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Friday, January 15, 2010

Court rules in favor of Riley's gambling task force

The Alabama Supreme Court has dismissed the case filed by the Houston County Commission that prevented Gov. Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling from raiding Country Crossing in Cottonwood and seizing electronic bingo machines. Riley considers them to be slot machines that are illegal in Alabama.
A Dale County judge issued a restraining order earlier this month stopping the raid. Riley's office contends the order was issued in the middle of the night without a lawyer present to represent the task force.
The Supreme Court's order states that the "trial court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to interfere with a criminal proceeding by civil action," according to a release from Riley's office.
Riley said the order would allow the task force to move forward with seizing the machines and sends a strong message to other casinos that try to stop the seizures.
"This decision is a major victory for the rule of law in Alabama. The Supreme Court's order makes clear that gambling bosses around the state will not be able to prevent the state's anti-gambling laws from being enforced," the governor said. "We were confident that the Supreme Court would not allow this unprecedented order disrupting law enforcement activities to stand. It shows that the law will prevail over money and political influence."
Riley would not comment on the timing of future law enforcement operations.
"The operators of all illegal casinos in this state should not sleep well tonight, tomorrow night, or any night in the future," he said. "The anti-gambling laws of Alabama are going to be enforced."

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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