With yesterday’s lifetime disbarment order by the Florida Supreme Court, Jack Thompson is finished as a lawyer.
Oh, it won’t be effective for 30 days, but he’s toast. Thompson, of course, will be papering the courts with motions, appeals and e-mails between now and then. In fact, he has already begun to do so. But, put a fork in him; he’s done. The anti-game activist worked very hard to dig this tunnel into legal oblivion and now he is destined to occupy it – forever.
It didn’t have to end this way.
While battling with the Florida Bar, Thompson has occasionally made reference to other lawyers who committed serious – if less flamboyant – offenses and received suspensions of only a few years.
The difference, of course, is remorse and Thompson hasn’t shown any. The Florida Supreme Court noted this in yesterday’s disbarment order, citing a "complete lack of remorse" on the part of the controversial anti-game attorney. The justices also gave weight to the recommendation of Judge Dava Tunis, who presided over Thompson’s November, 2007 ethics trial and saw no indication that Thompson would change his ways:
[Judge Tunis] cited various cases indicating that disbarment is an appropriate sanction and recommended permanent disbarment because "[Thompson] has repeatedly stated in these proceedings that he will not change his conduct" and she "finds no evidence whatsoever to indicate that [Thompson] is amenable to rehabilitation, or even remotely appreciates the basis upon which a need or purpose for such rehabilitation is warranted."
…In fact, the referee reported that [Thompson] walked out of her courtroom at the final hearing in this matter because she would not allow him to "to turn the [d]isciplinary proceeding into a press conference."
It’s universally acknowledged that the first step along the path to forgiveness and redemption is admitting one’s wrongdoing. That’s something that Thompson apparently wouldn’t or couldn’t bring himself to do. And it has cost him dear.
So, what are the two simple yet powerful words which might have salvaged Thompson’s career?