The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 6): Bully Case Judge Testifies

March 25, 2008 -

Whatever you think about Jack Thompson, there are times when he can play the media like a Stradivarius. And so it was that he managed to hold the attention of both the mainstream and gaming press for several weeks in 2006 while he sought to block the release of Rockstar’s Bully in Florida.

Thompson’s unusual suit, which charged that the T-rated Bully was a public nuisance, came before Judge Ronald Friedman on the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. In an early-round win for Thompson, Friedman ordered Take Two to produce the game for an in-chambers viewing prior to its retail launch.

That would be Thompson’s only victory in the case, which quickly turned contentious (anyone surprised?). Thompson blasted Friedman endlessly following the judge’s ruling that he would not grant Thompson's petition to block Bully’s release. Thompson upped the ante by announcing that he would run for Friedman’s seat in 2008. We note that Thompson does not appear to be following through on that claim.

For his part, Judge Friedman wasted little time in filing a complaint against Thompson with the Florida Bar. The Friedman complaint was one of several on which the Bar opted to take Thompson to trial last November. In this multi-part series GamePolitics has been publishing excerpted transcripts from the video game-related portions of the Thompson Bar trial. Today's edition covers the direct testimony of Judge Friedman. Due to the length of Friedman's testimony, Thompson's cross examination of the judge will appear in the next installment.

( 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…)

TUMA: Can you tell us what Mr. Thompson asked you to do to make the determination of entering an injunction [to bock the release of Bully]?

RF: He wanted me to review the game and prohibit its distribution, which was scheduled a few days later, maybe a week later.

TUMA: Did you entertain his request?

RF: I did... I heard arguments from both sides. The counsel for the defendants [Take Two] did not think it was necessary to do any of this because under the First Amendment, they had a right to make the distribution.

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 5): 2nd Take Two Attorney Testifies

March 23, 2008 -

Background for today’s testimony: Rebecca Ward was one of two Blank Rome attorneys who testified against Jack Thompson in his November, 2007 Bar trial. Ward, along with James Smith, represented Take Two Interactive and other video game industry defendants in the $600 million Strickland vs Sony lawsuit which Thompson filed in Alabama.

It was upon a motion filed by Smith and Ward that Judge James Moore, in November, 2005, revoked Thompson’s pro hac vice (visiting) right to practice law in Alabama, essentially throwing him off the Strickland case, which alleged that a 2004 triple cop killing was prompted by the 18-year-old murderer’s play of Grand Theft Auto.

(Smith and Ward filed a Bar complaint against Thompson and were called to testify at his trial.  In the excerpted transcripts, WARD is Ward. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

TUMA: Can you please identify that exhibit for the Court?

WARD: This is an e-mail... from Mr. Thompson, addressed to me, three other partners at my law firm, and our local counsel in Alabama, dated September 21, 2005.

TUMA: ...can you read the first sentence, please?

WARD: ..."Two of the partners in your firm, James T. Smith and Rebecca D. Ward, have decided to do a very foolish and very unethical thing... Your two partners have also presided over the decision of Rockstar to launch a website and suggest that I am a bisexual pedophile..."

TUMA: Can you tell me at any time if you have presided over the decision of Rockstar to launch a website?

WARD: No. In fact the particular website in question, I didn't even know existed until Mr. Thompson sent this e-mail.

420 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (part 4): Take Two Attorney Testifies Against Thompson

March 21, 2008 -

Background for today's testimony: James Smith was one of two Blank Rome attorneys who testified against Jack Thompson in his November, 2007 Bar trial. Smith, along with Rebecca Ward, represented Take Two Interactive and other video game industry defendants in the $600 million Strickland vs Sony lawsuit which Thompson filed in Alabama.

It was upon a motion filed by Smith and Ward that Judge James Moore, in November, 2005 revoked Thompson's pro hac vice (visiting) right to practice law in Alabama, essentially throwing him off the Strickland case, which alleged that a 2004 triple cop killing was prompted by the 18-year-old murderer's play of Grand Theft Auto.

(Smith and Ward filed a Bar complaint against Thompson and were called to testify at his trial.  In the excerpted transcripts, SMITH is Smith. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

TUMA: Explain to the Court why you filed your Bar complaint in this matter against Mr. Thompson.

