Jack Thompson Appeals Disbarment to U.S. Supreme Court

February 23, 2009 -

As GamePolitics reported in January, disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson hopes to have his professional status reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

To that end, Thompson filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court late last week.

Thompson nonetheless faces an uphill struggle. According to its website, the Supreme Court receives petitions to consider about 10,000 cases per year. Only about 100 of those will be granted a hearing.

DOCUMENT DUMP: You can grab a copy of the certificate of service for Thompson's cert petition here. We do not have the actual petition at this time, although we are working to acquire it.

UPDATE: According to the SCOTUS docket, Thompson is due to receive a response to his petition on March 25th.

72 comments

Jack Thompson Takes His Case to U.S. Supreme Court

January 4, 2009 -

Jack Thompson is hoping that the United States Supreme Court will consider his appeal of the Florida Supreme Court ruling that disbarred him for life.

In mid-December the anti-game attorney requested from the U.S. Superme Court an extension of a Christmas Eve deadline in which to file what is known as a petition for a writ of certiorari.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has granted Thompson's request, meaning that the embattled anti-game violence advocate will have until February 18th to petition for cert with the Supreme Court.

While the extension is a positive development for Thompson, he nonetheless faces an uphill struggle. According to its website, the Supreme Court receives petitions to consider about 10,000 cases per year. Only about 100 of those will be granted a hearing.

Document Dump:

  1. Thompson's request for extension
  2. SCOTUS letter granting request
100 comments

Did Jack Thompson Lose Weight? He Looks About $42K Lighter

November 19, 2008 -

As part of Jack Thompson's permanent disbarment by the Florida Supreme Court, the anti-game crusader was also ordered to pay $43,675. The figure represents the Florida Bar's cost to prosecute Thompson's case.

That amount was later reduced to $42,525 by the Bar. It now seems that Thompson has paid up.

As Duke Nukem would say, That's gotta hurt...

This piece of Thompson news comes - as it so often does - by way of Thompson himself. The ex-attorney circulated an e-mail today complaining that the Florida Supreme Court had not yet cashed his check:

Dear Chief Justice Quince:

Please advise today what you and the Court have done with my check for $42,525.27 that was sent you on November 6 to be held in trust by the Supreme Court.  

I find today, in talking with my bank, that the check has not been negotiated.  I’m not paying any interest on this amount.  You all had it from me on the date it was due.  

Regards, Jack Thompson

148 comments

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

October 27, 2008 -

From the website of the Florida Bar...

150 comments

Countdown to Jack Thompson's Disbarment with Firefox Add-on

October 6, 2008 -

Wondering how long it is until Jack Thompson's court-ordered disbarment becomes effective?

Wonder no more.

Longtime GamePolitics reader E. Zachary Knight (who is so dedicated that he volunteers for double duty as our comment moderator) has created a nifty extension for FireFox which counts down the time until Thompson's law career is just a bad memory.

Download it here.

47 comments

Thompson: Feds are Monitoring Me

September 30, 2008 -

Posted at the risk of incurring the further wrath   of Doug Lowenstein:

Disbarred attorney Jack Thompson thinks the feds are tapping his phone. Or maybe his computer.

In a letter sent earlier today to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Thompson grumbles about once again being detained while trying to access the federal courthouse in Miami:

When I went to the Ferguson Federal Courthouse today, the Deputy Marshals were waiting for me because they clearly knew I was coming.  The black binder that contains alleged “threats” was opened to my page, featuring two pictures of me, and with the explanation, read to me by the Deputy, that I am to be escorted because I am about to be disbarred, because I have filed lawsuits that have been dismissed, and because I allegedly wrote inappropriate letters to judges...

 

The fact that this multi-page binder was already opened up to my page as I walked through the front door suggests surveillance by some means by the US Marshal.  There have been other bits of evidence suggesting this surveillance, but this is the clincher.  The most likely means of doing so are my cell phone use by satellite monitoring, land line phone taps, and/or taps on my home computer. 

 

When the Deputies illegally visited my home [in June, see: U.S. Marshals Pay Jack Thompson a "Visit"] they stated that I was in fact being “monitored...”

Ultimately, Thompson was escorted to his destination. This was not the first time he has been barred from entering. (see: Stopped at Courthouse Door, Thompson Says He Will Sue U.S. Marshal). He currently has multiple open lawsuits against entities including the Florida Bar and Florida Supreme Court.

UPDATE: Full text of JT's letter here... 

119 comments

Jack Thompson: Disbarment Time Line

September 26, 2008 -

Yesterday the Florida Supreme Court permanently disbarred Jack Thompson. Barring an unlikley reversal, the 56-year-old attorney will be stripped of his license to practice law in 30 days.

How did things get this far? GamePolitics, which has covered Thompson extensively since the site went live in 2005, has compiled a timeline of key events during that time:

November 18, 2005: Thompson is lead attorney in a $600 million dollar lawsuit against Take-Two, Rockstar, Sony, GameStop and Wal-mart which alleges that 18-year-old GTA player Devin Moore was influenced by the games when he killed two police officers and a police dispatcher in Fayette, Alabama. Following a motion by Take-Two's lawyers, Alabama Judge James Moore revokes Thompson's right to practice in Alabama, essentially throwing him off the GTA case. Moore will later file a Bar complaint against Thompson over his conduct and be a key witness at his Bar trial.

October 13, 2006: Miami Judge Ronald Friedman dismisses Thompson's bid to have Bully declared a public nuisance. Friedman will later file a Bar complaint against Thompson over his conduct and will also testify at his Bar trial.

October 22, 2006: Thompson announces he is running for Judge Friedman's seat on the bench. However, he never follows through.

January 23, 2007: Thompson calls for the impeachment of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff after Shurtleff advises Utah legislators that the Thompson-authored video game law they are considering is unconstitutional.

March 16, 2007: Thompson is sued by Take-Two Interactive. The publisher seeks to block Thompson from damaging future sales of Manhunt 2 and GTA IV. A month later, the parties will reach a settlement.

April 10, 2007: In a harshly-worded ruling, U.S. District Court Judge James Brady declares Louisiana's video game law unconstitutional. Thompson, who wrote the legislation, has blamed Louisiana officials for its failure.

April 16, 2007: While the Virginia Tech shooting rampage is still ongoing, Thompson appears on Fox News to assert a violent video game connection. Later, a blue ribbon panel will find no evidence that the killer played violent games.

June 14, 2007: GamePolitics reveals that Thompson met secretly with Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick in Manhattan shortly after Zelnick took control of the company.

August 3, 2007: Thompson writes in a court filing that he is experiencing cardiac arrhythmia as well as chest pains due to the stress of his campaign against the Florida Bar.

August 21, 2007: Thompson claims that he underwent a psychological evaluation at his own expense and was pronounced mentally fit.

September 21, 2007: Thompson seeks to have Halo 3 declared a public nuisance in Florida

September 26, 2007: U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan reprimands Thompson for including gay porn in a court filing.

October 3, 2007: Thompson tries to add Judge Adalberto Jordan as a defendant in a case against the Florida Bar over which Jordan is presiding.

November 3, 2007: Thompson debates game developer Lorne Lanning at vgXpo in Philadelphia.

November 16, 2007: Thompson tries (and fails) to get GamePolitics & the Entertainment Consumers Association added as defedants in one of his numerous federal lawsuits against the Florida Bar.

November 26, 2007: Thompson's Florida Bar ethics trial commences in Miami with Judge Dava Tunis presiding. It will last nine days.

December 18, 2007: Thompson's $600 million New Mexico lawsuit which attempted to draw a link between GTA and a grisly triple murder is thrown out by a judge.

December 28, 2007: Trying to prove a video game connection, Thompson sues the Omaha Police Dept. for records of mall shooter Robert Hawkins.

March 7, 2008: Thompson circulates an e-mail which says that the Florida Bar will look like a bombed-out building if the Florida Supreme Court files an order against him.

March 18, 2008: GamePolitics begins serializing transcripts of testimony from Thompson's November, 2007 Bar trial.

March 19, 2008: Thompson threatens legal action against GamePolitics for publishing the Bar trial transcripts, which are a matter of public record. Despite the threats, the series continues.

March 20, 2008: Florida Supreme Court informs Thompson that, due to submitting porn and other inappropriate filings, the Court will no longer accept any filings from him unless another attorney signs off.

April 9, 2008: Thompson complains in a court filing that the FBI will no longer take his calls.

April 26, 2008: Thompson persuades officials of Miami-Dade Transit to remove GTA IV ads from bus kiosks

May 20, 2008: Judge Tunis finds Thompson guilty of 27 of 31 ethical misconduct charges

May 26, 2008: Thompson tells a Florida radio show host that he has plans to run for the Florida legislature.

May 30, 2008: Thompson swears in a federal court filing that Judge Tunis leaked documents to GamePolitics. Actually, we got the documents from the court via public records request.

June 4, 2008: The Florida Bar recommends to Judge Tunis that Thompson be disbarred for 10 years. Thompson storms out of the hearing after Tunis refuses to let him read a statement in court.

June 16, 2008: Thompson alleges that a pair of U.S. Marshals visited him at his home.

July 2, 2008: Thompson is honored as winner of "America's Freedom Award" at America's Freedom Festival in conservative Provo, Utah.

July 9, 2008: Thompson alleges that he was barred by U.S. Marshals from entering the U.S. District Court building in Miami alone. An officer escorted him to his destination. Thompson sues over the incident.

July 9, 2008: Citing both his ethical misconduct and his behavior during his Florida Bar proceedings, Judge Tunis one-ups the Florida Bar by ignoring its recommendation for 10-year disbarment and instead recommends a permanment disbarment for Thompson.

September 25, 2008: Florida Supreme Court orders Thompson permanently disbarred, effective October 30th, 2008.

27 comments

Disbarment Not Likely to Silence Thompson

September 26, 2008 -

If you were thinking that yesterday's lifetime disbarment would end Jack Thompson's crusade against violent video games, you may want to think again.

Don't get me wrong. The stripping of Thompson's law license will certainly have an impact on his activism. For example, will Fox News want a disbarred attorney as their resident game-bashing expert? Not likely, not even for Fox.

While his TV appearances may be scaled back, Thompson will still be a player, as I told VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi yesterday:

I don’t expect that we have seen the last of Thompson, not by a long shot... After all, most of his culture crusade takes place outside the courtroom. And he’s still able to file lawsuits, just as any private citizen can. Moreover, he understands the mechanics of how to file suits. The difference is that the word “disbarred” will invariably be attached to his name from this point forward.

26 comments

The Two Words That Might Have Saved Jack Thompson's Career

September 26, 2008 -

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?

I'm sorry...

19 comments

Gamers Search, Celebrate Thompson's Disbarment

September 26, 2008 -

Jack Thompson's permanent disbarment by the Florida Supreme dominated the gaming news yesterday.

In fact, a site which tracks Google searches ranks "Jack Thompson disbarred" 73rd among all news searches for yesterday, ahead of terms like "bailout," "letterman-mccain-video," and "Crystal Cox."

Kotaku reports that disbarment parties are "starting to pop up" but offers only some pix of one JT-decorated cake by way of evidence.

Are you partying? If so, leave a comment and let us know.

40 comments

DISBARRED!

September 25, 2008 -

In a four-page written order (download here), the Florida Supreme Court today affirmed a referee's recommendation to permanently disbar controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson.

The action, which takes effect in 30 days, means that Thompson will no longer be licensed to practice law and may not apply for reinstatement. Ever.

In citing a litany of offenses, the Court noted Thompson's extensive pattern of misconduct and cited a "complete lack of remorse." The Court also quoted extensively from the June, 2008 report of Judge Dava Tunis, who served as referee at Thompson's November, 2007 trial on charges brought by the Florida Bar:

In her report, the referee states: Over a very extended period of time involving a number of totally unrelated cases and individuals, [r]espondent has demonstrated a pattern of conduct to strike out harshly, extensively, repeatedly and willfully to simply try to bring as much difficulty, distraction and anguish to those he considers in opposition to his causes.

 

He does not proceed within the guidelines of appropriate professional behavior, but rather uses other means available to intimidate, harass, or bring public disrepute to those whom he perceives oppose him.

Noting that "The Court concludes that the facts, as even more extensively detailed in the referee's report, support the referee's numerous recommendations as to guilt," the justices of the Florida Supreme Court affirmed Thompson's offenses as delineated by Judge Tunis.

Some of these include findings that Thompson made false statements and accusations, repeatedly harassed those he considered opponents, and, while falsely accusing others of "the criminal distribution of sexual materials to minors," himself attached pornography to court filings.

