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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Justice Delayed is No Justice

The NJRC recently re-affirmed their decision in a case which involves a lengthy suspension and hefty fine, to be followed with by a permanent revocation of the license to participate in the state.  This came after an appeal to an administrative law judge. 

Justice served.  Well, it would be more accurate to say justice finally served.  You see the original ruling was issued in April of 2008 and finally was re-affirmed in March of 2012.  Basically, it took four years before the case was finally disposed of.

Now, I am not intimately with what transpired in this case but in New Jersey, if you don't agree with a ruling by the NJRC, you may then appeal, which means the case goes in front of an administrative law judge.  If you disagree with the administrative law judge, you can then appeal to the state courts for relief.  So with a good lawyer and determination, you can delay a ruling for, well four years.

I know many people call for swift and immediate justice in racing, but you can't and shouldn't deny a person their rights to due process.  That being said, no one should be able to delay justice just for the sake of delaying justice.  There needs to be a balance, a way to provide an individual due process, yet ensure a case is delayed for the sake of delaying.  What we need are racing courts.

The establishment of racing courts would allow racing-related matters to be handled in a prompt manner, off the calendar of the regular administrative law judges who need to hold hearings on these matters.  With a racing court, which in effect would be separate but part of the administrative law judges, there would be judges dedicated solely to handle appeals of racing commission cases; thus speeding up the hearing of cases.

Handed down a suspension or fine you don't think you deserve, appeal to the racing court which has a much smaller calendar and seek your relief there.  You don't like the initial ruling and want to appeal?  Have the case heard by an appellant racing court judge.  Don't like that ruling?  Then appeal directly to the NJ Supreme Court.  Instead of taking four years to get a case resolved, have it resolved within a year.   Now, I know there are costs involved by having a separate court to handle administrative hearings, but being there are few cases that end up going to the administrative law judge, why not hire retired judges on a per diem basis?  If there is a case called, you can bring these people in to handle the cases.

Whether a racing court is feasible or not, there needs to be something done to fast track appeals.  This way the innocent get their day in court quicker and can be exxonerated while those who are truly quilty are brought to justice  It is only fair to the defendant, the racing commission, and the horseplayer 

Dime Superfectas have come to Pocono Downs.  As long as your combination wager equals or exceeds $2, you can bet the dime Superfecta.  Before you complain about the $2 minimum, it is a rule of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission.

Ron Burke has nineteen horses racing tonight between, Indiana Downs, Meadowlands, Pocono Downs, and Yonkers Raceway.  Yes, he may be supervising all these horses remotely, but having such a large racing stable, it is not realistic to say he is the trainer of all nineteen horses.  We need to go back to the time where we listed in programs the stable and his assitant trainer who does the day to day work in the program.  Not only will the public be given accurate information, it would allow those who own horses to see who is really doing the training so when they are in the market for a new trainer, the assistant trainer will have a resume, so to speak so they may be given the opportunity to head their own stable. 

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