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Monday, March 4, 2013

Issuance Of A Search Warrant At VictoryLand Casino Moves Alabama One Step Closer To A Police State


VictoryLand in Macon County
The Alabama Supreme Court has introduced a police state here in the Heart of Dixie--at least if the court's recent ruling on a search warrant at the VictoryLand casino is to be taken seriously.

Our guess is that the opinion in Ex parte State of Alabama (CR-12-0607), which was released last week, is not meant to be taken seriously. Its central message--that a trial-court judge must issue a search warrant whether he finds probable cause or not--is so flagrantly unconstitutional that future high courts are likely to ignore the ruling, knowing that it can't possibly set precedent.

A close reading of the opinion, which can be viewed at the end of this post, leaves the impression that it is a politically driven fraud upon the public. The document seems to be targeted only at VictoryLand and its owner, Milton McGregor, with no basis in actual law or concern about broader application.

Ex parte State of Alabama is our equivalent to the Bush v. Gore ruling that decided the 2000 presidential election. In that instance, the U.S. Supreme Court, in so many words, said, "This is a one-time ruling that is to have no precedential bearing on future cases. We had a desired outcome in mind, and we couldn't reach it via established law, so we pulled this out of our fannies."

That is essentially what the Alabama Supreme Court is saying with its VictoryLand ruling. The opinion is 46 pages long, but it boils down to these words that are found on page 44:

The Alabama Constitution and the Alabama Legislature decide the criminal law applicable in each of the 67 counties in this State. 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.

That would be news to the gentlemen who wrote the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects against unlawful searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment requires that any warrant be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. If a judge finds that probable cause is lacking, it is his duty to "frustrate" overzealous law-enforcement officers and protect the targets of unlawful searches.

Macon County Circuit Judge Thomas Young made it clear that he found probable cause to be lacking when representatives from the office of Attorney General Luther Strange approached him seeking a search warrant for VictoryLand. Following are Young's exact words, included in his response to Strange's petition for a writ of mandamus with the Alabama Supreme Court:

In the instant case, given the fact that the Constitutional Amendment which provides for bingo being played at Victoryland allows the Sheriff to make a determination as to the nature of the bingo, and further, given the fact that he has publicly declared the machines presently located at that location to comply with the Supreme Court guidance in Cornerstone, there is clearly a lack of sufficient probable cause to warrant such an extraordinary writ.

Here is the crux of Young's finding in ruling against Strange's application for a search warrant:

The Petitioner, in essence, is asking this Court to sign an Order declaring these machines to be illegal, when there has been no such decision on this issue by any Court.

Is Young correct when he states that no court has ruled that the machines at VictoryLand constitute illegal activity? He must be because the Alabama Supreme Court does not counter that statement anywhere in its 46-page ruling. In fact, the high court acknowledges in a footnote on page 28 of its opinion that Alabama law on electronic bingo is so muddled that Young had almost no way of knowing what the law prohibits--much less that the evidence before him represented probable cause that the law was being violated. From the high court's footnote:

A judge considering an application for a search warrant necessarily must determine what it is that the law prohibits and then decide whether the evidence before the judge amounts to "probable cause" to believe that the conduct or items at issue fall within that prohibition. In the typical dispute over the propriety of a search warrant, the latter, factual issue predominates. The issue of what it is that extant law prohibits typically is a function solely of the terms of an applicable criminal statute and commonly is not in question. Here, however, the question of exactly what the law prohibits is at the fore and is a function not only of criminal statutes prohibiting "slot machines" and "gambling devices" but also of constitutional provisions permitting "bingo."

Faced with unclear law, and affidavits from Strange's underlings that he apparently determined were of dubious value, Young took a conservative approach and denied the search-warrant application. In so doing, he tried to spare a private enterprise from a government intrusion that he felt was unlawful.

You might think that our all-Republican Supreme Court--made up of conservatives who presumably want to keep government out of citizens' lives--would support such a cautious approach. But you would be wrong.

Starting on page 34 of its opinion, the Alabama Supreme Court lists eight issues upon which Young erred in denying Luther Strange's search warrant. Throughout 12 pages of explanation on these issues, the Supreme Court does not cite one Alabama case that supports its contention that Young erred.

In fact, the entire opinion includes only one citation to relevant Alabama law regarding Young's findings--and the high court butchers that. The case in question is styled Ex parte Nice, 407 So.2d 874 (Ala., 1981), and the court cited it in an effort to show that Young's denial of a search-warrant application represented "judicial usurpation of power" and "a gross disruption in the administration of criminal justice."

That line of thinking, to put it kindly, is preposterous. On page 34 of its opinion, the Alabama Supreme Court cites Marbury v. Madison, one of the most famous cases in American history, for its proposition that "it is a judge's duty to acknowledge what the law is and to decide how it applies to the facts before him." That is precisely what Young did, so how is that a "judicial usurpation of power."

The high court also acknowledges that Young was correct in stating that Strange could pursue a warrantless seizure under his "plain view" authority--if he truly believed the machines were operating illegally. Therefore, how did Young contribute to a "gross disruption in the administration of criminal justice"?

In fact, the Alabama Supreme Court violated the primary finding in Nice. Here is the crux of that case:

We state again that only the rarest of circumstances merit intervention by mandamus. . . . We also point out that circumstances involving alleged errors of judgment, or errors in the exercise of judicial discretion, would not constitute grounds for invoking supervisory mandamus.

Law does not get much more clear than that: Mandamus is appropriate in only the "rarest of circumstances and is not to be invoked for "alleged errors of judgment" or "errors in the exercise of judicial discretion." So why did the Alabama Supreme Court cite eight errors in judgment that Young allegedly committed? Perhaps it's because mandamus is not all that rare when it is used to help Luther Strange. Perhaps it's because our high court, which was unmasked as corrupt in the infamous ExxonMobil ruling of 2007, has no problem violating its own precedent--when it serves certain political purposes.

Judge Young clearly did not "frustrate" the enforcement of criminal law. He simply refused to rubber stamp a search-warrant application that he found to be lacking probable cause. He had the authority to make such a finding and the duty to protect VictoryLand from an unlawful search. That left Luther Strange with multiple options: (1) Conduct a "plain view" seizure; (2) Rework his search-warrant application to meet the standards of probable cause.

If the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling was not about the frustration of law enforcement, what was it about? We can come to only one conclusion: This is a continuation of the crusade against non-Indian gaming that former Governor Bob Riley and his allies launched in 2008. It's driven by the fact that Indian gaming interests, as admitted by GOP felon Jack Abramoff in his 2011 book, poured some $20 million into Alabama to get Riley elected. Luther Strange is Riley's most visible ally currently in office, and he has picked up where the former governor left off--with a blatantly unlawful effort to protect market share for Indian gaming interests.

This is about payoffs, paybacks, kickbacks, bribery, and all sorts of other ugly words. It also might be about extortion if Indian gaming interests are getting their way by holding damaging information over the heads of Bob Riley and his allies. It clearly has nothing to do with the law. And anyone who seriously reads the Alabama Supreme Court's opinion can see that.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again, the Alabama Supreme Court proves we have the best court money can buy. In this case, it's Indian gaming money.

JRod said...

I don't gamble and have no interest in VictoryLand. But this action is infuriating. A local judge, the one closest to the situation, found lack of probable cause. I'm convinced, based on the law you have cited, that the AL Supreme Court had no grounds for overturning him. It's frightening to see search warrants issued under such conditions.

Anonymous said...

I thought Roy Moore, as chief justice, was supposed to change things on the Alabama Supreme Court. With "Godly Roy" on board, it looks like the court hasn't changed one bit.

Barb said...

LS, thanks for your comparison to Bush v. Gore. That should tell readers with functioning brain cells what we are dealing with here.

Anonymous said...

Any court with Glenn Murdock and Jim Main on it is going to be corrupt. This ruling is not a surprise.

Anonymous said...

Word is that Big Luther is going after Indian gaming now. Like that wasn't predictable! What do the Porch Creeks think is going to happen after these thugs have taken out all their competitors? Let them live happily ever after? Think not! The Indians have been busy giving money away to schools maybe to find new allies? This is interesting timing since a fight over school curriculum is heating up.

TLR said...

My understanding is that VictoryLand has filed a motion to have its property returned. Should be interesting to see how that turns out.

Philbert said...

Luther might be big, but his brain is small. After the Supreme Court opinion was released, he said the following:

"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."

I read the entire 46-page opinion, and it says nothing of the sort. How did this man get elected to statewide office?

legalschnauzer said...

Philbert:

You make an excellent point, one that probably would be worth a post on my part. Luther Strange's comments about the meaning of the Supreme Court ruling are not remotely true.

Molli said...

