Jack Thompson Avoids Jail But Earns Bar Complaint

October 25, 2006 -
From on-the-scene reports it appears that a wild scene took place in the Miami courtroom of Judge Ronald Friedman this afternoon.

A reliable source has told GamePolitics that Judge Friedman did not hear Take-Two's contempt motion. Instead, Friedman recused himself, explaining that he was filing a complaint against Thompson with the Florida Bar.

Over at Destructoid, Niero has provided additional details in another excellent "man-on-the-scene" report. Included in the juicy details: four police officers were summoned to keep the peace at one point. Niero has some video to upload. Look for it later today.

The contempt issue will be reassigned to another judge.

Comments

Dammit! >:(

The judge should have stuck to his guns. Given past history, I have the feeling the Florida Bar Complaint will be swept under the rug and forgotten. Unless another judge can be found in short order that has some knowledge of JT's abuses, he might get away once again. :(

Take 2 and Blank-Rome should aggressively pursue this case and not back down. It's high time JT was put in his place and made accountable for his actions. It's now or never. I'm hoping that if found in contempt, it'll open the floodgates for all sorts of legal actions against him, including my own class-action (which I'll have some news on in a few days. Hopefully if he's adequately punished, it might not be necessary.)

On another note: 4 police officers and a posterboard sign? I guess everyone knows now who the real "public nuisance" is, don't they? ;)

Dang it, but at least the option of jail time is still open, can't wait to see the video

He has been defeated. Rejoice, Gamers.

The LA gov. must be feeling very stupid now

@Niero

OK, that's idiotic.

I've been playing with a Jack Thompson CAW in my copy of SmackDown vs. RAW 2006 CAW for months now and he's no more "in" that game than he is "in" Mortal Kombat Armageddon.

I'm just wondering, if this actually goes to court, and Jack is convicted of contempt, he can appeal it, right?

So this could be going on for years and years and years...

Just watch, Jack will suddenly declare himself to be running for the seat of the next judge that comes along, and so forth. ;P

Of course, we're all taking this as a huge hit for Jack... it may not be. I mean, it's not like we haven't seen him with some "career ruining" moment that everyone knew would get him disbarred, jailed, or whatever else, and he wasn't. Maybe this time it'll be different... but we won't know probably for a few months at least...

Oh my. So, not only does he have a BAR complaint filed by an actual Florida judge, he's also still going to be tried (or whatever).

Mr. Thompson, you have officially phailed.

Forgot to add, hopefully now with so many complaints against him, The Florida Bar will feel the comeplled to take some kind of action. I'd like to think at this point that JT has become a problem that they can no longer afford to ignore.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He still has the T2 squad after him. or something

@Blank Manta

I'm not surprised. By reclusing himself, Judge Friedman usurps JT's claim that this is all about the appeal attempt and/or "punishing" him for running for Friedman's seat in '08. The next judge will preside over what this was really about, JT's behavior during and after the judge made his ruling.

The next judge can still rule on the contempt complaint. Reclusing doesn't mean the contempt motion is denied, just that Friedman doesn't feel he can rule on it himself considering the circumstances.

Besides, if the other judge rules against JT, he can't claim it was because of any personal interest (beyond the usual "bar protecting it's own").

Do I win the pot now? ;)

Seriously, this is for the best. Just because the judge has recused himself doesn't mean the the contempt hearing won't go forward. It'll just be in front of a different judge. If a case or motion is honestly being judged on merits, then the judge shouldn't matter much.

So the upshot is that he may still be found in contempt, now has another Bar complaint to deal with, and still hasn't successfully prosecuted any of his anti-gaming cases.

A bit disappointing, considering that past Florida Bar complaints don't seem to have helped much, but it's probably best that the contempt issue be given to another judge to handle so that Thompson can't whine about the judge's impartiality.

