Jack Thompson’s Suit vs. Florida Supreme Court Dismissed by Federal Judge

The Florida Bar’s motion to disbar Jack Thompson for a decade wasn’t the only bad news the 56-year-old anti-game activist received this week.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lenard dismissed – with prejudice – a federal lawsuit filed by Thompson in March, alleging that the Florida Supreme Court had unconstitutionally barred him from representing himself before that body.

Readers may recall that Florida’s high court sanctioned Thompson for, among other things, including pornographic pictures in a court filing and styling another motion as a children’s picture book for adults.

The dismissal with prejudice means that Thompson can bring no further federal action on the claim.

Although the suit against the Florida Supreme Court is now a dead issue, Thompson has two additional federal suits pending in South Florida. One, against the Florida Bar, was placed on hold by Thompson recently, pending the state-level resolution of his Bar issues. Another, filed late last month against the State of Florida, deals with Thompson’s contention that the legal status of Bar trial referee Judge Dava Tunis is invalid due to a clerk’s apparent forging of her signature on a loyalty oath.

Read U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lenard’s decision here.

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  1. Gabriel Celesta says:

    "Right. We’ll call it a draw." (*walks off*)

    "…I’ll bite your legs off!!!"

  2. Torven ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Of note, however, is that Tunis is not just recommending a regular disbarment of five years, but an enhanced disbarment of ten.  That is probably going to speak volumes to the FSC when they get the report, and even if they decide to be lenient, Thompson could still end up disbarred.

  3. Gameboy says:

    My mistake.  I guess I was posting this comment in a rush and was thinking of the wrong word.  (had to get ready for work soon)

  4. Zee says:

    I see the difference you’re pointing out, thanks. Great to know that even law scholars have trouble with interpreting laws though.

    But you do, indeed, confirm what I expected; that it’s not so much a fact of the arguement being dismissed on a fault in the procedure as it was Jack (willfully or not) misinterpreting the law to his advantage while he should know better. I’ll gladly concede that others are better versed at explaining the specifics and explaining such things accurately 🙂


    reworded, gave a completely wrong impression of what I was saying

  5. Ryno ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Isn’t it even more moot because the 6th Ammendment specifically applies to criminal trials only? And that means it applies to a defendant in a criminal trial? So nowhere does that apply to someone attempting to file a case against someone ELSE?

  6. Mackenzie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    First, Judge Tunis must make particular recommendations.  Though there’s a lot of discussion of disbarment, that’s just a guess–albeit a likely one.  Once the judge makes her recommendations, the Florida Supreme Court must choose whether to accept those recommendations or whether to do something else.  Usually, the supervisory court will accept the recommendations, but that’s not always the case.

    There may be additional procedures that JT could try after the Florida Supreme Court makes its ruling (such as a petition for rehearing), but I’m not familiar enough with Florida’s rules to know for sure.  An anyway, those sorts of relief are granted only rarely.

  7. Mackenzie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Not quite.  The federal statute at issue was passed after the civil war to prevent individuals from those acting under color of state law from violating the victims’ civil rights.  The point is that the federal government, through a private suit, acts as a protector of an individual against the power of the state.  The case law interpreting the statute is often confusing (and to some legal academics, flat wrong).

    But by any interpretion, JT’s claim doesn’t stand up.

    Also, remember that constitutional rights are not absolute.  For example, the 4th Amendment prohibits warrantless searches.  But if the cops have a good reason to think that someone in his home is in danger, they can enter the home without a warrant (the "public safety exception") without violating the federal Constitution.

    The same reasoning applies here.  JT may have a constitutional right to represent himself (though that’s highly questionable because this is not a criminal proceeding), but he doesn’t have the right to effectively monopolize the court’s time and attention, at the expense of everyone else who needs access to the court system, in doing so.

  8. Mackenzie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ah, I see, thanks for explaining.  Different people usually mean all sorts of things when they use that descriptor, so I wasn’t sure.  Keep in mind that procedural rules serve critical interests.  The law generally favors decisions on the merits, but not at the cost of letting litigants violate those procedural rules all over the place.

  9. Mackenzie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    JT had a chance to argue the fairness of the sanction–that’s what the "order to show cause" business was all about.

    As for other circumstances that I think you’re getting at, what you’re identifying is some of the tension between finality of decisions and the correctness of those decisions.  But in this case, that tension is illusory.  JT was arguing that a federal constitutional right was violated, so he can petition for certiorari ("appeal") to the U.S. Supreme court.  Perhaps knowing how negligible was the chance that it would accept the case, he tried something in the lower federal courts first.

