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.