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April 2, 2014
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Claire Haynes (334) 242-7351
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(MONTGOMERY) – The Alabama Supreme Court struck down six illegal orders by Greene
County judges and cleared the way for all gambling cases in Greene County to proceed in a 62-page
ruling Tuesday.
In its ruling, the Court addressed the State’s seizure of gambling machines at Greenetrack and
Frontier Bingo in 2011 and the search warrants served Monday at Greenetrack, Frontier Bingo, River’s
Edge, and Greene Charity Casinos.
The Court vacated and nullified trial Judge Houston Brown’s orders from 2011, which had
impugned the integrity of state law enforcement officers and ordered the State to return the seized
gambling machines. Instead, the Court held that Judge Brown’s ruling was “based on an erroneous
understanding of the judge’s role in the warrant process.” (47). “If a mistaken understanding of law is
used as a framework to assess the facts presented by the witness, the mistake is the court’s, not the
witness’s.” (47).
With respect to the search warrants served on Monday, the Court expressly held that the same
rules that apply to “bingo” in every other county in Alabama also apply to Greene County. “[W]e
reaffirm today that the game of ‘bingo’ as that term is used in local constitutional amendments
throughout the State is that game ‘commonly or traditionally known as bingo,’ and that this game is
characterized by at least the six elements we identified in Cornerstone.” (48).
The Court then held that the State’s evidence about machines at casinos in Greene County
“allow[s] for no reasonable conclusion other than that probable cause exists for the issuance of the
search warrants requested.” (55). Quoting its decision from a case involving the VictoryLand Casino in
Macon County, the Court explained that “a ‘man of reasonable caution’ could reach no conclusion other
than that there is a ‘fair probability’ that the machines in question are not the game of bingo and,
instead, are slot machines or other gambling devices that are illegal under Alabama law.” (55)
“My Office is committed to enforcing the rule of law as defined by the Alabama Supreme
Court. Following the Orders of the Supreme Court is not optional,” said Attorney General Strange.
“We will continue to enforce the law in a consistent manner throughout the State.”
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