Taking time off from his battles with the Florida Bar Association, Philadelphia law firm Blank-Rome, and, of course, satellite shock jock Howard Stern, Miami activist attorney Jack Thompson has returned to an old, familiar target, 25 to Life.
Eidos' cops-and-robbers shooter is due for release soon, with numerous sources reporting that 25 to Life has gone gold. Thompson's assault on the game comes in the form of a letter to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer in which he urges Lockyer to block the release of the game under the state's public nuisance law. Of perhaps more concern to civil libertarians, Thompson also offers an opinion that police officers can seize copies of the game without a warrant. The following passages are included in his message to A.G. Lockyer:
"Additionally, please know that California Civil Code Section 3495 enables and authorizes each and every law enforcement officer to walk into any video game store, without a court order, to seize and destroy each and every copy of 25 to Life. California law treats this as acceptable 'abatement' of a public nuisance by parties particularly endangered by such a nuisance."
"In the next six days I intend to take to the public airwaves in California, and to use other means, to encourage all law enforcement officers in California to in fact go into video game stores and seize all copies of 25 to Life."
GP: Last year there was talk of a pending civil suit against 25 to Life but Thompson hasn't mentioned taking such action this time around. We did confirm in September of 2005 that Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), a national support organization for the families of slain police officers, was planning a suit against 25 to Life with Thompson as their lead attorney.
Lawsuits are one thing, but Thompson's contention that police officers can walk into retail stores and simply remove copies of the game is ludicrous. No rational police officer would take such an action as it would subject them to civil and criminal liability.
Thompson floated this idea to GP late last year. Frankly, we found it so off-the-wall that we declined to cover it at the time unless Thompson could indicate for the record that he had the backing of one or more actual law enforcement agencies or professional organizations. That information was not forthcoming. We are mentioning it now because Thompson has widely disseminated copies of today's letter to Attorney General Lockyer in which he advocates this police state tactic.