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Last year's Supreme Court case on games cost California $1.8M

Last year's Supreme Court case on games cost California $1.8M

February 22, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

Last year's major Supreme Court case on video game legislation ended up being fairly costly for California taxpayers. In its efforts to defend the now-overturned law, the state has been forced to pay fees totaling roughly $1.8 million.

The state previously agreed to pay $1.3 million to the ESA to help it recoup its legal fees -- and that's on top of an additional $500,000 the state spent on its own legal efforts, reports The Sacramento Bee.

Despite the fees, California state Senator Leland Yee, the man behind the overturned law, has no regrets about fighting to restrict the sale of violent video games to minors.

"When you fight the good fight for a cause you know is right and just, and it's about protecting kids, you don't ever regret that," he told The Bee.

Governor Jerry Brown's former chief deputy, Jim Humes, added, "I think we felt the issue was so important that it warranted the costs associated with it."

Those on the other side of the issue, however, view the situation a bit differently. Attorney Paul M. Smith, who represents the game industry, said that the industry gave the state fair warning, and that these legal fees could have been avoided.

"I think it's fair to say the industry warned the state that they were just getting themselves into a big legal mess and they would end up having to pay attorney fees -- and that's exactly what happened," he said.

During the months leading up to last summer's ruling, industry supporters argued that California's proposed law was unconstitutional, as it put unfair government restrictions on video games and thus violated the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court issued its final ruling in June 2011, and sided with the game industry with a 7-2 vote, putting video games on equal ground with other forms of media in terms of government regulation.

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