Verin takes Hale out of bingo order

By Alan Collins

JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALA. (WBRC) - Jefferson County Circuit Judge Eugene Verin revised his court order allowing electronic bingo halls to open and to stop Cutoff District Attorney Arthur Green and Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale from stopping them.

Attorney General Luther Strange objected and asked Verin to put aside his order until Hale had a chance to appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. Thursday, Verin refused to issue a stay but took Hale out of the order.

Cumberland Law School Dean John Carroll says the decision was not a surprise.

"The attorney general is appealing on the Alabama Supreme Court already deciding that issue. A judge can't enjoin a criminal prosecution in the state," Carroll said.

Verin's order from Monday said as long as GreeneTrack was open with new computer table top machines, bingo could resume in western Jefferson County. Hale's attorney is glad to see the court order no longer applied to the sheriff.

"We welcome working with the attorney general to make sure the laws of the state of Alabama are enforced and those who break the law are prosecuted," Jay Murrill, one of Hale's attorneys said.

Strange is happy with the revised order and he is putting bingo halls on notice.

"Those who undertake to resume or open a business using slot machines do so at their own peril and will face whatever law enforcement action may be determined necessary and proper," Strange said.

Fairfield City Attorney Michael Trucks is still looking forward to an April 15th court hearing before Verin. Trucks says if the Alabama Supreme Court tosses out all of Verin's order, it's a setback.

Trucks hopes a future court hearing will determine if the bingo machines in the cutoff are legal under new guidelines established by the Alabama Supreme Court.

"Fairfield believes it's proper to license these types of operations and they are conducting a legal business," Trucks said.

Copyright 2011 WBRC. All rights reserved.