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Greene County casino raids: Judge says she was forced to sign search warrants

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Alabama District Court Judge Lillie Osborne-Jones said she was forced to sign the search warrants in the raids of four Greene County casinos, Monday, March 31, 2014. (abc3340.com) Alabama District Court Judge Lillie Osborne-Jones said she was forced to sign the search warrants in the raids of four Greene County casinos, Monday, March 31, 2014. (abc3340.com)

On the heels of Monday's raid on four Greene County casinos, Alabama District Court Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne has released a statement revealing that she was forced to sign warrants in the search and seizure of the properties and says she's "never been a willing participant" in the raids.

According to Jones-Osborne, she denied Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange's request in January for search warrants allowing for the raid of all known bingo halls in Greene County, but her decision was appealed to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. On March 27, she was ordered by the Alabama Supreme Court to sign the search warrants, Jones-Osborne said before expressing her angst over the events, which have temporarily put many people out of work.

"As a resident of Greene County, I am sadden that as a result of the raids many individuals are out of work, but, as a Judge, once the Alabama Supreme Court issued their order for me to immediately sign the search warrants, I had no choice but to issue the warrant or risk being held in contempt of Court by the Alabama Supreme Court," Jones-Osborne said in a release.

Jones-Osborne, who has served as a district judge since 1999 and is up for re-election in June, questions the timing of the raids and asks her constituents to "not to be influenced by the smoke screens, schemes, plans and politics that take you away from the issues in the election for District Judge."

Full release from Lillie Jones-Osborne:

"As your District Judge for the past fourteen years, I have adhered to the oath that I first took in 1999 to "support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alabama… and to faithfully and honestly discharge the duties of the Office of District Judge to the best of my ability."  My only agenda as your District Judge has been to uphold my oath regardless of the political consequences.

"There have been so many rumors and untrue statements regarding the search warrants signed by me to raid GreeneTrack, Frontier Bingo, River's Edge and Green Charity Bingo.  But please know that I have never been a willing participant in the Greene County Raids.

  • On January 16, 2014, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange's office sought search warrants to raid all bingo halls in Greene County.  I denied these search warrants but the Alabama Attorney General appealed my decision to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

 

  • On February 5, 2014 I filed an answer to the State's Petition and requested that the Petition be dismissed but on March 27, 2014 I was served with an order from the Alabama Supreme Court ordering me to immediately sign the search warrants that lead to the raids.

"As a resident of Greene County, I am sadden that as a result of the raids many individuals are out of work, but, as a Judge, once the Alabama Supreme Court issued their order for me to immediately sign the search warrants, I had no choice but to issue the warrant or risk being held in contempt of Court by the Alabama Supreme Court.

"When this campaign first began, I asked the citizens of Greene County not to be influenced by the smoke screens, schemes, plans and politics that take you away from the issues in the election for District Judge.  So I ask you to ask yourself, why would a search warrant be sought at this particular time and why was the only county office involved in the raid was the office of District Judge? When you answer that question, I ask you again not to be influenced by these political tactics, smoke screens and untruths regarding these raids.

"I simply ask you to continue to look at my record and at the record of my opponent. By voting for me on June 3, you will continue to ensure equality and fairness in the District Court of Greene Court for your future, your family's future and all citizens of Greene County."

 

 

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