Court order halts Greenetrack raid, Governor appeals

Published 4:47 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling this afternoon filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Alabama challenging an order issued today by Judge Eddie Hardaway in Greene County. That order prevents the Task Force from carrying out law enforcement activities at Greentrack. The Task Force also asked the Supreme Court to immediately suspend Judge Hardaway’s order, thereby allowing law enforcement operations to resume. The Task Force also asked that the case be reassigned to a different circuit judge.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court overturned two earlier orders from Judge Hardaway that restricted law enforcement operations at Greenetrack. The Supreme Court said in its order that, “Except in limited circumstances not here applicable, a court has no jurisdiction to enjoin law enforcement from discharge of its duties.”

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday, Task Force officials went to Greenetrack this morning to inspect and take possession of gambling machines that had been seized earlier this month. That seizure occurred after the Greene County District Attorney and Greene County’s former Sheriff concluded that Greenetrack’s slot machines were illegal.

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Late this morning, Judge Hardaway issued an order that will prevent the Task Force from taking possession of or inspecting the seized slot machines until mid-August. Judge Hardaway’s order is an injunction against law enforcement from discharge of its duties, which is something that the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Judge Hardaway cannot do.

“Our appeal asks the Supreme Court to do today exactly what it did yesterday,” said Task Force Commander John Tyson, Jr. “Judge Hardaway has no authority to stop law enforcement officers from carrying out their duties. The Supreme Court told him that yesterday, and I cannot see how Judge Hardaway’s order can be reconciled with the Supreme Court’s ruling.”