Did Supreme Court Judge Murdock commit a serious, possibly even a criminal, violation in his bingo ruling?

 

After the 26 hour stand off, Murdock’s ruling turned a brightly lit cabaret into an empty wasteland.

 

In 1988-1989, the Greene County Commission had an attorney named Glenn Murdock who was handling the county’s supposed interests in the case in which  Bear Bryant Jr. gave Greene County half of the facility and land upon which Greenetrack Inc. sits.

Greenetrack was at that time the home of simulcast dog and horse racing as well as live dog racing.

The other half of the facility was given to Greenetrack employees  – their shares based on the length of their employment and their position at the track.

Many can remember that Murdock  wanted the county to get an equal share of the business and was frustrated when that did not happen.

Murdock, then a partner with the Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt firm of Birmingham, helped the county negotiate agreements to bring video poker machines to Greenetrack in 1998-99, according to legal documents and correspondence with the commission. He also helped draft legislation that proposed to authorize, regulate and tax the electronic gambling machines.

Now there are many wondering if Murdock’s recent actions against the county, the Greenetrack facility and the Greenetrack employees is possibly an act of retaliation because he did not get his “piece of the pie.”

Murdock has publically admitted that there have been many questions asked about his position with the county.

Several of the lawyers involved with various parties in the suits  said that the omission could violate the state’s Canon of Judicial Ethics, which govern the conduct of justices.

“According to my reading of the canon, it absolutely should have been disclosed and may even have been grounds for Justice Murdock to recuse,” said Montgomery lawyer John Bolton, who represents Greenetrack Inc. of Eutaw.

It cannot be denied that Murdock publically argued in 1988-89 that the county should reap some of the financial benefits which would come from Greenetrack.

Murdock vehemently denies that there is any connection between his employment as the County Attorney of Greene County and his actions as  the Supreme Court Judge who authorized a kamakazi type raid which removed all of the electronic machines from the track and immediately put almost 400 people out of work.

In a statement given to other media in the state, Winn said that the story about Glenn Murdock provides more proof that the attack on Greenetrack and other legal gaming operations is about politics and not about the law.

 Winn has this to say about Murdock and his role in the detestation of Greene County and its people:

“I have read Justice Murdock’s statement dated September 7. A number of his recollections regarding the negotiations with a video gambling operator and legislation conflicts with documents prepared by him in his role as County Attorney.  In the absence of a compelling reason, I will assume the documents written at the time are more accurate than his memory today.

 “While I may disagree with his recollections on those issues, I agree with his final observation: none of the recent decisions of the Alabama Supreme Court called upon the Supreme Court to “address the meaning or import of the local amendment legalizing bingo in Greene County.”

“As we have said all along, no court, including the Supreme Court has ever ruled that electronic bingo is illegal in Greene County or that the electronic bingo machines at Greenetrack are illegal slot machines.

“No matter what lies Bob Riley and John Tyson have told about the Supreme Court decisions, this is straight from the very Justice who authored the Court’s opinions touted by Riley and Tyson.

*This statement by Justice Murdock proves that the Task Force had no right to invade Greenetrack and threaten its employees on June 18, 2010.

*Colonel Murphy and his Task Force Raiders had no right to threaten to shut down Greenetrack, force its customers out the door, and block our business if we did not allow him to conduct discovery in the civil forfeiture case.

“Our pleas to the Supreme Court fell on deaf ears when we explained to the Court that Tyson and his Task Force represented to us and the Greene County Circuit Judge one thing and then told the Supreme Court something different.

“Tyson told the Circuit Judge: “Mr. Griggers has characterized it as a raid and I want to assure the Court that we did not present ourselves for the purpose of doing what we usually do in raids and that is seizing machines and carting them off.  We went there with the expressed purpose of exercising the State’s authority as outlined in your order; that is to inspect, to test and to examine the machines that were there.”

“Justice Murdock’s statement only further demonstrates that the citizens of Greene County have not and cannot get a fair day in court before an impartial tribunal. “

Knowledgeable observers in the county now say that the people of Greene County are  suffering both economically and emotionally due to the cruel and unusual actions of two persons – a lame-duck Republican Governor  who’d now have a hard time getting elected dog catcher in any civilized state and a wanna be lawyer who really missed the boat when the bingo bells began to ring. Just how big a part these ambitions and the desire to be known in the history of the state as a great reformer have played in the destruction of a small county with limited income we do not know but almost any sane person who has observed Riley and Murdock can’t help but wonder just what were their real reasons, who did they really owe and why pick this specific timing in the middle of a general election year.

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: