California Files Appeal on Video Game Law Ruling

According to a press release from the office of State Sen. Leland Yee (D), California has filed its planned appeal of a U.S. District Court ruling which struck down the state’s 2005 video game law last August.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) announced in September that his state would appeal Judge Ronald Whyte’s finding that the video game law, authored by Yee, was unconstitutional.

Of the appeal, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Yee (left) said:

California’s violent video game law properly seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of interactive, ultra-violent video games. As stated in the appeal, our efforts to assist parents in the fight to keep these harmful video games out of the hands of children should survive Constitutional challenge under all levels of judicial review.

Based on an extensive body of peer-reviewed research from leading social scientists and medical associations, we narrowly tailored this law to serve the State’s compelling interest in protecting children. I am hopeful that the 9th Circuit will overturn the lower courts decision and help empower parents with the ultimate decision over whether or not their children play in a world of violence and murder.

Should California win its appeal, the video game law would levy fines of up to $1,000 on retailers who sell what Yee terms “ultra-violent” games to minors. Although we’ve not yet seen the appeal filing, Yee’s press release quotes from it:

It defies logic to suggest that our founding fathers intended to adopt a First Amendment that would guarantee children the right to purchase a video game wherein the player is rewarded for interactively causing the character to take out a shovel and bash the head of an image of a human being, appearing to beg for her life, until the head severs from the body and blood gushes from the neck.

Or guarantee children the right to purchase a video game where the player can cause the character to wound an image of a human being with a rifle by shooting out a kneecap, pour gasoline on the wounded character, and then set the character on fire while the character appears to be alive and suffering.

Instead, the proper, more reasoned approach to First Amendment jurisprudence recognizes that the rights of minors are not coextensive with those of adults. States must be allowed to legislate to protect the health and welfare of children with certain universally recognized differences between adults and children in mind.

The case won’t likely be decided before 2009 at the earliest. Meanwhile, the California law is blocked from taking effect by Judge Whyte’s ruling.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone

Comments are closed.