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Jack Thompson To Face Contempt Charge 239

Posted by Zonk
from the hahahahahahahah dept.
Gamasutra has the story (by way of the currently-down GamePolitics) that Jack Thompson could be facing a contempt charge over his antics during the Bully fiasco. From the article: "According to the report, the contempt of court request could find Thompson facing jail time, though it is more likely that 'fines, judicial admonishment or censure' would result from this most recent turn of events. The report also notes that attorneys representing the Philadelphia law firm Blank-Rome have filed a 'Petition for Order to Show Cause,' which requires Thompson to illustrate to a judge why he should not be held in contempt."
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Jack Thompson To Face Contempt Charge

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  • Rights (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:34PM (#16550468)
    I know people have the right to freedom of speech, but I wish he'd use his right to remain silent for once!
  • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:36PM (#16550498)

    This guy has some issues. Problably from playing too many games as a kid.

    • by rjung2k (576317) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:42PM (#16550608) Homepage
      "This guy has some issues. Problably from playing too many games as a kid."

      I think his problems come from not playing enough games as a kid, actually.
    • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:46PM (#16550680)

      HA! From another article linked from the orignal article...

      He also commented in the course of his email to GamePolitics: "When kids start showing up in ERs with slingshot wounds at the hands of Bully enthusiasts, don't blame me."

      I play D&D and I can tell you... slingshots do crap damage!

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:57PM (#16550840) Homepage Journal
        I play D&D and I can tell you... slingshots do crap damage!

        Yes, but level 0 children only get 2d2-1 hit points. (No idea really, just making this up - for the one purist who actually knows how many hit points level 0 children get.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          I play D&D and I can tell you... slingshots do crap damage!


          Yes, but level 0 children only get 2d2-1 hit points. (No idea really, just making this up - for the one purist who actually knows how many hit points level 0 children get.)


          They may have low hit points, but they have extremely high stamina and charisma.
          • by Miniluv (165290)
            Right after candy time their AC also drops precipitously. You just have to be patient and wait for the approach of naptime when they slow down and your THAC0 will allow you to hit them.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by budgenator (254554)
            yeah extremely high stamina, but charisma, kids? Generally the porblem with their stamina is their lack of charisma; do you have any idea how many questions a sugar-rushed three year old can ask in five minutes?
        • Re:Is it just me? (Score:5, Informative)

          by wgaryhas (872268) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:23PM (#16551238)
          1d4 + 0 to -3 (depending how much their constitution is reduced for their age)
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by wgaryhas (872268)
            I got stuck thinking about this, here is a more detailed list

            for a child -6 to constitution score (I think) so range between 1d4-5 to 1d4 + 1
            • 85.30% 1 HP
            • 9.38% 2 HP
            • 4.05% 3 HP
            • 1.16% 4 HP
            • 0.12% 5 HP
            • average: 1.21 HP

            for a youth -4 to constitution score (I think) so range between 1d4-5 to 1d4 + 2

            • 69.79% 1 HP
            • 15.51% 2 HP
            • 9.38% 3 HP
            • 4.05% 4 HP
            • 1.16% 5 HP
            • 0.12% 6 HP
            • average: 1.52 HP

            for a juvenile -2 to constitution score (I think) so range between 1d4-4 to 1d4 + 3

            • 50.00% 1 HP
            • 19.79% 2 HP
            • 12.62% 3 HP
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Control Group (105494)
          Nah. Level 0 NPCs with a class get an automatic max roll on that class' appropriate hit die. Level 0 NPCs without a class get 6 HP (default hit die is 1d6). Yes, this does mean that a non-classed NPC will have more HP than a level 0 or 1 magic user, but them's the breaks.

          At least, that's how it work at my table.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ultranova (717540)

          Yes, but level 0 children only get 2d2-1 hit points. (No idea really, just making this up - for the one purist who actually knows how many hit points level 0 children get.)

