Sandra Grisham.

That seems a bit odd on a couple of scores. First, during the trial, Grisham downplayed any mitigation of the crime based on the horrible physical and sexual abuse that Cody Posey suffered at the hands of his father and stepmother. In fact, Grisham's tough-as-nails approach sparked a fair amount of outrage in certain quarters. If she wouldn't agree that such egregious child abuse might be a causal factor, why would she think that video games might be?

The newspaper does not specify what level of involvement Grisham might have had, nor does Grisham confirm urging a lawsuit in the story. However, the Albuquerque Tribune reports that Cody's uncle, Verlin Posey asked the prosecutor about filing suit and Grisham contacted Thompson at that point.

Grisham did apparently raise the video game issue at one point during the trial proceedings, eliciting from Cody that he had played GTA as well as Tom Clancy's Shadow Ops.

(so... why isn't Ubisoft a defendant?)

Plaintiffs in the suit are Verlin Posey, brother of Cody's slain father Delbert Posey and Pat Basham, father of Cody's stepmother and grandfather of Cody's stepsister. It's interesting to note that Verlin Posey told Court TV that he was aware to some extent of the abuse Cody received at the hands of the deceased:

"My brother was trying to raise a man out of a boy that was admittedly skipping school and smoking dope and being a juvenile delinquent at times... I'm sure at times he probably crossed the line... Not only did he get spankings with a board or a belt... at times, he had to do push-ups because the spankings weren't working. When I saw him cross the line, instead of getting five swats he may gave given him seven or eight. When we get to the fine line of corporal punishment and abuse, it's all about opinion."

Other witnessed testified that Delbert Posey crushed Cody's fingers with a pair of pliers and held a hay hook to his groin. Cody told the court that on the night before the murders his father tried to make him have sex with his stepmother and burned him with a heated metal rod when he refused.

For his part Jack Thompson told the newspaper, "Our goal is to punish (the defendants) so severely that they will stop marketing this game to kids. They market them for kids; they assure parents as well as kids through various lobbyists that games are not harmful to kids. That is not true."

Plaintiff Basham said he was not interested in financial gain, but in saving other families.

"If we can get this game off the market, this kind of thing won't happen to other people like happened to us," he said.

Comments

"A video game may not, by itself, cause a teen or another individual to kill," says the civil lawsuit filed in state District Court in Albuquerque, "but it can provide an indispensable or final link in a causal chain that results in tragedy."
A 100 pound weight is put on a camel's back. A straw is added. This is the straw that broke the camel's back. I propose that putting a straw on a camel's back should be considered inhumane. The 100 pound weight is fine, though.
This is exactly what I've worried about ever since I first heard about Jack Thompson. Scapegoating has victims. The result of this killing should be an increase in the battle against child abuse. Instead, Delbert is effectively being pardoned for his abuse of his son. It disgusts me.

“If we can get this game off the market, this kind of thing won’t happen to other people like happened to us,” he said.
If his daughter was a better person, she'd still be alive. I'm not condoning what Cody did, but there's a clear cause and effect here. He was abused, and he lashed out at his oppressors. The stepsister, unfortunately, got caught up in the middle.

More than likely the newspaper got the info about the prosecutor telling Jack to persue a lawsuit against the video game companies sound like something Jack would tell the paper afer the defense told him to bite it. I have to have respect for the defense attorney for not going for the "Video Games Made me Do It defense. "

Remember what I said yesterday about watching this one bite him on the ass? Yeah, I didn't think it would be this soon, granted this is only the beginning of him being laughed out of New Mexico.

Of course the DA wouldn't buy it, there are few who believe the impact of GTA>>> horrific abuse

Great reporting Dennis/Jabrwock (you guys need writer credits in your stories!). The plaintiffs sound like they are trying to excuse the sins of their relatives, rather than deal with the horrible situation at hand. Vunerable and confused, enter the snake oil salesmen, promising to show why their family members died, and get them a little cash on the side!

Char

so severely that they will stop marketing this game to kids. They market them for kids;
.......

Sigh, who wants to say it first?

No! They! Dont!

A couple of things I forgot:
Thompson had contacted him “numerous times” before the criminal trial, urging Mitchell to employ a Grand Theft Auto defense.
Because that worked so well for Moore. Congrats to Mitchell for using common sense!

“Our goal is to punish (the defendants) so severely that they will stop marketing this game to kids. They market them for kids; they assure parents as well as kids through various lobbyists that games are not harmful to kids. That is not true.”
I'm still waiting for some actual proof about this "harm." A mild increase in aggression doesn't qualify. And while we're at it, I still haven't seen any evidence that video game companies are specifically marketing M rated games to children.

