Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Herald kind of covers part of the maquinita story...

I was reading through the Herald the other day when I came across this article regarding former City of Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito...
Former Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito’s case to be heard in court
By David Ovalle
dovalle@MiamiHerald.comOusted Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito, seeking to get his job back, will get his day in court Thursday.
A panel of three Miami-Dade circuit judges will hear Exposito’s argument that the Miami City Commission wrongly fired him in September.
During his tenure, Exposito picked very public battles with elected officials and Mayor Tomás Regalado, whom he accused of being in bed with owners of video gaming machines that his department had targeted for seizure.
In March, three judges denied a move by city attorneys to throw out the appeal because Exposito had been scheduled to retire anyway when he was terminated.
Despite his ouster, Exposito, former Maj. Al Alvarez and Exposito’s personal attorney Ruben Chavez sat in on a civil hearing last week between the city and the video machine owners.
The owners have sued the city seeking return of more than 100 machines seized by Exposito’s police officers. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Diane Ward refused to throw out the suit, and now an evidentiary hearing will be scheduled.
In the article Mr. Ovalle briefly mentions a hearing that I attended for a case filed by the maquinita owners in order to get a hundred or so machines back that are in police custody.
Despite his ouster, Exposito, former Maj. Al Alvarez and Exposito’s personal attorney Ruben Chavez sat in on a civil hearing last week between the city and the video machine owners.
The owners have sued the city seeking return of more than 100 machines seized by Exposito’s police officers. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Diane Ward refused to throw out the suit, and now an evidentiary hearing will be scheduled.
It was at this hearing that I finally got a chance to speak to the city attorney who's assigned to this case, George Wysong, about the city not paying the expert witness they had hired in order to examine the machines that they had in custody.  Mr. Wysong's explanation was that he wasn't going to rely on the expert testimony to win the case but instead was relying on a series of laws that basically stated that since the machines were contraband, the city had no obligation to return them to their owners.  He quoted case law from the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church case where the police had seized the followers marijuana and then didn't return it after the church members sued for replevin, once again the theory is that since the marijuana was illegal, the police couldn't return it to its owners.  


Mr. Wysong's theory kind of makes sense in this instance but Judge Diane Ward wanted more, essentially she wanted an expert to determine whether or not the machines in custody were illegal and therefore asked both sides, the maquinita owners and the City of Miami to hire experts to determine whether or not the machines in custody are indeed illegal.  That brings us back to the expert witness report that the city wouldn't pay for, perhaps if the city was armed with the report for this hearing, Judge Ward would have gone ahead and thrown out the maquinita owners replevin lawsuit.  No big deal I guess, the expert that the City of Miami had hired has already examined the one hundred and four machines in question, now it's up to the maquinita owners to hire an expert to examine the machines in custody.  Considering that each of these machines is worth anywhere from three to five thousand dollars, I doubt the owners will walk away from several hundred thousand dollars worth of gaming equipment, legal or not, now it becomes a case of expert witness vs. expert witness and to see who makes a more compelling argument as to the legality of these machines.


The funniest part of this whole encounter?  I asked City of Miami attorney George Wysong whether or not the city was going to pay the expert now for his report to which he responded...
"why when I can download it from your website for free?"


I have to hand it to Mr. Wysong, that was some funny shit!

1 comment:

  1. George Wysong sucks a big one...

    ReplyDelete