The USTA reported this past Friday that horsemen John Moody, Don Harmon, Rick Ray and Wally McIllmurray Jr. are suing the Michigan Gaming and Control Board (MGCB) and others for suspending and revoking their licenses for allegedly taking the Fifth Ammendment with regards to the alleged race fixing which supposedly transpired in Michigan. They are seeking their licenses to be restored, expunging all records regarding the suspension in question and monetary damages.
In the suit, it is alleged the drivers took the fifth ammendment and after their suspensions were over, were told they could only get their license back if they fired their lawyers and answered questions without invoking the Fifth Ammendment (against self-incrimination). According to the suit, the attorney representing the drivers were told they would be arrested after the hearing.
If you accept the points alleged as true, Michigan law permits the racing commission to suspend a licensee if they refuse to attend a commission meeting or refuse to testify without 'just cause'. Well, I am no attorney, but being told you are going to be arrested after the hearing sounds like just cause to me. My understanding is if you answer any question besides your name and address, you then give up your right to take the Fifth. Not having any transcripts, I would assume if they were told they were targets of a criminal investigation, their lawyer would have made sure they answered no questions other than identifying themselves by name and address..
Again, reading the allegations in the suit, one has to wonder how a racing commission can demand someone appear at a hearing without legal representation. Also, how can a commission insist someone give up their right against self-incrimination, especially one hich is part of the government?
To a layman, the answer would appear to be they can't. But this will be up to the courts to decide. This will be an interesting case to follow as it works its way through the Federal Court system.
Retraction: I blew it big time and retracted an early post.