Jack Thompson disbared!
With Jack Thompson’s recent permanent disbarment, the legal system has lost its greatest champion since Judge Juggles The Clown drowned in a courtroom filled with custard. While his newly non-professional status frees him up for a shot at the 2009 Dumbass Olympics, we commemorate his career’s passing by looking back at ten great Thompson moments.
1. Battling Janet Reno
Long before taking on Take-Two and Rockstar, John Bruce “Jack” Thompson had his sights set on becoming state prosecutor in Dade county. His opponent was then-state attorney Janet Reno, and in a contest to determine who was best suited to prove the guilt of those accused of murder, rape, and kidnapping he opted for the strategy of “calling her a lesbian”.
No, sorry, “calling her a lesbian in the fashion of a nine-year-old boy in homeroom”, as he passed her a note asking her to check a box to indicate that she was heterosexual/bisexual/homosexual. We assume he then giggled and blew spitballs at whatever the equivalent of a teacher is at a campaign event. She placed a hand on his shoulder and explained that she was only attracted to virile men, which is why she wasn’t attracted to him.
In the words of the videogames, he hates so much, PWN3D. His response? To file a police report claiming her very touch on his person constituted battery, or in other words, demanding those police officers were needed to defend him from the Death Grip of a fifty-year-old woman. Janet Reno went on to supervise the convictions of the Unabomber, Timothy McVeigh, and the World Trade Center bombers. Jack went on to pick and lose fights against people who provide home entertainment.
2. Batman of Rap
In 1990 Jacky, as we will now refer to him as “Jack” is entirely too manly a name for one who fears the Kung Fu of a woman over half a century old, decided that Rap was his new enemy. In his campaign against 2Live Crew’s “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” he claimed that he was Bruce Wayne, a Batman to fight the evils of Rap Music. Not just in words: he wore a Bat-watch and mailed people copies of his driver’s license with pictures of Batman edited in. Hands up if that sounds like the act of a well-adjusted legal professional (there will be no hands up, as anybody who tries to raise one will find it inconveniently “restrained” by some kind of “jacket”).
Note that this was in 1990, the year a Florida psychiatric evaluation certified him as sane. Indicating that Florida has needed to seriously re-evaluate its mental health standards for nearly 20 years, as anyone who’s been there will agree. Unfortunately, he never emulated Batman to the point of leaping through a plate glass skylight into a warehouse full of rappers because, honestly, the results from that would have been really funny.
3. Heath High School Case
In 1997 Jackqueline filed suit against the makers of Doom, MechWarrior, several other games, most of Hollywood and the parts of the Internet with porn on them. He claimed $33 million in damages on behalf the more opportunistic families of victims, and despite the fact that the sheer number of “defendants” meant they could pay twenty cents each and probably meet the bill, the case was dismissed for even presenting a legally recognizable claim. The closest the legal profession can actually get to going “Say What?” with a disgusted expression on its face.
His argument was that Doom was an extremely accurate military-style murder simulator, meaning either he hasn’t actually seen Doom or the US Army is seriously under-reporting the number of demon-infested martian bases currently listed as combat zones.
4. Columbine, Virginia, NIU
Jacki leaped back into the spotlight and single-handedly invented the classy concept of “massacre chasing”, weighing in on the Virginia Tech shootings with all the tact and respect of a randy rhinoceros in a petting zoo. And about the same level of coherence. His tirades were slightly less accurate than a blind pygmy with a crystal ball and much less entertaining. By the Northern Illinois Shootings Jackisha was being introduced as a “Campus Shooting Expert” – the fact that neither he nor Fox saw any problem with that says more about them than we could.
5. The Penny Arcade Donation
Jackette offered ten thousand dollars to the charity of choice of anyone who made a game representing the murder of Take-Two boss Paul Eibeler. When he was taken up on the offer he cunningly revealed that the entire “offering to give money to charity” thing was satire. A revolutionary new form of satire, not the definition of satire shared by dictionaries, or the rest of the English speaking world, but instead defined by Jackisha as “dangling money in front of people in need and whipping it away at the last moment. Also, lying and chickening out of things in an incredibly public manner.”
