8/1/2006Florida: Police Seize Lamborghini in Small Time Bust
Police in Stuart, Florida use a small time drug bust as an excuse to drive away with a $150,000 exotic Italian sports car.
Police in Stuart, Florida seized the black Lamborghini Gallardo belonging to a local optometrist and yesterday argued that they should keep the pristine Italian sports car. The owner was stopped on July 21 with a "small amount" of cocaine. The penalty set out in Florida law for possession of a small amount of cocaine is 5 years in prison and a $5000 fine (Florida Statutes 775.082-083), but authorities hope to turn this small time bust into a $150,000 bonanza, collecting thirty times more than the maximum amount allowed by law.
Officials are citing the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, which allows law enforcement to side-step the Eighth Amendment prohibition against the imposition of excessive fines.
"I think what we're looking at is a person of means, and it's taking one of his toys away," City Attorney Paul Nicoletti told the Stuart News.
Local governments have used the contraband forfeiture act to shore up tight budgets. This year, Stuart has collected $120,544 using forfeiture. County governments in the area have together have generated $716,170 in revenue.
Constitution of the United States, Amendment VIII:Source: Stuart police might seize optometrists Lamborghini (Stuart News (FL), 8/1/2006)
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
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