Feds Fail At Stealing Private Property In Civil Forfeiture Case

Motel Caswell in Massachusetts is a family owned business, and has been in business since the 50’s. Russ and Patricia Caswell’s $1 million motel property came under fire a couple months ago when the federal government decided they wanted to seize it under civil forfeiture laws.

The Caswells were an easy target for easy money because they are a small “Mom & Pop” business without the funds necessary to fight a civil forfeiture case against the feds. Also, their property has no mortgage, is completely owned by the Caswells, and if seized by the feds, all the proceeds would go to them and the local police department, a practice they call “equitable sharing.”

Since 1985 when the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund was created, they’ve accumulated $1.6 billion by seizing people’s private property. But they always want more. They came after the Caswells not because they were guilty of anything, but because for the past 20 years, a handful of people had been arrested there at the Motel Caswell on drug charges.

So, since crimes had been committed on that property, they thought they could just take it. At least that was their excuse. Ordinarily, I’m sure they would have succeeded, but the Institute for Justice came to the Caswell’s aid and fought for them.

The case has now been dismissed as of Thursday:

 “In one of the most contentious civil forfeiture fights in the nation, Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts concluded, based on a week-long bench trial in November 2012, that the motel was not subject to forfeiture under federal law and that its owners were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.”

 The Caswells are both up in years and were hoping to retire soon, and had the Institute for Justice not helped them, they would have lost nearly everything.

According to the Institute for Justice, civil forfeiture cases are getting worse. Equitable sharing payments doubled from 2000 to 2008:

 “Between 2000 and 2008, equitable sharing payments from the U.S. Department of Justice to state and local law enforcement doubled from about $200 million to $400 million. And data from two states, Massachusetts and California, indicate that these figures underestimate the true extent of equitable sharing nationwide.”

 There don’t seem to be any real private property rights anymore. The feds don’t tax, borrow or create enough money for themselves anymore, so they have to come up with other ways of stealing from law-abiding citizens. Civil forfeiture laws create the perfect avenue for governments to strip people of their private property rights. In the Caswell’s case, thankfully the feds lost.








Posted in Bureaucrats, Business, Drug War, Law, Police State Tagged with: , , ,
  • I_P_Frehley

    How can any semi-cogent entity still refuse to recognize the treason blatantly committed?

  • bhudda

    Our government ,aint it great how it works ? Now if a city needs a couple of mil to tide it over call the feds in and grab real estate

  • DAY8293A

    Another reason to legalize some drugs. Stop spending so much money putting people in jail, making criminals out of people, give farmers something to grow, collect tax dollars on the legal sale of the drugs, and give the police something else to do besides harassing people, and then actually stop some real crime,,,,

  • nax777

    I see some Pub voters are realizing the Pub Party hand in this
    kind of stuff but still point out that Obama is worse thus justifying their reason
    for sticking with a bad party. It’s better than sticking with a worse party. http://www.numbersusa.com / http://www.goooh.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Billy-Whitfield/100002738915761 Billy Whitfield

    Another reason I will never give up my guns till they kill me! We have a Treasonous Government right now, under the Fake American, Obama/Soetoro, who was never Vetted and would never pass an FBI Investigation, like I had to pass before I went to work for the DOJ/BOP. We have nothing more than a Criminal Muslim sitting in the Oval Office and he and his Legion of Demonrats want to ruin America and bring We, the People to our Knees! That will not happen! We have overcome worse Tyrants than Obama and we will overcome this Closet Homosexual and his perverts also! Never Give Up Your Guns, Ever! Let them eat Lead!

  • quipster

    All you losers keep voting for the commies and the rino’s you might not have anything to show for.Don’t forget to give money to the RNC I know I wont !!

  • Baaarb

    I know the owners and they are really good people. They did everything right and I am so glad they won

  • WhiteFalcon

    I am in favor of a Constitutional Convention being called and this current Government being simply thrown out, and a new Government set up using the origional Constitution with stronger limits to Federal Government power and term limits for all high offices and tax on incomes being forbidden. Some other things should be included as well shuch as some strict control on how much the Government can borrow, and requirements that those in power that commit treason must be tried in open court, not by the Congress which would probably become corrupt like the current ohne is. When they are found guilty, it should be the firing squad or hanging for them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RoBoWang Robert Courtney

      Think man!
      What do YOU think a “Constitutional Convention” would actually accomplish?
      NOTHING you would like, unless you are a brain dead Liberal.
      Don’t you understand that “Progressives” are trying their best to destroy the Constitution and DON’T follow it, anyway?
      Why do you think they go by passing unconstitutional Laws and EO’s?
      Because we WON’T call for a CC, that’s why.

      Do YOU actually think in this political environment that if there is a CC called, Conservatives would win?
      If you do, you are one stupid individual.
      But it’s fools like you that want a CC, while the Progressives pray it happens.
      You just don’t get it.
      Pathetic.

  • jimpeel

    See http://www.fear.org for more on S&F laws and actions.

  • Michaellaborde

    I’ll wager that Obama is not happy with this development.

  • hotrod41mag

    remember the Indianapolis Baptist Tabernacle—same thing —the IRS stole their whole church, property and equipment

  • JAS64

    Step to door, ring bell and have your head blown off. Any questions?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Bracken/1408295595 Karen Bracken

    And believe me the feds are not done with us. Obama and his chicago thugs in DC won’t stop until they own EVERYTHING including your soul.

  • http://www.facebook.com/crzydancer Richard Holmes

    Start shooting big brother. He is comming after you and will take everything you have if you don’t stop him now.