Cops Must Return Stripper's $20K in Cash

Miami-Dade police must also pay the woman's legal fees
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2018 4:00 PM CDT
Updated Jul 9, 2018 1:03 AM CDT
Cops Must Return Stripper's $20,000 in Cash
Police stock photo.   (Getty)

Police in Florida have been ordered by a judge to pay back nearly $20,000 they seized from a stripper. Judge Rodney Smith ruled in favor of 20-year-old Lizmixell Batista and her husband, Ras Cates, in the case that began with a May traffic stop in Miami. Miami-Dade officers said the couple's vehicle cut off a patrol car and, after they initiated the stop, cops seized $19,934 and a cache of guns that included three assault-style rifles, reports the Miami Herald. After officers fed news of the bust, which also included suspected marijuana oil and codeine cough syrup, to local TV station WFOR, defense attorneys challenged the search of the couple's trunk as illegal, and prosecutors agreed.

While defense attorney Jude Faccidomo said he "felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence" to back up Batista's claim seen in body cam footage that she just hadn't yet deposited her earnings, Miami-Dade officers claimed they seized the money because a police canine indicated the cash had been in proximity to narcotics. A fellow dancer at the Cheetah Gentleman's Club in Hallandale Beach would later testify at a hearing that Batista earned "significant cash tips" as part of her line of work. The judge agreed and ruled that the money had to be returned and that the department must pay $3,000 in the defendants' attorney fees. (Read more Miami-Dade County stories.)

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