  • [Thompson] made false statements of material fact to courts and repeatedly violated a court order
  • [Thompson] communicated the subject of representation directly with clients of opposing counsel
  • [Thompson] engaged in prohibited ex parte communications
  • [Thompson] publicized and sent hundreds of pages of vitriolic and disparaging missives, letters, faxes, and press releases, to the affected individuals
  • [Thompson] targeted an individual who was not involved with respondent in any way, merely due to "the position [the individual] holds in state and national politics"
  • [Thompson]falsely, recklessly, and publicly accused a judge as being amenable to the "fixing" of cases
  • [Thompson] sent courts inappropriate and offensive sexual materials
  • [Thompson] falsely and publicly accused various attorneys and their clients of engaging in a
    conspiracy/enterprise involving "the criminal distribution of sexual materials to minors" and attempted to get prosecuting authorities to charge these attorneys and their clients for racketeering and extortion
  • [Thompson] harassed the former client of an attorney in an effort to get the client to use its influence to persuade the attorney to withdraw a defamation suit filed by the attorney against respondent
  • [Thompson] retaliated against attorneys who filed Bar complaints against him for his unethical conduct by asserting to their clients, government officials, politicians, the media, female lawyers in their law firm, employees, personal friends, acquaintances, and their wives, that the attorneys were criminal pornographers who objectify women.

The Court also upheld a fine of $43,675 against Thompson.

For his part, Thompson offered his standard-issue bluster, announcing his disbarment in an e-mail which carried the subject line "Now the Fun Begins." Thompson has also filed a request with the U.S. District Court for an emergency stay of the FLSC's order disbarring him.

168 comments

Florida Attorney: Jack Thompson's Attacks are the "Emotional Equivalent of Stalking"

July 12, 2008 -

In 2005, Jack Thompson wrote Out of Harm's Way, an autobiography which detailed his brand of activism. Toward the end of book he lists 25 Culture War Tips From the Trenches.

These include "Be mean" and "Take the Offensive."

Thompson apparently put his philosophy into practice with zest, if one judges by transcripts of his November, 2007 Bar trial. Judge Dava Tunis cites large chunks of those transcripts in her 169-page report to the Florida Supreme Court in which she recommends that Thompson be disbarred for life.

While GamePolitics has already offered exclusive coverage of the transcripts involving Thompson Bar trial witnesses related to video game cases, we had not previously read the testimony of Florida attorneys Larry Kellogg and Al Cardenas (left) of the Tew Cardenas law firm. In 2005 Kellogg was hired by Beasley Communications to deal with Thompson. Beasley owns radio stations and Thompson had targeted some of their shock jock programming. From the transcripts cited by Judge Tunis:

Kellogg: ...what [Thompson] does in these situations -- is he attacks the lawyers for those he wants to do something with... once he learned that I was involved, he started sending me communications to me about my client and about me to others. He also started copying me with all the communications he was sending to others... the F.C.C., third parties of every sort...

I had another matter out in Denver... So I went out to Denver and I didn't get back to Mr. Thompson quick enough for him. So I started getting e-mails threatening that he was going to sue me personally if I didn't arrange a meeting. He sent me an e-mail giving me deadlines. I must have this meeting -- agree to this meeting -- by a certain date or things were going to happen. I was getting all these e-mails, but I was out on another matter and I didn't think it was the most important thing in my life was to arrange a meeting with him. So because I didn't do it fast enough for him, he sent a series of letters... and this was the basis for my initial Bar complaint, why I got involved for the first time in 26 years in a Bar proceeding. I've never filed a Bar complaint and I've never been involved in one prior to this day. This is what made me do it...

Al Cardenas is my partner. Al Cardenas has never represented Beasley and he had never done anything
personally on behalf of Beasley up to that time and never has since. He's never billed an hour of time. He's never talked to them about any legal matter. He's never represented them in any way. He was simply an innocent bystander, who happens to have been the co-chair of President Bush's Florida campaign. He is involved in politics. He's well known as being involved in politics on the Republican side and he knows very well Jeb Bush and he knows George Bush and [Florida Governor] Charlie Crist. He knows them all and they all know who he is.... So Mr. Thompson, because I wouldn't get a meeting with him fast enough...[made the following statements regarding Mr. Cardenas.]:

184 comments | Read more

We Have the Judge's Report Recommending PERMANENT DISBARMENT for Jack Thompson

July 9, 2008 -

Hot off the press... Be warned - it's a 169-page pdf file.

Get it here.

UPDATE: In addition to her recommendation that Jack Thompson be permanently disbarred with no opportunity for reinstatement, Judge Tunis recommends an assessment of $43,675 for the costs incurred by the Florida Bar in prosecuting his case.

The report by Judge Tunis is quite lengthy. We will break it down and comment on it beginning tomorrow. For now, we will note the Judge's conclusion regarding the evidence presented at Thompson's Bar trial, as she definitely knows Jack:

The Florida Bar has recommended disbarment for a period of ten (10) years. This Court respectfully declines to follow the Bar’s recommendation... This case involves factual findings of cumulative misconduct, a repeated pattern of behavior relentlessly forced upon numerous unconnected individuals, a total lack of remorse or even slight acknowledgement of inappropriate conduct... 

 

Additionally, the Court is taking into consideration a review of the Respondent’s conduct not only as proven by the evidence, but by what this Court has witnessed of the Respondent’s behavior throughout the eighteen (18) months of litigation. The undersigned finds no evidence whatsoever to indicate that the Respondent is amenable to rehabilitation, or even remotely appreciates the basis upon which a need or purpose for such rehabilitation is warranted...

  

Over a very extended period of time involving a number of totally unrelated cases and individuals, the Respondent has demonstrated a pattern of conduct to strike out harshly, extensively, repeatedly and willfully to simply try to bring as much difficulty, distraction and anguish to those he considers in opposition to his causes. He does not proceed within the guidelines of appropriate professional behavior, but rather uses other means available to intimidate, harass, or bring public disrepute to those whom he perceives oppose him.

 

Thus, after careful consideration of the underlying facts in the instant cases, together with the Florida Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions, the applicable aggravating and mitigating factors and the precedent case law, this Court makes the following recommendations for John Bruce Thompson:


A. Permanent disbarment, with no leave to reapply for admission.
B. Disciplinary costs currently totaling $43,675.35.

 

334 comments

BREAKING: Disbar Jack Thompson Forever, Bar Trial Referee Says

July 9, 2008 -

This story is evolving. Here's what we know so far...

Jack Thompson began circulating e-mails a short while ago claiming that Judge Dava Tunis (left), the referee in his November, 2007 trial on ethics charges brought by the Florida Bar, has recommended that he be disbarred for life.

As in forever...

In May, GamePolitics broke the news that Judge Tunis had recommended to the Florida Supreme Court that Thompson be found guilty on 27 of 31 counts of professional misconduct.

In June, Florida Bar prosecutors requested a 10-year "enhanced" disbarment for the controversial attorney, who stormed out of the hearing. 

Tunis had until September 5th to provide her final report to the Florida Supreme Court, which will make the ultimate determination of Thompson's professional fate. Apparently the judge has finished her task ahead of schedule.

We are presently working on confirming Thompson's claim as well as obtaining a copy of Judge Tunis's report. In the meantime, we note that Thompson wrote in an e-mail circulated at 1:12 PM today:

I got the always helpful Dava Tunis’ final Referee’s Report today, recommending a life-time disbarment (my life, not hers).  The Bar only asked for ten years. 

A second e-mail from Thompson to the Florida Supreme Court begins with:

Your Referee down here, Dava Tunis, the one who does not have a federally-mandated loyalty oath even to be on the bench, just today issued her final Referee’s Report in the above matter, and she rejected The Bar’s recommendation of a ten-year disbarment for me and instead is asking you to disbar me permanently with no opportunity ever to apply for reinstatement.

GP: It's important to point out that Judge Tunis is only making a recommendation. Thompson has not been disbarred. Only the Florida Supreme Court can make that determination.

 (more to follow)

While you're waiting, check out all of GP's coverage of the Thompson Bar Trial...

94 comments

Audio of Jack Thompson Storming Out of Court

June 11, 2008 -

The Daily Business Review has the audio of Jack Thompson storming out of last week's sanctions hearing before Judge Dava Tunis.

GamePolitics posted the transcript of the hearing yesterday.

 Via: Overlawyered

106 comments

GP EXCLUSIVE: Read the Transcript as Jack Thompson Storms Out of Court

June 10, 2008 -

In March of this year GamePolitics serialized the courtroom transcripts of Jack Thompson's Florida Bar trial. The response was overwhelming.

Based on that, we knew GP readers would be interested in reading the transcript of last Wednesday's sanctions hearing before Judge Dava Tunis - the one that Thompson stormed out of and in which the Bar recommended that the 56-year-old Thompson be disbarred for a minimum of ten years.

So we broke open the GP piggy bank and purchased a copy from the court reporter.

To set the scene (in case you haven't been following the Florida Bar vs. John B. Thompson saga): Judge Tunis, who was selected by the Florida Supreme Court to preside over the Bar trial and who recently recommended to the Court that Thompson be found guilty of 27 violations of professional misconduct, scheduled last week's hearing to hear arguments from both Thompson and the Florida Bar concerning possible sanctions. Judge Tunis has until September 3rd to provide her final report to the Florida Supreme Court, which will make the final determination of Thompson's fate.

(GP: The transcript that follows is abridged where noted)

JUDGE = Judge Dava Tunis

JT = Jack Thompson

TUMA = Florida Bar prosecutor Sheila Tuma

JUDGE: Good afternoon, everybody... I trust everyone has some water at their table?... so, for the record, we are here on the matter of the Florida Bar versus John Bruce Thompson... If all the lawyers would like to announce their presence for the record.

TUMA: Sheila Tuma, counsel for the Florida Bar

JT: Jack Thompson, presently a lawyer.

JUDGE: ...Miss Tuma, my understanding would be that, pursuant to the rules, you would be going first?

JT: Your Honor, may I please--

TUMA: Yes.

JT: -- so that I can state at the appropriate time, which would be now, my objections to this proceeding on the record?

JUDGE: And you have done so through writing --

JT: No. I have to do it here, Judge.

JUDGE: Go right ahead.

JT: May I move the podium?

JUDGE: No. Just everybody leave it in one spot. That's the way we usually do it in the courtroom.

JT: Can we change that one spot? No?

JUDGE: I'd prefer that you leave it right there.

JT: Nice. Can I pivot it?

JUDGE: Is that what you'd like, sir?

JT: I'm asking you.

JUDGE: Okay. That's fine.

197 comments | Read more

Jack Thompson: Sweet & Sour

June 5, 2008 -

A Florida Judge recently recommended that Jack Thompson be found guilty on 27 counts of professional misconduct. A federal judge tossed his lawsuit against the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday. And the Florida Bar yesterday moved to have him disbarred for a decade.

But, don't fear for Jack Thompson.

No dummy he, the controversial anti-game activist has his detractors right where he wants them. At least, according to Thompson.

Under the subject line of SWEET! (GP: I kid you not), an e-mail circulated by Thompson this morning cites today's Daily Business Review coverage of his case and reads, in part:

Because of the [DBR] article, which contains my entire Objections filing, I am now getting phone calls from highly respected people who are proving to me the criminal conduct of The Florida Bar... We are meeting with law enforcement officials about that. 
 
This is all wonderful.  Light is now being shone in some very dark places, and the Daily Business Review has assisted in that wonderfully.
 
I am now going to win this fight, by the grace of God and because of the First Amendment, most particularly the right to freedom of the press.  Certain Florida Bar officials need to hire criminal defense lawyers today.  The investigations are already underway.  And if you think I'm kidding, then you don't know Jack.
 

So much for the sweet. Or should we say, the SWEET!

On the SOUR! side, after Thompson declared in a recent sworn federal court motion that Bar trial referee Dava Tunis had leaked case documents to GamePolitics, we pointed out that his claim - which he wrote that he was making under penalty of perjury - was untrue. We also explained that we had received the documents from Eunice Sigler, Director of the Office of Government Liaison and Public Relations for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, pursuant to our various public records requests.

Just one day after our story debunking Thompson's false claim regarding Judge Tunis ran, the controversial attorney filed a document with Eunice Sigler's boss, demanding to see her official loyalty oath. Readers will recall that he has unsuccessfully targeted Judge Tunis over the loyalty oath issue as well.

Thompson's focus on Ms. Sigler, a court administrator simply carrying out her duties, seems from here like a case of very sour grapes.

214 comments

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

June 5, 2008 -

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.

77 comments

Florida Bar Wants Jack Thompson Disbarred For 10 Years; Thompson Storms Out of Hearing

June 4, 2008 -

GamePolitics has learned that the Florida Bar has requested that controversial attorney Jack Thompson, 56, be disbarred for ten years for 27 violations of professional misconduct.

The request came today at a sanctions hearing before Judge Dava Tunis in Miami.

Thompson reportedly stormed out of the hearing after Tunis refused to let him read a lengthy objection aloud. Tunis, acting as referee on behalf of the Florida Supreme Court, did permit Thompson to submit a copy of his objection for the record. 

Prior to that there was apparently some disagreement between Tunis and Thompson over the placement of the podium. We're told Thompson lost that argument as well.

By leaving the courtroom, Thompson missed the opportunity to argue any mitigating factors to the Bar's recommendation for harsh punishment.

A GamePolitics reader, Nevext , apparently was present today and posted impressions in comments to this morning's preview piece on the hearing. Here's Nevext's version of events:

I was able to tag along with an actual attorney, so we drove to the courthouse, went up to the courtroom, waited outside until 2pm. Baliff opened the door and I held it open. Sadly, I even held it open for the beast himself.

So the judge came in. Judge Tunis seems like a real nice lady.

Thompson wanted to make known that he had a objection in writing. He was able to submit it to the record, but the judge said he couldn't read it aloud. That really pissed him off, I think. He also passed around copies of the objection to various reporters and a member of the legal community known as "Mr. Mim". He also claimed that "Mr. Mim" was not supposed to be there. So he dropped the objection into his lap and went back to his side of the court. The judge was NOT pleased.

Eventually, he made comments about the judge not being a judge(This is relating to the Loyalty Oath stuff), said the hearing was moot, and WALKED OUT.

"The court acknowledges that Mr. Thompson has voluntarily left the proceedings"

Then the Florida Bar presented it's evidence. Lalalala, bunch of legal crap.

The Bar recommends that Thompson's punishment should be: "Enhanced disbarment, with a reapplyment wait of 10 years"

After more legalese, the court was ajorned.

Mr Mim threw away his copy of the objection. A friend of mine who happened to be attending reached to get it at the same time a State Attorney was. We ended up getting a copy of it because the State Attorney was a nice guy.

And we went home.

End of story

GP: Thanks much, Nevext, for that first-hand account. "Mim" would be Florida Bar prosecutor Barnaby Min. Don't invite Thompson and Min to the same party. If you're having a party...

351 comments

Jack Thompson Faces Sanctions Hearing Today in Miami

June 4, 2008 -

Jack Thompson has a date in court today.

As previously reported by GamePolitics, the embattled attorney faces a sanctions hearing before Judge Dava Tunis in Miami at 2 p.m.

Judge Tunis, appointed by the Florida Supreme Court to serve as referee in the Florida Bar's prosecution of Thompson on professional misconduct charges, recently recommended that Thompson be found guilty on 27 of 31 counts.

Today, the judge is expected to issue her recommendation on penalties for Thompson, which could include disbarment. Recent comments by Thompson indicate that he expects to be disbarred.

Whatever Tunis recommends, the final say belongs to the Florida Supreme Court, which will receive Tunis's final report on September 2nd.

GamePolitics will update Thompson's situation as soon as we get word from Miami.

166 comments

With Sanctions Hearing Looming, Jack Thompson Accuses Bar Trial Judge of Leaking Documents to GamePolitics

June 3, 2008 -

As GamePolitics has previously reported, embattled anti-game attorney Jack Thompson faces a sanctions hearing tomorrow before Judge Dava Tunis in Miami.

Tunis, the referee appointed by the Florida Supreme Court to preside over the Florida Bar's prosecution of Thompson on professional misconduct charges, recently issued a recommendation that the controversial attorney be found guilty on 27 of 31 counts, including "Knowingly making a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal" and "Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

For his part, Thompson has been actively seeking to discredit Tunis, including charging that she is not a valid Florida judge due to her state loyalty oath apparently being signed by a clerk without her knowledge.

On May 30th, Thompson upped the ante against Tunis, charging in a document filed with U.S. District Court that the judge had leaked documents to GamePolitics. Although the name of this website is not specified in Thompson's motion, it is clear from the document's context that he is referring to GP. Thompson writes:

In the last 36 hours, plaintiff has discovered that the referee in the state Bar "disciplinary" proceedings has leaked documents to a video game industry web site that only she had. This has resulted in more harassment of Thompson by "video gamers" who have been threatening to kill Thompson and his son.

 

The referee knew to leak these documents, which only she had, to this particular gaming web site because it came out at Thompson's bar "trial" that this site had filed a Bar complaint against Thompson (which was so bizarre that even this Bar dismissed it) and that this site was in fact orchestrating harassment of Thompson during his trial.

 

This same site had orchestrated postings at Amazon.com, when Thompson's Tyndale House book was published, that there was a "Canadian edition" of Thompson's book in which Thompson disclosed his internal struggles with homosexuality and drug use. Thompson has had no such struggles; there was no "Canadian edition."

There's just one problem with Thompson's charge that Judge Tunis leaked anything to GamePolitics: It is not true. I don't know Judge Tunis. I've never spoken to her, exchanged e-mail with her, or had any contact with her. I did call her office once, many months ago, to inquire as to when we might expect a ruling on Thompson's trial. A staffer referred me to Eunice Sigler, Director of the Office of Government Liaison and Public Relations for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida.

GamePolitics has obtained three documents relating to Thompson's case in recent days. All came from public records requests with court administrators.

On May 20th , GamePolitics broke the news concerning Judge Tunis's recommendations as to Thompson's guilt. That document came from the aforementioned Ms. Sigler. I've been tracking the Thompson Bar trial since it took place in late 2007. Months ago I contacted Ms. Sigler and made a media request for any developments. As per my request, she forwarded me the recommendations. These were also published in the Daily Business Review, which apparently obtained them via its own public records request.

The following day, in a filing with Judge Tunis, Thompson alluded to having 33 witnesses that he hoped to subpoena for his June 4th sanctions hearing. Curious about these, I asked Thompson for the names. He refused. I contacted Ms. Sigler on May 23rd and made a public records request regarding Thompson's proposed subpoenas. I received the subpoena document from her on May 28th and published it later that day.

Also obtained via public records request was the Miami-Dade State Attorney's investigative report into Judge Tunis's loyalty oath. This document came from Public Information Officer Ed Griffith.

Thompson may not like it, but he has made himself into a very public figure. His case is a matter of public record. His court filings are not sealed, nor are they classified information. They are a matter of public record, readily available through the proper channels.

In a series of e-mails, Thompson demanded several times to know where I had obtained the documents. Being under no obligation to do so, I declined to tell him. Moreover, he is an attorney. He should understand that these are public records.