  10. Zerodash. ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What happens next for this disbarrment?  When does it become official?  I take it the FSC is the entity to make this happen.

  11. Gameclucks says:

    Jack just keeps adding more and more hash marks to his "Loss" column.

    I’m reminded of an old inspirational axiom:


    "Winners never quit, and quitters never win.  But those who never win, and never quit, are idiots."

  12. Loudspeaker says:

    Moot is a real word used in legal proceedings.  It was used by the judge in context that Jack’s assertion the 6th amendment has merit is incorrect because the Florida Supreme Court is not a person it is a legal entity.  So his argument that his 6th amendment rights have been violated is moot since the scope of the amendment does not include the Florida Supreme Court.

    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  13. Zee says:

    I read it as meaning that the court wasn’t subject to that particular law, because as a state agency in official capacity the court is able to lawfully do just what that law prohibits people from doing. A court using this sort of sanctions is like an air marshal being allowed to take a gun on a plane. Normal people get in trouble for it, they have to do it in the course of duty.

  14. sdlkfjslkdfjlskdlksjldkfjslkdfjskldfjslkjflskfjldkdfjflkjieu says:

    It’s not all bad news for JT.

    "" easily fits within the 60 character limit on the "Your name" field…

  15. HoRnO ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    If Thompson fails in a forest does he make a sound? Or is that merely the collective scream of all the tree’s and fax machines at the thought of the amount of paper to be wasted on his ‘we am de best, you am de suck’ response?

  16. Anonymous says:

    At the end the "denied as moot" part… is moot even a real word I mean Ive heard it but I always thought that it wasnt really a real word… more like slang…

  17. GryphonOsiris says:

    With everything that has been happening with JT, has anyone else gotten the mental Image of the Judge in Ghostbusters II, when he’s letting off his tirade that causes the slime to ‘Pop’?

    Might just be me, mind you, but I see the same unhinged attitude in both of them.

  18. Jabrwock says:

    not a "technicality" (whatever that really means)

    I meant "dismissed because it fell under some other ruling/law/procedure" other than ruling on the merits of his complaint.

    He was basically claiming that the Florida SC violated his 6th Amendment rights by telling him he couldn’t file with the court on his own. I was kinda hoping the Federal court would slap him around and go "yup, they can do that". So it was a bit of a letdown to see his suit fail for the usual reason "you suck at procedure, NEXT!"

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  19. Jabrwock says:

    I don’t think he did.  Didn’t someone here say his book mentions that he failed on his first attempt?  The start of a long and hilarious pattern of failure.

    Yeah, it’s part of his EPIC™ struggle. He failed the first time, then his wife (and JEBUS!) got him through the second attempt, or something like that.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  20. Mackenzie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    No, the s. 1983 dismissal is not a "technicality" (whatever that really means).  It’s established law that states and their agencies, etc. are not liable under s. 1983.  There are some borderline cases, and a significant gray area as far as defining who is a "person" under the statute, but a state court doesn’t even come close to the line.

    I’m not sure what JT’s other claims were, so I can’t comment much on any of the 11th Amendment stuff, but the 11th Amendment is generally sovereign immunity.  Sovereign immunity generally means that you can’t sue the state (i.e., the sovereign) unless it says you can.  Most (likely all, but I’m not sure) states allow suits under defined circumstances.  The ruling therefore implies that JT did not allege anything that falls within Florida’s waiver of sovereign immunity.  But that’s just speculation.

  21. Mackenzie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Generally, a disbarred attorney does not need to sit for the Bar again to be readmitted.  The attorney does, however, have to show that the behavior resulting in disbarment won’t happen again, and also must be current on CLE (continuing legal education) credits for the disbarment period.

  22. Jabrwock says:

    Maybe *this* was the "surprise" he thought he had? Too bad so sad.

    I’m a little confused, did they dismiss it on a technicality of how he worded his suit? (IE he tried to treat the Florida SC as a "person")

    Then again, I guess if he really wanted to overturn this, he should have appealed it to federal court, not sued them.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  23. Adamas Draconis says:

    Should we expect JT to wake up one morning screaming "I’M AN ASSHOLE!" then?

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  24. Austin_Lewis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    1.  Yes he is going to be disbarred, with a 10 year wait before reapplyment.  It’s not a suspension, its a disassociation.

