AG Strange calls for recusal of Macon County Judge - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

AG Strange calls for recusal of Macon County Judge

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TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) -

In his latest move against illegal gambling in Alabama, Attorney General Luther Strange has filed a motion against the judge who said he reluctantly signed a search warrant for VictoryLand asking that the judge recuse himself.  

Attorney General Strange filed the motion last week citing that, "the State of Alabama and the public have a reasonable basis to question Judge [Tom] Young's ability to be fair and impartial in this matter."

READ FULL MOTION HERE

Strange cites Judge Young's reluctance penned on the search warrant and his previous denial of a search warrant until the State Supreme Court stepped in as evidence of a bias against the state's case against the casino.

"The problem is not only that Judge Young has already expressly stated that he does not believe the state's evidence rises to the level of probable cause, and that he expressed a strong reluctance to so much as sign the search warrant in this matter even after the Supreme Court of Alabama ordered him to do so. Judge Young has also taken actions and made comments in this and other proceedings that would make reasonable members of the public or a party or counsel question the impartiality of Judge Young."

In the document, Strange described the attempts by investigators to get Young to sign the search warrant even after the Supreme Court ordered it. Court documents state that Young attempted to dodge investigators telling them, "I don't have time for this right now, I will see y'all later," and telling them he was "late for a show."

After that incident, Judge Young agreed to meet the investigators on a Saturday when he penned the now infamous note at the bottom of the VictoryLand search warrant and reportedly made statements to the investigators about his views on the State's evidence and "political motivations" of the AG. Investigators also stated that Judge Young mentioned the Supreme Court had created a "slippery slope" by ordering him to sign the warrant.

Strange also pointed out that Judge Young initially signed a temporary restraining order stopping state police from entering VictoryLand back in 2010 when the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling ordered a search warrant. That TRO was later vacated by the State Supreme Court. Young issued another TRO months later, shortly before a second attempted raid. That order was also reversed at a later date.

In the midst of Attorney General Strange's motion for Young to recuse himself from the case, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board saw fit to grant VictoryLand an expanded liquor license.

READ THE ABC DECISION HERE

The ABC Board stated it could not conclude that specific gaming machines at VictoryLand were illegal. The panel granted the license stating it would ultimately be up to the courts to decide the status of the machines.

VictoryLand attorney Charlanna Spencer said the ABC decision bolsters VictoryLand's argument that the machines are in fact legal.

Attorney General Strange disagreed saying, "The Supreme Court made it clear yesterday [Friday] that VictoryLand's machines are illegal. In light of that opinion the ABC Board's opinion is foolish and inconsequential."

Documents in Strange's motion for recusal show Judge Young denied the first search warrant against VictoryLand stating that he was not personally willing to determine the legality of VictoryLand's machines under the circumstances presented.

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