Idaho Passes New Law Following Police Raid On Pensioner's Poker GameMarch 21, 2010 9:14 am
Following a raid at Idaho’s Twin Falls Senior Center, in which a weekly poker social evening by a group of senior citizens was broken-up up by Idaho police officers, state legislators have moved to amend the archaic law which led to the raid in the first place.
The police bust which took place last month targeted 20 or so retirees who would meet up at the retirement Center every Friday and play Texas Hold ’em, each contributing $20 from the start with the money eventually being shared out amongst the winners.
Although seen by the elderly group as a way of socialising and passing the time away in their twilight years, the Idaho police took a dimmer view of things and felt compelled to shut down the get-together, citing an outdated law which dates back to when Idaho was a territory. The archaic law basically stated that a prosecutor would be committing a misdemeanour if he failed to investigate or prosecute a gambling allegation.
However, after the Twin Falls Senior citizen’s had their innocent weekly poker game halted, the police and their dealing with the OAPs came under heavy criticism to the extent that Idaho legislators then decided that a change in the law was badly needed.
Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs, commenting on the adsurd law said: “It is a misdemeanor crime for a prosecutor to fail to prosecute someone who fills out an NCAA tournament bracket. That seems, at best, to be a waste of law enforcement resources.”
Following the attention brought to the plight of the elderly poker playing group, State Senator Kate Kelly (D-Boise) sponsored a new measure to place discretion for investigating any gambling reports back in the hands of the prosecutors. As she explains:
“We have elected prosecutors in Idaho, and they make decisions every day about whether or not to pursue a particular defendant or whether or not to pursue a particular act. And I think we can support that rather than exposing them to be subject to a crime for failing to prosecute.”
There wasn’t many in the Senate who disagreed with Senator Kate Kelly either, and the measure was overwhelmingly passed in the Idaho Senate by a vote of 34-1, and in the Idaho House at 69-1.
The legislation is now expected to go into effect on July 1, which will all come as good news to the elderly group who had complained that continuing to play poker at the Center without money had removed any excitement they had previously enjoyed from winning even a small pot at the game.