JACKSON - The states second highest court has upheld the conviction of a man for running an illegal gambling operation out of a Shannon restaurant.

A Mississippi Gaming Commission investigation into the Junction Cafe in Shannon led to the arrest of Ronald Moore. The Mississippi Attorney General's Office prosecuted the case and Moore was found guilty of racketeering and two counts of operating an illegal sweepstakes cafe in November 2017.

Four months later, he was sentenced to a total of 22 years, all suspended, with five years probation. He was also ordered to pay $1,800 in costs, $8,300 in restitution and a fine of $152,000.

On appeal, Moore argued that the Attorney General did not have authority to prosecute and that circuit court errors prevented him getting a fair trial.

In its decision, the court said the local District Attorney had declined to prosecute based on "the specialized nature of the crimes" and gave the case to the Attorney General. The high court also disagreed with Moore's argument that he lacked criminal intent or that jury instructions did not fairly announce the law of the case.

"The Attorney General had both the authority, grounded in common law and statute, and the district attorney’s consent, to prosecute Moore in this matter," Judge Cory T Wilson wrote in the opinion. "Likewise, we find no merit in Moore’s assertion that his conviction must be reversed due to the cumulative effect of errors during trial."

Moore can still appeal the decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

william.moore@journalinc.com

Twitter:@WilliamMoore_DJ

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