Judge Denies AG's Request to Remove Himself from VictoryLand Affairs
A Macon County Judge says he's not going anywhere despite Attorney General Luther Strange's request for him to step aside from legal issues involving VictoryLand.
After hearing the arguments in a packed Macon County Court room, Judge Tom Young reached his decision.
He would not step aside from hearing whether the state can keep $200,000 and destroy more than 1,600 gaming machines that were seized from VictoryLand in a state raid last month.
Strange asked Young to step aside saying Young showed bias when he turned down a search warrant for the raid.
But in a closing statement, Young says he was fair, and the Court of Appeals agreed with him that there was not enough evidence to sign the warrant.
VictoryLand attorney Joe Espy says the state simply wants the case to be assigned to a different judge who supports its side.
"You see the Attorney General has all over the state shopped judges. Greene County, Lowndes County, Houston County and now Macon County," says Espy. "We are please with this decision."
Deputy Attorney General Sonny Reagan says the state may now appeal Young's decision.
"It's certainly in the realm of possibilities and certainly an option. We just haven't decided yet," says Reagan.
"I just feel VictoryLand has been wronged," says Jim Gartland, a Macon County resident.
Gartland was among the protesters who stood outside the Courthouse. Gartland says they are angry with the state.
"Instead of this mess and spending the state's money for no reason, let the people get back to business and put people back to work," says Gartland.
If Strange does not appeal Young's decision, a date will be set for the forfeiture case, but Espy isn't counting on it.
"Let's quit playing the games, and not have to take another appellate review," says Espy. "I think based on what we saw, we will see an appeal to the Supreme Court."
Strange was not at today's hearing. Alabama News Network did trying contacting him to get his response, but we haven't heard back.
VictoryLand had reopened in December, but shut down two months later. Last Thursday, it started offering simulcast dog and horse racing once again.