MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling has won a key decision in the White Hall bingo raid case.
The Alabama Supreme Court Friday issued an order allowing the state to retain control over the 101 gaming machines and half-million dollars in cash seized in the early morning March 19th raid on the White Hall Gaming Center. The court's move would also allow the state to raid the center again if the Task Force saw fit.
The state had been previously ordered by Judge Mark Kennedy to return the seized property and leave White Hall alone while the case worked its way through the court system, but the his decision was appealed on the challenge that Kennedy should not have presided over the case because of ties to gambling interests.
"Our legal system depends upon impartial and unbiased judges deciding cases," said Governor Riley. "It is inconceivable that a judge with ties to gambling in the state would think he could act in an unbiased manner in this case, and I am glad that the Supreme Court has decided to examine that question.
"There is no doubt that the machines seized during the raid are illegal slot machines," said Governor Riley. "To require law enforcement to give back illegal machines to the parties breaking the law would have been a terrible miscarriage of justice. I salute the Supreme Court for righting this wrong."
White Hall attorney Collins Pettaway immediately issued the following statement via email: