Asset Forfeiture

Miami Police Return $20K in Glittery Cash Illegally Seized from Stripper

"I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed."

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Roberto Koltun/MCT/Newscom

The Miami-Dade Police Department must return nearly $20,000 in cash to a woman after prosecutors admitted that officers illegally searched her car and seized several lawfully owned guns.

The Miami Herald reports that the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman's Club, and her husband, Ras Cates. The case is textbook example of how asset forfeiture laws and the drug war incentivize constitutional violations and bad police work.

Batista and Cates were arrested following a traffic stop in May. Police allegedly smelled marijuana in their car, and a subsequent search turned up six guns, several large bottles of what cops suspected to be codeine cough syrup, and nearly $20,000 in cash in Batista's purse.

At the time, police touted it as a major bust. CBS Miami ran an "exclusive" story about the "arsenal of weapons, cash and illegal drugs":

"It's amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. "A lot of serial killers are behind bars because of traffic stops. These traffic stops lead to so many things in the criminal world and they are never routine. We warn our officers that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. You never know what you are going to get."

Just like life, and boxes of chocolate. But for police, what looked like a delicious nougat of a drug bust turned out to be the coconut cream of disappointment.

Prosecutors dropped the charges against Batista and Cates when body-cam footage showed police didn't have permission to search the couple's trunk. The guns were all legally owned, Cates had a concealed carry license, and no testing had been done on the suspected codeine or hash oil to determine if they were illicit drugs.

"What is most disturbing is that immediately following the arrest, the department went on TV and engaged in incendiary speculation without knowing the facts or even acknowledging the rampant violations of my clients' constitutional rights," defense attorney Jude Faccidomo tells the Herald.

But there was still that sweet, sweet cash. Under civil asset forfeiture laws, the department could still claim it even though there were no longer any criminal charges against Batista.

Batista had explained to officers why, given her profession, she would be carrying large amounts of cash, but the department initiated a forfeiture case against the money anyway. The Herald reports:

The Miami-Dade police department's legal bureau, suspecting it was dope money, asked a civil-court judge to allow the department to keep the $19,934 seized in the car. The department said a Miami-Dade police dog, Roxie, alerted that the cash had been "in close proximity" to large amounts of narcotics.

But at the hearing, a fellow stripper named Haley Heath testified that her friend, Batista, earned "significant cash tips" at the Cheetah club.

"I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed," said defense lawyer Jude Faccidomo.

The judge agreed with Faccidomo and ordered the cash to be returned.

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88 responses to “Miami Police Return $20K in Glittery Cash Illegally Seized from Stripper

  1. OK, how do I quote a previous response in the comments?

    I can hit “reply”, or the little number sign hashtag, but neither gives me the gray bar

      1. My best friend’s ex-wife makes Bucks75/hr on the laptop. She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her income with big fat bonus was over Bucks9000 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site….. http://easyjob.club

    1. OK, how do I quote a previous response in the comments?

      I can hit “reply”, or the little number sign hashtag, but neither gives me the gray bar

      You don’t know how to use html tags?

      1. HTML tags work?

        1. Huh. I guess they do.
          [removed]
          alert(‘Yay!’);
          [removed]

          1. Not all of them

            RIP blink tag.

    2. ‘OK, how do I quote a previous response in the comments?’

      I always just type it and surround it with quotation marks. Simple and straightforward.

      1. you can put italic html tags around it

        1. like this

    3. OK, how do I quote a previous response in the comments?

      Easy.

      Get an education.

  2. Some kind soul posted this a while back and I saved a copy.
    You want the block quote tag plus manual copy/paste for the material you wish to quote.
    Also, preview is your friend 😉

    Reason edit tags:

    I don’t know if you want to use it, but here’s the HTML for link-in-text:
    < a href="link" > text < /a >
    Remove spaces around the greater-than and lesser-than symbols. You have to leave the space between “a” and “href”, though.
    For italics:
    < i > text < /i >
    For boldface:
    < b > text < /b >
    For blockquote:
    < blockquote > text < /blockquote >
    For strikethough:
    < s > text < /s >
    Again, remove spaces around the greater-than and lesser-than symbols

    1. D’OH

      so just basic html

      I’m so used to every other board having quick handy features.

      And being able to, ya know, EDIT and stuff

      1. I’m so used to every other board

        Reason isn’t every other board: here rugged individualism rules, character building is de rigueur, and not having an EDIT button puts hair on our chests (and that’s why there are no libertarian women).

        1. There are, but they’re all so hairy you can’t tell anymore.

          1. Hairy underarms at least.

        2. No edit button is good. If Reason had an Edit button, the trolls would use it to bait with.
          Maybe edit with a timer, but I’ve very rarely thought to edit something within the duration of the timer.
          That said, Reason’s message board could definitely use some improvement, such as reviewing your old posts and seeing who replied.

          1. Yeah being able to context where you typed would be great. I’m too fucking lazy to go back and look up my comments. I suppose you can use google to do it after a few hours, but it’s a pain in the ass. I usually just make a comment and move on, I don’t consider anyone here worth responding to. I’m sure most people don’t give a fuck what my opinion is anyway.

