Associated Press 13:20 PM Aug, 26, 2006
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- A state law that would ban sales of violent video games to minors violates free speech rights and cannot be enforced, a judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge James Brady said the state had no right to bar distribution of materials simply because they show violent behavior. Brady issued an injunction, calling the law an "invasion of First Amendment rights" of producers, retailers and the minors who play the games.
"Depictions of violence are entitled to full constitutional protection," Brady wrote Thursday.
Louisiana is the latest in a string of states, including Minnesota, Illinois, California and Michigan, to have had similar bans blocked in the courts. A federal judge in Illinois this month ordered the state to pay more than $510,000 to three business groups -- including the Entertainment Software Association, a plaintiff in the Louisiana case -- for legal fees incurred in fighting a similar state law.
The association's president criticized Gov. Kathleen Blanco and state lawmakers for approving the law while struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina.