Monday, April 10, 2006

Taking a Bite Out of Crime

Thanks to the AP for this interesting report.

TACOMA, Washington (AP)
Government lawyers tried to remove and confiscate the gold dental work known as "grills" or "grillz" from the mouths of two men facing drug charges.

Flenard T. Neal Jr. and Donald Jamar Lewis, charged with several drug and weapon violations, were taken on Tuesday from the Federal Detention Center to the U.S. Marshal's office, where they were told the government had a warrant to seize their grills.

Before being put into a vehicle to be taken to a dentist in Seattle, they called their lawyers, who were able to halt the seizure, said Miriam Schwartz, Neal's public defender. A permanent stay of the seizure order was signed Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate J. Kelley Arnold, court documents show.

Grills, popularized by rappers such as Nelly, are customized tooth caps made of precious metals and jewels and can cost thousands of dollars for a full set. Some can be snapped onto the teeth like an orthodontic retainer, and others are permanently bonded to the teeth.

Neal and Lewis have permanently bonded grills, their lawyers said, declining to provide more description.

Government lawyers who asked a federal judge on March 29 to order confiscation of the grills said they did not know the caps had been bonded to the defendants' teeth.

"Asset forfeiture is a fairly routine procedure, and our attorneys were under the impression that these snapped out like a retainer," said Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle.

Once the government understood that removal of the grills could damage the defendants' teeth, they abandoned the seizure attempt, she said.


I guess that's one more reason why it's not a good idea to get a nipple ring.

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