Looks like Judge George Caram Steeh has given Michigan’s violent video game law a good bitch-slapping as being grossly unconstitutional, which doesn’t really come as a surprise as the case put forward by the state was pretty weak. The folks over at Game Politics have a summary of the decision:
Judge Steeh likewise dismissed Michigan’s claim that the interactive nature of video games somehow limited their First Amendment protections.
“The interactive, or functional aspect, in video games can be said to enhance the expressive elements even more than other media by drawing the player closer to the characters and becoming more involved in the plot of the game than by simply watching a movie or television show,” Judge Steeh wrote. “It would be impossible to separate the functional aspects of a video game from the expressive, inasmuch as they are so closely intertwined and dependent on each other in creating the virtual experience.”
Nor was the jurist kind to research submitted to support the law.
“The research not only fails to provide concrete evidence that there is a connection between violent media and aggressive behavior, it also fails to distinguish between video games and other forms of media,” he wrote.
Here’s more judicial wisdom from Judge Steeh:
“The research conducted by the State has failed to prove that video games have ever caused anyone to commit a violent act, let alone present a danger of imminent violence.”
“Despite the fact that some of these games are likely to be considered ‘disgusting or degrading’ by certain people, neither the Supreme Court nor Sixth Circuit has ever applied the Ginsberg (obscenity) test in cases that don’t involve sexually explicit material… This court finds the Ginsberg test inapplicable to the ultra-violent explicit section of the Act.”
“The defendants do argue that video games are a ‘unique’ form of screen-based media because the player actually controls the violent action as opposed to passively observing these actions, but present no scientific evidence to back up this claim. Without such evidence… it could just as easily be said that the interactive element in video games acts as an outlet for minors to vent their violent or aggressive behavior, thereby diminishing the chance they would actually perform such acts in reality.”
That’s just a sampling of a 17 page ruling issued by the judge. Reaction from the games industry was pretty much what you’d expect and they announced their intention to recoup their legal costs from the state—in other words us taxpayers will be footing the $100,000 bill—meanwhile our Governor gives me one more reason not to vote for her when she runs for reelection:
Gov. Jennifer Granholm was disappointed by the ruling.
“We … will be reviewing the judge’s order and discussing legal options, including an appeal at the Attorney General’s Office,” Heidi Watson, a Granholm spokeswoman, said Monday. “But we will continue our efforts to protect kids from violent video games by working with retailers.”
Watson said Granholm sent letters to retailers a few weeks ago urging them to stop selling the popular video game “25 to Life,” which gives players the option of gunning down police officers on the screen. It has come under fire by law enforcement groups.
She’s already wasted $100,000 of taxpayer money defending a law that pretty much every legal scholar said wouldn’t withstand a legal challenge and now she’s considering an appeal? She also jumped on the anti-25 To Life bandwagon which just shows she’s fucking clueless about the whole issue in the first place and is just trying to pander to voters. Meanwhile our state continues to be one of the worst states for unemployment in the nation with only Alaska and Mississippi having more folks out of work than us. Her priorities are screwed up and need to be adjusted or she may end up joining the ranks of the unemployed herself.