Here's how I'll bet it went down:

JT: Video games made him do it!
Grisham: That's silly, besides, I want him to take full responsability for his actions, no mitigating circumstances. I want him to do hard time, abused or no.
JT: But but!
Grisham: For the last time, no! If you're so sure of yourself, why don't you file a lawsuit?
JT: Yaaaay! Grisham encouraged me to file a lawsuit, she agrees with me!
Grisham: *sigh*

@ Beacon

"Delbert is effectively being pardoned for his abuse of his son. It disgusts me."

Hey now! He only crossed the line once or twice, his brother said so! And so what? He was just trying to make a MAN out of the damn juvenile delinquent gamer.

Now excuse me while I go whack some kids with a two by four...to...prepare 'em for life's...hardships, yeah that's the ticket.

(disclaimer: I was not advocating child abuse, I was simply mirroring what Beacon said in my own inelegant way)

*sniffs* Do I smell someone about to pour gasoline on another bridge?

Soo, Jack Thompson condones bullying, terrorism, child abuse, murder as long as it's i nthe name of "god", slander, and libel. Well, of course he woudl condoen child abuse, he supposedly used his own son to prove anyoen can buy a copy of The Warriors from Best Buy. And why has he not tried to say Rockstar's Table Tennis had a part in a murder? I bet there's a hot coffee mode in it just waiting for him to find it

“My brother was trying to raise a man out of a boy that was admittedly skipping school and smoking dope and being a juvenile delinquent at times… I’m sure at times he probably crossed the line… Not only did he get spankings with a board or a belt… at times, he had to do push-ups because the spankings weren’t working. When I saw him cross the line, instead of getting five swats he may gave given him seven or eight. When we get to the fine line of corporal punishment and abuse, it’s all about opinion.”

S osays the parents of alot of serial killers I bet.

Curious that Grisham confronted him about GTA & Shadow Ops, considering she was avoiding the abuse angle (she didn't want him to be able to excuse his behavior).

Rather than implying that Posey was "trained" by the games, I believe she might have been using the games as an indicator that he was already a cold-blooded killer. Morbid interest in violent media and all that...

Ugh. Here it goes again. Jack Thompson, you are exploiting a severly abused child (now young man) for your own benefit. I think you are sick.

Yes, the murders were horrible. But do you really think any video game had more of an effect on this young man than beaing severly abused, both physically, emotionally, and by all accounts sexually?

Reason points to NO. Jack points to YES. Any questions?

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

This is just too good. Even the defending lawyer doesn't agree with Jack on this.

"I'm stel not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

Wouldn't it be funny if history were to repeat itself. You know, JT starts waving his book in court. Start bragging how it'll be bigger than OJ and it's the end of our industry. Blank Rome is on defense and files a complaint of unethical activities. Judge boots him for "bizarre" and "childlike" behavior. JT fires back and makes bogus accusations against the judge. JT writes even more conspiracy theories about Blank Rome.

Yeah. Good job Jack. Way to try killing killing the industry again. Why don't just sue the whole industry while you're at it.

I feel sorry for this guy Steven Sanders.

When this whole case starts going down like Titanic, Jack will do everything he can to foist blame onto him, and perhaps even go as far as to say he was bought out by Take Two or something asinine.

Just like Louisiana.

You heard it here first.

Personally, as the person who covered the trial the closest, find the silliest part of this whole thing the assertions of the plaintiffs that they are not in it for the money, but rather for some altruistic crusade to save others. This is in contrast with not only their vile performances at the trial, the video of which I am now abliged to get published, but the Bashams (stepmother's parents) live in a run down old trailer and Delbert's Brother Verlin and his wife Shanda were sued by their bank over their overdrawn delinquent checking account around the time of the killings. Another case of the poverty stricken altruist suing the deep pockets for the greater good. Sony will destroy them with what did not get into the murder trial.

Thx for the mediadistortion link folks.

I find Jack Thompson silly to begin with.

"Other witnessed testified that Delbert Posey crushed Cody’s fingers with a pair of pliers and held a hay hook to his groin. Cody told the court that on the night before the murders his father tried to make him have sex with his stepmother and burned him with a heated metal rod when he refused."

It's obvious that games were not the reason he went and killed. It's obvious that it was because he was abused at that level he killed.
Case Closed.

Just for a little clarification - if I could get some assistance here it would be appreciated.

Cody Posey was named as part of this new lawsuit, correct? If so, then would Gary Mitchel likely be defending him again when this comes up?

If jack doesn't bail,this will be the case that leads to his downfall. but chances are,when things don't go his way,he tosses blame everywhere and then distances himself from the event in question. an for reasons we ALL understand,the media doesn't call him out on it. that kind of bias is the only thing that keeps his career from crashing down

This just proves that Jack Thompson is just a communist who wants to take away our freedoms. What a communist and cry baby.


*grabs nice juicy t-bone steak*

@ Mr.Pat

That's actually a very good question. Yes, Posey was named as a co-defendant. As to whether Mitchel would be defending him again, I guess it depends if he's the Posey family lawyer, or if he was a court-appointed pro-bono. If he was pro-bono , it's not likely he'll be assigned to a civil suit defense.

Since Posey was named in the suit, all he'd have to do to destroy the case is claim that he didn't play obsessively... And if he didn't, the case against the game companies is destroyed too, since he had to play obsessively to be "trained", right?

@Grahamr

That's the benefit of having co-counsel. Provides a scapegoat should the fit hit the shan and the case falls apart... ;)

I'm still having trouble believing what I'm hearing here. I know that video games have been used as a scapegoat for a while now, but this? Where is this videogame connection? What posessed someone to think that somehow videogames were involved with any of this? All I've heard is that "he played it" and not much else.

Is Jack Thompson the person responsible for this? From what I'm hearing, he suggested a "videogame defense " before the trial even started. Where did he get his evidence? Did he just hear about a teenage murderer on the news and decide he was "another deranged gamer"? I'd bet that is exactly what happened, every time there's a school shooting this clown sends out a press release, he'll start condemning videogames before he even learns the kids name, or let's the bodies get cold.

His father beat him mercilessly? No, that's not the reason. His father tried to skewer him with a hay hook? That's not the reason. His father forced him to have sex with his step-mother and attacked him with a glowing hot metal rod?! Couldn't possibly be the reason. It was the videogames. Somehow, God only knows how, it was the videogames. There is no limit to the lengths Jack Thompson will go to atack games. He's completely out of his mind.

Oh and one more thing, I wonder how this kid could even play video games after his father crushed his fingers with those plyers. I guess he played them with his feet.

Wow, I didn't think my question was that good, but I'm glad to know it was.

If it weren't for the fact that I have to be at work in a little over ten minutes I'd do it myself, but would anyone be up for contacting Mr. Mitchel to see if he in fact would be resume his duties as Posey's counsel? I'd be very interested in hearging the results of this when I got back tonight - roughly arounf 9pm EST.

@ Mr. Pat.

Heh, the reason it's a good question, is because Mitchel seems to completely reject the video game causation idea, so the industry wouldn't be the only group working on the defense.

Unlike the last lawsuit over GTA:VC, this time the perp is also being sued. Last time it was just the gaming industry that was named in the suit.

Pat, Posey doesn't need counsel, JT and plaintiffs are going after the deep pockets.

Also - please, this is where we as gamers go wrong so often. It's not our business to get in the middle of lawyer-client relationships and such.

@ Michael Morris

Welcome to GP! I've read (skimmed) a few articles of yours since you posted. Keep these shiesters in the public eye as much as possible!

@GP Readers - read Michael's article here:
It is an interesting look at Free Speech.

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

Ok. I honestly don’t know that much about law, but is there a way to get Jack on harassment yet or something like it?

With quotes like “Our goal is to punish (the defendants) so severely that they will stop marketing this game to kids.” and how he has added take two to the defendant list of every trial he goes to is there a way for take two to stop this?

Maybe harassment isn’t the right word because that implies one person getting harassed but there must be some sort of defense for businesses to avoid being brought to court repeatedly like this.

Honestly this kind of thing makes me very weary to put out games myself anymore because I don’t have the money to be able to defend myself from people like jack.

So, GTA made him do it, no the abusive parents, eh?

"So, GTA made him do it, no the abusive parents, eh?"

Yup, that's about the size of it. As he played the game, the console opened like a transformer, placed a gun in his hands, and went continously "kill your parents kills your parents kill your parents" untill he went and did it.

Y'know, I like to think I am an excessive GTA Player. I have all the GTA's except the ones for the GBC/GBA/PSP. I am getting the PSP just for VCS. I will be getting other games later on. (I have LCS for PS2.) GTA is the most favorite game to play. Using Thompson's 'logic' I should be one bloodthirsty killer. One, that could snap ant any given moment and starting shooting people up.

Dispite
- I don't own a gun.
- I have never used a gun.
- I don't know how to properly use a gun (how to hold it and such when firing one.)

- Warren Lewis

Unless I'm mistaken, there doesn't appear to be a 'nice' way to get back to the main page from the comments section. I keep having to either have a history path or retype the site URL. Please make your banner go the main site!

Joystickgenie-

I think that it really Jack's technique. I don't think he goes out to necessarily win these cases. I think his real tactic is that he thinks if he just keeps suing them ad nauseum, the companies would no longer be able to afford the legal bills, and that it would ultimately be more cost effective for said companies to stop making violent games in the first place.

