Anti-Game Lawyer Jack Thompson Permanently Disbarred
The Florida Supreme Court approved a recommendation made by Judge Dava Tunis earlier this year that Thompson receive a permanent disbarment with no opportunity for reinstatement.
Tunis had presided over a long disciplinary proceeding in which the Florida Bar raised 31 separate disciplinary issues concerning Thompson; the Judge determined he was guilty on 27 of these, and in addition to recommending enhanced disbarment, she also recommended Thompson pay legal fees in the amount of $43,675.35 to the Bar. The Florida Supreme Court also ruled that Thompson must pay these fees in addition to approving the Judge's disbarment recommendation.
Thompson was best known in the video game community for his often aggressive public and legal crusades against violent video games, most notably the Grand Theft Auto series. He aimed to levy legal responsibility against Sony and Rockstar Games in a 2003 Alabama murder case, and has also attempted to have Bully declared a public nuisance. His conduct in both these cases largely led to his eventual disciplinary hearing before the Florida Bar.
Throughout the process Thompson sent copious mass emails to the media and to court officials in his own defense and several similar missives and faxes to the Florida Courts. These communications may actually have hurt his case rather than helped it, as faxes he sent to the court were said to contain graphic, inappropriate material -- a fact later cited as another factor in his disciplinary hearings.
Thompson's disbarment comes into effect thirty days from today, or earlier if he closes out any outstanding obligations to his clients before then. Thompson will not be able to apply for a reinstatement to the bar, but according to game weblog Kotaku, the courts will consider a retrial for him if the motion is signed by a Bar attorney in good standing.
In a press release published at Kotaku, Thompson said: "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."
He continued, "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 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."