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A Message to Future Judges: Don’t Play Video Games with Felons


The last video game I played with any kind of verve, regularity, or excellence was Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo when I was ten (and at that, I was a golden god), so I might not be the best guy to opine on this subject, but here goes.

Recently, in West Virginia, a judge by the name of Joseph R. Carico was discovered to be in an illicit video-gaming relationship with a West Virginian felon named Jeremy Hubbard, who had appeared in his court. They were found out because one night, Carico plowed into a tree while driving Hubbard home from a late-night Halo session. Carico has now vanished from his seat on the circuit court, which can only point to a suspension of some kind, or a deep, all-encompassing personal shame.

First, I think starting any sentence with “Recently, in West Virginia” is almost oxymoronic. I picture West Virginia as a place where time stopped sometime around the setting period of Deliverance.

Second, and more important, Hubbard had repeatedly appeared in Carico’s court for various offenses. However, on the occasions Hubbard appeared in court, Carico signed multiple orders revoking his bond and jailing him for various offenses. He also sentenced Hubbard to community service on three separate occasions. Nothing there seems to indicate he was inclined to rule favorably toward Hubbard.

When Carico felt that their gaming relationship had extended too far for him to rule evenhandedly (on a drug case in late 2009), he filed a request to be removed from further proceedings with Hubbard.

Unless there is far more to this story, that would seem like the behavior of a fairly honorable judge. It’s a bizarre story, and Carico’s behavior in beginning a relationship of any kind with Hubbard can only be described as stupid, but was his behavior unethical?

Outside of no doubt massive amounts of murdering and pillaging in Grand Theft Auto, I don’t see a lack of ethics. Once he established a gaming relationship with Hubbard, he requested to not preside over further rulings with Hubbard. Thoughts? Let’s hear them in the comments section.