        3. Yes you are responsible for what you type here. We don’t need no snowflake editors. Snowflakes will come back and edit comments to back out of something they typed before to make the follow up comments look dumb or off-topic. Here you must live with what you type

      2. Free minds, free markets
        Free HTML lessons

  3. You do a story about a stripper, and the picture is of some cop’s fat ass?

    When you do a story about a stripper, people want to see the stripper.

    Cops’ fat asses, not so much.

      1. NTTIAWWT

    1. When you put her name in google it’s the first thing that comes up. Don’t be lazy.

  4. Her husband looks like a . . .

    I’m just sayin’.

  5. Don’t want to be treated like a thug, don’t cover yourself in glitter like a thug.

  6. I’m still finding glitter in places from Pride two weekends ago. I did not apply glitter to myself, I merely interacted with other humans who did, and I don’t mean intimately. My intended bedmate had too much booze and threw up all over the porch and slept on the couch. That was a fucking bummer. Nonfucking bummer I guess.

    Worse, unlike my usual friends when I go to that city, these were not professional alcoholics (hence the puke), so I had to spend all day Sunday without a drink until we got to the parade, where I let myself have one hangover tonic but spent the parade, ironically, more sober than a typical Sunday at home.

    I guess I should be more topical. Yeah, the cops who volunteer for that event are fat too.

    1. the cops who volunteer for that event

      Cops provide volunteer security services for a Pride march? And their union lets them do it?

      1. heh, ‘volunteer’.

        That’s so cute.

    2. The fat ones are earning OT at the parade. The fit ones are earning even more money working as ‘sexy cop’ strippers for all the parties that weekend.

      1. When city polices force a cop to stand erect. (That video is not safe for work in an office but safe for work in a warehouse.)

    3. I have a young daughter. Don’t talk to me about glitter.

      As for the rest of your story, have fun. That’s why I stay away from alcohol-infused events.

      1. Well that’s just a double whammy of suck.

    4. A bum-fucking bummer, indeed.

    5. A bum-fucking bummer, indeed.

  7. The Miami-Dade Police Department must return nearly $20,000 in cash to a woman after prosecutors admitted that officers illegally searched her car and seized several lawfully owned guns.

    The Miami Herald reports that the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, and her husband, Ras Cates. The case is textbook example of how asset forfeiture laws and the drug war incentivize constitutional violations and bad police work.

    It’s really a textbook case of how qualified immunity leads to outrageous behavior. If the penalty for stealing shit is you gotta give the shit back – and nothing else happens – why would you ever stop stealing shit? Why aren’t these cops being charged with theft, strong-arm robbery, kidnapping, civil rights violations, etc.? Because if you commit a crime with a gun you’re looking at hard time but if you use a gun AND a badge, you’re assumed to be acting in good faith? Why the good faith assumption? Let the jury decide whether they were acting in good faith, just knowing they’re liable to face a jury ought to put a stop to some of this shit.

    1. Amen! These cops are supposed to know the law. How else can they enforce it. They should pay a steep price for their illegal actions.

      1. Cops don’t enforce the law. Their job is to make people comply. To force people to do as they are told. Doesn’t matter if the orders are lawful or not. That is for courts to figure out later. Obey or die.

        1. At least we can choose – – – – –

    2. The good faith assumption is because they have the public trust. Once that is granted they can do no wrong because that would mean someone made a mistake in granting that trust. Power means never being wrong.

    3. At a minimum, these cops should be made to write a letter of apology to the couple and admit that they made a mistake. Every day, for about a year. Because I can guarantee you that if you ask the cops about this case, they’re going to know the case as “the one where some scumbags got away with their scumbaggery”, and not “the one where we screwed up and wrongfully arrested some people”. Even after the court ruled against them, these cops I’m sure are absolutely convinced they were in the right. Because fundamentally, they have zero respect for the rule of law, all they know is might makes right and I’ve got a gun and a badge so that makes me right. And that’s the real problem.

      1. Who knew the police would become the new sovereign citizens?

      2. Their pictures should be hung up behind the bar at the place where she works. Under the banner, “Banned from the premises: Do not serve”.

    4. Dade is the county that killed Jim Morrison.

  8. They act like 19K in cash is a lot. It’s not even enough to buy a decent new car these days.

    1. Because all decent cars have been slapped with tariffs?

    2. Or even a significant amount of coke.

      1. Here’s one for you Floridians: save the bales!

  9. I don’t understand. Did the judge not get it that there was suspected marijuana and codeine syrup involved? Did he sleep through his law school’s 4th Amendment drug war exception class?

  10. Lizmixell Batista

    I don’t even HAVE to see the picture before declaring ‘would’.

    1. Google it. Hard pass.

      1. Really ? She looks ok to me. I’ve definitely seen way way worse looking strippers. Unfortunately.

  11. The judge agreed with Faccidomo and ordered the cash to be returned.

    That must have sucked because knowing the cops, most of it had probably already been uhh… removed from the evidence locker.

