That gurgling sound you hear could be Jack Thompson’s legal career swirling down the ‘loo.
The frequent video game critic, already facing professional misconduct charges from the Florida Bar which could see him stripped of his license to practice law, has outraged a U.S. District Court judge by including images of men having sex in a document filed with the court last week.
It’s difficult to fathom what Thompson was thinking, but here’s how it all, um, went down:
As GamePolitics has previously reported, Thompson has a pair of lawsuits underway against the Florida Bar in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. One of the cases, presided over by Judge Adalberto Jordan, has been the recipient of a flurry of motions by Thompson in recent weeks.
In a document filed with the court on September 19th, Thompson criticized the Bar for allegedly collaborating with Norm Kent, a criminal defense attorney from Fort Lauderdale. Thompson and Kent have a contentious legal history dating back nearly two decades. From Thompson’s motion:
The Bar’s demonstrable mindset is that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend,” as indicated by The Bar’s enthusiastic, recidivist collaboration with Mr. Kent, over a twenty year period, at Thompson’s expense. Lunacy proceedings have been sought and secured, Bar complaints have recently been maintained for nearly three years.
Kent, who publishes the National Gay News website, was criticized by Thompson in last week’s court filing for “distribution of hardcore porn to anyone of any age.” Not content to make that alleged point in writing, Thompson attached several gay porn pictures to his motion with Judge Jordan. The pictures apparently do not come directly from the National Gay News site, but rather are contained on sites linked from NGN’s adult links section.
In any case, His Honor was not amused.
In an order issued on Monday, Judge Jordan directed Thompson to show cause as to why he should not face sanctions, including possible contempt charges. Judge Jordan wrote:
The attached exhibit, which includes several graphic images of oral and genital sex between adult males, was filed electronically in the docket in this case, without prior permission from the court…
To the extent that the other attorney’s alleged conduct is in any way relevant… there was no need for Mr. Thompson to file these graphic images in the public record. A simple reference to the website and its alleged links would have sufficed…
Through his actions, Mr. Thompson made available for unlimited public viewing, on the court’s docketing system, these graphic images.
For this reason, by October 5, 2007, Mr. Thompson shall 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 the wake of Judge Jordan’s order, Thompson has filed (at last count) four responses. In the first, he proclaims that he is ready to go to jail over the issue:
Thompson may have more to say in his own defense as to his alleged contemptuous behavior, but at this juncture, with all respect, he does not apologize for nor regret what he has done… if this court desires to throw Thompson into jail for trying to sound the alarm in this dramatic fashion… then Thompson is prepared to go there.
In another response Thompson likens his actions to those of a rather more famous American:
To hold Thompson in contempt for alerting the federal court system to the criminal activity… is akin to arresting Paul Revere, in 1775, for “disturbing the peace” with his midnight ride…
GP has been unable to reach attorney Norm Kent for comment so far. Via e-mail, Thompson told GamePolitics:
I’m not the one in trouble. The judge found a certain lawyer’s material obscene. I absolutely love it. This is the best thing to happen to me in a long, long time. Check my [case] filings, sweetie.
We have, and this isn’t the first time Thompson has been warned by a court not to include suggestive photos in those case filings. An April 12th entry in the Florida Supreme Court docket covering the Florida Bar’s case against Thompson includes this notation:
…the Court notes that [Thompson] has attached inappropriate and pornographic materials to his petitions that are irrelevant to his arguments. Respondent is warned that should he continue to submit such inappropriate filings, the Court will consider imposing sanctions which may include, but are not limited to, a limitation on Respondent’s ability to submit further filings without the signature of an attorney other than himself.
GP: As we said earlier, it’s really hard to imagine what Thompson thought he might have been accomplishing by including the offending images.
What he has apparently succeeded in doing, however, is seriously upsetting the judge who must decide the merits of Thompson’s attempt to block the Florida Bar from taking action against his license to practice law.