Cops Seize Couple’s $160K Wine Collection & Want to Destroy It

on 22/12/14 at 12:53 pm

Booze News

indexWhen it comes to alcohol laws, Pennsylvania is about as close to Saudi Arabia as you can get in America.

Earlier this year, after a months-long undercover investigation, Pennsylvania state police agents served a warrant on the home of Arthur Goldman, an attorney, and his wife, Melissa Kurtzman.

The police, who had made undercover buys at the home before, easily found what they were looking for. And they found lots of it. In a raid that lasted twenty hours, police seized thousands of ounces of alleged contraband from the couple’s home.

In addition to the seizure, police charged Mr. Goldman with a crime.

So just what was it that led police to target the homeowners? Cocaine? Marijuana? Meth? Raw milk?

None of the above. This bizarre and infuriating case involves no illicit substance whatsoever. It’s a case about wine. Legally purchased wine, at that.

Goldman and Kurtzman are now fighting the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in court. They argue the state’s seizure of more than 2,400 bottles of fine wine is unconstitutional and are seeking to force Pennsylvania to return the entire collection. The state, on the other hand, has designs on destroying the wine.

I first heard about the case earlier this year, after Pennsylvania authorities seized the wine. But my interest in the case was renewed recently when a law student in a class I taught at George Mason University Law School this semester wrote a paper on Pennsylvania’s absurd liquor laws.

READ MORE