Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

January 13, 2009 -

As GamePolitics reported yesterday, a judge in Lorain County, Ohio ruled that 17-year-old Daniel Petric was guilty of shooting his parents in a dispute over whether or not the teen could play Halo 3. Petric's mother was killed in the 2007 incident.

A comment made by Judge James Burge during the delivery of his verdict in the case of gamer Petric is getting wide play in both the mainstream and gaming press:

I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.

Pretty negative toward games, right? But Burge's full remarks are much worse. GamePolitics created the transcript below from a video of the sentencingwhich is posted on the website of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

By way of context, Judge Burge explains that expert testimony during Petric's trial failed to establish an insanity defense, forcing him to find Petric guilty as charged. But the judge apparently believes that the young man is deeply troubled and that video games are a primary factor:

The Court must enter a finding of guilty on the counts set forth in the indictment. That being said, it's my firm belief as a human being - and not as a jurist - that Daniel does suffer from a serious defect of the mind.

 

This Court's opinion is that we don't know enough about these video games. In this particular case, not so much the violence of the game because I believe in the Halo 3, what it amounts to is a contest to see who can shoot the most aliens who attack.

 

It's my firm belief that after a while the same physiological responses occur that occur in the ingestion of some drugs. And I believe that an addiction to these games can do the same thing. The dopamine surge, the stimulation  of the nucleus accumbens - the same as an addiction. Such that when you stop, your brain won't stand for it.

 

The other dangerous thing about these games, in my opinion, is that when these changes occur, they occur in an environment that is delusional. Because you can shoot these aliens, and they're there again the next day. You have to shoot them again. And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.

Burge's parting shot seems to indicate a belief on the judge's part that we haven't heard the last of Daniel Petric and his supposed video game issues:

But I believe there is hope here. I believe that it will start here and, uh, at some point when all is known about Daniel and what occurred here we will be able to achieve a greater sense of justice.


Comments

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

 Why not? they can do it to us because we're young.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Young as in under 18?  are you saying you're under 18?

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Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Would that honestly surprise you given his posting habits?

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Doing something wrong to someone else because they did it to you is one of the oldest and lamest excuses in all of existance.   Hends the two wrongs don't make a right situations.

Being hateful towards someone because of something like that doesn't fix things nor does it improve understanding.  It just generates more bias, more stereotypes and widens the gap.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Well, it's complete laymanic rubbish, but at least he's capable of seperating opinion from fact, there's no law against him having an opinion I guess, even if I don't agree with it.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Are you bloody kidding me?  If an adult is unable to tell the difference between a video game and real life they have mental problems that need to be addressed.  Video games may aggravate an existing problem, much like strobe like aggravate an epileptic's condition, but video games are not the cause.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

"The dopamine surge the stimulation of the nucleus accumbens - the same as an addiction. Such that when you stop, your brain won't stand for it"

Seems to me that the only rational solution is to play MORE video games.  Stop, and you might have to go on a "killing spree" (hahaha...ok, not so funny.)

 

In any case, as a gamer, I have a visceral dislike of claims that games can be damaging.  But, I try to be objective.  I conceed it is possible games may have a negative impact on the behavior of certain susceptible individuals.  I even concede that video games could be more damaging to these individuals than, say, television, movies, etc because they are more interactive.

That being said, I (a) don't believe this applies to the vast majority of people; rather, the negative behavior is likely only exhibited in a very small percentage of the populace who have other significant behavioral and/or emotional problems; (b) don't think the government should play nanny-state and try to legislate against this; and (c) do not believe video game addiction, etc should be allowed as a viable defense against in criminal cases.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Judge needs to go read what politicians used to claim about comic books, rock & roll, and then tv and movies, etc.  Rots your brain, causes psychosis, bad influence. 

I think we need to put all people over the age of 50 to sleep like we do with our dogs when they become too old to function properly.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

"I think we need to put all people over the age of 50 to sleep like we do with our dogs when they become too old to function properly."

Erm... some of us game defenders are close to (if not over) that 50 year-old limit.  Can we not just put to sleep the nutcases and leave us other codgers alone?

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

I'm afraid not.  Some of you more wily pentagenerians might pretend to be normal just to avoid the mandatory "retirement".  We have to enact a final solution.  Omellete, eggs, etc.  Don't worry, we'll make it painless.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Yeah, deny folks rights and liberty... because they are old.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

not rights or liberty, just privilages.

its a privilage to serve on the bench, not a right.

 

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

"I think we need to put all people over the age of 50 to sleep like we do with our dogs when they become too old to function properly."

