Task Force to fight Greene Co. judge's order

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling Tuesday afternoon filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Alabama challenging an order issued earlier in the day by Judge Eddie Hardaway in Greene County. The governor's office says that order prevents the Task Force from carrying out law enforcement activities at Greentrack.

The Task Force also asked the Supreme Court to immediately suspend Judge Hardaway's order, thereby allowing law enforcement operations to resume. The Task Force also asked that the case be reassigned to a different circuit judge.

The Supreme Court overturned two earlier orders from Judge Hardaway Monday that restricted law enforcement operations at Greenetrack. The Supreme Court said in its order that, "Except in limited circumstances not here applicable, a court has no jurisdiction to enjoin law enforcement from discharge of its duties."

Following the Supreme Court's ruling Monday, Task Force officials went to Greenetrack Tuesday morning to inspect and take possession of gambling machines that had been seized earlier this month. That seizure occurred after the Greene County District Attorney and Greene County's former Sheriff concluded that Greenetrack's slot machines were illegal.

Judge Hardaway Tuesday issued an order that will prevent the Task Force from taking possession of or inspecting the seized slot machines until mid-August, the governor's office said, adding that Judge Hardaway's order is an injunction against law enforcement from discharge of its duties, which is something that the Supreme Court ruled the judge cannot do.

"Our appeal asks the Supreme Court to do today exactly what it did yesterday," said Task Force Commander John Tyson, Jr.  "Judge Hardaway has no authority to stop law enforcement officers from carrying out their duties. The Supreme Court told him that yesterday, and I cannot see how Judge Hardaway's order can be reconciled with the Supreme Court's ruling."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Governor Riley's Press Office