The refusal by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate to dismiss the state of Kentucky's attempt to hi-jack 141 online gambling-related domain names last week spawned another round of legal argument this week in the Frankfort courtroom.
A Motion of Stay by the Interactive Gaming Council was the subject of a spirited debate with the judge before he took the motion under advisement. Details of the motion were not known when we went to press, but legal tactics of this kind usually relate to ending or suspending restraining orders, and one of the grounds for this is due process flaws.
Judge Wingate had previously approved the temporary seizure of domain names applied for by the state of Kentucky in a covert process. At the hearing last week the judge amended this order, making it conditional on the actions of domain owners. Those who proved to the state's justice officials that they had taken measures to ban Kentucky players would be relieved from the seizure order in terms of the amendment.
Although there is no information on the iMEGA website confirming it, that the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association has filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus regarding the domain issue and Judge Wingate's rulings. This type of order is normally used to enlist the aid of a Superior Court in instructing a lower court such as Judge Wingate's to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly.
iMEGA's 239 page petition appeals to the Court of Appeals to "reach down given the fact that the law Judge Wingate was trying to apply to this case does not match the situation at hand," according to iMEGA's President, Edward Leyden who spoke with 911 reporters last (Wednesday) evening. "The (Circuit) Court lacked jurisdiction and lacks the constitutionality."
Among the arguments contained in the petition is a challenge to the Judge's ruling that his court had the necessary jurisdiction, arguments regarding the legal standing of Kentucky Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown and claims of a violation of due process.
Leyden told 911 that Judge Wingate's court had essentially rewritten the law, despite the judge's genuine efforts to deliver a fair decision in the highly controversial case. "The problem is that the law being applied does not fit and simply didn't belong in the (Circuit) court," Leyden told 911. "The global Internet and local law simply do not make a good fit."
The petition is a seperate initiative to iMEGA's intention to launch a full appeal, and is a convenient vehicle to accelerate a legal process that could otherwise drag on for some time. It additionally has the potential to delay any forfeiture orders on November 17, the deadline for domain owners to prove they have cut off Kentucky gamblers or see their domains confiscated permanently and handed to the state of Kentucky.
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