News

Halo 3 Matricide Judge Blasts Video Games

During Sentencing of Convicted Killer

by Veggie Jackson

Just when we thought that the tragic Daniel Petric case would end without devolving into a debate on game violence, Judge James Burge, the same man who rejected Petric’s attorneys’ game addiction defense, decided to turn it into just that.

During his sentencing of Petric, Burge, who found the defendant guilty of the aggravated murder of his mother and aggravated attempted murder of his father, made some decidedly negative statements regarding games.

“The Court must enter a finding of guilty on the counts set forth in the indictment. That being said, it's my firm belief as a human being - and not as a jurist - that Daniel does suffer from a serious defect of the mind.

    This Court's opinion is that we don't know enough about these video games. In this particular case, not so much the violence of the game because I believe in the Halo 3, what it amounts to is a contest to see who can shoot the most aliens who attack.

    It's my firm belief that after a while the same physiological responses occur that occur in the ingestion of some drugs. And I believe that an addiction to these games can do the same thing. The dopamine surge, the stimulation of the nucleus accumbens - the same as an addiction. Such that when you stop, your brain won't stand for it.

    The other dangerous thing about these games, in my opinion, is that when these changes occur, they occur in an environment that is delusional. Because you can shoot these aliens, and they're there again the next day. You have to shoot them again. And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.

But I believe there is hope here. I believe that it will start here and, uh, at some point when all is known about Daniel and what occurred here we will be able to achieve a greater sense of justice.”


Well, good to know you’re making these statements "as a human being - and not as a jurist," despite making them from the Judge’s bench and referring to your own opinions as “The Court’s opinon.”  The idea that Petric “had no idea…they would be dead forever” is ludicrous, and suggesting that video games, specifically one that focuses on invading aliens and plasma rifles, are realistic enough to distort reality in the mind of the average 17 year-old is simply irresponsible.

And yes; games do stimulate the brain’s nucleus accumbens and produce surges of dopamine.  Music, food, and sex do as well, but why distract ourselves with facts when there’s a perfectly good boogieman around in the form of video games?  It’s fortunate that the game addiction defense wasn’t allowed, because if Judge Burge’s statements are any indication, Petric would have stood a good chance of walking free after killing his mother.

[Source]


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Comments
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  • Coop
    Coop

    I usually Ctrl+F and type SEX before reading anything on the internet. Finally it pays off.

    He should have stopped after, "This Court's opinion is that we don't know enough about these video games."

  • RIDLEYhowmanytimesmustIpwnU
    RIDLEYhowmanytimesmustIpwnU

    Sociopath....euthanise Petric, plz.

  • Sarah
    Sarah

    Ugh. Real professional, judge.

  • QMarc80
    QMarc80

    Here's what I'm reading;

    "...not so much the violence of the game..." AND THEN HE SAYS " believe that an addiction to these games can do the same thing. The dopamine surge, the stimulation of the nucleus accumbens - the same as an addiction. Such that when you stop, your brain won't stand for it." AND THEN "I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever."

    I like how Veggie shows what I was thinking in less than half of his follow-up paragraph.

  • QMarc80
    QMarc80

    I like the way you think, FemJesse!

  • Riphade
    Riphade

    Maybe FemJesse should've been the judge. You'd have my vote.

  • Lisa
    Lisa

    Well.. I think what's important is that he didn't let his personal opinion effect his judgment. Even though he thinks negatively and expressed his opinion as such, it's actually a big win overall for the video game industry, and he (the judge) should be respected for that - the defense was rejected and this set a precedent that other forums are going to have to follow.

    Unless future data comes out that supports what his opinion supposes, and this is highly unlikely, his ruling is going to be followed (at least in that jurisdiction), but other jurisdictions and lawyers will use this ruling in their own cases.

    Also, I think some people need to cut this guy some slack -- he's apparently an older judge, and this might be the first time an issue like this has come into his courtroom; he might know nothing about games except what was presented to him by the defense in the courtroom (which would likely play up the intense violence in gaming along with bogus statistics about violence and gaming).

    Newer judges are going to be more in tune to society and the gaming community and might refrain next time from saying something that offends the gaming community.

    Again, even though Veggie said it, I'll reiterate - I think we should concentrate on what the judge did right - which was follow the law, not his personal opinion.

  • Sean
    Sean

    I simply don't know what to say about this. I love when people start off so-called "expert" quotations by saying, "I don't know a whole lot about this..."

    FemJesse gets my vote for Supreme Court. Although I'm not sure that's an elected position.

  • Sean
    Sean

    @Lisa: I'd tend to agree with you, at least with the idea that the judge "did the right thing", but the fact is that once the verdict was passed, the rest of the comments were just him editorializing. It went on the public record, and thus, can be called up again in future cases.

  • loltim
    loltim

    Seriously, the respawn times in the real world are TERRIBLE!

  • Lisa
    Lisa

    @Sean: First off -- that picture you have up there is just creeping me out, and I've been meaning to say that for a while now! Haha.

    Second, it's on public record, but quoting the judge does absolutely nothing -- it's the ruling that matters. A judge's personal opinion on something has no legal weight - believe me, even if a lawyer is trying to persuade the court in a future case for the same defense by saying, "Well.. the judge said this was bad because it MIGHT have added to his violence..", the next question that the lawyer would be asked is what the ruling on the case was and why. That lawyer is done-zo. Also, I'm not sure what court this is in and if it's the state's supreme court or not or just an appellate level, the lower the level, the less of what he thinks/says matters.

    It's an opinion that without data means absolutely nothing. Judges LOVE to talk - and out of all the judicial opinions I read, you'll see that there's tons of times the judge can't wait to interject their thoughts (most of the time they're completely useless) - the fact of the matter is that it usually doesn't change the law.

    All I wanted to point out was that I was actually pretty impressed that the judge was able to overcome his own feelings (which doesn't happen that often) to make an unbiased judgment that followed the law.

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