Having been a victim of Eminent Domain, I have had a keen interest in Civil forfeiture. Though not the same, the conclusion is. We usually associate it with drug dealers. Early I had posted:Government confiscation any differenet from armed robbery? But this story takes it to a new level. If anyone doubts that we are in the last days of this Republic, this should end it for you. Here tis.
Civil forfeiture—where the government can take and sell your property without ever charging you with a crime, let alone convicting you of one—is one of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation. To make matters worse, such forfeitures often fund law enforcement officials’ budgets, given them a direct financial incentive to abuse this power. A prime example of the civil forfeiture abuse is taking place in Tewksbury, Mass., 30 minutes outside of Boston.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Tewksbury police department are demanding the Caswells forfeit the entire property—worth more than a million dollars— because a tiny fraction of people who have stayed at the Motel Caswell during the past 20 years have been arrested for crimes. Keep in mind, the Caswells themselves have worked closely with law enforcement officials to prevent and report crime on their property. And the arrests the government complains of represent less than .0005 percent of the 125,000 rooms the Caswells have rented over that period of time.
The government does not allege that the Caswells have done anything illegal. But under civil forfeiture laws, innocent people can lose their property—with no compensation whatsoever—if the government believes it was used to “facilitate a crime.” So unless the Caswells can prove in court that they did everything they could do to prevent crime on their land, the motel—everything they have worked their lives for—will become the government’s property. In short, civil forfeiture treats law abiding citizens worse than criminals, presuming them guilty until they can prove their innocence—a heavy burden for any property owner against the power and resources of the government.
The Motel Caswell is a family-owned budget motel in Tewksbury. Russell and Pat Caswell have owned and operated the motel for nearly 30 years, since they took over management from Russ’s father in the 1980s. They live next door with Pat’s 91-year-old mother, their son and daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, tending to the business. Having survived for two generations as entrepreneurs, the Caswells have paid off the mortage on the motel and they expected it to provide a nest egg for retirement.
Precisely because it is mortgage-free, the motel has now become an attractive target for taking by federal and local law enforcement officials who seek to cash in on what the Caswells have earned.
For our legal beagles out there, this is a great run down of how this abuse occurs and the justification, go to Institute for Justice