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Referee Recommends Disbarment For Jack Thompson 280

Posted by timothy
from the disbar-is-such-a-harsh-word dept.
spielermacher writes "GamePolitics is reporting that Jack Thompson — the lawyer every gamer loves to hate — has apparently lost his court case and is facing disbarment. The Referee in the case has gone beyond the Florida Bar's request for a 10-year disbarment and is recommending a lifetime ban. From the Final Report issued by the court: '... 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 ...' All I can say is that it's about time."
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Referee Recommends Disbarment For Jack Thompson

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  • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:13PM (#24125901) Homepage Journal
    At least the US Gov. managed to do one thing right today.
  • by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:14PM (#24125909) Journal
    The Judge also wants him to cough up $43,000 to cover the Bar costs because the whole thing was so outrageous.
  • so what (Score:4, Insightful)

    by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:16PM (#24125957) Journal

    He'll probably make more cash being a commentator on Fox News pushing their particular agenda. He's been defanged but no one's cut his vocal cords.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by merreborn (853723)

      He'll probably make more cash being a commentator on Fox News pushing their particular agenda. He's been defanged but no one's cut his vocal cords.

      His disbarment would discredit him in a very real way. For a major television network to present him as a credible expert after this, they'd have to think their viewers complete idiots.

      It remains to be seen just how low an opinion fox news holds of their viewers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JohnnyGTO (102952)
      We don't want him, we think he's nuts. Send him to CNN their the ones with the wacky agendas.
  • Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:16PM (#24125959)
    Who tagged this story "censorship". Jack Thompson can think or say whatever he wants, but abusing his legal standing to further his cause is not acceptable to the Bar. Also he's acted unprofessional [slashdot.org] numerous times.
  • Ding-dong the witch is dead
    Which old witch? The wicked witch
    Ding-dong the wicked witch is dead
    Wake up you sleepyhead
    Rub your eyes, get out of bed
    Wake up the wicked witch is dead
    She's gone where the goblins go
    Below - below - below
    Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out
    Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low
    Let them know the Wicked Witch is dead

    :-)
    • by Bomarc (306716)
      One contract that I was at had an incompetent DBA. (The first time I began to question her abilities was when she asked if changing the desktop bitmap would impact system performance). When I found out she was terminated (about 15 minutes before a meeting I was going to host) I found a .mid file with this on it. Only my manager knew the real reason for the song playing in the background...

      Yo-ho
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by allanw (842185)

        One contract that I was at had an incompetent DBA. (The first time I began to question her abilities was when she asked if changing the desktop bitmap would impact system performance).

        It does. At least on very old computers with little RAM, if you had a large desktop image, it'd have to swap it from disk to display it, so the desktop would take very long to display. I still remember the days...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:17PM (#24125995)

    The Florida Bar Wins.

    Fatality

  • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:24PM (#24126113) Journal

    Bill G. retires. And now Jack T. is being disbarred. Who will be the slashdot editor post about for us to all agree on in our complaints?!

    • There's still George B. for a little bit longer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Who will be the slashdot editor post about for us to all agree on in our complaints?!

      With that type of grammar, I nominate you.

  • by nicolas.kassis (875270) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:27PM (#24126159)
    Don't think it's the last time we see this guy lobbying for the elimination of xyz. Just a little bump in the road.
  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:27PM (#24126167) Journal

    I love reading legal documents where it's clear that the person being deposed is batshit crazy, and they're trying not to use pejorative language while stating the facts.

    As an example, the line "During his testimony, the undersigned Referee asked for clarification of Mr. Thompson as to which of the four binders of exhibits in evidence he was referring. Once clarified, Mr. Thompson spoke at length, before re-addressing the issues" is footnoted with the following:

