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March 1, 2013
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
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(MONTGOMERY) – The Supreme Court of Alabama today issued a 46-page
opinion explaining why Judge Tom Young of the Macon County Circuit Court was
wrong to deny the State’s application for a search warrant to search and seize the
gambling devices and gambling proceeds at the VictoryLand casino.
The Supreme Court’s opinion explains that current Alabama law, including its
decision in the Cornerstone case, is “more than clear enough to serve as a guide to
measuring the facts of this case.” Under existing law, the Supreme Court explains that
“the circumstances presented allow for no reasonable conclusion other than that
probable cause exists for the issuance of the search warrant in this case.” The Court
The games depicted in the surveillance video and described in the
affidavit proffered by Sisson in support of the application for the warrant
do not reasonably resemble the game of ‘bingo.’ Without turning a blind
eye to that which is depicted in the video and described in the affidavit, a
‘man of reasonable caution’ could reach no conclusion other than 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.
The Supreme Court concluded that “[a] circuit judge is not free to frustrate the
enforcement of the criminal law by refusing to issue warrants necessary or appropriate
to its enforcement in his or her circuit.”
In response to the Court’s opinion, Attorney General 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 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.”
501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300