This practice, then, is far more insidious, resulting in a chilling effect through abuse of the legal system. We all say here JT is incompetent, but it's because of this reason that I think he is an extremely dangerous man, a genuine threat to free expression, and that he has to be stopped.

@ Black Manta
What do you suggest

- Warren Lewis

Michael Morris beat me to it. What a great world we live in, not only do people sue for everything but the money, but professional sports players don't sign contracts based on money either. The money just kind of falls into these people's laps mysteriously.

Jack gets more out of touch with reality with every lawsuit he files.

This article provides a great example of Thompson’s lunacy. It devotes an entire paragraph to describing the horrible abuse the kid suffered: beatings, burnings, sexual abuse. Then immediately following that we have Jack’s “WE'RE TOTALLY GOING TO DESTROY ROCKSTAR FOR THIS” quote. Put side by side like that, it’s painfully obvious that this man has no idea what he’s talking about. He’s going to get laughed out of New Mexico, as he has everywhere else in the country.

Cecil475-

Well, disbarment would be the ideal. But seeing as how the Florida Bar, as much as they dislike him, seems indifferent to doing so, I wouldn't hold my breath for that.

I dont know if I can blame the kid for killing his abusive father.

Depending on the level of the abuse that is.

Still killing his step-sister isnt justified

"Since Posey was named in the suit, all he’d have to do to destroy the case is claim that he didn’t play obsessively… And if he didn’t, the case against the game companies is destroyed too, since he had to play obsessively to be “trained”, right? "

Bu-bu-but...ROCKSTAR! Murder simulators! Blank Rome! Magic bullets from the grassy knoll! It's all right there! Don't you see it, man!

@ Black Manta and Warren --

The ideal solution, dependent upon that laws in New Mexico, would be for the defendants to prove that this is a frivolous case. There are a few states where you're allowed to turn around and sue for court costs.

A large settlement against Thomson would probably negate any future shenanigans, but I suspect that the actual plaintiffs would be the ones left with the legal bills.

Our goal is to punish (the defendants) so severely that they will stop marketing this game to kids. They market them for kids; - Thompson

The defendants do not market GTA to kids. I've called Thompson on this repeatedly and all he's ever been able to come up with was a GTA commercial airing during ESPN Sports Center at two in the afternoon.


Andrew Eisen

@Grimm22

And the jury verdict of 1st degre murder in the death of Marilea and manslaughter in the case of father Delbert reflected that they considered that matter. I will dig out the video and my report of the "video game testimony" this afternoon.

Jack wont see this through, forst chance he gets he will bail for it and then claim for the next few years that he bought a case against the murder simulatar makers.

Question, could the video game industry (well Rockstar) sue for costs if this gets thrown out?

@AE

Yeah, because we all know that kids only want to watch adult sports /sarcasm.

Of course, Jack hasn't done anything to address the fact that it is easier for a kid to buy an R-rated movie than an M-rated game, according to the FTC. But wait, movies aren't interactive, therefore they must be harmless, right? RIGHT?

@ Terminator 44
If a kid is watching sports at two in the afternoon, I'd be more worried about his truancy than the fact that he might see commercials for M rated games.

Personaly, I am sick of hearing about the legal misdirections of Mr. Thompson. His involvement in this case holds no merit what so ever, and is a step closer to the charge of slander. He has no standing what-so-ever for anything game related. If anything, he's the most democratic republican I've ever seen.

My ultimate question is what can be done about JT. I think its naive to believe he is no threat to the game industry- just look at how readily the media jumped on the Montreal shooting and videogames. Since politicians have proven themselves to be clueless about these "videos", they are easy pickings for JT's lies.

His vendetta is not against just the games industry, but Gamers as a whole. The ESA sure isn't doing its part in fighting him, and nobody is taking him to task for his comments about Gamers (IE 'shooting in the head', 'akin to hitler youth' etc.).

This latest lawsuit is perhaps his sleaziest moves. While it isn't the place of Gamers to interfere with the course of law, something needs to be done about his slander and harrassment of US.

To the people asking about whether or not Sony/Take-Two/Rockstar can turn around and sue for costs: under Rule 1-054 NMRA, the "prevailing party" in a lawsuit can apply to the court for an award of costs, but the trial court retains some discretion in deciding whether or not to award costs. A party's ability to pay is a factor in that decision. So, if this case is dismissed, sum judged out, or a jury comes back against the plaintiffs, the game companies could seek an award of costs (but I doubt they'd get 'em).

Dennis, is there anyway you can fix the comments? ONE of the best parts of this site was the comments section, but now it's impossible to have a proper converation, and it's harder to read what everyone has to say.
 
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