A pair of court battles are brewing over recent moves made by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
Tuesday, Strange called for a raid on VictoryLand in Macon County over electronic bingo machines. Strange also filed suit in Elmore County against the Poarch Creek Band of Indians to stop their casino gaming operation.
The raid on VictoryLand was authorized by a search warrant, one that VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor's attorney calls flawed.
"There has been a failure of the attorney general to follow the rule of law. The attorney general has set a dangerous precedent," attorney Joe Espy said.
The warrant was issued by Alabama Circuit Judge Tom Young. At the bottom of the warrant, Young wrote he rejected the warrant a month earlier because of the lack of evidence to support it.
The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with Judge Young. But Strange appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, which eventually ordered Young to issue the warrant.
A clerk with the Alabama Supreme Court says it was a unanimous decision of all nine justices to order Judge Young to issue the search warrant.
"That is a very unusual thing for a court to do, particularly in the context of the issuance of a search warrant," Al Agricola, a Montgomery attorney said.
Agricola is experienced in arguing constitutional issues. Agricola expects that McGregor's attorneys will raise legal questions about the raid.
"The judge's writing invites a review of the decision of whether probable cause is established by the facts that were presented in the warrant application," Agricola said.
Espy agrees. "There is not probable cause to issue a search warrant. This improper, according to the judge," Espy said.
Agricola believes the fact that the Alabama Supreme Court has already agreed there was enough evidence to support the search warrant bodes well for Strange.
As for the lawsuit against the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, Agricola said gaming is prohibited by the Indian Gambling Regulatory Act if it's not allowed by a state.
Agricola adds there may be legal battle over jurisdiction if the case should be in a state or federal court.
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