Claimant estate of Biagio Messino's claim to the 1987 crew cab pickup truck is denied.
III. 1987 Wellcraft Scarab Speedboat
A. FINDINGS OF FACT
1. The property that was the subject of the forfeiture hearing is a 1987 Wellcraft Scarab speedboat ("boat").
2. The jury returned a special verdict of forfeiture at the end of the criminal trial of Clement and Christopher Richard Messino as to the boat.
3. The court entered a preliminary order of forfeiture against the boat on August 17, 1995.
4. Christopher Richard Messino, son of Biagio Messino, visited Sidney Boyansky's Spinaker's Marina, in Miami, Florida, three or four times in 1990 to examine Boyansky's 34-foot Wellcraft Scarab speedboat.
5. On December 11, 1990, Christopher Richard Messino paid Boyansky $ 35,000 in cash for the boat, and had Boyansky make out the receipt in the name of Biagio Messino of 10758 South Whipple Street, Chicago, Illinois.
6. On December 12, 1990, Martin County deputy sheriff Arango observed Christopher Richard Messino putting the boat into the water near Christopher Richard Messino's residence in Palm City, Florida.
7. Christopher Richard Messino told Arango that his name was Biagio Messino, that the boat belonged to him, and that he had purchased the boat at Spinaker's Marina in Miami.
8. On September 13, 1991, law enforcement officers seized the boat from Christopher Richard Messino's residence in Palm City, Florida.
9. Sydney Boyansky testified at the criminal trial of Christopher Richard and Clement Messino.
10. Richard Arango testified at the criminal trial of Christopher Richard and Clement Messino.
11. Sydney Boyansky and Richard Arango did not testify at the February 12, 1996, hearing before this court, and this court was not the trier of fact at the criminal trial at which they testified. Thus, this court cannot make a credibility finding as to these witnesses. However, the court notes that the trier of fact at the criminal trial, the jury, returned a special verdict of forfeiture against the boat based on the testimony of these witnesses. Thus, the inference is that the jury found these witnesses credible.
B. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. In addition to the testimony and evidence presented at the February 12, 1996, hearing before the court, the court shall consider the relevant portions of the record of the criminal case that resulted in the order of forfeiture against the boat. 21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(5).
2. In order for claimant estate of Biagio Messino to succeed on its claim for the boat, it must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that it has a legal right, title, or interest in the boat, and that its right, title, or interest renders the order of forfeiture for the boat invalid in whole or in part, because the right, title, or interest was vested in Biagio Messino rather than in Christopher Richard Messino or was superior to any right, title, or interest of Christopher Richard Messino at the time of the commission of the acts that gave rise to the forfeiture of the boat. See 21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(6)(A).
3. Claimant estate of Biagio Messino has failed to meet the foregoing burden, and therefore has not established that it has a right to the 1987 Wellcraft Scarab speedboat.
Claimant estate of Biagio Messino's claim to the 1987 Wellcraft Scarab speedboat is denied.
Date: MAR 11 1996
JAMES H. ALESIA
United States District Judge
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