Jack Thompson facing federal disbarment

Following lifetime ban by Florida State Bar, anti-game activist must convince judge why he should not be forbidden to practice US law indefinitely.

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If early footage is to be believed, anti-game activist Jack Thompson will be appearing on this Thursday's episode of Penn & Teller's Bulls***! (10 p.m. EDT/PDT). A teaser for the Showtime series showed the vocal critic saying that "Grand Theft Auto is the worst assault on children since polio" in an episode dedicated to debunking the link between in-game and real-world violence.

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Ironically, as the Bulls***! episode airs, Thompson will be fighting a more literal assault on his ability to practice federal law. Nine months after he was permanently disbarred in Florida, the suburban Miami resident must now prove why he shouldn't be banned from practicing federal law indefinitely. Since the Florida State Bar's decision was handed down last September, Thompson has been claiming to be still "admitted to Practice in US District Court, Southern District of Florida" in his correspondence headers.

According to a court document obtained by GamePolitics, Thompson was served with an order to show cause by US District Judge Federico Moreno on June 26. Under the terms of the order, the game-violence opponent must file with the court an argument "why the imposition of the identical discipline [as the Florida permanent disbarment] would be unwarranted and the reasons therefore" with 30 days. That means that Thompson will have to submit a counterargument--along with his entire Florida State Bar record and disbarment complaint documents--by July 26.

In a response cc'd to GamePolitics, Thompson claimed Judge Moreno had improperly placed him on a terrorist watch list, an apparent reference to a visit by two US Marshals to his home last summer. Then he bemoaned the massive cost of obtaining the large number of documents needed to prove his argument.

"Now you have entered a show cause order demanding that I explain why you should not disbar me from the federal court, and in doing so you have told me to spend at least $30,000 to make my case in producing documents all of which the Florida Supreme Court has and (can) give [sic] you free of charge," wrote Thompson. "If I get sent to Gitmo as a 'terrorist,' then please send the stuff there. I'll be facing Tallahassee in prayer several times a day as required."

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