    2.  God bless that judge and everything she stands for.  Score:  Constitution and due process 1, Jack Thompson and his antics 0.

    3.  That letter he wrote yesterday?  I read the whole thing through, and I’ve got to say that I read 9/11 conspiracies that were more intelligent than his letter.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think it is a 10 year suspension. I think he is being completely disbarred, and can’t even reapply to get his status back until ten years later. He may even have to take the bar exam again (I don’t know). I really don’t see how he passed the first time.

  26. 1AgainstTheWorld says:

    "He may even have to take the bar exam again (I don’t know). I really don’t see how he passed the first time."

    I don’t think he did.  Didn’t someone here say his book mentions that he failed on his first attempt?  The start of a long and hilarious pattern of failure.


  27. Gameboy says:

    Nice to see that Jack is reaping the benefits of Karma.  This must of been building up for a LONG time, though.

    So we just have two(?) more of his suits to be knocked down, right?  Then, hopefully the Florida State Bar will agree with Judge Tunis and Jack will be gone forever. 

    At this point, I’m about 98% sure that this is the end for Jack.  I can’t imagine too many lawyers are found guilty of 27 counts of misconduct and recommended for a 10 year suspension.  That doesn’t seem light by any stretch of the imagination.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Face it Jack, you lost badly. Just pack up and head out to Topeka. I’m sure the Westboro Baptist Church has no qualms with you shacking up with them for the rest of forever. You and Fred are soon to share some common ground (disbarrment) among other things. I think Fred’s also a bit over the hill so to speak. His preachings have begun to…er…well…it’s just easier to say he’s getting crazier. Moreso than usual. I’m sure you’d fill in just fine.

  29. Lothar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Is JT being allowed to comment on these articles? or is he for once acepting fact and shutting up?

  30. Mogbert2 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    (I really have to retrieve my password from my home e-mail, so I can go back to posting as Mogbert).

    So far he has been failing as bad as a DVD Rewinder (bonus points if someone can link to that motivational poster).

    He reminds me of an Evil Don Quixote, going around the countryside wronging rights, depressing the oppresed, and generally making a donkey of himself.

    Why won’t he just OPEN HIS EYES?!? There isn’t a conspiracy. Occam’s Razor: which takes fewer assumptions? That all of these judges are in the employ of a shadowy Video Game Industry, which is made up of a bunch of bitter rival companies, which have banded together in order to persecute one lawyer in Florida who hasn’t really made any changes, but the industry is frightened of him…

    Or that people keep saying he’s wrong because he IS wrong? That people don’t like him because he keeps insulting and lying about them? That people have a problem with other people who compare themselves to Jesus while saying things that aren’t true and thereby insulting Jesus. That he isn’t being persecuted for his religion which is similar to 85% of the rest of America.

    How can something so obvious to every other person be so opaque to this one person? Last time I felt this was when I tried to tutor someone in math. They couldn’t get why you couldn’t do whatever you wanted on one side of the equation without doing the same on the other. No matter how I explained it, phrased it, even physically demonstrating it with a set of scales, he just couldn’t get though his head how to do algebra. He knew about mixing paint (I don’t know why). I asked how you got orange, and he said you use red and yellow. I said if you wanted to make 2 ounces of orange, what do you use, "one once of red and one once of yellow." What if you used it up, and needed to mix more, but used two ounces of red instead, "then you would have to use two ounces of yellow." Why? "To get the same color." That is the same with these numbers. Apparently, almost a week later he woke up in the middle of the night yelling "Everything is a ratio!" and scared his wife half to death. From there he went on to ace algebra.

    How can we get JT to reach such an epiphany?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Gosh darn it… Channelling JT dropped my gamer IQ about 50 points. Could some kindly mod edit my post so the pseudo-quote at the end is right – "all your courthouse are belong to us"

  32. Aliasalpha says:

    justice, sweet juicy justice…

    If anyone’s familiar with Bill Hicks’ work, I’m imagining his hysterical "Bush lost the election" laughter from Arizona Bay

  33. Not Quite Jack Thompson, Attorney says:

    Dennis, you idiot, how dare you post this! This is slander of the highest calibur and will not stand. Expect to hear from my attorney, Jack Thompson, Attorney, soon! I will not allow such blatant use of the First Amendment or truth in news go unpunished.

    Don’t you fools understand, this plays directly into my hand – I WANTED this to happen. This is perfect for setting up my next suit: Jack Thompson, Attorney vs United States of America.

