Freedom Flix

Behind the Scenes of the Caswell Forfeiture Victory

 

 

Last January, a federal court in Massachusetts dismissed a civil forfeiture action against the Motel Caswell, a family-run motel in Tewksbury, handing a complete victory to owners Russell and Patricia Caswell.

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 Institute for Justice and local counsel Schlossberg, LLC, brought the case to trial to expose the injustices of civil forfeiture laws that allow law enforcement agencies to pad their budgets by taking property from innocent owners who have never been convicted or even charged with a crime.

"This is a complete victory for the Caswell family and for the protection of private property rights," said Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. "The Caswells will keep their motel, and private property rights are preserved."

The government had sought to take the Motel Caswell from the Caswell family under the theory that the motel allegedly facilitated drug crimes. But the court found that Mr. Caswell "did not know the guests involved in the drug crimes, did not know of their anticipated criminal behavior at the time they registered as guests, and did not know of the drug crimes while they were occurring."

"This outrageous forfeiture action should never have been filed in the first place," said Larry Salzman, an IJ attorney. "What the government did amounted to little more than a grab for what they saw as quick cash under the guise of civil forfeiture."
Caswell said, "I couldn't have fought this fight without the help of the Institute for Justice. It is hard to believe anything like this goes on in our country, but the government goes after people they think can't afford to fight. But with IJ's help, we put up a heck of a fight and have won. The public needs to stand up against these abuses of power."

Learn More: http://ij.org/massachusetts-civil-forfeiture

Read more

 

Embed on your site:




Freedom Flix

The Institute for Justice is always looking for new ways to promote the message of freedom. To that end, IJ produced the following videos in-house to tell the stories of our clients and their fight for individual liberty.

None of this — the cases or these videos — would be possible without the continued generosity of our donors. We hope you enjoy them and share them with those who need a little inspiration.

Subscribe to our videos via iTunes or YouTube.


   Teaching is Not a Crime: Challenging Virginia's Unconstitutional Regulation of Yoga Teacher Training (3:05)
Anyone in Virginia can do yoga, and anyone can teach yoga. But, incredibly, it is illegal to teach people to teach yoga. Yoga-teacher training is just the latest target of vocational school licensing laws that require countless entrepreneurs to ask the go
   Saving Lives: Challenging the Ban on Compensating Bone Marrow Donors (2:49)
   Free to Design: Florida Entrepreneurs Take On the Interior Design Cartel (3:27)
A small group of well-funded industry insiders led by the American Society of Interior Designers has been relentless in its pursuit of ever more restrictive laws. Studies have shown that interior design regulations result in higher prices, less variety, a
   San Tan Flat & The Fight Against Arbitrary Government Power (3:07)
   The Campaign Finance Bait & Switch: Fair Elections Now Act (1:12)
They're at it again. The same special interests who for decades have called for government-funded political campaigns?what amounts to welfare for politicians?are again pushing something called the Fair Elections Now Act . . . a proposal that would create
   Andrea Weck & School Choice (3:51)
   Karen Sampson & Free Speech (3:57)
   Lori Ann Vendetti & Property Rights (4:29)
   The Story of Susette Kelo (11:00)
   The Story of Randy Bailey (9:10)

Email Address
Please enter a valid email address
Share

Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.682.9320, Fax 703.682.9321
© 1997-2014