    1. Recycled through the strip club.

      1. Giving back to the community!

      2. Yeah, what’s she worried about – she’ going to get it back the next weekend anyway.

  12. Now that article earlier in the week about the cop searching underwear for $50 makes more sense. He probably thought the girls were using it to snort cocaine.

  13. The department will pay $3,000….? Are they taking up a collection to get the money or is this really, really, really a tax payer hit?

    1. It should be a wage garnishment hit, but I doubt it.

  14. A short barreled assualt rifle with no stock is called a pistol.

  15. Have any of the uniformed thieves, and or their managers been prosecuted? If not, why not, as they most certainly deserve punishment, For The Encouragement Of Others, if for no other reason. Lines must be drawn, with assured punishment for line crossers before The Police State becomes established beyond peaceful removal.

  16. But for police, what looked like a delicious nougat of a drug bust turned out to be the coconut cream of disappointment

    That’s it. Reason isn’t getting any money from me this year. Their flavor profile is fucked up beyond recognition.

  17. From the original news report of the arrest:

    “They found 3 pints of syrup with some type of sedative in the syrup with codeine in it,” said Zabaleta.
    “There were large amounts. One detective said he had never seen such a large amount of promethazine with codeine. Here we have 3 assault rifles in a trunk, marijuana and the illegal possession of promethazine with codeine which you need a prescription for. This is a formula for disaster. We are looking at trafficking in the codeine. Who are they selling it too? Is it reaching high school and is it reaching our kids. Are they going to be selling this as popsicles?”

    THEY ARE GOING TO SELL DRUG POPSICLES TO OUR CHILDREN!

    What.

  18. “The judge agreed with Faccidomo and ordered the cash to be returned.”

    Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?

  19. But there was still that sweet, sweet cash. Under civil asset forfeiture laws, the department could still claim it even though there were no longer any criminal charges against Batista.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Somehow, this does not compute.

    1. Don’t you know that once a constitutional violation is old enough, it ceases to be a violation? I’m sure that’s in the constitution somewhere, maybe it’s in Article XII… It’d explain why the ATF is still with us.
      The way I heard it, Civil Asset Forfeiture was a thing, if rare, during the time of our founding.

  20. But for police, what looked like a delicious nougat of a drug bust turned out to be the coconut cream of disappointment.
    +1000 for delicious imagery

  21. “a Miami-Dade police dog, Roxie, alerted that the cash had been “in close proximity” to large amounts of narcotics.”

    Roxie knew the amount of the narcotics, how? And how exactly did Roxie convey this information?

    1. That language is garbage, and every cop knows it: the problem of most bills in circulation being tainted with traces of cocaine is already a settled matter, and cannot be construed as posession. Further if that is the starting point for probable cause, the cops may flush their own bust down the crapper.
      I guess we are supposed to believe the dog is clairvoyant and can communicate telepathically to it’s handler? Freakin amateur hour.

      1. The dog alerts to keep the pig from jerking its collar hard enough to dislocate vertebrae.

        1. The dog knows to signal when the cop wiggles the tennis ball hidden in his pocket.

  22. $20K cash, and they say there’s no sex in the VIP room?

    1. Roxie has been trained to bark louder if it is lot of cash or narcotics. Or bacon, peanut butter, I have no idea.

  23. “The judge agreed with Faccidomo and ordered the cash to be returned.”

    Why didn’t he order that the practice be halted as well? Pussy.

  24. What was that line about “looters-by-law”?

  25. The Miami Herald reports that the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, and her husband, Ras Cates.

    No, that would be the taxpayers who are paying the $3,000, not the department.

    1. No, that would be the taxpayers who are paying the $3,000, not the department.

      The taxpayers pay those $3000 no matter what; this way, they won’t be spent on booze, drugs, and hookers, at least not by the department.

  26. “Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies.”

  27. So basically a couple of criminals get to walk with their proceeds because dumb and dumber didn’t follow protocol. Touting this case as a civil liberties poster child case is not going to win anyone over. They were obvious criminals. Bottles of cough syrup, Canabis oil, plus all the guns. You have to be a serious retard to think they had any legitimate reason to be driving around with all that crap. There is no way that skank earned 20k in tips stripping. She’s ugly as shit. Even the hottest stripper is not going to pull in that much cash.

    1. “So basically a couple of criminals get to walk with their proceeds because dumb and dumber didn’t follow protocol. ”

      ‘Protocol’? You mean unreasonable search and seizure. If you don’t want *any* of the bad guys to get away with it you’ll have to give up your own rights and deal with a police state.

      The cop ass-lickers never understand this.

  28. “So basically a couple of criminals, one of whom had a concealed carry permit, get to walk with their proceeds because dumb and dumber didn’t follow the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.” FTFY

    Don’t be talkin’ shit about dumb and dumber when you are the fuckin’ dumbest for dismissing search and seizure laws for which you foolishly characterize as protocol.

    You think they made $20k selling cough syrup. What do you use to keep the cum down, copsucker.

    “Touting this case as a civil liberties poster child case is not going to win anyone over with a cop’s dick in their mouth.” You got me there. Some people are not worth converting.

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  30. What’s disappointing about coconut cream?

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