    What followed the Court's inquiry regarding clarification as to in which binder the document was located, is twenty-three (23) pages of testimony by Mr. Thompson involving matters such as: why he had not shaved that day for court; referring to the "Twinkie" case about the killing of a Mayor in San Francisco; a lawsuit filed by him in Kentucky in 1999 involving allegations regarding a video game entitled, 'Doom'; an interview with Matt Lauer from NBC's Today show; the killings in Columbine; information about a Lt. Colonel David Grossman regarding his book, On Killing; information regarding addressing the American Bar Association and his shared Christian values with David Grossman; former President Bill Clintonâ(TM)s radio address regarding David Grossman (sometime during the Clinton administration years); an appearance with now deceased CBS reporter Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes; comments by Peggy Noonan-former President Ronald Reagan's speech writer-and an article she wrote for The Wall Street Journal; comments about the movie starring actors Russell Crowe and Al Pacino, called The Insider; issues regarding products liability and 'Big Tobacco'; the alleged targeting by Mr. Thompson by Blank Rome; information about Doug Lowenstein described as the president and chief lobbyist for the parent company of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board)--which Mr. Thompson alleges now "represents gun running cartels." T 1068, line 7; an article published in Reader's Digest with actor Tom Hanks on the cover; Mr. Thompson's meeting with convicted murderer Devin Moore on death row; a contention of a racial component in defendant Moore's case, "they certainly have it to contend with in Alabama being a slave state," T 1070, line 15, 1071, line 1; information that allegedly occurred the week of the Final Hearing in this disciplinary matter regarding comments made by a law enforcement officer in Australia and New Zealand equating a spike in teen violence with interactive violent video games; an article which purportedly appeared in Time magazine quoting David Grossman; the connection of violence towards law enforcement officers and interactive video games that simulate the killing of officers; and the numerous civil lawsuits filed across the country in various jurisdictions which lead to the filing of the Strickland case in Fayette, Alabama.

    I'm almost going to miss the crazy bastard. This stuff is too good to be fake.

  • by SoupGuru (723634) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:31PM (#24126227)

    Dang it! I totally thought that said "dismemberment"!

    • by JohnnyGTO (102952)
      Put the Clydesdales away pa, the man said disbarment. Dang, thought we'd have us a good old draw and quarter!
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:34PM (#24126275) Journal
    It's really a shame that the anti-violent game lobby has someone like JT as a de-facto spokesman.

    Ultimately - even if you disagree - they have a reasonable position. i.e. it's generally bad for kids to play violent games. and all reasonable positions should be considered. Having someone who goes off at wild tangents, blames everything on games whether there's any evidence or not and pisses off the entire legal system is not really a good person to have on your side.
    • by Bane1998 (894327) <kjackson.crimebucket@com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:43PM (#24126401)

      It's really a shame that the anti-violent game lobby has someone like JT as a de-facto spokesman. Ultimately - even if you disagree - they have a reasonable position. i.e. it's generally bad for kids to play violent games. and all reasonable positions should be considered. Having someone who goes off at wild tangents, blames everything on games whether there's any evidence or not and pisses off the entire legal system is not really a good person to have on your side.

      We'll have to agree to disagree that it's a reasonable position. I think it's unreasonable to make that jump that it's 'bad.' Further, even if I agreed, it's not up to the government to decide this, it's up to the parents and families and individuals. The Video Game Industry, afaik, has always been reasonably responsible in rating their games, and parents can decide if thier kids can play M-rated games or not. I really don't understand the basis for the 'anti' argument at all. Don't like it, don't play it, and don't let your kids play it.

      Though I think sheltering your kids is far more harmful to their development than letting them play M-rated games, you don't see me insisting we pass laws saying you should let your kids play whatever games they want to. It's not my business to tell you how to raise your kids.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cephah (1244770)
        I used to think it was a silly position as well, but after reading a post on slashdot recommending this book [bookdepository.co.uk] I've gotta admit that I've changed stance on the subject. He compares video games with the military's conditioning. Say what you want, the guy knew a lot on the subject. PS: It's only the last chapter of the book that's about video games / movies and their effects but the rest is an interesting read.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gideon Fubar (833343)
          There's a lot more to military conditioning than target practice or tactical training. While these things are comparable in some ways, there are significant differences.

          For example, gamers are not subject to the same regime of fitness and discipline as recruits, and can stop at any point without fear of retribution. A soldier cannot stop training simply because he is tired, bored, hungry, there's something on TV, etc.

          There is a point to what you're saying, but the anti-games lobby (and JT in particular) t
          • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:12PM (#24128443)

            There's a lot more to military conditioning than target practice or tactical training. While these things are comparable in some ways, there are significant differences.

            To be fair, even target practice and tactical training have to be done over when moved to the real world.

            You're not going to learn to shoot well enough to pass the marine corps' firearms tests through a video game, no matter how much time you spend or how much some people would like to believe that's the case.

            Last time I shot, over a decade ago, I was a fair shot, but I wouldn't personally think that the limited experience I had with a real rifle would prepare me for trying to pass that test. And that's real weapons work, not simulated conditions.

            Likewise with the tactics, a lot of that ends up being muscle memory and training in using ones senses as part of the strategy, you aren't going to learn that via a video game, ever. Perhaps one could learn the very basics, but I doubt that it would take even a day to teach that.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by ShooterNeo (555040)

              Actually, I had a chance to test this. Before Army Basic Training, I spent hours on the videogame "America's Army", which has a level that is an accurate representation of the Fort Benning range. I remember it was pretty difficult to score 'expert' in order to be allowed to go to sniper training, which helped a lot in multiplayer.

              Well, in real life, I found my training carried over. It took a few practice sessions to get used to the weapon, but pretty soon shooting the real m16 felt like "clicking" on ta

    • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:46PM (#24126451) Homepage

      It may be a reasonable position, but is it a correct one? So far nobody's been able to come up with any hard numbers agreeing with it. All the results are either "no correlation" or "kids who play violent video games are slightly less likely to be violent than average".

      The position that if you're standing in the airlock of the ISS and give a good shove off, sending yourself flying away from the station and towards Earth, you'll burn up in the atmosphere is also a reasonable one. It just happens not to be correct. One orbit later you'll find yourself bumping off the ISS again. Common sense might say one thing, but orbital mechanics says another. I suspect the same thing's at work: common sense might say that violent games should beget violent acts, but reality and psychology don't work the way common sense says they should. Nothing new there, lots of things that're true violate common sense.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "It's really a shame that the anti-violent game lobby has someone like JT as a de-facto spokesman. "

      Not unless one supports that lobby, who remind me of the anti-comic book loons when I was young (eons ago).
      IMO they richly deserve him.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MightyMartian (840721)

        Indeed. Video games seem to have taken the place of tabletop roleplaying games as THE NEXT BIG EVIL THAT WILL TURN OUR KIDS INTO PSYCHOPATHS AND AWAY FROM JESUS!!!! It's the same sort of cranks with the same kinds of junk science, badly interpreted or even completely fraudulent statistics and with the same underlying support from the enemies of freedom; the Religious Right.

        I remember being a kid and having my parents all concerned that because I was playing D&D and Battletech that I was well on the way

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by schon (31600)

          my parents all concerned that because I was playing D&D and Battletech that I was well on the way to the lunatic asylum.

          Well, their concerns about D&D were unfounded, but the Battletech combat system was intentionally designed to make people crazy. After trying to GM a game of Battletech 20 years ago, I'm still recovering!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jwilcox154 (469038)

          Indeed. Video games seem to have taken the place of tabletop roleplaying games as THE NEXT BIG EVIL THAT WILL TURN OUR KIDS INTO PSYCHOPATHS AND AWAY FROM JESUS!!!! It's the same sort of cranks with the same kinds of junk science, badly interpreted or even completely fraudulent statistics and with the same underlying support from the enemies of freedom; the Religious Right.

          Wow, I didn't know Hillary [usatoday.com] was a part of the Religious Right. All this time I thought she was a leftist [ontheissues.org] who is trying to ban the sale of violent video games to children. [youtube.com] This is one step closer towards a total ban on video games someone doesn't like. IMO, Hillary is no different than Jack Thompson. Seems to me there is little difference between the right and the left as they both have their share of those who cry "Won't somebody please think of the children?"

          BTW, I am a Christian who doesn't support ban

    • Sure, the position is reasonable, but that's for parents to decide, not legislators. It's not like movies are similarly restricted.
    • First of all, where's the evidence that playing violent video games is actually bad? In Rome, people used to take their kids to the arena to watch gladiators kill, or be killed, by each other, elephants, lions, tigers, bears and so forth. The fact is that violence, and sometimes rather extreme violence, has been part of human entertainment for millennia. Heck, during wartime, educating the kiddies in violence has long been a tradition, just in case they're needed to either fight in battle or defend their

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "...generally bad for kids to play violent games."

      Please cite the study that comes to that conclusion. Be specific as to the age range the studies includes.

    • by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:40PM (#24127109)

      i.e. it's generally bad for kids to play violent games

      So be a good parent and don't let them. The price of convenience for lazy parents cannot and must not be the end of free speech for everyone else. The ratings system was and is a good compromise, it puts the tools into the hands of the parents to make their own decisions with regard to the welfare of their children and it should have ended with that. What I don't understand is why anyone would want to be on the side of limiting freedom of speech. The founding fathers were extremely wise in the considered trade-offs they made in those first ten amendments to the Constitution. They knew that some people would say things which they didn't agree with or didn't like hearing, but they had the foresight to realize the tremendous upside potential and value of free speech, even potentially objectionable speech, to the continuation of freedom and the democratic way of life. If you have to suffer the reality of violent video games, pron, and Rush Limbaugh so that free speech can continue then I say so be it.

  • Take Two must be sad that he will no longer do free advertisement.
    Well, he may still, but no one will listen to him.
  • ...is that he finds a respawn spot.

