Asset Forfeiture Abuse on Trial in Federal Court

Next week in Boston the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts will hear argument in United States
v. 434 Main Street, Tewskbury, Mass
. If the name of the case
sounds a little funny to you, wait until you hear the facts. At
issue is a civil forfeiture proceeding launched
against the Motel Caswell
, a family-run business located at the
address specified above. Because a very small number of the motel’s
guests over the years have been arrested on drug charges, local and
federal officials joined forces in order to seize the property
(without paying compensation). Never mind that the Caswell family
have not been convicted or even charged with any crime and that
they always reported illegal activity on their property when they
became aware of it and always cooperated with the police. The
government wants that property.

Representing the Caswells next week in their legal fight is the
Institute for Justice, which just released this helpful video
laying out what’s at stake in the case.