Regarding his comments that I orchestrated harassment of him or orchestrated bogus reviews of his book, these are utterly false. I've addressed his allegations on the book issue in some detail in the past, and I've also discussed my filing a 2006 Bar complaint against him. Nor, as Thompson alleges, is GamePolitics a "video game industry web site." Readers need look no further than today's story on E3 and Gov. Rick Perry to confirm that.

So what will happen at tomorrow's sanctions hearing?

It's impossible to know, although Thompson's e-mails of late have indicated that he expects to be disbarred. In any case, Judge Tunis does not have the final word. That responsibility lies with the Florida Supreme Court.

138 comments

Analyzing Jack Thompson's Would-be Witnesses

May 29, 2008 -

As GamePolitics reported yesterday, controversial attorney Jack Thompson was unsuccessful in a bid to subpoena 33 witnesses for a June 4th sanctions hearing before Judge Dava Tunis.

Tunis, the Florida Supreme Court-appointed referee who presided over the Florida Bar's prosecution of professional misconduct charges against Thompson, quashed the subpoenas in response to a motion from the Bar. In doing so, Tunis ruled that:

[Thompson] is precluded from presenting witnesses or documentary evidence in mitigation in this case due to his failure to comply with the bar's discovery requests.

An order issued by Tunis in October, 2007 elaborates on what the referee terms Thompson's "failure to comply." The upshot is that Judge Tunis will not allow Thompson to subpoena witnesses for next week's hearing. Thompson has indicated that he will boycott the hearing.

In any event, GamePolitics has obtained the list of Thompson's proposed witnesses (although not from Thompson, who declined our request). Read on as we analyze the 33 names and guess at Thompson's legal strategy (never an easy task):

  • Jeb Bush: Former Governor of Florida, brother of President Bush; Last week Thompson sent the ex-Guv a rant explaining (sort of) why he wanted him to appear.
  • Strauss Zelnick: Chairman of Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive; a longtime target of Thompson's. Four of the five Bar complaints against Thompson stem from his involvement in cases targeting Take-Two games.
  • Judge Ronald Friedman: presided over the 2006 Bully case; testified against Thompson at last year's Bar trial.
  • Ian Comisky: Partner in Philadelphia law firm Blank-Rome; the firm defended Take-Two in Thompson's Alabama lawsuit and two of its attorneys testified against Thompson at last year's Bar trial.
  • Norm Kent: Florida attorney who has represented shock radio in Florida; he and Thompson have a long and contentious legal history.
  • Gwynne Alice Young: an attorney at the Miami firm where Thompson's wife is a partner; during the course of the Bar's prosecution against him, Thompson has been critical of what he claims is Judge Tunis's lack of sensitivity to his wife's battle against cancer; possibly related to that issue
  • Various Past & Present Florida Bar officials: John Berry, Kenneth Marvin, Tony Boggs, Mary Ellen Bateman, John Harkness, Jan Wichrowski, Lorraine Hoffmann, Arlene Sankel, Barnaby Min, Frank Angones, Jesse Diner, Kelly Overstreet Johnson, Hank Coxe, Barry Richard, Ben Kuehne, John White
  • Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero: unknown why Thompson would single out Cantero from the other justices; the Florida Supreme Court oversees the Bar disciplinary process. Thompson is currently suing the justices in federal court
  • Florida 11th Circuit Court Chief Judge Joseph Farina: Judge Tunis's boss.
  • Al Cardenas: Prominent Florida attorney; his firm's complaint was part of last year's Bar trial (the non-video game related part); Judge Tunis has recommended two findings of guilt against Thompson in regard to Tew-Cardenas
  • David Pollack, Florida attorney: Thompson has claimed in court filings that Pollack was appointed by the Bar to investigate a complaint against Thompson, found no evidence, but was overruled by the Bar
  • Sam Partridge, General Counsel, Alabama State Bar: Alabama Circuit Court Judge James Moore testified against Thompson at his 2007 Bar trial; however, Partridge's specific connection to the case is not known.
  • Oren Wunderman, PhD: Thompson has written that Wunderman gave him a clean bill of mental health.
  • Kenneth Harms, former Miami Police Chief: he was mentioned as a potential witness in Thompson's 2006 attempt to have Rockstar's Bully declared a public nuisance before Judge Friedman in a Miami Court.
  • Janet Folger, Christian conservative commentator, author and activist - possibly a Thompson character witness.
  • Judge Richard Yale Feder: a Florida jurist with experience in Bar disciplinary matters; connection to Thompson's case unknown.
  • Randall Marshall, Legal Director, ACLU of Florida: connection unknown, but Thompson claimed recently that he had joined the ACLU and might be seeking its support on what he deems an issue of expressing his Christian views.
  • JR Rosskamp: Jo Edda Rosskamp filed a lawsuit last year against a partner in the Tew-Cardenas law firm; Thompson represented her. A JR Rosskamp is a South Florida financial advisor. It's unknown to GP whether they are the same person.

 

133 comments

With Subpoenas for Strauss Zelnick, Jeb Bush, Bully Judge & 30 Others Denied, Jack Thompson Will Boycott Sanctions Hearing

May 28, 2008 -

Much has happened on the Jack Thompson front Since GamePolitics broke the news last week that Judge Dava Tunis had recommended to the Florida Supreme Court that the controversial attorney be found guilty on 27 counts of professional misconduct.

With a sanctions hearing scheduled before Judge Tunis on June 4th in Miami, Thompson has been tirelessly pushing his position that Tunis has no legal authority due to an issue with a forged loyalty oath (but not forged by Tunis -  more on that below).

Thompson also tried to subpoena 33 people for next week's hearing, including Take Two Interactive Chairman Strauss Zelnick, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Judge Ronald Friedman, who presided over the notorious Bully case in 2006. Judge Tunis denied that motion, however, citing procedural errors made by Thompson's side.

And, with federal lawsuits already pending against the Florida Bar and Florida Supreme Court, Thompson has  filed yet another suit in U.S. District Court, this time naming the State of Florida as defendant. In the new case, Thompson yet again invokes the loyalty oath issue and seeks to block the Bar from proceeding against him.

In a separate federal court filing, Thompson refers to the June 4th hearing as a kangaroo court and vows not to attend unless U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard strikes down a Florida Supreme Court order which bars Thompson from filing anything with the Florida Supreme Court unless signed by another attorney.

Finally, in a just-issued filing with Judge Tunis, Thompson seeks a stay of next week's sanctions hearing while demanding a mental health exam. Thompson complains in the document that he "has put up with this 'Jacky is whacky' charade long enough."

So that's the recap... What follows are some details regarding the loyalty oath issue.

While Thompson has sought to cast Judge Tunis in a highly negative light by saying that she was the "beneficiary" of a forged loyalty oath, an investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office indicated that a clerk apparently signed the oath without the knowledge of Tunis and two other judges. GamePolitics has received these comments from Eunice Sigler, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade Courts:

There are two separate and distinct documents being addressed. One is called the Oath of Office and the other is called the Oath of Loyalty. The Oath of Office is a document which, when properly executed, allows a judge or any other constitutional officer in the State of Florida to act in their official capacity in office.
 
First and most significantly, when Judge Tunis was appointed to the County Court bench in 2000, re-elected for a term beginning in 2003, and elevated to the Circuit Court bench in 2005, she properly executed the Oath of Office each time, as required by section 5, Article II of the Florida Constitution, before beginning her duties as a judge. These documents, provided by the Governor’s Office, were found to be in order by the Department of State as well as the Division of Elections for the State of Florida, and are not required to be notarized. That Oath of Office includes the promise to “support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the Government of the United States and of the State of Florida,” which incorporates the less specific Oath of Loyalty specified in section 876.05, Florida Statutes.
 
The second document, called the Oath of Loyalty, applies to all public employees and elected officials of the State of Florida and has no effect whatsoever on any judge’s authority or jurisdiction to act and therefore has no legal consequence as to the decisions made by any judge while serving on the bench.
When new judges as well as all new state employees begin their employment, they are given certain documents to sign.  If those individuals are employed within the court system, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) provides them with a packet of documents to sign. When Judge Tunis received this packet at the beginning of her service on the bench in 2000, the Oath of Loyalty, required by section 876.05, Florida Statutes, was not provided to her for her signature. However, it appears that several days later, this Oath of Loyalty was completed with a forged signature and improperly notarized by a former AOC employee, then placed in the judge’s file without her knowledge.
 
When Judge Tunis first became aware of this on January 31st, 2008, she immediately executed the Oath of Loyalty, which has been properly filed.
 
As stated before, the Oath of Loyalty has no effect whatsoever on any judge’s authority or jurisdiction to act and therefore has no legal consequence as to the decisions made by any judge while serving on the bench.
 
The Eleventh Judicial Circuit takes any prohibited act by a court employee very seriously. Accordingly, a request has been made that the State Attorney and Inspector General investigate the forgery and the actions of the former AOC employee, which have unfortunately victimized Judge Tunis and other judges.
 
 

Indeed, the State Attorney's investigation into the loyalty oath issue found that Judge Tunis committed no wrongdoing whatsoever.

GP: While Thompson is pulling out all the stops to either remove Judge Tunis or postpone next week's sanctions hearing, neither appears likely to occur. Thus, the wheels of justice are moving inexorably toward the June 4th court date. At that time, it is expected that Judge Tunis will recommend penalties against Thompson that could include disbarment. From that point, it will be up to the Florida Supreme Court to issue a final ruling.

188 comments

Judge's Jack-is-Guilty Recommendation: We Have the Document

May 23, 2008 -

Earlier this week GamePolitics broke the news that a referree appointed by the Florida Supreme Court had issued a recommendation that anti-game attorney Jack Thompson be found guilty on 27 counts of professional misconduct.

The referree, Judge Dava Tunis (left), wrote that she based her recommendations upon testimony and documents submitted during Thompson's nine-day trial on charges brought by the Florida Bar. While the final ruling on Thompson's status will come from the Florida Supreme Court later this year, Judge Tunis has scheduled a hearing on June 4th to discuss possible sanctions.

For his part, Thompson has filed a motion in federal court to stop the June 4th hearing from taking place. He is also alleging that Judge Tunis isn't really a judge because a required state loyalty oath wasn't properly signed. All of which reminds GP of a saying often attributed to Thompson's law school classmate, Al Gore:

When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, holler.

Read Judge Tunis's recommendations (5-page PDF)...

112 comments

Jack Thompson Guilty on 27 of 31 Misconduct Charges, Says Bar Trial Judge... FL Supreme Court Must Now Rule

May 20, 2008 -

The judge who presided over Jack Thompson's Florida Bar trial late last year has recommended that the controversial attorney be found guilty on 27 of 31 professional misconduct charges. The Florida Supreme Court must now rule on those recommendations.

In a report issued last week, Judge Dava Tunis writes:

After considering the arguments presented by the Florida Bar and the Respondent (Thompson), observing the Respondent's demeanor during the nine-day trial proceedings, and carefully reviewing the record consisting of four volumes of exhibits totaling 1700 pages and approximately 2400 pages of transcribed testimony, the Court finds that the facts, circumstances and evidence presented regarding the Respondent's conduct, supports a finding of guilt as to certain Florida Bar rules...

Tunis made 21 recommendations of guilt in relation to Thompson's participation in Strickland vs. Sony, an Alabama case in which the anti-game attorney represented the families of two police officers and a police dispatcher slain by 18-year-old Grand Theft Auto player Devin Moore.

Tunis also recommended that Thompson be found guilty on four out of five counts relating to his 2006 attempt to have Rockstar's Bully declared a public nuisance in a case before Miami Judge Ronald Friedman. An additional two guilty counts stemmed from a non-video game matter.

Among the Florida Bar offenses for which Judge Tunis has recommended a guilty verdict:

  • Knowingly making a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal
  • Knowingly disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal
  • Communicating the merits of the case with a judge before whom the proceeding is pending
  • Using means that have no purpose other than to embarrass, delay or burden a third person
  • Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation
  • Engaging in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, including to knowingly or through callous indifference disparage or humiliate litigants or other lawyers
  • Making statements that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge

Judge Tunis's full report to the Florida Supreme Court is due on September 2nd. In the meantime, a disciplinary hearing regarding possible sanctions against Thompson will be held before Judge Tunis on June 4th.

For his part, Thompson has made a number of allegations concerning Judge Tunis, including a complaint that state-mandated loyalty oaths were either not signed by the judge or were signed by others. Thompson also has filed federal lawsuits against the Florida Bar and Florida Supreme Court in relation to the Bar charges and other sanctions.

For all GamePolitics coverage of the Bar Trial of Jack Thompson, including transcripts, click here.

184 comments

Ruling in Jack Thompson Bar Trial May Not Come Until End of Summer

April 21, 2008 -
Last week GamePolitics broke the news that the long-awaited ruling in Jack Thompson's Florida Bar trial, originally expected today, would likely be delayed.