          In 3.5, level 1 Commoner (adult) gets 1d4 hit points. A slingshot makes 1d3 points of damage (1d4 if used by an adult), so a very lucky kid can take 4 hits before dying, but can die from the first and is likely to die at the second hit.

          Of course this all assumes that the kid is really a kid and not a skull child or some other hideou

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Deef (162646)
        I play D&D too, and I can tell you... how much damage they do depends a great deal on what you choose to launch with them. (Suggestions: ink, flour, glue, oil, holy water, acid, caltrops, alchemist's fire, thunderstones, poison darts, scorpions, etc.) Add rapid shot and multishot, and it starts to get to be some serious damage. The weapon requires a bit of creativity, but I think hearing the GM say "you're launching WHAT at the monster?!?" makes it totally worth it. :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hclyff (925743)
      Now that you mention it, I think maybe Tim Buckley had it right...

      http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20050 808 [ctrlaltdel-online.com]
  • by MuckSavage (658302) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:36PM (#16550504)
    In an email to GamePolitics, Thompson has responded to this request, writing, "You want to play hardball...? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You're at the brink..."


    Jesus.
    • by MarkGriz (520778) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:49PM (#16550716)
      "Jesus."

      Nope, don't think even Jesus can save him.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:49PM (#16550722)
      > In an email to GamePolitics, Thompson has responded to this request, writing, "You want to play hardball...? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You're at the brink..."

      "You don't know the history of barratry! I do! You're just being glib!"

      Since "jump the couch" is taken by Hollywood UFO-cultists, I hereby declare that Jack Thompson has officially "thrown the chair".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kinglink (195330)
      I was going to quote that because it sounds like he's a bad super villian, or a horrible hero saying stuff like that. He makes Static Shock look like a good idea for "super hero".

      Hell, isn't this just another threat? I have used this type of phrase before, but it's usually when every single fact backs me up and usually it's one of those times I'll flame back someone who's completely made fun of me, and willing to scorch the earth. But who actually attacked Jacko? Who made him look stupid in public excep
    • There's a guy out there who made a few hilarious short parodies called "Metal Gear Awesome," and "Awesome the Hedgehog."

      I think he could do a terrific Jack Thompsome.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:03PM (#16550922) Homepage Journal
      "You want to play hardball...?

      No, Jack, I don't. It's a violent sport which, through the constant throwing of small but unyielding missiles toward children, and supplying them with large club-like weapons, would only inspire mild-mannered old me to become a crazed bat-wielding psychopath who goes on a rampage through my school.
    • by nuzak (959558) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:06PM (#16550950) Journal
      "You're at the brink..."

      The brink? The brink?? The brink of what?!?!

      Curse you Jack, for keeping me in suspense! Come rant some more! Please?!?

    • NB: the message was not TO GamePolitics, since they're not involved in the proceedings. They just got hold of a copy.
    • by TomTraynor (82129)
      We now know who was the ghost writer of SCOs press releases and who was the mentor of the former Iraqi information minister.

      The guy needs to take some serious meds, look around and then admit that he lost. Both sides presented what they consider to be facts to an impartial arbiter of fact (judge). The judge made a decision and Thompson lost. If he was worried about our children...

      1. Watch TV sometimes, the images are quite graphic.
      2. Go to the library and check out the books there, they are even more g
  • by faloi (738831) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:36PM (#16550506)
    The report also notes that attorneys representing the Philadelphia law firm Blank-Rome have filed a 'Petition for Order to Show Cause,' which requires Thompson to illustrate to a judge why he should not be held in contempt."

    But can someone more legally inclined tell me why his response shouldn't be "because I'm innocent until proven guilty"?

