In Florida's authorized world, that particular person is John B. “Jack” Thompson, a Coral Gables legal professional who was disbarred for skilled misconduct in 2008 and is now making an attempt to insert himself into the sentencing part of the trial of 23-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 individuals and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College in Parkland on Valentine's Day 2018. Final 12 months Cruz pleaded responsible to 17 counts of first-degree homicide and 17 counts of tried homicide within the mass capturing.
Courting again to the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Thompson was a frequent matter of protection in New Occasions as he mounted a authorized assault towards Luther Campbell's rap group the two Reside Crew and tried to ban the album As Nasty As They Wanna Be from music-store cabinets on the grounds that it was obscene. He has additionally waged a decades-long battle towards video video games he considers to be obscene and violent and which he contends are answerable for indoctrinating younger individuals to re-enact the violence they're simulating — and, in excessive circumstances, to turn out to be mass shooters.
In a nutshell, Thompson asserts that Nikolas Cruz's Halo behavior performed a big function within the Parkland capturing. He seeks to help the protection crew with a view to spare Cruz from the demise penalty.
In 20 court docket paperwork filed since March of 2018, Thompson has petitioned the court docket to enter the case as amicus curiae — a authorized time period that interprets from the Latin to “pal of the court docket” — portraying himself as an internationally acknowledged professional on college shootings. Thompson has requested to introduce an professional witness on violent video video games’ alleged hyperlink to mass shootings and to interview Cruz himself. (A duplicate of Thompson's preliminary movement is hooked up on the finish of this text).
“I've requested to fulfill with [Cruz] and ask if the studies of him enjoying violent video video games are true,” Thompson tells New Occasions. “I need to ask, ‘Did you are feeling you had been performing out the sport?'”
Some context: In 2017, the American Psychological Affiliation Activity Drive on Violent Media concluded that publicity to violent video video games is linked to “elevated aggressive behaviors, ideas, and feelings, in addition to decreased empathy” however that there was inadequate proof to find out “whether or not violent online game publicity was linked to criminality or delinquency.”
Regardless, Broward Public Defender Gordon Weekes, whose workplace is defending the shooter, would not need Thompson's assist and tells New Occasions he has little to say relating to the self-proclaimed professional's repeated makes an attempt to enter the case unasked.
“I've nothing so as to add on outdoors people attempting to insert themselves into this case and into the pains that this neighborhood has endured transferring ahead,” Weekes says.
In 2008, the Florida Supreme Courtroom really helpful that Thompson be disbarred for making an attempt to hurt his opponents’ popularity “with utter disregard to the administration of justice and full indifference to the results his conduct would have on their lives,” as Miami Circuit Courtroom Decide Dava Tunis put it in her suggestion to disbar him. Thompson reportedly despatched homosexual porn, swastikas, and renderings of an precise kangaroo court docket to the Florida Supreme Courtroom and badgered an Alabama decide by sending paperwork to his workplace as much as 5 instances a day.
After he was stripped of his regulation license, Thompson enrolled in a seminary and have become a Bible trainer within the Florida jail system.
Disbarment hasn't stopped Thompson from pursuing his campaign towards violent video video games — which he refers to as “homicide simulators” — and repeatedly inserting himself into the authorized course of even after being advised no. He has been making an attempt to insert himself into the Parkland case for the previous 4 years. So incessant had been his makes an attempt, actually, that in November of 2018 the state filed a movement to bar him from submitting any extra motions with the court docket.
“Mr. Thompson has abused the method by submitting frivolous pleadings on this matter, the place he has no standing, and has no authorization to file any pleadings,” assistant state legal professional Joel Silvershein wrote in a movement to Circuit Courtroom Decide Elizabeth Scherer.
Whereas Scherer did not bar additional filings from Thompson, she denied his request to enter the case after he voluntarily withdrew his movement after failing to elicit a response.
However, he continued submitting motions to enter the case and requested to submit professional testimony as not too long ago as February of this 12 months.
Chatting with New Occasions, Thompson says he did not bear in mind withdrawing his movement and did not obtain the decide's order. Upon being notified of the denial, he mentioned he has determined to withdraw the movement once more and concentrate on serving to with Cruz's attraction course of after the sentencing part of the trial is over.
The idea for his appeals argument? Gaming.
“I believe [Scherer] goes to condemn him to demise, and there will likely be an automated attraction,” Thompson explains. “I am going to focus on aiding the attraction counsel on the premise of the failure of this court docket to contemplate the online game situation.”