We've now learned that Judge Dava Tunis (left), who presided over Thompson's 9-day trial late last year, has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to grant her until August 31st to issue her report.

Judge Tunis cited several reasons for the delay, including:
-the need to wade through a 2,500 page transcript of the trial

-reviewing 76 exhibits encompassing another 1,700 pages

-dealing with 400 "pleadings, e-mails, letters and missives (including pictorials)" filed by Thompson since the trial ended in December, 2007.

-handling a full-time job on the criminal bench

Interestingly, the wording of her motion makes it appear that Judge Tunis has already reached her decision. It's the writing of the report that seems to be causing the delay.

Read Judge Tunis' motion here.
148 comments

Judge in Jack Thompson Bar Trial Requests More Time

April 15, 2008 -
Judge Dava Tunis (left), who presided over the November, 2007 Florida Bar trial of anti-game activist Jack Thompson, has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for more time in which to issue her decision.

While GamePolitics had been anticipating Tunis' final ruling on Thompson's fate by April 21st, an April 11th Florida Supreme Court docket entry notes the request for a time extension by Judge Tunis.

No additional details appear in the docket entry and it is unclear what is behind Judge Tunis' request. However, in addition to nearly two weeks of testimony, there is a large volume of printed material to be reviewed, especially given Thompson's well-known penchant for sending e-mails, faxes and the like.

Judge Tunis herself has been under attack from Thompson in recent times (then again, who hasn't?). In a claim reminiscent of Catch-22's Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, Thompson alleges that a written loyalty oath required under Florida law was not properly executed by Tunis.

GamePolitics has offered the most extensive coverage of the Thompson trial anywhere. Be sure to check out our exclusive transcripts.
138 comments

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 9): Recap, About the Series, What's Next for Thompson?

March 28, 2008 -

Click here to see the entire series: The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson...

It's fair to say that Miami attorney Jack Thompson is an iconic figure among the video game community, although not in any happy sense.

Since immersing himself in the game violence debate in the late 1990's, he has become the embodiment of what many gamers perceive as a lack of acceptance by non-gaming society and the mainstream media. In some ways, he seems to relish the role.

Thompson's frequent television appearances, during which he typically blames violent video games for all sorts of mayhem, have positioned him as the go-to guy when the media (primarily Fox News, of late) needs a sound bite lamenting the havoc which video games are supposedly wreaking on modern youth.

No other critic, no other watchdog, has ever come close to Thompson's recognition factor. There are gamer-created songs about the guy. Cartoons, too, as well as video skits, t-shirts, toilet paper, website parodies and Photoshop contests.

To be fair, though, Thompson works at it. His media appearances, his propensity for acid-tongued verbal attacks, his lawsuits, threats of lawsuits and incessant e-mails containing Urgent! alerts make him difficult to ignore.

341 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 8): Thompson's Closing Statement

March 27, 2008 -

We're coming to the end of our exclusive series detailing the video game-related testimony in controversial attorney Jack Thompson's professional misconduct trial by the Florida Bar.

In today's episode, GamePolitics will present Thompson's closing argument. There is no cross-examination during a closing. It's an attorney's chance to summarize the case for the Court, recalling evidence presented and touching on points of law. As such, except for a couple of procedural matters, this is Thompson speaking.

In tomorrow's finale, GP will recap the series, including an explanation of how it all came together. If you've missed any of the previous installments, just click the Bar Trial series tag to catch up.

(In today's excerpted transcript, JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

JT: Okay. By way of closing argument... here's the text of the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Did I give you that?...

TUMA: Yes.

JT: It says... "Exercise of religion means an act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious beliefs... The Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it is demonstrated that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest... A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief."

I'm simply making the argument, Judge, that my motivations - which I have tried to make clear, maybe to the point of nausea - are religious and that my efforts against the distribution of adult material, pornographic material, violent material, adult rated material to children is violative of the law as well as violative of Scripture. I quoted the biblical passage where Jesus says, reportedly: "If any one of you should cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better that a millstone be tied around your neck and that you be cast in the uttermost depths of the sea."

If I am disbarred, which is the wish of these [Florida Bar] people... I will continue to do what I'm doing on these issues whether they disbar me or not because this is what I was called to do, this is what I was enabled to do more effectively as a lawyer...

388 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 7): Thompson Cross Examines the Bully Case Judge

March 26, 2008 -

For this segment we'll assume that you have at least read Part 6 of GamePolitics' Bar Trial of Jack Thompson, the direct testimony of Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Friedman.

What follows is Thompson's cross examination of Judge Friedman, who became a target of Thompson's ire after he refused to grant the controversial attorney's 2006 motion to have Bully declared a public nuisance in Florida.

(In the excerpted transcripts that follow, RF is Judge Ronald Friedman. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

JT: Judge, first things first. My lawsuit wasn't, as you testified, to prohibit the distribution of this game [Bully], was it?

RF: I do believe it was.

JT: Well, let's go to Exhibit 46... page 21 thereof... Why don't you read paragraph D. This is under the caption Injunctive Relief.

RF: "An order prohibiting Take Two from selling all of its mature-rated video games directly or indirectly to anyone under 17 years of age, which practice is violating the strictures of the [ESA] and of the [ESRB] as well as solemn promises made under oath to Congress and to others."

JT: So do you want to change your testimony about what the purpose of the lawsuit was?

RF: No. That's the way I read that.

JT: Prohibit the distribution.

RF: To adults? No. To teenagers, yes.

JT: Okay. I take prohibit to mean prohibit, and that is to prevent the distribution.

RF: That is exactly what it appears to be, to prevent the distribution to anyone under age 17.

JT: Right. Not across the board... But... we didn't have a hearing on that, did we?

RF: We certainly did have some [courtroom] argument.

 
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Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
ZippyDSMleeOh gaaa the free market is a lie as its currently leading them to no one living there becuse they can not afford it makign it worthless.04/16/2014 - 3:24pm
Matthew WilsonIf you have not read http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/introducing-steam-gauge-ars-reveals-steams-most-popular-games/ you should. It is a bit stats heavy, but worth the read.04/16/2014 - 2:04pm
Matthew Wilsonthe issue is when is doesn't work it can screw over millions in new york city's case. more often than not it is better to let the free market run its course without market distortion.04/16/2014 - 9:36am
NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
ZippyDSMleeEither way you get stagnation as people can not afford the prices they set.04/16/2014 - 8:47am
Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
 

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