Feds Give Up Trying to Seize a Motel Based on Drug Offenses by a Few Guests

b29aMotel Caswell Feds Give Up Trying to Seize a Motel Based on Drug Offenses by a Few Guests

Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston
said ;it
will not appeal a ruling that blocked the federal government’s
attempt to seize and sell a family-owned motel in Tewksbury,
Massachusetts, based on drug offenses committed by a tiny fraction
of the people who stayed there. The government conceded that the
owner, Russell Caswell, did not participate in those crimes and was
not aware of them at the time, but it
argued that he was “willfully blind” to them. In January, U.S.
Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein
ruled that the Motel Caswell was not subject to civil
forfeiture because it was not connected to drug crimes closely
enough. Even if the forfeiture law did apply, Dein said, Caswell
would qualify for the “innocent owner” defense, a provision aimed
at protecting people whose property is used for illegal purposes
without their knowledge.
“The Caswell family has been put through the wringer by the
federal government for over three years,” says Scott Bullock of the
Institute for Justice, which represented the Caswells, “and we are
thrilled that this law-abiding family is now finally safe from
civil forfeiture “The Caswells stood to lose everything for which
they had worked so hard. This case epitomizes everything that is
wrong with civil forfeiture laws and why they are in such desperate
need of reform. We will build off of this victory in future cases
to once and for all end civil forfeiture and the inevitable abuses
that surround it.”
Previous coverage of the case here.

Original article: 

Feds Give Up Trying to Seize a Motel Based on Drug Offenses by a Few Guests


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