Listen as Attorneys Argue Minnesota Video Game Law Appeal

February 15, 2007 -
As reported by GamePolitics, on Monday oral agruments were heard by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis as the state of Minnesota appealed a District Court judge's 2006 finding that its video game law was unconstitutional.

Audio of Monday's hearing is available here and it's definitely worth a listen. The hearing runs about 40 minutes. Unfortunately, the audio quality is intermittent as some of the speakers seem to move away from the mic at times.

Perhaps surprisingly, the judges did not seem entirely convinced by the arguments put forth by the attorney representing the video game industry.

It is not known how soon the Circuit Court will issue a ruling.

Comments

You know what scares me the most here? When the state said that they wanted to restrict violent games because they are "harmful to children's moral and ethical development".

That statement is really scary, that should instantly raise a red flag to why this law should be struck down. So now it's the state's job to legislate how our children should think? No that's the parents' job and that instantly should show that the state has malicious intent.

I LOVE listening to these hearings.

Just listening to the opening few minutes, this District Attorney doesn't sound entirely convinced of the arguments she's making.

Yikes, for the first time it doesn't sound to good for the video game industry. It's actually a little scary.

Hal halpin, now is your chance.

One of those judges (sounds like a fairly old guy) seems like a real jerk, the way he interrupts the games industry lawyer.

I actually like the arguement for why the law is a good thing, namely "This law does not stop parents from buying M and AO games and giving them to their children if they so choose." A law that actually allows parents to do their parenting... ^_^

Then comes the comment "We are talking about the Constitutional Rights of Children" (or something along these lines). Ummm.. no we're not... we're talking about the Constitutional Rights of the Gaming Industry. Children aren't the ones "Speeching".

The part where the DA said that they don't need to prove a causal relationship between games and violent behavior is what really bugs me. So we don't NEED to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that something is harmful in order to ban it.

I fear for this country's future.

I certainly hope they shore up the bench in Minnesota. Sounded like more than one judge kept using the word 'videos' to describe the subject.

I worry when the people making decisions have no clue what they are discussing. Which is why the politicians shouldn't be allowed to make these laws in the first place.

@Terminator44

Then again, it's REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to prove, "beyond a reasonable doubt", certain things. For example, it's hard to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that talking on the phone while driving causes accidents. It may be certain conversations require more focus than others, it may be that most people who get into accidents while talking on the phone happened to drop the phone, it could be that the schmuck in the passenger seat tried to take the phone from the driver, distracting them. But in the end, it's deemed enough of a FACTOR in the risk that though it may not be a direct cause, it deserves regulation. I think this is what she meant by her feeling that causality is not necessary when arguement for correlation exists.

Never-the-less, I think proven Causality would probably be the only thing that could allow these laws to pass (assuming such causality existed).

"So we don’t NEED to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that something is harmful in order to ban it."

Thats correct, all you need to prove that something is harmfull is have a ton of money, a huge ego, and a bunch of special intrest groups to back you up. Because, well, if a minority of people says it's true, then it must be.

That was very good IMO. Though I think the games industry lawyer was much more stable in backing her arguments whereas her opponent seemed a little flustered, like she really didn't expect a couple of those questions and had a hard time forming a reply. Tho under the pressure I still think she did rather well.

Personally, i found the AG arguements for the law rather lame. Seemed like nothing more then a scream of "Please think of the children", and "It's for the children" so lets ignore former court presedent. I also agree with aniki21 that the one old judge seemed like an jerk.

I'll listen to the audio and make a comment tomorrow. It sounds like something I'd get worked up over. And I'm getting ready for bed. It's not time to get worked up over something like this. You should have seen me the last time this kind of audio poped up. (The one where the confuse Bully and the Super Columbine game.) I was literaly yelling at the computer. While I'm doing this my roomate comes and sees me ranting at the pre-recorded audio and thought the whole thing was terribly funny.

posting from home.

- Warren Lewis

Consumer responsibility is just as important as Corporate responsibility.

I didn't listen to the whole thing, as the sound going out was very annoying. However, the judges bombarding the lawyers is to be expected, as I am a law student now, and my professors are doing that to us in Appellate Advocacy every time to get us prepared. That being said, I didn't like how they ridiculed Judge Posner in AAMA v. Kendrick. It's almost like this group wanted to overturn the previous decisions. Unfortunately, we won't get the same group of judges as the ones who overturned teh St. Louis ordinance.

Sorry to double post, but I have a response to what was said about children not being the ones "speeching." They still have a First Amendment right to view protected material. The limits are broader, but only in the sense of things that are already considered restricted for adults, the definition of those limits are widened (i.e. obscenity). The industry would theoretically not be affected, as they do not get fined for selling the games, and the kids are warned to buy at their own risk. This is, in essence, restricting a population from viewing an expressive medium, and punishing them for the times they do. Also, if the 8th Circuit does overturn the trial court, framing the issue in this way will also make it more likely the Supreme Court will review the issue, which would be very important to get a decision in our favor.

[...] GP: Judge Wollman’s critical comments regarding violent games are not particularly surprising for those who may have listened to last February’s arguments. At that day the panel of three 8th Circuit Court judges asked some very pointed questions of video game industry attorneys. [...]
 
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