Martin v. Stewart

499 F.3d 360 (2007)

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Martin v. Stewart

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
499 F.3d 360 (2007)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Jimmy Martin and Lucky Strike, LLC (together, Martin) (plaintiffs) operated video-poker machines. Martin sued a few South Carolina officials (defendants) in federal district court to stop enforcement of two state statutes. The statutes made it a misdemeanor to maintain or operate certain devices related to “games of chance” and were enacted by the state under its police power as a regulation of gambling. Under one statute, law enforcement was directed to seize prohibited machines without any pre-enforcement method of testing a particular machine’s legality. Martin alleged that the statutes violated the federal constitutional principles of due process and equal protection. Specifically, Martin claimed that the statute’s language was void for vagueness insofar as it failed to provide reasonable notice as to which types of devices were prohibited. According to Martin, the game Monopoly might be prohibited. Martin also claimed that the statutes allowed for discriminatory enforcement. Under the doctrine of Burford abstention, the district court dismissed the constitutional claims. Martin appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Motz, J.)

Dissent (Wilkinson, J.)

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