The Law and Science of Video Game Violence: What Was Lost in Translation?
William K. Ford
The John Marshall Law School
March 8, 2013
Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Forthcoming
There are a variety of challenges to making good use of scientific evidence in the courts, including the challenge of translating scientific evidence into something understandable, accurate, and as complete as necessary for the courts to render a sensible decision. This paper examines the use of scientific evidence in the set of cases involving legislative restrictions on minors’ access to violent video games, an issue that eventually reached the Supreme Court in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011). Although some of the typical problems associated with scientific evidence were not present in these cases, the courts, on the whole, still did a mediocre job of assessing the evidence. The video game violence cases reinforce the conclusion that the translation of scientific evidence is a significant challenge for the courts, though the higher quality analysis by the one judge who presided over a trial suggests that courts may better understand scientific evidence when they rely less on lawyers to translate it.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 60
Keywords: scientific evidence, video game violence, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association
Date posted: February 19, 2012 ; Last revised: August 27, 2014