Troopers fly through Demopolis en route to raid

Published 8:43 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gov. Bob Riley’s task force on illegal gambling initiated a raid on Greenetrack Tuesday morning, sending more than 30 state troopers down U.S. Highway 80 and Cedar Street in Demopolis en route to the Greene County Bingo Hall.

The raid began with a number of representatives from the Department of Public Safety and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, but was quickly thwarted by an order issued by Greene County Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway.

On Monday, the State Supreme Court overturned two earlier orders from Hardaway that restricted law enforcement operations at Greenetrack.

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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, Task Force officials went to Greenetrack on Tuesday 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.

As news of the raid spread, Hardaway issued an order that prevented the Task Force from taking possession of or inspecting the seized slot machines until mid-August, which Riley immediately appealed to the Supreme Court.

“Our appeal asks the Supreme Court to do today (Tuesday) 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.”