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The war has been a long one, with casualties piling up on both sides… actually, it turns out that the only casualty in Jack Thompson’s war against video games may be Thompson himself. A graduate of Vanderbilt Law School (strange… I just developed an excruciating pain in my fingers after typing that…), Thompson has spent the better part of the decade waging war against the video game industry, ranging from video game makers like Take-Two Interactive to well-known and respected video game pundits like Penny-Arcade. In his tirades, Thompson abused the court system, filing suits against practically anyone that disagreed with him. Last year the war reached a fever pitch, culminating in Thompson’s disbarment in the state of Florida. In the disbarment order, the Florida judge had this to say:
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.…
So ended Act One. However, undeterred, Jack Thompson continued his assault on the industry through the legal system by attempting to convince state legislatures in Utah and Louisiana to pass anti-video game laws. Both attempts proved to be epic fails, however. Adding injury to insult, an Alabama judge dismissed one of his pending cases with prejudice. It now appears Act Two in the Thompson drama may be coming to a close, as Thompson now faces federal disbarment. According to the document, Thompson has until July 26 to answer a federal judge order explaining “why the imposition of the identical discipline [as the Florida permanent disbarment] would be unwarranted and the reasons therefore.” No proper response has been filed as of today, but when/if it is filed, I’m sure it’ll be riveting.
This is the point in my post where I usually express my personal beliefs…but I really don’t have a whole lot to add this time. I don’t know the guy personally, but I’m willing to bet that Jack Thompson isn’t a bad guy, per se. Nonetheless, I believe the Florida disbarment was absolutely necessary. Mr. Thompson was running amok, and if there’s one thing I hate to see as a future attorney, it’s abuse of the legal system for someone’s personal gain. It appears that judges at both the state and federal levels share my feelings on that point. While I’m not particularly excited that a man is in jeopardy of losing his livelihood, it’s good to see the courts are willing to step in and prevent lawyers from abusing the system.
– Rylan Smith
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