The makers of gaming webcomic Penny Arcade donated the money on his behalf to the Child’s Play charity for sick children. There are many ways to interpret people spending five figures to make up for your bad debt: shame, guilt, withdrawal from public life to atone in a remote monastery. Jack opted to call the police. On the grounds that two men donated their own money to charity. Also, the case had about as much chance of success as a souffle-based armor-piercing bullet, showing Jack’s keen legal acumen and the way he certainly doesn’t use the due process of a free country as a club to threaten people with.
6. Chickens out of the fake debate
Thompson kept up his “Being a lying coward in public” streak in 2008 by challenging, nay, daring the Simula-Samuel L Jackson of Newsgroper to a debate. When he was taken up on the offer, well, guess what happened.
We can understand running from a flight from the real Samuel L Jackson. That’s the only sensible option – at the last count he’s a renegade FBI SHIELD agent Jedi Samurai Mob Enforcer who plays by his own rules, and on top of all that, he’s Samuel Goddamn Jackson. But a fake Jackson? Here’s a hint, Jacki, because it’s become clear you don’t understand this technology stuff: the people pretending to be tough online are pretty much the opposite. Somebody pretending to be Sam L is likeliest the whitest, palest inoffensive non-mofo you’ll find outside the albino ward of an osteoporosis hospital.
7. NIMF tells him to get lost
The warning sirens on the Crazy-ometer were really blaring when even the National Institute on Media and the Family announced that it wasn’t him, it was them, and if he could go and scream and fling shit like a lunatic somewhere else, that would be just super. NIMF, the people who invented the idiotic non-word “killographic” and have accused video games of promoting not just murder but outright cannibalism, looked at Jack Thompson and said “Damn, but that guy is crazy”.
8. Florida bar: Put up or shut up. In fact, put up AND shut up
2008 was the year that the Florida Bar finally had enough of Jack making a mockery out of their entire livelihood – only eighteen years after the first time they accused him of being insane, so you can see the lightning speed of justice in the Sunshine State. He was ordered to attend a disbarment trial which could ban him from the legal profession for five years. To add “We can file extra lawsuits too” insult to the career-injury, they filed a show cause order stating that he would have to legally prove that he hasn’t been using the legal system as his own personal soapbox and Threatening-Stick. Which at this point would be pretty tricky.
They also ruled that any further legal proceedings filed by Jack must be cosigned by another member of the Florida Bar, or put another way, they are literally saying “You are not allowed to play with our legal system unless supervised by a responsible adult.” He reacted to being told that he was now legally viewed as a minor by immediately filing an appeal. Without a signature.
9. Walks out of his own hearing
Of course, Jack wouldn’t settle for disbarment. With his behavior he managed to get the case elevated to “enhanced disbarment”, forbidding him from practicing law for a full decade, and stormed out of his own proceedings and accusing the judge of not having the authority to hear them.
To restate: he walked out of proceedings on the grounds that the judge in a case brought against him by the Supreme Court did not have the necessary legal authority. Short of Jesus returning, going to law school, and combining with the President and Buddha to form The Right Honourable Lawyo-Tron, it’s hard to imagine who he imagines would have the authority.
He not only accused the judge of being unqualified but also of being mentally unbalanced and started throwing around phrases like “killing three thousand people”. For those of us who’ve been within ten meters of a law enforcement official since 9/11, that’s generally regarded as a bad idea. A really bad idea. A “US Marshals dispatched to your home to explain why talking about committing mass murder in letters to legal officials is not a great idea, as Jack found out shortly afterward.
10. Permanently Disbarred
All this managed to raise the stakes to permanent disbarment, a “never darken our doorstep again” ruling which the Florida Bar finally issued. Nearly two decades after grown man stated he was going to hunt down rappers under the guise of Bruce Wayne. Of course, Jack has pledged to continue the good fight, and given his past behavior, it’s entirely possible that he’ll still be filing suit by the time they’ve got him both legally and physically restrained in a mental hospital, scrawling outraged and inaccurate statements with a crayon held between his teeth.