    In short, so you pathetic "gamers" can understand… all your courthouse belong to us!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Aw, poor Jacky.

    I vote we send him copies of the Phoenix Wright games to cheer him up! That way he can be a competent lawyer for the first time ever, all from the safety of his DS!

    Though of course that *would* require him to purchase a DS…

  35. jadedcritic says:

    I can’t help but notice we haven’t seen any more pics of him grinning with GTA4

    Welcome to the ordinary Jack. I know he’s not going to go away anytime soon, or quietly for that matter, but at least after the hammer falls, he’ll be just another (beep) with an opinion; and I’ll have no more problems with him.

  36. Benji says:

    Perhaps so, but I was disappointed somewhat that the judge didn’t address the issue of whether JT’s being essentially labeled a vexatious litigant is valid. JT’s argument is that being required to have another lawyer sign legal papers that you’re filing on behalf of yourself infringes on his right to represent himself in court. There’s supposedly some case law saying that sanctions like the one placed on JT are valid when deemed necessary to preserve reasonable access to the courts for everyone else. This ruling didn’t reference that at all, it just said that JT’s petitioning for relief under the wrong statutes, I guess.

    I’m hoping that there is some statute JT could reference which would have made his complaint valid – otherwise it’s almost frightening that the state could sanction you and then claim sovereign immunity if you wish to argue the fairness of the sanction.


  37. oto kirlama says:

    Gallagher can araç kiralama say all he wants, but I strongly rent a car believe it’s due to his crappy leadership and E3 being a joke. ESA’s Board of Directors need to find a way to get out rent a car of this horrid contract with this Bush cronie before there’s no one left on the Board.

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing ttnet vitamin or little and need to start saving costs.


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Poor JT. He’s so entangled in his legal wranglings, he’s lost focus on what he’s initially set out to do, fight for democracy and riddng the cancer in our legal system. You have to be either a Moron, and/or part of the cancer itself to realize JT, is a good man, who’s just caught up in a one man crusade. I hope JT prevails, somehow, someway, because what Jt is going through, alot of others are dealing with the same situation, of course not getting the same attention. I f you can’t see what is going on in this country, morally and what the founding fathers have intended for us as a country, I suggest reviewing your history books, and the Bible, if you have one, and understand what happens to every so called, great empire, let the few determine what’s best for everyone, leads to disaster. It’s a fact and history will repeat itself, read the book and learn something…have a good day

  39. Anonymous says:

    deals with Thompson’s contention that the legal status of Bar trial referee Judge Dava Tunis is invalid due to a clerk’s apparent forging of her signature on a loyalty oath.

    I still don’t see him getting much out of that one, sounds like the screw up was the clerk’s fault, and one of those "I’ll do something stupid to make things easy on me and save time" cases where the other party had no knowledge of or approved for that matter.

    And again I ask, just who gave Jack such info?

  40. MonkeyPeaches ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You mean "As of this moment, they’re on double-secret probation"?

  41. DarkTetsuya says:

    Well the Florida Bar’s about to…. actually nah I don’t wanna go there. 😛 I’ll just reiterate the ‘Karma’s a bitch, huh?" and hit ‘submit.’


  42. Zee says:

    The image it invokes of Jack on a couch in the basement being ridiculed by a stuffed animal is grand though (assuming anyone even remembers the series)

  43. Mackenzie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That means he is not allowed to file the same claims again.  If something is dismissed without prejudice, you can try again if you want.

  44. Dog Welder says:

    Yeah, but you’re the 20,163rd person to mention that song, and it really wasn’t all that funny or clever the first time.

  45. Steven Furtado says:

    Ten year disbarrment, eh?

    That means he will be 67 when he can practice law ever again. And what with his health the way it is, he’ll probably die before his debarrment expires. I’m holding back from singing ding dong the witch is dead until the offical ruling by the Supreme Court. Does anyone know when that will be?

  46. Zee says:

    It’s not quite that Jack didn’t know the supreme court is not a person, but that "The Eleventh Circuit has held that “[a] state, a state agency, and a state official sued in his official capacity are not ‘persons’ within the meaning of § 1983.” meaning that the court isn’t not subject to the specific law under which Jack claimed they were taking away his rights.


  47. NovaBlack. ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hahah oh i forgot to add, that reading the dismissal, it seems JTs case failed because…

    he didnt realise the supreme court….wasnt…..a…..person….

    wo.. maybe in the 10 year vacation he has now he can go back to early learning school.



