Could Jack Thompson Be Jailed Over "Bully" Case?

October 23, 2006 -
GamePolitics has confirmed that lawyers representing Take-Two Interactive, publisher of Bully, are seeking to have Jack Thompson declared in contempt of court.

Although we haven't yet seen the motion, the request would appear to relate to Thompson's angry comments in the wake of Miami District Court Judge Ronald Friedman's refusal to block sales of Bully.

In a worst-case scenario for Thompson, the outspoken attorney could be jailed by Judge Friedman if he were ruled in contempt.

However, a knowledgeable legal source has told GamePolitics that options such as fines, judicial admonishment or censure are more likely.

Attorneys for Philadelphia law firm Blank-Rome, long a target of Thompson's ire, filed what is known as a "Petition for Order to Show Cause." The motion requests that Judge Friedman order Thompson to appear in court and show cause as to why he should not be held in contempt.

For his part, Thompson has reacted to the motion with typical bluster, directing his comments towards opposing counsel as well as the judge. Here are excerpts from recent e-mails cc'd to GamePolitics:
'You want to play hardball...?  You want to try to throw me in jail?  You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this.  You're at the brink..."

"If this court in any fashion proceeds toward issuing a show cause order, given its utter baselessness and the bad faith goo in which it slithers, then Thompson will add whatever judge should do so as a defendant in the aforementioned federal civil rights action..."

UPDATE: A number of sites have linked to this story today, but not all of them have gotten it right. Thompson has NOT been found in contempt. Take-Two's attorneys are requesting that Judge Friedman hold a hearing on the matter to see whether he should be held in contempt.

Comments

I wonder how JT would have responded to such vitriolous comments if HE were the judge they were directed towards?
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

I just don't understand how he could possibly have his civil rights violated. I just wish that TT would just hit him with a harrassment suit.

Okay...

If he is convicted, him going to jaik is a "worst-case" scenario. Like it was said, "a knowledgeable legal source has told GamePolitics that options such as fines, judicial admonishment or censure are more likely." But it's still something.

Instead, what I'm hoping for in the end, is more people, whether they be judicial or corporate, but preferably both, sees this and takes more action against him for his childish tantrums. It doesn't necessarily have to be legal actions, but just standing up agains him publicly. I think the companies especially should try it, perhaps by saying what exactly is in the game, and proving him wrong on his over-the-top accusations (like him referring to Bully as a "columbine simulator"), or if not prove them wrong, then at least dampen his strategy. While, of course, he'll say something along the lines of that they're choosing to hide the most violent material, I think the companies should start to challenge him. Give him a copy, tell him to play it, show evidence (perhaps, preferably, by video) of just how "violent" it is. If the companies show the most violent stuff publicly beforehand, then there would be nothing more to hide, and JT wouldn't have his claims of them hiding things to rely on, or rely on it at a much lesser strength.

Basically, they should try to predict his actions, and make public moves beforehand, or just come out on straight away, before they are brought into the court. They should fight him with their own strategies, not just with lawyers. I think that could be more of a pain in his ass, than fines or the likes

Hey! the comments ate my scarcasm tag! =/

Ahahahahaha, even if Jack only gets fined or just gets a warning, it will be a huge blow to his credibility (assuming he still has any, of course). It will prove that not even the courts in which he works in don't support his position or his behavior. I think we are seeing the beginning of the end of his relevance in this debate.

Jabrwock-

Obviously, it would be to find him in contempt of court... as many times as he could get away with it. And then publicly slander his "good" name by calling him a closet homosexual and a tool of the "evil corperations."

But then again, he's Jack, so he's expecting to get off scott-free with another name to add to his hitlis... I mean... lawsuit.

Maybe just once Jack should accept the fact that there are no Pharises and he is not Jesus.

Possibly learning the most basic of communication skills would have avoided this, but always assumed we were the ones who were 'disgusting', always had his head buried in the sand to his own nature.

Hopefully something like this would open his eyes.

What's the longest someone can be held for Contempt of Court?

I think the annoying part is that there are several aspects of several corporations that gamers are not happy with, streaming adverts in games, regurgitated gameplay, over-emphasis on graphics and under-emphasis on lengevity, poor Beta testing etc etc. Computer games HAVE become like Pop music, with about 80% of it coming from a 'mill' with similar gameplay and graphics, much like many Pop songs most are incredibly unoriginal and are churned out at high speed purely for profit.

As long as games are continually being used as a scapegoat, the gamers and gaming companies have no real chance to do much about this, so in many ways Jack and his ilk are adding to the problem, not dealing with it.

Censured? Wait, didn't someone a while back to say that being Censured helped to get people disbarred? Ooooh I hope I remember that correctly, because that would be groovy!

Yes.

“If this court in any fashion proceeds toward issuing a show cause order, given its utter baselessness and the bad faith goo in which it slithers, then Thompson will add whatever judge should do so as a defendant in the aforementioned federal civil rights action…”

So he's threatening the judge? Is that how that's supposed to read?

Black's Pocket Dictionary defines Contempt as "2. Conduct that defies the authority or dignity of a court or legislature * Because such conduct interferes with the administration of justice, it is punishable, usu. by fine or imprisonment"
"direct contempt. A contempt committed in the immediate vicinity of a court; esp., a contempt committed in a judge's presence"
"indirect contempt. Contempt that is committed outside of court, as when a party disobeys a court order."

Sweet jesus GoodRobotUs, you think like me! I think the games industry is suffering from lack of originality purely for the sake of profit. I've bitched about the same thing time after time after time.

Anyways, I'd like to see JT in jail but I can't really see it happening. Because he is a lawyer and thus bad one, a real corrupt, mentally challenged, ambulance chasing snake-in-the-grass, I can't see him being put in jail considering he'll more than likely find a way out of a jail sentence anyways as he'll know the right aspects of the law to get out. That is unless there is enough evidence to keep him from getting out of it. To tell you the truth I can see him at maximum getting hefty fines, counter-suits for harassment, with possible stern warnings about future actions. I can't wait to see him lose out in his anti-game crusade and bid to fake himself into looking like he's with the moral majority when he is not.

I can't wait to see what they are going to do Jackie Boy!

This may actually have a decent chance of happening? Want proof? Read this:

http://dwb.bakersfield.com/24hour/weird/story/3399251p-12496336c.html

Wait wait...

‘You want to play hardball…? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You’re at the brink…”

Correct me if I'm wrong... THIS is the thing that finally unleashes the whirlwind? No it's not the indecency that Thompson claims is in video games or the "rising death toll" due to violent video games that finally turns him into the legal terminator. It's not even the rampant sexual crimes that we now face due to pixelated porn. Nope what finally gets Thompson serious is a threat to his person?

I thought Jack was supposed to be some great crusader protecting us all from the harm that violent and sexual video games could cause? What happened to that? I mean isn't he supposed to be a hero to the many who have had the misfortune of having their families torn apart by pong? Isn't this the defender of decency for those who countless lives that have been destroyed by a Pac-attack?

Priorities Jack, you egomaniac.

Seems like I'll be back in the courtroom again! A hearing is set at 4pm this Wednesday in the judge's chambers, I wasn't able to contact him for more information at this time. I will do my best to attend and bring the scoop.

I haven't seen the contempt order either, but we did get a copy of his filing to show cause. I don't want to spam this site, but you know where to find me :)

Funny thing is, if Thompson were to go to jail, he’d likely end up at one of the nice furbished prisons. You know…the ones with the videogame machines.


You mean the white-collar resort jail or Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison?

The Crusader is really uping his game. I mean, it went from threatening a bunch of webcomic developers to someone who actually holds a lot of power. The realistic scenario in all of this is that he'll probaly be temporarily suspended from practicing law, or heavy fines will be dished out.

For once I am surprised that Take-Two bit back after all of this time.

By the way, did any of you guys hear about being able to kiss guys in Bully? Oh man, if Jacky gets wind of that, press releases and angry emails will be everywhere like carpet bombs.

Figures, he was warned over releasing info during the alabama case.

From Jack's compaint on Destructoid....

3. In fact, the understanding on plaintiff’s side of this case was that the purported gag rule was not to disclose anything substantial he might learn about the content of the game prior to the game’s commercial release from this séance in chambers. Plaintiff violated that order not a wit.

Ummm... hate to go Grammar Inquisition, but it's 'whit', the current wording almost suggests he brainlessly violated the order :)

Yes, I know it's only context, but I always find this funny in legal documents ;)

And just to prove the point, it's complaint, not compaint, good thing this isn't a legal document :D

‘You want to play hardball…? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You’re at the brink…”

So he responds to being threated with being in contempt of court by being even more contemptible of the court and threatening the court? I think Jack really really needs anger management counseling.

[...] For those that don’t know, Jack Thompson is an American lawyer who has made it his mission to attack any video game that has sexual or violent content within. Understandably, he’s been a busy man. He’s best known for his lawsuits against Rockstar Games, who produced the Grand Theft Auto series. Finally, after riding roughshod all over the games industry, he may be facing contemp charges. According to a report from gaming legislation news site GamePolitics, anti-game lawyer Jack Thompson has himself come under fire from lawyers representing publisher Take-Two Interactive, who have called for Thompson to be held in contempt of court. While it remains unclear as to the exact nature of this request, it most likely stems from comments following Thompson’s most recent failed attempt to prevent the recently released controversial title Bully from being sold in Florida. —Gamasutra News His response is what makes me wonder if he’s mentally unbalanced: “You want to play hardball…? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You’re at the brink…” That’s like him kicking down my door and getting upset when I beat him off with a broomstick and call the cops. Talk about being on the “brink”! Technorati Tags: Jack Thompson, Take-Two, Rockstar, Bully, contempt of court [...]

[...] For those that don’t know, Jack Thompson is an American lawyer who has made it his mission to attack any video game that has sexual or violent content within. Understandably, he’s been a busy man. He’s best known for his lawsuits against Rockstar Games, who produced the Grand Theft Auto series. Finally, after riding roughshod all over the games industry, he may be facing contemp charges. According to a report from gaming legislation news site GamePolitics, anti-game lawyer Jack Thompson has himself come under fire from lawyers representing publisher Take-Two Interactive, who have called for Thompson to be held in contempt of court. While it remains unclear as to the exact nature of this request, it most likely stems from comments following Thompson’s most recent failed attempt to prevent the recently released controversial title Bully from being sold in Florida. —Gamasutra News His response is what makes me wonder if he’s mentally unbalanced: “You want to play hardball…? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You’re at the brink…” That’s like him kicking down my door and getting upset when I beat him off with a broomstick and call the cops. Talk about being on the “brink”! Technorati Tags: Jack Thompson, Take-Two, Rockstar, Bully, contempt of court [...]

"Bad-Faith goo"

He's loing it, he really is.

@jcalhoun

That's not the sort of thing that's considered "contempt of court". There are two -basic- ways of being in contempt: A) ignoring/breaking a court order of some kind (which is how Thompson lost his pro hac vice in AL) and/or B) disrupting the function of the justice system, either by cutting up rough -in- court or by engaging in tactics the judge feels are trying to "game the system" (or rather, trying to game the system more than lawyers are -expected- to game it ;) ).

Ok Thompson is saying that if he gets sues he will unleash something diabolical? Yeah like we haven't heard that before, whatever happened to all those govern yourself accordingly threats and the warnings you gave to Bill Gates Rockstar and ESRB that you never follwoed through on.

The volatile attorney is also facing yet another “show cause” contempt hearing on an unrelated, non-video game case in a different Florida courtroom on December 15th.

So what does Thompson do besides Harrasing video games? Is he an ambulance chaser, does he work with frivolous lawsuits? Those anyone have any info on this?

Brer ,
yeah, I knew that, i just thought it was odd that thompson always responds with threats. he's so crazy!

finally the legal system is working for us.

Bully's boy-on-boy scenes causing a stir
And speaking of Jack:

Thompson addressed ESRB president Patricia Vance in an e-mail he claimed to have sent to "every major news organization in America and the UK," as well as a host of lawmakers and industry representatives.

"Dear Ms. Vance," Thompson wrote, "We just found gay sexual content in Bully, as Jimmy Hopkins makes out with another male student. Good luck with your 'Teen' rating now, Patty."

This guy a martyr... I could see the parents seeing that, anything to blissfully misdirect the fact they are bad parents to believe in this guy.

What scares me is Thompson as a judge. I hope this outburst severely maims his chance to go through with that.

Can you pretty please with cherries on top post the full emails sent to you? Those excerpts just aren't enough to satisfy me.

@David Null

Just who does thompson think he's kidding? trying to make a game rated Mature on the basis it has homosexuality is extremely discriminatory and I do believe (at least in canada) would be ruled unconstitutional as a reason.

We just found gay sexual content in Bully, as Jimmy Hopkins makes out with another male student.

So we've gone from "Bully will inspire a rash of slingshot injuries" to "Bully will lead to kissing!"

Unfortunately for Jack, kissing is not illegal.

Don't throw the guy in jail. He's ignorant, but he has a family.

..........."Out of Harm's Way pt. 2: Joe vs. the Volcano". Or something. I'm making this up on the spot.

You can kiss a boy in Bully?

That's the END OF CIVILIZATION right there.

Cool, so now Jack's a gay basher too. That's going to work out super good for him. When he was running for office against Janet Reno some 20 years ago, he accused her of being a closet homosexual. He tried to spin it like he wasn't homophobic though, he said that this information was relevant because the mafia had access to this information as well and they were blackmailing her.

I'm sure Jack was jumping for joy when he discovered that

Jack Thompson is completely insane.

Re: Siftr
I agree, and a bit of me thinks he is really in a rut & stuck in the past if he thinks this is really that much of an issue. Might have gotten people like him some mileage in the past, but I don't think something equivalent to a PG 13 rated movie should be R due to something like that.

Unless this fit is really more about "hidden content" ....

Re: GoodRobotUs @ 6:57 pm
But Jack doesn't care too much unless it is a big name game by Rockstar, or something the media is making a current fuss over. I think he sort of learned his lesson over the Sims not being the "pedophile's paradise" he thought it was....

I think the Gods Of War prostitute mini game has been pointed out, but most people only care about GTA's Hot Coffee and the EVIL hidden stuff that can lurk in games.

Woops double post.

Here's another thought. If the kid gave a girl a little kiss, that deserves a Teen rating right? That makes sense, you can't say that's sexually explicit. But Jack's saying that if he kisses a boy it's a very VERY different thing. I suppose it would be a problem if you don't like gay people. Are you saying you don't like gay people Jack? Because people that don't like gay people are called bigots. You're not a bigot are you Jack?

yeah, he hates gays.

According to thing guy on 1up.com who claims to have read "Out of Harm's Way", there is quite a bit of anti-gay bashing in there.

Correction:
*According to [some] thing [a] guy

This seems to be fairly open and shut between what I've read on Destructoid and Wikipedia.

Judge Friedman did demand Take Two produce excerpts of Bully before its release, but Take Two asked for and received a gag order on Thompson as a compensation for that. It's a reasonable request on their part. They wouldn't want Thompson being able to ruin their game by spoiling it all over the Internet.

Thompson, once he didn't get his way, proceeded to file emergency appeals wherein he directly cited things that occurred during the viewing, according to Destructoid. This would seem to violate the gag order, and thus construe indirect contempt of court (as defined by Wikipedia), which seems to be exactly what Take Two is alleging.

Jail time seems less likely because, in this case, violation has already occurred rather than it be some violation that Jack can stop doing. Jack can be ordered again to immediately cease any discussion forbidden by the gag order, and if he refuses, then he can go to jail until he agrees to comply. That seems unlikely, but Jack would probably at least face a nominal fine and some censure for the "letting the genie out of the bottle" damage he already did.

A threat to sue any involved people for breach of civil rights is ludicrous. Getting to breach gag orders at will is not a civil right.

*reads Boffo's reply*
And Jack says that gamers are uneducated, pimple-faced morons. lol

Over at Destructoid they have the full text of Thompson's statements http://www.destructoid.com/jack-thompson-bullied#more-7144
in it he, of course, mentions the boogieman aka Blank Rome as being behind it.

He also calls what happened in the chamber a "séance." Then he goes on to say, "If the Court and the defendants do not understand the nature and appropriateness of that remedy, then they need to research the law, read Thompson’s lawsuit, and then stop."

He concludes, "Plaintiff has seen arbitrariness from judges before in his thirty years of practicing law, but nothing close to this"

Not guilty by reason of insanity?

Dear Jack,

A finding of contempt of court may result from a failure to obey a lawful order of a court, showing disrespect for the judge, disruption of the proceedings through poor behavior, or publication of material deemed likely to jeopardize a fair trial.

Given your behaviour on numerous occasions both in and out of court, in your letters to judges, politicians, and your CCing to media outlets, I am very surprised you have not been found in contempt before this time.

Your response to Take Two is yet another example of your unprofessionalism, and I hope you actually learn how to conduct yourself in a court of law befitting someone who holds a law degree.

I'm gonna file a petition for a hearing with Judge Friedman to determine whether or not he should be held in a bearhug.

@Jeff:

You're statement made me shudder as I imagined being contained in a cell with those three characters.


Brrrrr.....

I don't think Jack should go to jail. He should be fined, restricted from practicing the law (if only temporarily), sentenced to community service (the only service he'll have ever done for any community), and required to undergo a psychiatric examination. After reading the story on bakersfield.com that Mr.Pat cited, I think there's a good chance that will happen. I'll repost the link here:

http://dwb.bakersfield.com/24hour/weird/story/3399251p-12496336c.html

Also, I read somewhere that there maybe a conflict of interests here as JT has stated that he plans to run against the very Judge that will be presiding over the case. Honestly, I doubt there's a conflict of interests in the case, at this moment. If for no other reason, then that Judge Friedman hasn't said he plans to run for re-election in '08. But I guarantee that Wacky-Jacky will claim a conspiracy is forming against him. I kinda hope he does, so that we can continue laughing at this guy (you can't find comedians THIS good).

Jack has said that the "gay sexual content" should make the T rated Bully a M rated game? He's a bigot and homophobic? What was your first clue? I don't really care if Jimmy can kiss a guy. I knew I could do the same, worse actually, in Fable and i never even attempted it. Why? Because I dont wanna watch guys kiss! Geez Jack let people decide what they want to see. If someone thinks that kind of thing is offensive, they won't try to see it!

One last thing. If Jack has cited Bill Gates as one of these horrible people contributing to teenage delinquency, I swear someone said that, why doesn't Bill, the richest man on the face of Earth, sue him? That would get some serious attention and might make some of these other Anti-game idiots think twice.

OH SNAP!!!

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