Friday, 26 September 2008

You don't know Jack. . . .

Famous shyster John "Jack" Thompson is to be disbarred within the next 30 days - but not for ten years as was originally recommended, but permanently.

The conclusion to the recommendation by Judge Tunis goes as follows:

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.

Read the full recommendation here

The court has approved the recommendation, and so the clock is now ticking before everyone's favourite lawyer becomes an ex-lawyer (at least in Florida).

The Court approves the corrected referee's report and John Bruce Thompson is permanently disbarred, effective thirty days from the date of this order so that respondent can close out his practice and protect the interests of existing clients. If respondent notifies the Court in writing that he is no longer practicing and does not need the thirty days to protect existing clients, this Court will enter an order making the permanent disbarment effective immediately. Respondent shall accept no new business from the date this order is filed.

Is Jack going to take this lying down? Not likely. He is attempting to appeal the decision and, of course, is letting everyone know his own peculiar slant on the events, as evidenced in his latest press release:

Miami attorney Jack Thompson, nationally and internationally known by virtue of his effective and successful opposition over the last 20 years to the broadcast, marketing, and sale of adult-rated entertainment to children, has just been informed by the Florida Supreme Court that he has been disbarred from the practice of law today.

This disbarment is in retaliation, among other things, for Thompson’s Tyndale House book Out of Harm’s Way, published in 2005, which blew the whistle on the Florida Supreme Court’s earlier efforts in the 1990’s to literally pathologize his faith-based and successful activism against the American entertainment industry. The Florida Bar’s insurance carrier was forced to pay Thompson money damages for that earlier assault upon his First Amendment rights, which is the only known payment of damages by any state bar to any lawyer for improper disciplinary efforts. It appears that the State of Florida will be paying Thompson more damages this time around for its illegal, now repeated, use of “discipline” to punish a Christian lawyer for his activism in the public square.

The timing of this disbarment transparently reveals its motivation: This past Friday Thompson filed a federal civil rights action against The Bar, the Supreme Court, and all seven of its Justices. This rush to disbarment is in retribution for the filing of that federal suit. With enemies this foolish, Thompson needs only the loyal friends he has.

Thompson looks forward to successfully litigating his federal claims, now before US District Court Judge Marcia Cooke in the Southern District of Florida.

Thompson always wanted to own a Bar. Now, armed with multiple US Supreme Court rulings that no state bar can do what it has done to Thompson, he is set to own that Bar.

A wise man once said: "When you reach the bottom of your hole, you stop digging." Jack isn't a wise man and looks to be going out in his usual style - kicking, screaming and blaming various conspiracies for his current situation.

I'm going to make something clear. If it comes to the idea of restricting the sale of violent games to children then hey, I'm in favour of that. Age ratings for games and parental involvement (at least in the UK) achieves just that. Same for restricting access to "certain materials" on the Internet. As a parent, it is my responsibility to protect my children from that. My responsibility, not Jack Thompson's.

As an adult gamer I have the right to play the games that I want to, and as a parent I also have the right to prevent my children from playing those games, if I deem them inappropriate. I don't need some legal muchkin to tell me right from wrong. I'm capable of deciding that for myself thank you very much.

As someone in his mid thirties who has been a gamer for most of his life, I can honestly say that I've never murdered anyone, gone on any killing sprees, stolen any cars or any of the other things that Jack claims that games are training us for. And yes, I have played Grand Theft Auto.

Accepting responsibility for ones own actions is something that we all should be able to do, but if you think Mr Thompson is going to do that, then you don't know Jack.


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