    Humor aside, we all know that he'll end up as a "moral pundit" or some similar shit on FOX News.

  • by NiceGeek (126629)

    I read that as "dismemberment" - oh well, disbarment works too.

  • by idiot900 (166952) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:57PM (#24126573)

    Penny Arcade made a very good point [penny-arcade.com] a few years ago, when Thompson was threatening them:

    We are actually fortunate that the current actor is so impotent in his role. Imagine what might happen if some charming, efficacious attorney took his place. The more I consider it the more I think we may be lucky to have Jack playing the part of the alarmist. The alternative might be someone who is actually capable.

    Now that it is even more obvious that Thompson is a nutcase, who is going to take his place? Someone competent in that role? That is a scary thought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      It's not like he has a job and when he's gone someone else will apply for it.
      If someone was really good at this, they would already be doing it.
      Not that someone won't step up for some other reason.

  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:00PM (#24126621)
    I hope he got well paid by Take Two for all his work in publicising Grand Theft Auto.
  • by nomadic (141991)
    I'm reading the magistrate's report, and even though I thought I was used to his craziness I'm shocked by what he's done. Take Two can easily weather the bad publicity, and even benefit slightly if they handle it right. The kind of garbage he pulls with the lawyers who "cross" him (i.e. file any sort of court pleading that he doesn't like) is beyond absurd. Sending letters to lawyers' wives accusing them of selling pornography to children, for example.
    • He sent the letter to the lawyer's wife indirectly because he'd been barred from contacting the lawyer's client. Crazy stalker loony, he is.
  • IANAL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:24PM (#24126887)

    This seems to be in Florida only.

    If he is disbarred there, can he pass the bar in another state?

  • by skribe (26534) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:32PM (#24126999) Homepage

    Referee recommends dismemberment for Jack Thompson?

    I know. Too much Dexter.

  • That's all good (and well deserved), but when are they going to get around to the RIAA and MPAA lawyers? They're just as bad at predatory practices and push the limits constantly. Disbar all of them as well!

  • Jack Thompson will simply reinvent himself as a lobbyist and if you think he was bad as a lawyer, wait until he has no rules by which to follow. I'm not so sure if just keeping him an ineffective lawyer would have been better.

  • My fiancee just read that as "Referee Recommends _Dismemberment_ For Jack Thompson".

    And while that may be slightly harsh from my perspective, I'm sure it'd get quite a few votes.

  • by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:13PM (#24127987)

    I have to question the journalism skills of a gaming site. Just like slashdot, they are very quick to do stories that promote a certain way of thinking, correct or not. Here's a bit of the PDF they built the story on:

    "It is apparent that other costs have or may be incurred. It is recommended that all such costs and expenses together with the foregoing itemized costs be charged to the Respondent, and that interest at the statutory rate shall accrue and be payable beginning 30 days after the judgement in this case becomes final unless a waiver is granted by the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar. It is further recommended that Respondent shall be deemed delinquent and ineligible to practice law persuant to R. Regulating Fla. Bar 1-3.6 for failure to timely pay the costs assessed in this proceeding."

    It looks more, to me, he's in trouble with just Florida, but only if he doesn't pay his fees on time. My understanding is, he could skip paying this. I don't think he's commented on what he'll do, but it's highly likely he'll pay like any other lawyer and be able to continue pestering people in Florida. Regardless, he has 49 other states to harass.

    • by Peyna (14792) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:53PM (#24128307) Homepage

      Congratulations, you can read the last page.

      The bit about costs is separate from the rest of the recommendation. If the Supreme Court adopts the referee's recommendation, he'll be disbarred for life. That's pretty much standard language they probably include where you temporarily lose your license if you don't pay the costs of the proceedings against you. If the final punishment was simply a reprimand, then the failure to pay would become more important. The costs issue is a separate punishment from the disbarment.

      In many states lawyers are suspended each year for failing to pay their bar dues. As soon as they pay them, they're reinstated.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Headw1nd (829599)
      On page 166 it very clearly states that they are recommending life disbarment, regardless of whether he pays or not.
  • not the end (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:20AM (#24130353) Homepage Journal

    You think we've seen the last of Jack?

    I don't think so. They guy has found out you can make a living out of being an asshole, he's not likely to drop that recipe for success. My bet is that he'll be doing the pundit round next. He'll found some institute so his CV can read "former lawyer, now chairman and founder of the No More Violence Institute" or something like it, and then he'll go from TV station to TV station and spread his crap. Very few of them will tell their viewers about his disbarment.

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