  48. JackDon'tKnowJack says:

    I laughing at the fact that Judge Lenard uses Jack own pleadings to kick him to curb. Jack says the Florida Supreme Court is a "state entity" then goes on to claim that the state entity is a "person’ is violating Sec. 1983. HAHAHAHAHA!!

    If you’re ever sued by Jack Thompson, don’t waste your money hiring a defense attorney. Just sit back, relax, and bide your time. Sooner or later, with no assistance needed, Jack’ll work his own way towards a dismissal with prejudice.

  49. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Ohhh…life’s not what you thought it would be, huh Jack? Cry…yes cry, your tears sustain me!


    -GRIZZAM PRIME(c)is property of the U.S. Marine Corp. Wetworks Dept., and also The Incredible Hulk-GRIZZAM PRIME is not to be associated with GRIZZAM 512 or any other GRIZZAM entity under penalty of law, so sayith ZARATHOS.

  50. tollwutig says:

    This is a time to bring out my favorite quote from a US Supreme Court Justice:

    "There are all kinds of nuts who can get 90% on the bar exam" – Justice Anthony Kennedy

  51. Bogas says:

    No, he’d probably use that copy of GTAIV to train himself, go on a spree, and then BLAME the game for his actions. Thus, recreating every foul attempt to use the game as a scapegoat that other idiot people have done.

  52. IllegallyMindedJohn says:

    Oh NOooooo.  That might be his next illogical step.  He probably bought the copy of GTA4 to try and train himself for this curtain call.   He will get confused when the real cops don’t ignore him after a few right turns…

  53. Belgarion89 says:

    See, the thing that pisses me off is that Hooah is a U.S. Army thing.  It’s almost our version of the word "smurf."  We say it all the fucking time.  JT using rather offends me.


    So speak I, some random guy.

  54. NovaBlack. ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hooooooaaahhh! *or whatever JT’s baffling warcry against gamers is*

    well JT.. not going tooo well for you now is it….

    I have a feeling this may be the first time in YEARS that JT doesnt come back quickly with some strangely optimistic spin on events saying how this is exactly what he wanted blah blah blah downfall of the bar blah blah blah.

    Alhough i hope he does. Come on JT .. amuse me.. i mean your good at that. You can always get a job as a clown now, i men you are totally all about the children right,…. right?



  55. Gameboy says:

    We may still see Jack on Fox News acting as a "Massacre Chaser", I’m sorry, slip of the keyboard, "School Shooting Expert" or whatever they want to call him.  He may e-mail or write angry letters to governors, transportation boards, and judges.  He may troll the GamePolitics comments.  That’s right, Jack will probably act like the grumpy old man sitting on his porch yelling at the kids (in the street) to get off his lawn. 

    But he can’t file suit against the game industry without hiring a lawyer.  He can’t represent the families of the victims (see the guy with the gun that shot people) in court.  He can’t claim to be an attorney on television or anywhere else for that matter.    In short, he can no longer wield the law or the threat of law suit like a blunt instrument.

    He may not be gone, but he has been defanged.  That’s a step in the right direction.

  56. Dog Welder says:


    "Dismissed with prejudice" is pretty much legalese for "you’re an idiot, get out of here."

  57. Dan Bruno says:

    That was surprisingly brief and mild-mannered. I was expecting a point-by-point dismantiling or at least a little invective, not a few pages of legalese!

    In all seriousness, though, I’m glad this is coming to a close. Unfortunately I don’t know if being disbarred will have any effect on Thompson’s alleged status as an "expert," so we might not have seen the last of this screwball.

  58. Salen says:

    Jack is reaping what he has sown, and boy, does he have a bumper crop of manure coming down around him.

    So, yeah, what was that Jack, about you know, having some super hard hitting evidence that would prove you were right and everyone else was wrong? Because you might wanna pull out that McGuffin soon. And if that doesn’t work out for you, I have a Deus Ex Machina that I could sell you that was only used once by a little old Greek named So Crates.

  59. Dog Welder says:

    I’m losing track of the score.  Does this still mean Jack is winning?  Is the SCOFLA now a figurative bombed out building?

    /that’s some mighty fine lawyerin’ there, Jack

  60. Anonymous says:

    A coffin dodger like Jack should just retire.  He could always live off the money he extorted from those foolish parents.


  61. Voligne the Archon says:

    Jack strikes again, like a wingless bat of the night he flies from case to case using his lawyer utility belt to bring about the downfall of the conspiracy……whatever that conspiracy may be.

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