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- Mar 29, 2003
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I lol'edThompson facing permanent disbarment, $44K fine In his often heated communiquÃ©s to the press, ardent anti-game activist John B. "Jack" Thompson often uses fiery religious rhetoric to portray the perceived righteousness of his cause. Today, however, the Miami area attorney is likely looking for some divine intervention on his own behalf, after a Florida judge recommended he be permanently banned from practicing law in the state.
In a 169-page ruling issued today, Judge Dava Tunis said she felt that the Florida Bar's recommendation that Thompson be forbidden to practice law in the state for 10 years was too lenient. Citing a 1996 precedent, she said that first, any "judgment must be fair to society, both in terms of protecting the public from unethical conduct and at the same time not denying the public the services of a qualified lawyer as a result of undue harshness in imposing penalty. Second, the judgment must be... sufficient to punish a breach of ethics and at the same time encourage reformation and rehabilitation. Third, the judgment must be severe enough to deter others who might be prone or tempted to become involved in like violations."
Citing these three guidelines, Tunis recommended a penalty of "permanent disbarment" for Thompson "with no leave to reapply for admission." She also ordered him to pay the court $43,675 in "disciplinary costs," including $23,538 to pay for transcripts used to outline 27 violations of five Florida bar rules.
"Respondent [Thompson] was found guilty of three violations of rule 4-8.4(c) for engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation," said Judge Tunis in her ruling. "Respondent was also found guilty of making false statements (two violations of 4-3.3(a)(1) and two violations of 4-8.2(a)). Further, he has repeatedly indicated, verbally and in writing, that his conduct is justified to promote and champion his personally engendered moral values and causes."
"The Bar has clearly shown the Respondent's continuing pattern of misconduct as alleged in the Bar's complaint," Tunis continued. "He has indicated his intent to continue to engage in the misconduct and his conduct before this Court during the almost 18 months of litigation, has clearly corroborated that as fact." As evidence, she pointed to two orders by the Supreme Court of Florida earlier this year which "abused the legal system by submitting numerous, frivolous and inappropriate filings."
In a statement sent out to the press today, Thompson repeated his assertions that Tunis has no jurisdiction because her loyalty oath is, according to him, forged. Last month, he repeated his accusation before abruptly walking out of a hearing in Tunis' court.