Judge upholds indictment for illegal poker room operators

A superior court judge in New Jersey upheld charges against two police officers and four other people accused of running an illegal poker club in a Dover warehouse. Defense lawyers had tried to have the charges against the six dismissed.

Police officers Sgt. Richard Winstock and Officer Thomas Juskus, along with Winstock's wife Jennifer, Scott and Rubin Furer, and Richard Wagner Jr., are charged with running the "5th Street Club," an illegal poker den.

The club was raided in April 2005, and authorities allege it was raking in thousands of dollars per night from the poker games being played there. The defense argued that though games were being played at the club, the house didn't get collect rake.

Other arguments included that legal advice had been sought by the group before opening the club to make it legitimate, and they had told the zoning board when they applied for permission to run the club that it would offer a variety of recreational options including poker.

Some of the charges against the officers stem from orders they'd received from a superior officer to stop hosting poker tournaments. This was before the club was opened, and they were organizing poker tournaments at firehouses. The prosecutor said at the hearing that the officers didn't need a warning about the club because they'd already been told not to host poker tournaments and had a duty to uphold the laws against gambling.

Despite the defense's efforts, Judge Salem Vincent Ahto said that his review was limited by case law and the state only needed "some evidence" to gain an indictment. He had to uphold the indictment and said the points made by the defense were points that should be made to a trial jury.

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