Country Crossing loses federal appeal for shield

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A Federal judge struck down another request from Country Crossing late Tuesday that would have kept Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling from raiding the facility in Houston County.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a two-sentence order that denied the gaming center's request.

Country Crossing appealed to the federal government after a restraining order they had obtained from a local judge in February was struck down by the Alabama Supreme Court.

John Tyson, Jr., Special Prosecutor for the Task Force, said the judge's ruling is a victory for the criminal justice system and for equality under the law.

"This was another attempt by illegal slot machine operators to hijack the criminal justice system and carve out special rules so they can enrich themselves," Tyson said. "In denying their request, the judge reaffirmed our laws don't allow special immunity from criminal laws to certain people because of their money and influence. An orderly democracy is based on equity and fairness under the law, and we're pleased the Court affirmed that with this ruling."

The governor's office said that despite attempts to "muddy the waters" by claiming there is legal uncertainty, Alabama's laws on the subject of gambling are clear. Slot machines, no matter what they are called, are illegal in Alabama. No local constitutional amendment exempts any county from the criminal statutes prohibiting slot machines.

WSFA 12 News is awaiting a response from Country Crossing representatives on this latest development.

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