Supreme Court: Local Judge to Decide Center Stage Case

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Alabama Supreme Court is allowing a Houston County judge to decide whether the state attorney general's office can keep $283,000 in cash and 691 gambling machines seized in a raid at Center Stage casino in Dothan.

The group behind the casino, the Houston Economic Development Association, appealed to the Supreme Court after Houston County Circuit Judge Michael Conaway rejected the association's request to step aside from the forfeiture case. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal Friday.

An attorney for the association, Ernie Hornsby, said three other Houston County judges stepped aside and the association wanted Conaway to do the same thing because of the pervasive media coverage. That would have resulted in a judge from outside the county getting the forfeiture case.

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