This was a smart move, as Jabrwock points out- it avoids a biased issue that Friedman would jail Thompson to secure his place as judge. And the BAR complaint only solidifies Jack's troubles, since it means Jack is not out of hot water yet and is subject to even more punishment- the BAR complaint itself means there is a legitamite reason according to one judge, why Jack should not practice law, and a motion for holding him in contempt only serves to make Jack look like a bigger douche, with someone raising legitamite concerns over the methods he uses to practice law- forget about barring freedom of his speech, since he's free to think, feel and say what he wants, even if it's retarded, but making a fucking mockery of the United States judicial system by having discrimination woven in his "holy campaign", calling a number of political and judicial figures incomptetent and unfit, and raising courtroom ruckus in EVERY case he comes into- making a mockery out of justice like he has should NOT go unpunished, and I doubt it will.

@Scoops

You win a cookie. :)

I'm not entirely sure, but I think a successfull conviction in court also automatically generates a Bar investigation of it's own (since the Bar requires that lawyer be held to a certain standard of behavior, obviously being held in contempt means you weren't behaving yourself). Anyone read up on this in the Florida Bar rules?

mmm... cookie.

After reading Destructoid's coverage, I have to think that Laddy Jack did himself no favours today. Whoever gets this case is going to know about the cops and the sign, not to mention the giant slingshot from previous hearings. They're going to know about his comments and misrepresentations about Friedman, and the fact that Jack basically bullied him off the case.

None of those things really scream respectful, professional attorney to me. The more I think about it, the more I see a hefty fine coming down. I really down think jail time is in the offing though. It's even worse when you consider that this is just the Bully case. He really seems to be going downhill.

Actually, look at this way -- his legal career may be over but he does not want to let go of the spotlight. He has the backing of crazy, uninformed, anti-gaming crusaders, including Hillary Clinton and other big named players.

This man has given up on his legal career and just turned himself into a martyr.

He just won. He knows he has no legal stamina left. No court takes him seriously. Ever. But legislatures do. Even if he gets disbarred, he's found himself a way to remain in the spotlight presumably for the rest of his life.

I think I take it all back. He's a freaking genius.

I weep.

@Bissel:

I'm not a lawyer or anything, but I believe it may depend on the type of contempt and how it is tried. I believe this would qualify as civil contempt, rather than criminal.* If that's the case, then Laddy Jack can appeal. If it is criminal contempt, however, then there is no appeal (there's also a higher burden of proof, like all criminal versus civil matters).

If Jack goes off his nut in the courtroom, it might qualify as criminal contempt.

*nb. I based this off my reading of a Wikipedia article that only delineates the difference between criminal and civil contempt in the British system. What Jack is accused of even seems to be a grey area in that context. The the appeal recourses listed are American.

Ding dong, the witch is dead.

Don't rejoice just yet, there are still more to come, and jude would have to step down, because he might be "biased" as much as we hate JT he still deserves due process.

@Bluegus

Jack no longer has the backing of Clinton. If you remember, she attended a dinner hosted by Doug Lowenstein, which caused ol' JT to turn on her and call her a "Benedict Arnold." None of the congressmen and senators care about what he does for that matter. And as far as I know, none of them wanted anything to do with him, not even Lieberman.

Jack is about to lose his last shred of credibility, so if anything, politicians will be even less likely to consider him a reliable source on anything.

The only thing I could probably see him doing if he loses his license his become a minister or something and tour churches decrying the "evils" of video games. He'll become another book-burning bible-thumper, which is almost as bad, but he'll be one of hundreds that routinely get ignored. And at least he won't the authority of law behind him, so he won't be able to abuse his position as a lawyer to file suits or otherwise threaten or harrass anyone he doesn't like.

I'd just like to say that, like most of you here, I HATE JACK THOMPSON! Just need to get that shirt from Penny-Arcade now i guess.

Like many others have pointed out, having another Judge preside over this case is probably for the best. This way no one, not even Jacky, can claim the decision was based on personal gain. He can't say that Friedman was trying to get him disbarred so that he can't challenge him in the '08 election, you can't be a Judge if you aren't a lawyer. Therefore there's no way the Judge will find him innocent just to not be seen as biased (like I kinda feared Friedman might do IF he presided over the case).

