Kentucky Files Notice Of Appeal

Published on: January 23, 2009 

On the 20th of January the Court of Appeals had delivered a majority decision in favor of the domain name holders in the Kentucky domain name seizure case. Within 24 hours the Commonwealth of Kentucky has filed a Notice of Appeal against the decision. Obviously the lawyers for Kentucky had planned for the decision going against them. The notice was filed by Michael Brown, Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet also released a press statement at the time. Through that statement Brown said that the Commonwealth of Kentucky had taken this initiative to protect its citizens from illegal Internet gambling. The Commonwealth is committed to this objective and therefore will be filing an appeal with the state Supreme Court. According to Brown the judgment of the Appeals court did not dispute that illegal and unregulated gambling activity is taking place in Kentucky. The Commonwealth is losing millions of dollars as a result of this activity. Brown also pointed out that two judges agreed with the view of the State and two judges disagreed. Those who disagreed were Judges Michelle Keller and Jeff Taylor of the Court of Appeals. Those who agreed were Judge Michael Caperton of the Court of Appeals and Judge Thomas Wingate of the Franklin Circuit Court. Therefore, Brown concluded, that the appeal was in order.

The iMEGA is representing most of the domain name owners. Joe Brennan Jr., the chairman of iMEGA, was expecting this move from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Both Governor Beshear and Secretary Brown have a lot of political stake in this issue and it is natural for them to pursue the matter further. However the situation has got a bit shaky for the attorneys representing the Commonwealth of Kentucky. They have been acting on a contingency basis and according to Brennan have invested over a million dollars in the legal proceedings. Now they will have to invest more time and money. They are hoping that a win in Kentucky will open the doors to similar legislation in other states and they will recover their money then. But now this is not likely to happen soon.

Meanwhile the attorneys for iMEGA have indicated that they are in a comfortable position. Jon L. Fleischaker, managing partner at Dinsmore & Shohl, said that the ruling was clear that the domain names cannot be gambling devices. He also added that the State’s lawyers were confused between civil and criminal charges and were trying to get a civil remedy through a criminal statute. Fleischaker was sure that the iMEGA would get a favorable judgment in the state Supreme Court as well.

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