 

Read "A Generation Removed".  Not that I agree with the idea, but it's an interesting fiction book on the same thought.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

At the very least we need to stop putting them in high profile decision-making positions.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

i think the judge is retarded.

if he wants to buy it that the kind went crazy and decided to shoot his mother and father because they took away halo, thats fine.  and if he wants to convict him of murder and discount any theory of insanity, thats fine.

but saying that *HE* believes that the kid thought his parents would be "respawned" the next day because he was so addicted to video games, but then discounting any possibility of insanity?  wtf doesnt make sense batman.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Well, at least, this Judge made the difference between "the Court's opinion" and his "firm belief", so let's take it for what it is : nothing more than a belief.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

This is what was running through my nead while reading this..

"Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Replacing Burge with Madison of course....

"It could have been, should have been worse than you would ever know"

"It could have been, should have been worse than you would ever know"

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Billy Madison FTW

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

How long did it take for him to come up with this?

I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.

Seriously?

Only by letting strangers in can we find new ways to be ourselves.

Only by letting strangers in can we find new ways to be ourselves.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

"The dopamine surge the stimulation of the nucleus accumbens - the same as an addiction. Such that when you stop, your brain won't stand for it"

This quote is interesting; to me it indicates an attempt to blame "game addiction" by the defence.

But, and I thought this was well established, Petric never actually got to play Halo 3, did he? I thought that was the whole reason he went postal?

No mention of cabin fever from being housebound for so long or the degree of premeditation that went into the execution of his parents.

And then there is the dichotomy between this statement: "And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever." and his decision to try Petric as a sane person.

-ConstantNeophyte: always the newb, ALWAYS.

-ConstantNeophyte: always the newb, ALWAYS.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

On the other hand, Judge Burge was able to put aside his, in my opinion, absurd personal beliefs and do what was right and just.

Commendable, says I.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

I'd say that was the difference between him stating his opinion and his judicial review.  Personally I agree with everything he said re: the case itself and the outcome, but his opinion as stated in the video was from ignorance (as he himself admits by claiming "this court does not know enough about these video games).  It would just be nice if for once rather than making these comments, judges and those in a position of some power were to do their research on the subject a little.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

 Commendable? Its his job. If he was to rule based on opinion, it would be thrown out in appeals court and he would have to face this in the next time they renew his position.

 He did this to save his ass, not out of some idealistic belief. Judges are no different than politicians. They ride the majority wave, keeping just enough people happy until they get re-elected.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

"He did this to save his ass, not out of some idealistic belief."

Maybe, maybe not.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

"Maybe, maybe not."

 Maybe not, maybe. Now stop spouting fucking gibberish.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Yeesh he is speaking gibberish? Hrm okay... here is a question for you, is it common or polite to swear at a person's point of view? Especially when it is not directed to you in any hostile way...

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

EZK: This branch is going nowhere. Deleted.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Thanks, EZK. Speaking of rulings, can we get Dennis to rule on this sad little Troll's fate?

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Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

seconded.

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Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Thirded, he should have been banned a LONG time ago

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

I actually thought judges served for life.  So you know, the whole re-election thing would not bias their cases.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Depends on the level of judge they are.

Federal judges tend to be appointed for life.  State/Count/etc judges have to run for election and can be unseated just like any other politician.

Good reason to never trust a non-federal judge since they know an unpopular verdict (even if legally correct) can cost them thier job.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

 They still go under review to ensure they aren't abusing their position. I used "re-election" versus "review" because you'd have been equally as confused. Something I can't help you with, sadly.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

No, you used re-election rather than review because you either didn't know that they were not re-elected, or you made a mistake.  Take it on the chin.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Derovius, you're a dickbag.

Something I can't help you with, sadly.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

I'll bite.  How is my comment gibberish?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

"The other dangerous thing about these games, in my opinion, is that, when these changes occur, they occur in an environment that is delusional. Because you can shoot these aliens, and they're there again the next day. You have to shoot them again. And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever."

I honestly don't understand how people could think this way. If I understand this correctly, pleading insanity failed for the defendent, yet the judge still believes this could be true? I doubt any sane gamer would think killing in real life would be as inconsequential as killing in games.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

It's the Tom & Jerry clause made famous by the State of Denial vs. Jane Ghotagunn case in 1979.  In which the court system felt the corrupting influence of violence found in these cartoons was what ultimately lead this previously sane person to a road of insanity where reality simply did not exist.  Ironically enough, this same case was used to overthrow a case in Bizarro World where Bizarro would be stripped of his previous status of No. 1.  When asked for comment, Bizarro responded, "Me am think this fair trial and won't try for appeals."

Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

This is why I didn't get my hopes up.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

Rightfully so, unluckily, I did get my hopes up that he was going to be intellegent about all of this...  So what is the score for me, like 50 guesses wrong, 20 right? haha

Maybe someday someone will do a real study on the matter, and really help the cause.

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How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

This judge is the only one who has problems discerning fantasy from reality.

Re: Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

You know what they say about opinions....

Opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one and they all stink!

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1
 
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