Jury acquits video casino owner, manager of gambling charges - Sunday 12th of June 2005

A video casino owner and his manager were acquitted Friday morning from charges that they violated state gambling laws by awarding coffee, peanut butter and other household items as prizes at their 8-liner gaming business.Lucky Spin owner Elwyn Leroy Herman, 65, and manager Guadalupe Rocha, 41, were found innocent by a jury that deliberated for about three hours in a trial that began Wednesday.“Mr. Herman and the people at Lucky Spin were in compliance with the law,? said defense attorney Ed Cyganiewicz after the verdict. “Each case will be decided on its own facts, but these gentlemen did all they could to try to comply (with the law).?

Brownsville police raided the Lucky Spin at 1607 Price Road on Aug. 5 and later arrested Herman and Rocha with three Class A misdemeanor charges of keeping a gambling place, gambling promotion and possession of a gambling device.Prosecution tried to prove the defendants broke the law because patrons could win more than the legal limit of 10 times the amount they played in credits on 8-liner machines.The jury’s decision signaled that some forms of video gambling could be permitted here, said Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos.“My job is not to enforce morality, but rather the law,? Villalobos said. “Like obscenity cases, there are community standards of whether this activity is permitted or not.?The district attorney said his office will continue to receive gambling cases from local police departments and review them.“It has to be something serious such as an exchange of money or flat out gambling? Villalobos said.Brownsville police said the Lucky Spin case was their first loss out of 14 investigations into illegal gambling at several area video casinos.Brownsville Police Cmdr. Juan Hernandez said officers understood and respected the jury’s decision, but will continue to investigate illegal gambling.“If we get any complaints from the community of businesses such as this operating illegally, we are going to investigate them,? he said.Herman told The Brownsville Herald after the verdict that he reopened his video casino five days after the raid and will continue to stay in business.

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