The most recent example comes with Strange's statements about the impact of the Alabama Supreme Court's recent decision that forced a circuit judge to sign a search warrant for the VictoryLand casino in Macon County. Strange proclaimed in a press release that the ruling was a final determination that electronic bingo is illegal in Alabama and should "end the debate."
Strange's comments, to put it mildly, are a crock of barnyard excrement. How do we know? The words of the Alabama Supreme Court prove it. And those are the same justices who were willing to stretch the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment past the breaking point to give "Big Luther" a search warrant.
First, let's consider Strange's full statement to the public about what the search-warrant ruling meant:
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.
How far off base is the attorney general on this one? About as far off base as you can get, given that the ruling had almost nothing to do with the alleged illegality of electronic-bingo machines at VictoryLand--or anywhere else in Alabama. How do I know? Well, I read the Supreme Court's opinion, and I invite readers to do the same; it's available at the end of this post.
Ironically, one reason the high court issued a writ of mandamus in the case is that it found Circuit Judge Thomas Young erred when he claimed the attorney general's office essentially was asking him to declare the VictoryLand machines illegal. In fact, the Supreme Court found, the issue was whether probable cause existed for a search warrant--nothing more, nothing less. From page 40 of the text:
Judge Young errs as a matter of law in refusing to issue the warrant in this case on the ground that to do so would be "in essence ... declaring these machines to be illegal." The quoted premise is incorrect. The issuance of a search warrant does not constitute a binding adjudication that an offense has occurred or a binding declaration that an activity or item is illegal. It is only a determination for purposes of the issuance of the search warrant.
The Supreme Court did not stop there. It explained that its ruling was not a finding that VictoryLand's activities were illegal--and it certainly was not a determination about electronic bingo in general:
As explained in Marshall v. Herndon, discussed supra, the issuance of a search warrant is not binding on either the court itself or the parties in an ensuing criminal case in which the defendant wishes to question whether an activity or item is illegal. See also, e.g., United States v. Del Valle, 587 F.2d 699, 701(5th Cir. 1079) (explaining that decision whether to issue search warrant is limited to the question of the issuance of the warrant and does not dispose of the issue whether the defendant did in fact commit the alleged crime).
Let's boil this down to its essence and compare the statements of Luther Strange to those of the Alabama Supreme Court:
Luther Strange: 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.
Alabama Supreme Court: The issuance of a search warrant does not constitute a binding adjudication that an offense has occurred or a binding declaration that an activity or item is illegal.
If you live in Alabama and sense an odd sensation in your hindquarters, it's probably because Luther Strange is blowing smoke up your rectum.
We have shown, beyond a doubt, that Alabama's chief law-enforcement officer is willing to lie to gain a public-relations edge in the battle over electronic bingo. Why does Strange need a public-relations edge? Probably because even he realizes the machines at VictoryLand are legal, based on a constitutional amendment allowing electronic bingo in Macon County.
A reasonable Alabamian should ask this question: If Luther Strange is willing to lie in an official press release about the Supreme Court's actions, what else is he lying about? How deep does Luther Strange's dishonesty go?