State Supreme Court: Judge can stay on Center Stage case | News
DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - A Houston County group's petition to remove the judge presiding over the Center Stage forfeiture from the case was denied today by the Alabama Supreme Court.
The group that owns Center Stage, Houston Economic Development Association, applied for a Writ of Mandamus with the Supreme Court of Alabama to force Houston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Conaway to re-consider a motion they filed for Judge Conaway's recusal.
Today the State Supreme Court denied that writ - meaning Conaway can continue to work on the case.
“Obviouisly, we respect what the court has decided and will abide by that," said Ernie Hornsby, Attorney for Houston Economic Development Association. "Given the fact that there’s no clarity on electronic bingo, I wish the Supreme Court had issued an opinion to give us come guidance on these matters for the various counties that have bingo amendments on what judges can and can’t hear the case. But they decided in this case that wasn’t necessary and we will respect that and go forward.”
Center Stage, a gaming facility in Houston County, had its machines and profits seized by the state following the execution of a search warrant at the facility back in July. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said the search warrant was issued "in response to an ongoing investigation of illegal gambling operations."
Judge Conaway is the fourth Judge that has been assigned to this case. The first three judges, Judge Anderson, Judge Binford and Judge Mendheim also recused themselves following motions filed by HEDA regarding their previous work on cases involving gambling in Houston County.