Agree with Anon @ 9:11 a.m.
The deceit and corruption in our current legislature, AG office, ethics commission and Supreme Court is outrageous. It is plain and simple organized crime. The criminals are also the attorneys and judges so protecting their "business" has been set in place.

Additionally, let us not forget the $7.9 million OF BP MONEY DESIGNATED TO HELP THOSE EFFECTED BY ONE OF THE LARGEST U.S. DISASTERS was secretly handed to Luther Strange from Bob Riley on Riley's last day in office. Riley told Strange (who had not even been sworn into office at the time of the back door transaction)to use the money, $7.9 MILLLION, to continue his mission of closing all non-Indian casinos (read between the lines...ruin Milton McGregor). Not only was the money to be pegged to ruin McGregor but also to protect Bob Riley's family. Now Luther sits on his high horse in a Louisiana courtroom calling BP greedy and led by money with no concern for the safety of the people. Luther's description of how BP has behaved could be applied to his actions verbatim.

Anonymous said...

Luther lies to us because he thinks we are stupid. The entire Riley crowd thinks we are stupid. Maybe they are right. Quite a few Alabamians were stupid enough to vote Luther into office.

legalschnauzer said...

Molli:

Thanks for reminding us about the BP money that was designed to ruin McGregor and "protect" Riley's family. You have to wonder: What did Riley's family need to be protected from?

Your use of the term "organized crime" is right on target. That's exactly what it is, and Jack Abramoff's nasty fingerprints remain on our state.

Anonymous said...

LS there is a hot rumor in Montgomery that Del Marsh (finance director in 2010) Mike Hubbard (party chair) and Luther Strange (recipient) are under a new federal investigation for money laundering related to the RSLC and Poarch Creek money. Have you heard anything about that?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:24--

I have not heard that--at least not in those exact terms--but there is a lot of information in the public realm that points to money laundering. If this is true, it suggests that George Beck might actually be trying to accomplish something as U.S. attorney in Middle District. I assume Beck would be involved?

Is your understanding that this possible federal probe is growing from the Eric Johnston revelations? If so, shouldn't Bob Riley also be a target? I will try to look into this, and you certainly are welcome to keep us posted on any information that comes your way.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the Feds started on the RSLC stuff (PCI money) but that the Eric Johnston revelations have kicked the whole process into another gear. The whole Riley/Hubbard/Marsh/Strange connection to the PCI and to other groups running money through nonrpofits and the RSLC is being examined. Also, the use of a nonprofit to run purely political money is being scrutinized. There is supposedly IRS involvement.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:43--

Thanks for the insight. This is profoundly important stuff and simply cannot be allowed to continue. Let's hope the Obama DOJ finally is growing a spine, and IRS involvement might be a good sign.

I hope such an investigation eventually will look at the Alabama Supreme Court. This latest VictoryLand ruling indicates those "justices" are part of a criminal conspiracy. We need some perp walks at Alabama's appellate courts.

Anonymous said...

FIRE ALARM FIRE ALARM ALL BRAIN CELLS SOUND THE CHARGE:

Legal Schnauzer, the USA is a Police State and each local Mafioso chosen [Supreme Courts AND the "system of justice"] by and through the Federal Reserve System's DIGITAL FRAUD, either get their brains in the synapse of higher thinking, or not.

Alabama it's a BIG NOT.

Information and education.

You're the best that Alabama has and lucky for the state you moved to work there in the Fed's system of controlled fraud as university.

CONTROLLED FRAUD. This is how a POLICE STATE is defined, in the century we now call modern.

Examine every vassal state now crumbling in the other part of our earth world, and the controlled fraud is exposed via the puppets [same there as here] out of control police state tactics.

The document is FRAUD according to the true justice in due process law and further, there is only fraud committed by the criminals involved in the contract to control the gambling fraud.

BIG MONEY CONTROLS BIG FRAUD.

The power of this control over human victims far exceeds the money addiction.

Why the southern degeneration has accelerated the fraud is obviously the control is losing force. Rove proves something has changed in the fraud, he couldn't steal the election for the Republicans.

Great reporting. Good thing Alabamians are awakening to the police state USA. Just imagine getting conscious too late.

Anonymous said...

IRS, and HOLDER DOJ!? LOL!!

Sorry to LMAO, BUTT, the corrupt USA is what it is and that includes every system in the controlled money fraud!

PLEASE the Fed with the partners that we don't really get to know how "rich" RICH is.

Yes the wrist slapping is to be forthcoming and lashes with wet noodles to be sure.

INDICTMENTS?

CONVICTIONS?

Ask George W. Bush, Jr. how bad it is not being able to globe trot.

Making hell in America is good, too, for the controlled fraud criminally insane - pension funds and properties transferring wealth to the globalists is a one function keystroke.

Just like BINGO. In a word, RACKET, the USA is countless fraudulent controlled RICOs.

Global in reality and why so MUCH so called lawlessness. Globally it's how the Biz trades and exchanges. We're just too old school so time for BIG CHANGE.

Anonymous said...

Not only because of the unfounded supreme court opinion concerning Victoryland but the bills being passed by a select few causes great concern as to which direction this state is headed.Seems as though Bentley is just a lap dog for certain legislators.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many Alabamians file a writ of mandamus because they are being screwed by a trial-court judge, only to have it turned down flat, with zero explanation. And yet, Luther Strange files a writ, and the AL Supreme Court turns out a 46-page opinion and gives him exactly what he wants.

Is this what "equal justice" has come to in U.S.?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 11:30 (No. 1)--

I think you just insulted lap dogs.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 11:30 (No. 2)--

You make a great point. Alabamians every day receive court rulings--whether writ of mandamus or something more common--and their motions are denied with zero explanation. In fact, the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure explicitly say judges are not required to explain anything. Alabama Court of Civil Appeals routinely issues "affirmed, no opinion" rulings on important, complex cases. Supreme Court routinely denies certiorari review without explanation. Young was not required to give an explanation for his denial of the search warrant, and he probably would have been better off to stay silent.

I think judges should be required to explain their decisions, but that's not how the law reads in Alabama. Young was right on his original ruling, and I wish he had kept his mouth shut after that--even though is reasoning and solid.

Bottom line: Luther Strange got all sorts of special favors that would not be afforded to a regular Alabamian. Worst of all, he was the beneficiary of a ruling that is contrary to law.

Coyote Lane said...

Predatory Bender is a book about the Attorneys General in the US very involved in the business of fraud.

"Electronic Bingo" is no different than the Fed's "money" to the moron Luther as his employment stipend.

Thus the Strange man in essence, finds himself illegally receiving [which is true] digits over lawful money for his work as government "law enforcer" ?!

How can Electronic Bingo be illegal and not electronic digits from the Federal Reserve System as the biggest fraud onto Americans, and globally?!

Just wondering about a huge lawsuit of enjoining one to another in the Alabama community regarding this Strange ruling that the government legal is offering.

Can't get better than this anti electronic "BINGO" - exactly what the "Fed's funny money," has been repeatedly referred to.

BINGO to the Too Big To Fail and so time for everyone to play the game where electronic money pays our winning for the next century and more since less has been for the past more than a century.

Coyote Lane said...

Here is proof of how POLICE STATE USA mirrors our future? We choose!

"... Ninety-three years old. The last leg of my journey. The end is in sight. I am lucky to be able to seize the time I have left to reflect on my lifelong commitment to politics: the Resistance and the program designed sixty-six years ago by the National Council of the Resistance”....

"... These are the opening lines from “A Time for Outrage!”(“Indignez-vous!”) a 35 page book written by Stephane Hessel in 2010 which sold 3 million copies in 30 languages and inspired protests like “Occupy” in the United States and The Indignados in Spain. Hassel died this week at the age of 95....

.. Each week we see reasons for outrage and, thankfully, more and more people are joining the culture of resistance.

.. Tuesday, the judge in the Bradley Manning case turned more than 1,000 days in prison, one-third of it in tortuous conditions in Kuwait and Quantico, into 90 days. The judge allowed excuses for the delays based on the complexity of the case and the secret documents involved so that it fell just under the 120 statutory limit for a speedy trial. Judge Denise Lind does not publish her opinions, (also outrageous) but read for two hours in court, making it almost impossible to analyze the basis of her making 1,000 = 90.

.. People are outraged at the treatment of Manning and in more than 70 cities, people protested.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/time-for-outrage/5325160

Anonymous said...

I may be totally off base, but could the legislature be withholding funding from the courts to get favorable rulings? It will be interesting to see if the courts are adequately funded after this ruling.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 11:51--

You raise a very interesting question, one I had not thought of. Power of the purse is where legislature has some control over courts. And yes, it will be interesting to keep an eye on court funding after this.

Anonymous said...

Schnauzer you need somebody working for you inside ALL these operations for your little Wiki Leaks!!! I love this site. Very informative and truth... ALSO I were under the impression that the Indian casino's were not under the same laws that the regular casino's were. Am I wrong? I thought they had to be left alone because they were on what was concerned Indian Reservation. Why do they just not put it to rest... LET US VOTE YAY OR NAY AND THAT WILL BE THE END.. I believe with all my heart the state would vote to have gambling in AL.. How do we get it on the ballot. I do not understand the big deal about gambling. If you don't want to don't but do not keep the ones that want to from doing so. I probably would not buy one or two lottery tickets a year if we had a lottery but I sure would not care if you bought 500 a week. I just do not understand them always trying to control our lives and they are so stupid they can not see ALL THE ALABAMA cars on the state line giving the other states our money and at the casino's in Miss.. Look around. ALABAMA TAGS. That money could be staying right here in AL.. Our state is a big joke to the rest of the USA.. BIG JOKE.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 12:32--

Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts. My understanding is that Indian tribes operate as sovereign nations, so they have their own sets of rules for casinos. Perhaps the federal government has some oversight over gaming, not sure about that. It appears the Indian casinos want to have gaming to themselves and don't appreciate competition from facilities such as VictoryLand. That's a great irony: Republicans supposedly are all about the free market, but Jack Abramoff and others have committed all kinds of crimes in an effort to protect tribes from the free market.

Anonymous said...

The Legislature must submit certain decisions, especially in the money legal binding contracts to hold the "taxpaying citizen" on the hook for the "money," to the Judicial Commission / Committee, for the decision by this body for a "record" made in "legislative law." The legislative law(s) must pass the courts in our "Constitutional Muster." Go to the State of Alabama archives, and see what "law" actually reads in the records - all the study must be thorough! ... Any and all records, audio, microfich, video, committee meetings in abundance, ALL record(s) have to be examined, in a deep forensic investigation.

There are / is INDEX books where the law(s) are found.

Get the Index and look up, for example, the illegal electronic bingo "Legislative Law?" Where did this law go, what committees, etc.? The clerks at the archive cannot answer any questions.

We should be taught all this in first grade.

Then get the book(s) which are the record of the law.

Hope this makes sense.

Courts are protectors of the laws which are of course only allowed to be good, when passing the US Constitution's rule of due process. Duh?! Legislatures must follow the U.S. Constitution's rule due process law.

Luther Strange and the Supreme Court of Alabama did? Where in the Legislature and also then the / a Judicial body to confirm, and what are the exact contract words which bind this "electronic bingo law?"

Where does legislature get the money? Where do the courts get the money? In actuality the US has the money and gives this power to the Federal Reserve System which obviously bribes the crooks on Wall Street and every licensed "lawyer" that pays to play USA BINGO in retirement tomorrows.

legalschnauzer said...

Alabama ABC Board approves liquor license for VictoryLand:

http://www.buzzmontgomery.com/2013/03/04/victoryland-gets-liquor-license-extension/3298

jeffrey spruill said...

LS:

I see Attorney General Luther Strange is still bitching.

legalschnauzer said...

Jeffrey:

Yes, indeed. He's trying to get the circuit judge removed from the case.

Robby Scott Hill said...

The folks who belong to the money and influence club truly believe that the end result they want, a bigger slice of the pie for themselves, is always justified by any means necessary. Almost six years after you first posed the question, "Is Your Honor Really Honorable?" you should have some very shocking answers. Allah summoned you to blog and this blog has ignited some fires. The master's house is on fire & as the late Brother Malcom X said, "pray for a strong wind!" My Moorish ancestors would be proud of this blog. I recently saw a vision in a dream confirming that the corrupt power structure about which you have blogged is coming to an end. Black, Brown, Red & Poor White People in Alabama will become the new Moors.

David in S. Alabama said...

There 18 amendments to the alabama Constitution allowing bingo in 18 different counties. Each amendnment is different in some way. The Green county is the most different because is allows electronic bingo. Yet Bingo Bob's goon squads and Big Luther's
state police have each gone to Green Co. to "enforce the law". How can this situation of treating 18 counties differently not be in violation of the "equal protection" clause of the US constitution.

legalschnauzer said...

Rob:

I hope the vision in your dream comes to fruition. Our nation's future depends on it.

legalschnauzer said...

David:

I think you could make a strong argument that it is a violation of the equal protection clause. In fact, our dysfunctional constitution probably violates democratic principles in numerous ways.