In a major victory for poker player's rights in Maryland, Baltimore prosecutors announced that they would throw out the gambling charges brought against the 80 poker players caught up in a recent police raid of a poker club located close to Camden Yards.
According to city prosecutors, officers used the wrong subsection of law in filling out the tickets they handed out the night of the raid. According to a recent Baltimore Sun article, prosecutors believe that taking further action against the players would be a waste of court resources.
The review of the officer's enforcement of the law was handled by Assistant Sate Attorney Patricia Deros and received ultimate approval from State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.
According to Deros, players can rest easy knowing there won't be further prosecution by the law. "We don't believe there will be any new charges filed against the players."
Baltimore prosecutors had earlier questioned the subsection of law that Sgt. Craig Gentile, the vice detective who organized the raid of the Owl's Nest, but said they needed more time to see if the charges would stick.
Ultimately, this mistake by Baltimore police, who showed the biggest display of law enforcement in Baltimore since 1932 during the raid, will let the players out through a loophole. According to Deros, the players had been charged under a subsection of the law that states that a person may not "keep, rent, use, or occupy" a building for the purpose of gambling. Players should have been charged under the subsection that prohibits a "bet, wager or gamble."
"It's just not the appropriate subsection," said Deros.
Although police may have lost this battle, it looks like the war against illegal poker clubs in Baltimore and surrounding areas is just getting started. According to Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm, a widespread crackdown on poker tournaments may be on the way. "We are going to enforce the law."
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