    It sounds like they've issued a petition to force Thompson to show he did no wrong.
    • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:43PM (#16550630) Journal
      Not a lawyer (won't use the abbreviation, because it's gross), but a "contempt finding" is a separate matter from a criminal conviction. Basically, as a means to allow courts to "take care of their business", judges are given wide lattitude in punishments they can use to keep people in line while they're in the courtroom. All that is necessary is that a judge issue a finding of "contempt of court" and he can issue a variety of usually-lower-grade (compared to criminal convictions) punishments. Now, you can certainly say it's wrong that judges should have this power, but as it stands, most contempt findings don't need a jury trial, so to ask that, he'd be asking to overturn quite a bit of tradition.
      • Now, you can certainly say it's wrong that judges should have this power

        Wrong? More like horrifying.

        Non-elected position having no checks and balances? Gee, where have we heard this before?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          But it does have checks and balances. There are other judges, and panels of judges, that can, and do on occasion, overturn a contempt citation from another judge. That said, the laws governing the powers of a sitting judge in his courtroom were set by the legislators and the Constitutuon of the United States.
        • by c_forq (924234) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:22PM (#16551210)
          There is a check and balance system: appeals courts, superior courts, and supreme courts. Now the structure varies state to state, but every state has an system to appeal cases and charges.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Nimey (114278)
          Are you going to scream about activist judges?
        • by DDX_2002 (592881) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:26PM (#16551276) Journal
          It would be pretty sad if judges DIDN'T have the power to take immediate action against parties to litigation they're hearing and their counsel. Most every system of justice recognizes that courts have the inherent power to control their own processes.

          There are plenty of checks and balances, most notably that the normal citizen going about his business is never in a position to be bound by the order so he can't be in contempt of it. If you're subject to the court's order, you're either a party, or one of the parties' lawyers, or a third party that has been dragged in to this mess. Third parties generally don't get orders made against them without the right to appear and argue why the order should or shouldn't go. Usually, people get added to these things when it's a question of implementation of orders made against/between parties - the court orders A to do X for B, but C actually holds the money and isn't doing jack squat without an order requiring them to.

          You do occasionally get John Doe orders against any and all people currently illegally occupying a property, or whatever, but they're not especially common outside the labour context and environmental protests.

        • by bunions (970377)
          Oh calm down. The penalties for contempt are typically just a talking-to and a slap on the wrist. I'm not aware of any pattern of abuse, either current or historical. If you are, please share with the class.
        • by jdgeorge (18767)
          Non-elected position having no checks and balances? Gee, where have we heard this before?

          Hmmm. In my state, the state judges are elected. (Here [pbs.org] is some explanation of how that came about.)

          If I were disturbed by check & balance issue, though, it's not clear to me how a lack of check and balances for a judicial power should make me feel better than those who live in states where the judges are appointed, though.
        • Non-elected position having no checks and balances? Gee, where have we heard this before?

          a) The judge in this case has been elected.
          b) The "check" on this is immediate appeal to an appellate court, which frequently throw out contempt findings.
          c) Judges in Florida can be impeached; another check.
      • by hmccabe (465882)
        Not a lawyer (won't use the abbreviation, because it's gross)

        I agree with your points regarding law, which I know nothing about, but what's so gross about IANAL? Is it because it contains the letters A-N-A-L, in that order? If so, how do you refer to Panama's famous waterway?
        • It's not just that, it's that it makes a statement: IANAL = "I anal."

          Now imagine saying it as if the second word is a verb.

          Think about it.*

          *This post is intended only as an expression of personal preference and not a condemnation or praise of any particular lifestyle.
    • by Babbster (107076) <aaronbabb AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:50PM (#16550728) Homepage
      Well, it depends on the exact reasoning behind the petition, which the referenced news bite (can't call it an article) admits it doesn't have. For example, if I walk into court and call the judge a flaming asshole, I can be held in contempt of court and put in jail. There's no necessity for my guilt to be proven further because what I did was right there in court and on the record. The same might apply to a situation where a lawyer is under a "gag order" and goes on TV in defiance of the order. That lawyer can be held in contempt and, again, there's no trial involved once the violation of the judge's order is in evidence. Such situations can still be eligible for appeal, but a trial per se isn't necessary for the judge to make the initial decision.

