Illinois Must Pay ESA's Legal Fees
Losers always end up getting stuck with the tab.
Late in 2005, the State of Illinois attempted to pass a law that would restrict the sale and rental of violent/explicit videogames to minors. Had it passed, retailers would've been forced to pay fines of $1,000 for each infraction of the law. Of course, just like every other state that tried, Illinois failed in the endeavor once the Entertainment Software Association stepped in.
The ESA filed suit to counter the law, and when a federal judge deemed it unconstitutional (as every other judge has decreed regarding this subject), the ESA emerged victorious. Furthermore, the organization won an additional ruling that stated Illinois would have to cover the legal fees incurred by the ESA during the battle.
It took a while, but several months after the ruling was handed down, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has finally formulated a plan to pay off the $520,000 debt. Perhaps it was the order of a US District Judge - an order that amounted to, "pay it, or else" - that got him moving, but either way, the ESA will soon get their money back.
The plan is to use unspent money from other agencies to cover the half-million-plus tab, and a judge will hear and rule on the proposal this Wednesday.
12/20/2006 Ben Dutka