Legal Issues Arise In Poker Game Bust Case

The defense in a poker case in Greer said that police forced the players on the floor and pointed guns on their heads while yelling "Warrant, get on the ground and don't move". This occurred during a poker bust Aug. 8, 2005 in a subdivision clubhouse.

Lt. Chris Varner of the Greer Police Department countered that a SWAT team put players on the floor, but said, "No guns were pointed at anyone's head."

Attorney Jeffrey Philips asked Greer Municipal Judge Henry Mims to dismiss charges against five of the players involved, saying that the existing gambling law is too vague.

He questioned the constitutionality of an 1802 gambling statute, saying that under the law, any games that involve cards or dice is illegal including monopoly and go fish.

Greer prosecutor Miles Thomas argued that previous court rulings and the legislature have made it clear that the "gambling and lotteries" statute is aimed at unlawful games and betting. Mims would be ruling next week.

Following the hearing, Thomas declined to comment on how the defense portrayed the arrest.

"That wouldn't have any bearing or relevance on the charges," he said.

The defendants in the case are Michael Wiggins, Don McNair, Mark Thoennes, Jarrett Chester and Michael Cooper, the five men who challenged the charges. Five others pleaded guilty.

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