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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Judge Under Fire

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

A retired judge is under fire in Arizona for operating a poker club of questionable legality.

According to media reports, former Maricopa County justice of the peace Harold S. Lee runs Judge Lee’s Arizona Card Room & Social Club, a poker club in Sierra Vista, Arizona, USA.

The club may be illegal under Arizona law, however, and the state’s attorney general, Terry Goddard, announced last week that he is considering criminal charges against Lee, media reports said.

“If that’s what it takes, let’s get this thing in the courthouse,” Lee told an Arizona newspaper.

“They’ll lose because poker isn’t gambling. I don’t think they can get a jury to convict.”

Lee advertises his poker club on the Internet, at

Although Arizona law bans businesses from promoting or profiting from games of chance, Lee has been running poker games for three years, media reports said.

Lee claims the poker club’s membership list includes police officers, military personnel, prosecutors and even a mayor, media reports said.

On his website, Lee rails against the anti-gambling factions that want to shut him down, writing: “It appears that some law enforcement authorities do not agree on what constitutes social gambling.

“However, members of the Arizona Card League do, and we believe any jury of our peers would agree: a group of adults joining a private social club to play games is social gambling.

“And, that our inherent and inalienable right to liberty, in the pursuit of happiness, would be violated by any prohibition.

“In fact, we feel so strongly that this is the case that we are seeking support from voters, and friends of freedom everywhere, to join us in seeking a sane gaming policy for Arizona.”

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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