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‘Decency Crusader’ Under Fire in Fla.

Attorney Jack Thompson, known for his efforts against violent video games, adult entertainment and dirty rap lyrics, now faces sanctions, allegations of misconduct.
‘Decency Crusader’ Under Fire in Fla.
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Sep 29, 2007 10:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
MIAMI — Recent developments in the contentious sparring between attorney and self-proclaimed defender of American youth Jack Thompson and the Florida Bar have taken a bizarre turn in which explicit online gay erotica has grabbed center stage.

Likely best known for his recent efforts to ban the sale of violent videogames to minors, Thompson has argued strenuously that stricter laws are needed to curb distribution of sexually explicit content online — material that Thompson frequently has referred to as “sewage.”

Thompson, already facing allegations of professional misconduct stemming from his actions in the videogame-related case Strickland vs. Sony, last week filed a complaint against the Bar, asserting that the Bar had engaged in “selective prosecution,” and of conspiring against him with Norm Kent, a Ft. Lauderdale attorney and frequent opponent of Thompson.

In his complaint, Thompson alleged that the Bar had been engaged in “enthusiastic, recidivist collaboration with Mr. Kent, over a 20-year period, at Thompson’s expense,” and asserted that the “hectoring by this mutually convenient collaboration never ends.”

To document Kent’s alleged distribution of pornography, Thompson attached to his complaint explicit images depicting gay sex that he claimed were linked to from Kent’s website.

In his complaint, Thompson complained that when he brought the issue of Kent’s alleged distribution of pornography to the Bar’s attention, as well as what he called the Bar’s “out-of-hand rejection of ethics concerns in that regard,” Thompson was disappointed to find the state’s high court and a referee from the Bar weren’t receptive to his evidence, and instead “expressed their anger that Thompson would dare bring to their attention Kent’s distribution of hardcore porn to anyone of any age through his law firm web site.”

According to Thompson, if the court fails to rectify the Bar’s double-standard that he asserted in his complaint, such would indicate that “the functional purpose of The Florida Bar is to protect the porn industry, persecute Christian lawyers for their “mental illness,” and turn the entire disciplinary process into a prurient act performed upon the public, including the children to whom Mr. Kent willy-nilly makes this sewage available with no age verification system.”

Thompson’s complaint — or, more accurately, the materials submitted in support of his complaint — appears to have merely produced more ill will for Thompson on the part of the court. In attaching graphic images as an exhibit for his complaint, Thompson may have opened himself up to disciplinary action.

In an order to show cause, District Judge Adalberto Jordan wrote that Thompson’s complaint was “filed electronically in the docket in this case, without prior permission from the court, and it was not filed under seal.”

“Mr. Thompson filed these images — in a place where they are available for viewing by members of the public, including children — notwithstanding his knowledge of their offensive nature,” Jordan wrote in his order. “In fact, Mr. Thompson himself found the images to be so offensive that they were the subject of a request on his part to the Florida Bar to prosecute the attorney who allegedly provided links to the images on his law firm’s website.”

Jordan concluded his order by demanding that Thompson “show cause why this incident should not be referred to the court’s ad hoc committee on attorney admissions, peer review, and attorney grievance for appropriate action.”

In response to Jordan’s order to show cause, Thompson mocked the judge’s concern over the images being publicly available, and took the opportunity to compare himself to a legendary American herald.

“With all respect to this court and its sensibilities, Thompson suggests to the court that its fanciful surmise that children are on the Internet, paying money via a credit card, for the purpose of perusing federal court files to see obscene images is not well-founded,” Thompson wrote. “In fact, it is fanciful.”

Focusing on Thompson’s filing rather than the alleged distribution of the images by Kent, Thompson argued, was “akin to arresting Paul Revere, in 1775, for ‘disturbing the peace’ with his midnight ride.”

Thompson told XBIZ via email that he was not concerned about the complaints filed against him by the Bar. Asked if he thought there was any legitimate basis for the complaints, Thompson replied with a simple “no.”

When asked if he thought the Bar was “anti-Christian,” Thompson said “absolutely — I have proof.”

Asked whether he believed that sexually explicit materials should be banned, Thompson replied that “the only issue for me is the sale of mature products to minors.”

Attorney Lawrence Walters, who has worked with both the adult entertainment and videogame industries, told XBIZ that Thompson is considered a marginal figure within legal circles.

“The courts across the country have uniformly and consistently rejected Thompson’s novel claims that videogames cause criminal behavior, and should be censored as a ‘nuisance,’” Walters said. “The only thing he has been able to accomplish is to bring the wrath of several judges, and now the Florida Bar, on himself, for his bizarre and unethical behavior.”

The Florida Bar told XBIZ that the organization could not comment on its complaints against Thompson, or the lawsuit he has filed against the Bar.

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