Court rules Mich. Board violated drivers' rights
June 16, 2015
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Mlive.com is reporting Tuesday that a federal appeals courts has ruled that the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) violated the constitutional rights of four harness drivers--John Moody, Don Harmon, Rick Ray and Wally McIlmurray Jr.--when it suspended their licenses for refusing to answer questions about fixing races.
The four horsemen claimed the MGCB violated their Fifth Amendment rights when they refused to answer questions alleging race fixing in May 2010. The four were accused of conspiring to fix the outcome of races at Hazel Park, Northville Downs and Sports Creek. No charges were ever filed nor were any of the four men convicted as a result of the allegations.
When attorneys for the drivers were told by a Michigan State Police detective that they would be arrested and charged with race fixing, they declined to answer the MGCB's questions. The MGCB then revoked the horsemen's licenses, and they were denied licenses the following three years, which precluded them from racing anywhere else due to reciprocity.
The drivers filed a federal lawsuit in 2012 seeking the return of their licenses and damages. A U.S. District Judge ruled against the drivers, citing they failed to show their constitutional rights were violated. The Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled otherwise, stating they had the right to refuse to answer on the grounds they could be self-incriminating and they should be allowed to assert that right.
According to the MLive.com story, the case will now be returned to the U.S. District Court in Flint for further proceedings.