Missouri appeals court upholds ruling in Torch Electronics lawsuit

May 29, 2024
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The state highway patrol can seize gaming machines that violate state regulations.

A Missouri appeals court has upheld a recent decision that allows the state’s highway patrol to seize machines that offer cash prizes and violate state regulations, according to a Yahoo News report.

The decision to uphold the ruling was unanimous.

Torch Electronics had filed a lawsuit, asking the court of bar the Missouri State Highway Patrol from “seizing machines and seeking criminal charges.”

However, the court dismissed the litigation last fall.

Judge Edward Ardini, one of three judges who sat on the panel for the Western District Court of Appeals, wrote an official statement that outlined the court’s reasons for upholding the ruling.

He wrote in his statement, “It is evident from plaintiffs’ amended petition that their objective in bringing this lawsuit is to enjoin law enforcement from determining the devices are criminal and seizing them.

“We are not persuaded by plaintiffs’ attempts to characterize their claim as one seeking declaratory judgment interpreting a civil statute.”

He went on to note that civil courts taking on challenges against criminal law enforcement is “bad policy.”

Ardini wrote, “There are sound policy reasons why courts should not be used to civilly enforce criminal laws, including the difference in the burden of proof between a criminal prosecution and an action for equitable relief.

“Further, courts should avoid encroaching on the constitutional and statutory duties of prosecutors to enforce the criminal laws by permitting private litigants to seek enforcement through a civil action for declaratory or injunctive relief.”

In other state news, the Missouri Secretary of State’s office has agreed to language on a proposed ballot initiative that would give voters the option to approve amending the Missouri Constitution.

More specifically, voters could decide to approve changing the Constitution to make way for a 14th gambling boat license.

Upon approval, the proposed $10m casino project would be located below Bagnell Dam along the Osage River.

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