As far as him appealing the decision: I wouldn't worry about it anyway. Even if he can appeal, he'd still be unable to practice law. He might even have to hire a lawyer in order to appeal it, but I don't know for sure, this isn't really an area I'm well versed in.

@Bluegus
So what if he has the ear of people in power? They aren't likely to continue to listen to him, or at least not cite him. Listening to a guy that was disbarred, censured, fined, sued (GO BLACK MANTA!), and even jailed won't go over well with other politicians or voters. I can already see the smear campaign ads: "You listened to a complete ass! He was a lawyer, but had so many complaints against him, he lost his license to practice it and, now, no state's bar will give him one." Hell, I'd bet $1000 that Hillary drops him and starts criticizing him within a day of him losing his license. She may still coninue her anti-game agenda, but it will be excecuted in a different manner.

Here's hoping it all goes well. For us.

I like this scenario. No soap-dropping jail time to transform radical Jack Thompson into an Ultra-Zealous legalistic Rambo, and a Bar complaint might be a good thing for him personnaly.

Jack Thompson isn't evil (er, more evil than normal humans anyway) so his logic is simply setting him at odds with reality. I don't wan't vengeance and the complaint is a sort of nudge that might allow him to take a step back and figure things out. This is the difference between martyrdom and honest concern, so any hopes in attaining JT as an ally are actually are actually raised here (assuming a moderate stance is the best case scenario). The anti-game movement needs martyrs to give it legitamacy and Jack was almost their meal ticket.

Babus

Personally, I think Jack did NOT want Friedman to recuse himself so he'd have the notion of bias as ammo. I think Jack's little scheme has backfired, and I certainly don't think he counted on Judge Friedman filing a complaint against him. Take2, the judiciary, and the Florida Bar will now be coming at him from every direction. Jack, if you have any wagons, now would be the time to circle them. I'm expecting good things for the good guys in the coming weeks.

OT, put about 10 hours into Bully so far and loved every minute.

Does anyone have any Idea what Jack had written on the sign?

So Jack's up to at least 4 Bar Complaints again:

1. Howard Stern's people, possibly harrassment.

2. Judge Moore in Strickland vs. Sony, courtroom antics and violating gag orders.

3. Blank Rome, going to non-Take Two clients and trying to make said clients drop Blank Rome, and not always using the truth to do so.

4. Here, courtroom antics and violating gag orders.

You'll also notice that the deadline for the ESRB to re-rate Bully as M "or else" has now passed... and nothing has happened.

if i were to guess at what was on the sign, i would assume it was some sort of campaign poster for his run at the judges bench

odds are it had a pointed remark towards the judges ruling on the Bully case

this fits Thompsons MO perfectly, it seems he always trys to infuriate the judge when he seems to be losing so that he may apeal any decision judge makes based on the judge being biased against him

Is it just me, or is that 'link patrol' think two and three posts
above mine just spam?

Also, I doubt a change in judge will save Thompson from
some kind of action against him, even if its just a fine.
Im sure the lawyers he faces have many documents of
his actions, or perhaps just a link here :P

-Twixn-

I was also just about to post something to the effect of we really could do without a post here every time some rinky dink little blog just happens to talk about the subject matter here. It just becomes clutter after a while.

Klokwurk nailed it right on the head. Even if he does lose his law license he's still going to try to find another position of power from which he can spew his filth. He's realized that bashing the game industry and especially T2/R* after Hot Coffee, so I don't think he's going to stop now. Even if it isn't a judge position it's going to be something else he'll look for.

Anyways, what the hell good would a complaint to the Florida Bar do? Does it even do anything that any of us know about like fines, warnings, or what?

It's good to see the judge still hand the contempt charge to another judge, not only to keep the judge himself from looking bias but also to take the case to a judge JT might not know how to outdo (not that he could do that anyways).

But let me ask you all something. Who would trust him with those evil looking eyes, wrinkled face, and that sagging, dimpled grin with those big Bugs Bunny, yellow and green, shrine-of-butter horse teeth of his? That is the face of a corrupt ambulance chaser, money grubber, and altogether lowest pond scum of the law professionl. I wouldn't trust him even if somebody paid me.

I hope he goes to jail in the case with the next judge and stays there for a while for all the shit he's pulled or tried to pull.

He resonds to a contempt hearing by committing borderline contempt behavior in the hearing? His chances of being jailed have increased, I think. I was shocked he wasn't disbarred after his incredibly unethical behavior in regards to Blank Rome. Apparently, Florida has low standards for its lawyers. Here's hoping he's finally sunk below them.

Hey guys, just wanted to swing in and apologize for the late video. What I found when I got it into the PC is that my camera's lack of boom mic made the judge's speech very difficult to hear, so I'm up late trying to bump that up. We should have the vids up in the morning. Sorry about that!

@Twixn

-Absolutely is comment spam. We get an ENORMOUS amount.... but these insidious types can slip past. I've IP-blocked 'em.... Thx for pointing out

I bet his conspiracy-o-meter is through the roof right now. The only reason people are going after him is because he is too close to the truth, man. The Man doesn't want the public to know!

@Niero

All is forgiven since you're not providing us with videos of DOA2X or something, we're talking about a grown man acting like a child, holding up a sign, police being summoned...It's like Jerry Springer for goodness sake!

Ok, so he's earned himself a Bar complaint now? And we're still open to having Jack tossed in the clink for a while? Wow. Sounds like a heck of a day down in Miami. I can't wait to see what that video looks like. Sounds like it was even more hectic than a Post-Thanksgiving shopping crowd.

Hrm, anyone happen to know how many of those Bar complaints you need to get disbarred? I mean, its not the first time someone's complained about Jack being all over the place.

Anyone know when the retrial is set for?

Watching the video now. Loved the placard, and the petulant comments he launches at the judge, who sounds like he's dealing with a very small and misbehaving child. Typical Jack.

Vid's up, thanks guys!

Wow, I know that it always seems like he's one step away from being shipped off to the looney bin but after watching the video, I'd say he's many many many clowns short of a full circus. That leads me to his courtroom antics; what's the deal with the sign? Anybody got clue as to what it said? So instead of apologizing for the disparaging remarks to the judge, Jack continues to lambaste him IN HIS COURT. Nice move. Make way world, there are now TWO wacko jackos.

Watched the vid, thanks Niero!
It looks like JT's silly posterboard sign had the legal definition of "contempt of court" on it, as far as I can tell. The fact that he felt the need to bring that with him is a little mind-boggling to me, but so is most everything else he does.
Looking forward to part two on Friday!

The most priceless part of that hole thing was when Jack just got up and left with that giant sign under his arm. Utterly priceless.

The other part I couldn't help but wonder at, is how Jack was fidgetting like a 4 year old in church. I'd have thought a a fifty somthing lawyer would have learned how to at least sit still in court.

Well, that video was completely amusing in a silly sort of way. It almost makes me wish court cases were more like Phoenix Wright though. But yeah, I'm wondering what the sign said too. Thanks for the video Niero!

Someone has to make sure this video is seen by the Florida Bar.

Nice video Niero. My only problem was that I couldn't understand some of the things being said because of the sounds being somewhat low and all the other noises kind of muffled the speech. If it isn't any trouble do you think it would be possible to put in some subtitles?

Anyways, it was a real circus in there as JT tried to act less mature than he should have in his profession. What a dumbass.

Can't wait for part 2 of the video!

I'll be sure to send all this information to my friends. They would thoroughly enjoy it.

So apparently Jack only acts marginally better in court than he does on-line.

Jeez...I knew a kid that acted like that in high school (without the legal speak), he'd just walk over to computers that had been off for the whole day, in a room that was only supposed to be used for a club activity (that had nothing to do with computers), turn one on, and start messing around with it (like, the settings specifically). The best part was that he acted like a little brat when the club super told him not to touch them (I swear he actually said "you're not my mom!").

To quote Tom Buscaglia, he is "pretty much a laughing stock in the Legal Community in South Florida".

Gee, I wonder why.
 
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