VictoryLand Raid Will End Up in Federal Court

VictoryLand Raid Will End Up in Federal Court In a stunning opinion issued last Friday the Alabama Supreme Court actually sided with attorney general Luther Strange’s raid on VictoryLand casino and the ‘seizure’ of over 1,000 bingo machines and a large amount of cash. The machines had been specifically designed to fit Alabama’s definition of bingo but evidently that wasn’t good enough for anti-gambling extremist Luther strange. The raid put approximately 600 people out of work in an area with high unemployment. The high court also said that a Macon County circuit judge was wrong t to deny Strange’s application for a search warrant. In a 46 page opinion the court said the machines are slot machines which are illegal in Alabama.

In a statement Strange said “I have said from day one that my office would handle this matter through the courts, and today the Supreme Court has spoken. The Court explained in a detailed and thorough opinion why each of Judge [Tom] Young’s reasons for denying the warrant for VictoryLand was wrong as a matter of law. This decision should end the debate on whether so-called ‘electronic bingo’ is illegal. It is illegal and local officials cannot create rules to make it legal. The only question now is whether the Legislature will enact tough penalties so that people will think twice before they engage in large-scale slot-machine gambling in the future.”

Locals in Tuskegee and Macon County are not happy about the raids. Strange seems bent on destroying the local economy and 78% of those polled opposed the raids. On February 19th agents from the attorney general’s office and Alabama Department of Public Safety raided the casino and ‘seized’ $220,000 in cash and 1,615 bingo machines. VictoryLand attorney Joe Espy said a court hearing will take place on March 19 and he will ask for the stolen property to be returned to its rightful owners. Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford said the matter will ultimately be resolved in a federal court.

Ford hit the nail on the head when he stated “This is an all-Republican court. They support Luther Strange and the Republican administration in everything they do. It is clear that they have already made up their minds and that the [state] Supreme Court has been compromised.” Ford said he and other city and Macon County officials will meet with national leaders who are gathering for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee event in Selma in commemoration of Bloody Sunday, where civil rights demonstrators were brutally beaten by Alabama state troopers in 1965. Ford stated “We have been invited by the leaders of the Selma jubilee to participate and to make sure that our issue is part of the national agenda and will be well-represented.”

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