      Again, I don't know the details of this specific claim, but there's a reason why many (most?) lawyers want to be judges. A lot of power comes with the robe, even in this age of "mandatory minimums" and the like.
    • by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:50PM (#16550738) Homepage Journal
      My legal education is a bit fuzzy but your last sentence hits the nail on the head. The petition does exactly what the article states: Thompson has to tell the judge why he shouldn't be held in contempt for doing whatever it is the court told him not to do.

      I haven't read the details but for the sake of argument let's say that the judge told both parties they couldn't do media interviews. Jack then turns around and does an interview with a family-friendly web site. That would be a contempt of court issue. The law firm is now trying to force Jack to explain why he shouldn't face whatever penalty the court said it would impose if either party talked to the media.

      This is different from whether Jack has been shown to be guilty. In essence, the law firm is telling the court, "Jack did what you told him not to do. I want you to force him to tell you why he shouldn't suffer the penalty."
      • by billstewart (78916) on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:05PM (#16551912) Journal
        RTFA. This wasn't the judge telling Jack the Dripper to show cause that he shouldn't be thrown in the slammer for contempt. This was Take-Two Games's lawyers filing a motion to ASK the judge to do that. IMHO, it's a bit tacky, but then this *is* Jack Thompson they're asking it about, so he's not in any position to take the high road here.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          You are technically correct. However, Take-Two is just pointing out to the judge where Jack had been in contempt and the judge missed it. To continue the GP's example, just because the judge happened not see the media interview that Jack took part of during the trial doesn't make Jack any less in contempt-of-court. It just means that the judge happened to be watching a different channel that night (or maybe the interview didn't air until later, for example.)
    • As others have pointed out, this is not a criminal charge we're talking about, so the burden of proof is different. There's no right to a jury trial, et cetera.

      But it's important to point out that the determination is made by the judge. So far, the lawyers have filed a petition for order to show cause, and that's it.

      The judge has not signed an order to show cause. So we don't even know if he's inclined to agree that Mr. Thompson's actions are contemptuous.
    • But can someone more legally inclined tell me why his response shouldn't be "because I'm innocent until proven guilty"?


      He isn't being asked to provide evidence that he didn't do what he's accused of doing. There is nothing to "prove" here, as there is no dispute over the facts of what he did. He's simply being given an opportunity to provide a justification for his contemptuous behavior toward the judge.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by asuffield (111848)

      But can someone more legally inclined tell me why his response shouldn't be "because I'm innocent until proven guilty"?

      While "innocent until proven guilty" is a fundamental component of any sane legal system, it's not the only such component. Another closely related one is called "prima facie" evidence. This is evidence that by itself proves guilt if no proper rebuttal is forthcoming from the other party. Once prima facie evidence has been supplied by the plaintiff, the defendant *has* been proven guilty if

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mstone (8523)
      ---- But can someone more legally inclined tell me why his response shouldn't be "because I'm innocent until proven guilty"?

      Because the motion in question basically says, "here's what we consider to be proof that he's guilty." Now it's Jack's turn to present his side of the story.

      The law is an adversarial process. The courts define 'truth' as being any statement both sides agree to allow into the record (though technically they use the word 'facts' rather than 'truth'). Then the judge's decision has to f
  • by Fuckin ROBOTS! (999276) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:36PM (#16550508)
    Huzzah for the overcrowded US Prison System! JT is certain to have his hoop stretched to an uncomfortable size 9 by someone who was imprisoned for Grand Theft Auto!
  • Joe Pesci (Score:5, Funny)

    by Don'tTreadOnMe (686201) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:38PM (#16550544)

    I want Joe Pesci to play Thompson in the upcoming movie, "Game Wars".

    Can you imagine Pesci saying, "You want to play hardball...? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You're at the brink..."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:52PM (#16550768)
      Can you imagine Pesci saying, "You want to play hardball...? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You're at the brink..."

      You have no chance to survive make your time.

    • by rts008 (812749)
      LOL! BTW- Damn you!- now I have that "clip" playing on a loop in my head-everyone is looking at me strangely as I sit here giggling like a school girl-Thanks!
      Oh s*it- Boss coming in now *opens fake spreadsheet*
    • by nuzak (959558)
      I dunno, when you really want a hellfire and damnation rant, you gotta go to the master: Al Pacino.

  • That he is the most brilliant guerrila marketeer the world has ever seen. A crazed laywer making claims about things he knows nothing about, all in the name of protecting the children. Its like trying to get the KKK to vocally vote for your opposition!
  • by Hubbell (850646) <brianhubbellii@liveYEATS.com minus poet> on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:50PM (#16550742)
    Never before have I advocated a severe beating for another person until I discovered who Jack Thompson was.
  • Tell him about the red hot gay action [kotaku.com] to be had in Bully.
  • by RyatNrrd (662756) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:05PM (#16550948) Homepage Journal
    ...but it was banned due to violent content.
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:14PM (#16551082)
    .... Needs some hot coffee.
  • by ENOENT (25325) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:25PM (#16551252) Homepage Journal
    From Wikipedia:

    "In sending documents to opponents, Thompson would frequently attach a photocopy of his driver's license, with a photo of Batman pasted over his own, just to make sure they knew who they were dealing with."
  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:43PM (#16551554)
    His guerilla maketing campaign for Bully has been nothing short of brilliant. Thanks to Jack, Bully has been at the top of the headlines for weeks and weeks prior to its release.

    Well done, I say.
    • by shigelojoe (590080) on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:43PM (#16552456)
      Now that I think about it, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case. Take a controversial public figure, pay him to do what he's famous for, and set up a false conflict. Gamers will flock to your product out of spite for your 'enemy', and anyone who's convinced by his rhetoric wouldn't be buying your games in the first place. Genius!

      Well, except for the judicial system wanting your head on a pike after they find out you've been using the courtroom as a PR outlet. Nothing a few campaign contributions wouldn't fix, though...
  • by dthree (458263) <chaoslite@@@hotmail...com> on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:09PM (#16551964) Homepage
    In an email to GamePolitics, Thompson has responded to this request, writing, "You want to play hardball...? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You're at the brink..."

    Does he think Blank-Rome is some kind of hick law firm in a backwater town? I seriously doubt they are underestimating what Thompson can "unleash" at any given time. How many different ways does everyone have to tell this guy to STFU?
  • by DeadboltX (751907) on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:21PM (#16552142)
    Jack Thompson must have had some severely traumatizing experience with video games as a child.

    Maybe he had a brother that played too much pacman, chowed down on some pills and then ate his mother.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by evilviper (135110)
      Maybe he had a brother that played too much pacman, chowed down on some pills and then ate his mother.

      It's her own fault for putting a blue sheet over her head...
  • by hxnwix (652290) on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:45PM (#16552492) Journal
    "You want to play hardball...? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You're at the brink..."

    That's pretty contemptible remark there, bully boy. You know, the judge didn't even make his last ruling with prejudice. I think that the next time you are struck down, you won't even be appealing to him anymore. Sure, you'll be able make all the noise you want, but he won't hear you!

    One really shouldn't be playing brinksmanship when he has so many holes in case. But really, on the hole, I think this judge is feeling pretty good. Eh hole? Hahahah. Yeah Jack, I'm flaming you. Burn in hell.
  • This is the greatest thing I have ever read on slashdot. I have been waiting for years to see him get what's coming to him.
  • by NeuroManson (214835) on Monday October 23, 2006 @10:44PM (#16555302) Homepage
    And actually tried to play "E.T." on the 2600 when he was a kid.

    Atari! What hath thou wrought?!

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