Victim or the Crime?

Earlier this week a Jefferson County business owner contacted police to report that he had been the victim of a robbery. Upon investigating his establishment, police soon decided that while he was a victim of a robbery, he was also a perpetrator of a different crime: illegal gambling. Responding officers found illegal electric gambling machines inside the business when they went to investigate the call, which reported that three men had come to use the gambling machines and robbed the business owner at gunpoint, carrying a shotgun.

While no progress has been reported on the capture of the gun-wielding bandits, Sheriff’s spokesman Randy Christian says the illegal gambling machines were seized Monday morning and no charges have been filed. It is unclear how much cash the robbers made off with.

Gambling legislation has been a point of heated controversy in the Alabama legislature over the past decade. The law as it stands is at best up for interpretation, and at worst a murky area without a clear line of legality. For instance, there has been no shortage of ink spilled in attempting to state the current legal status of electronic bingo machines, and the laws are often different, or at least differently enforced, from county to county.

No doubt the business owner now feels doubly violated; first men with guns took his cash, then his “protectors,” who also have guns, came and confiscated what were likely very expensive machines that generated revenues for his establishment.

It is one thing to argue the legality of these machines, and to have matters heard in a court of law pertaining to penalties or injunctions against operation of such machines. It is quite another for the officers responding to a report of armed robbery to confiscate the machines on their way out the door.

If you have been charged with armed robbery, with promoting illegal gambling, or even been the victim of improper police conduct, you are only as effective as your legal advocate before the courts. At Parkman White, LLP, we have decades of combined litigation experience in matters ranging from criminal defense to personal injury. Time may be working against you, so don’t delay! Take advantage of our free consultation by calling 205-502-2000 or visiting our webpage at www.parkmanwhite.com, and let us put our experience to work for you today.