We had previously reported that Sgt. Adam Lin’s possessions, including his TV, clothes, car, two dogs and a cat, were seized on January 7, 2017 to help satisfy a $22.1 million verdict that a jury awarded against him and his agency last year. The verdict was the result of an excessive force lawsuit brought by Dontrell Stephens and his attorneys Darrell Lewis and Jack Scarola. .
According to the Palm Beach Post, U.S. Magistrate Barry Seltzer ruled Wednesday that all of Sgt. Lin’s seized property is to be retrieved from storage and brought back to his townhouse. The Magistrate also told two U.S. Marshals after the three-hour hearing that “given the nature of the seizure I think it’s important that it’s done as quickly as possible.”
Under Florida laws, which are designed to ensure that people aren’t left penniless by court judgments, Sgt. Lin was able to claim $5,000 of his personal property to be exempt from the seizure and another $1,000 exemption on his car. At the hearing, an appraiser testified that the most that Sgt. Lin’s belongings were worth was $4,000. Magistrate Seltzer said that Sgt. Adam Lin was clearly entitled to get his belongings back. He also told Stephens’ attorneys that no further efforts should be made to seize Sgt. Lin’s property unless it was discovered that he had “a Picasso hanging on the wall.”
A reliable source said that the Magistrate became “visibly annoyed” with Stephens’ attorneys, who had requested an extension or continuance for today’s hearing. The request was an apparent dirty tactic meant to stall the return of Sgt. Lin’s belongings. The source also said that the Magistrate told the attorneys that “leaving Sgt. Lin destitute with only his underwear and socks is placing hardship on him who is single with a young child.”
Stephens’ attorneys viciously went after Sgt. Lin to have his belongings seized, and had personally met with the Magistrate during the first week of January 2017, to have a court order issued for seizure of Sgt. Adam Lin’s property. One attorney, Darrell Lewis, said that he has no regrets and that he is representing his client Dontrell Stephens. We wonder what his cut of the $22.1 million verdict is. Perhaps this is why he is overzealously representing his client, who claims to be broke and can’t pay his medical bills.
Lewis also seemed nonchalant about the real possibility that Stephens could be forced to pay for Sgt. Lin’s attorney, estimated to be $10,000 for the day’s hearing, as well as the cost of an appraiser, tow fees, and the cost of moving and storing his belongings. Even if Sgt. Lin’s property had been sold at auction, the money obtained would have been unlikely to cover those fees.
Lewis admitted when Sgt. Lin’s belongings were seized that he sought the seizure because he was holding Sheriff Ric Bradshaw “hostage.”
In 2013, a federal jury found that Sgt. Adam Lin had used excessive force when he shot Stephens after stopping him for riding his bike erratically. Stephens was paralyzed after the shooting. Sgt. Lin and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office were found responsible by the jury, most likely due to the Ferguson incident effect. Sgt. Lin was cleared by his agency after an investigation and remains employed there today. Where he has since been promoted. Sgt. Lin declined comment as he left the courtroom with his attorney Steven Ellison but his look of relief spoke volumes.
Thank you for your continued service, Sgt. Adam Lin.