SMITH: [Our complaint deals] with a history of the most offensive, abusive conduct that I have ever encountered in the 25 years or so that I have been a lawyer... I continue to get e-mails. I think I got one last week from Mr. Thompson. They have the same menacing tone, the same offensive quality to them. Nothing, in my view, has stopped him and I expect that when I leave here today that he will bombard me -

JT: Your Honor -

SMITH: -and my law firm with more e-mails -

JT: Your Honor, motion to -

SMITH: -because that's what he does.

JT: Your Honor, motion to strike. That's conjecture.

DT: Overruled.

JT: Overruled?

DT: Yes, overruled. Continue.

TUMA: Can you explain to the Court what effect Mr. Thompson's conduct has had on you?

318 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 3): Thompson Cross-Examines Judge Who Kicked Him Off GTA Cop Killer Case

March 20, 2008 -

GP: This article contains lengthy excerpts from controversial attorney Jack Thompson's cross-examination of Alabama Circuit Court Judge James Moore. That being the case, I'm going to dispense with an intro and assume you've got the back story already. If not, you'll want to check out part 1 and part 2 before you tackle this section...

(We pick up as Florida Bar prosecutor Sheila Tuma has completed her direct questioning of Judge James Moore. Thompson begins his cross-examination. In the excerpted transcripts, MOORE is Judge James Moore. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case...)

JT: Judge Moore, did you bring a libel action against me?

MOORE: No.

JT: Why not?

MOORE: Well -

TUMA: Objection to relevancy.

DT: Overruled.

MOORE: Why not?

JT: Yes.

MOORE: Mr. Thompson, I want to have the least amount of contact with you I can have. I don't know how to put it any other way than that. I don't want to see you...

(Thompson turns to the issue of whether he violated Judge Moore's order by sending out press releases about the Alabama "GTA killer" case...)

JT: You say that you entered an order that prevented me from communicating about this particular case. Did you say that?

261 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 2): Judge Who Removed Thompson From Alabama GTA Case Testifies

March 19, 2008 -

This is the second part of an investigative series that Miami attorney Jack Thompson apparently doesn't want you to read.

The game industry nemesis today threatened GamePolitics and its parent company, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) with legal action over GP's detailed coverage of Thompson's recent trial on professional misconduct charges by the Florida Bar.

Thompson's view seems to be that we can't print selected excerpts from the trial testimony, but rather that we have a legal responsibility to report on the testimony of all witnesses, including Thompson, who himself testified for five days.

That's nonsense. That would mean that GP's First Amendment rights are null and void, that we don't get to determine what we print, but rather that Jack Thompson does.

To put it mildly, that's not happening.

264 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 1): Accused of Case-Fixing, Alabama Lawyer Fires Back at Thompson

March 18, 2008 -

As previously reported by GamePolitics, Miami attorney and video game industry nemesis Jack Thompson underwent a career-threatening, nine-day trial on Florida Bar misconduct charges late last year.

As might be expected, the proceedings before Judge Dava Tunis produced no small amount of sparks. A ruling on the Bar's case against Thompson has not yet been issued by the Judge. Her decision is expected next month.

In the meantime, Thompson has filed a suit under Florida's False Claims Act against Judge Tunis as well as six justices of the Florida Supreme Court, alleging that written loyalty oaths required under state law were not properly completed, thus invalidating any rulings they might make - including, presumably, any ruling in the Thompson Bar trial. The false claims case is pending.

Although GamePolitics was unable to cover the Thompson Bar trial in person, we have obtained transcripts of the testimony provided by five prosecution witnesses, each of whom relates in some way to Thompson's ongoing crusade against violent video games. Included within the transcripts is Thompson's cross-examination of the witnesses. Some other prosecution witnesses whose testimony did not relate to video game issues were judged to be outside the scope of this GamePolitics investigative report and their testimony will not be included in these articles.

Aside from his own multiple days of testimony, Thompson presented no additional witnesses. GamePolitics does not have transcripts of Thompson's testimony, although we are working to acquire his closing argument. Thompson was offered the opportunity to comment on the Bar trial for this series, but declined to do so. He also declined GP's request to provide the text of his closing argument.

In the first installment of this multi-part series, today's edition of GamePolitics will examine the dramatic testimony of Clatus Junkin, an attorney and former judge from Fayette, Alabama. Junkin was called as the first witness against Thompson by Florida Bar prosecutor Sheila Tuma on November 26th, 2007.

183 comments | Read more

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which Feminist Frequency video are you looking forward to most?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Wonderkarpgot my Reading Rainbow kickstarter rewards....I cant tell if this is a sticker or a bumper sticker.01/30/2015 - 5:38pm
Goth_SkunkAs such, the first playthrough is always going to be the most evocative.01/30/2015 - 3:47pm
Goth_SkunkSo while branching storyline is hallmarked as a feature of the game, the storyline never stays branched for too long. There is a linear story that may branch at points, but each branch always comes right back to the main line further down the road.01/30/2015 - 3:46pm
Goth_SkunkMy biggest gripe about it though would have to be that its replay value sucks. I quickly learned that apart from a few key decisions you make, most choices end up not being relevant because something terrible happens anyway.01/30/2015 - 3:45pm
Goth_SkunkI *love* The Walking Dead. Like I said, I played Season 1 through in one go, and subsequently pre-purchased Season 2 in its entirety sight-unseen.01/30/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew EisenBy the by, I take it you're a fan of Telltale's Walking Dead? I'm one of the very few who really doesn't like it. Bums me out.01/30/2015 - 3:39pm
Andrew EisenI think we're safe with stuff like Life is Strange, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, and TellTale's games. I was thinking more along the lines of D4. It's genuinely up in the air whether we'll get a conclusion to that story or not.01/30/2015 - 3:33pm
Goth_SkunkUltimately, from this potentially ignorant perspective, it's the gamer who assumes the risk, not the developer. I don't approve. Fortunately, I'm only paying $5 (CDN, no less), so that's money I can easily write off if I'm disappointed.01/30/2015 - 3:32pm
Goth_SkunkIf I'm wrong, and the unthinkable should happen where the developer ends up aborting production of the rest of the episodes, bundle purchasers would be understandably upset. Even moreso if attempting to get a refund turns out to be a hassle.01/30/2015 - 3:30pm
Goth_SkunkThere is an option on XBL to purchase all episodes in a bundle. Pay full price now, get the rest of the episodes as they're released. I would like to think this means that the other episodes are in fact done and ready.01/30/2015 - 3:29pm
Andrew EisenCatch 22 sometimes. Some gamers don't want to buy it if there's no guarantee the whole thing will come out and the whole thing can't come out unless enough people buy the early installments.01/30/2015 - 3:17pm
Goth_SkunkI sincerely hope this trend towards episodic games is not done so because the developer only had enough capital to produce the first 1/5th of the story and is banking on making enough money from the sales of that fifth to produce the rest.01/30/2015 - 3:16pm
Goth_SkunkThat being said, I want to try Life is Strange to get my feet wet.01/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Andrew EisenI'm that way too. I'll wait until the whole thing is out. Same goes for DVDs of TV shows. I'll wait for the season set.01/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Goth_SkunkIf an episodic game is really good, and the time between episodes is more than a week, I'm more inclined to wait for the rest of the episodes to all come out than to try playing it episode by episode at launch date.01/30/2015 - 3:12pm
Goth_SkunkAs someone who played through TWD Season 1 entirely in one day, and then played Season 2 episode by episode when they each came out, I strongly agree with this sentiment.01/30/2015 - 3:11pm
Goth_SkunkFrom what I've been hearing, people haven't been buying it because they're sick of episodic games where they have to wait 6 weeks or more between episodes and they'd rather just wait for the whole thing to come out at once.01/30/2015 - 3:10pm
Andrew EisenNot sure what GamerGate could do to dissuade people from buying a game they'd otherwise be interested in or why it would even want to but I agree, I think the premise is interesting and look forward to learning more about how it actually plays.01/30/2015 - 2:58pm
Goth_SkunkAnd for what it's worth, I saw Life is Strange advertised today on XBL, and the premise looks very, very intriguing. I'm going to buy it today and give it a shot.01/30/2015 - 2:42pm
Goth_SkunkI'm hearing rumours that the recently released game Life is Strange is not selling very well on Steam, and that GamerGate is being blamed as a result. It's just a rumour though.01/30/2015 - 2:42pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician