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Piratical feds, town police trying to take couple’s hotel
missoulian.com ^ | 22 May, 2012 | George Will

Posted on 05/26/2012 4:50:30 AM PDT by marktwain

TEWKSBURY, Mass. – Russ Caswell, 68, is bewildered: “What country are we in?” He and his wife Pat are ensnared in a Kafkaesque nightmare unfolding in Orwellian language.

This town’s police department is conniving with the federal government to circumvent Massachusetts law – which is less permissive than federal law – in order to seize his livelihood and retirement asset. In the lawsuit titled United States of America v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts the government is suing an inanimate object, the motel Caswell’s father built in 1955. The U.S. Department of Justice intends to seize it, sell it for perhaps $1.5 million and give up to 80 percent of that to the Tewksbury Police Department, whose budget is just $5.5 million.

The Caswells have not been charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime. They are being persecuted by two governments eager to profit from what is antiseptically called the “equitable sharing” of the fruits of civil forfeiture, a process of government enrichment that often is indistinguishable from robbery.

Since 1994, about 30 motel customers have been arrested on drug dealing charges. Even if those police figures are accurate – the police have a substantial monetary incentive to exaggerate – these 30 episodes involved less than five one-hundredths of 1 percent of the 125,000 rooms Caswell has rented over those more than 6,700 days.

The government says the rooms were used to “facilitate” a crime. It does not say the Caswells knew or even that they were supposed to know what was going on in all their rooms all the time. Civil forfeiture law treats citizens worse than criminals, requiring them to prove their innocence – to prove they did everything possible to prevent those rare crimes from occurring in a few of those rooms. What counts as possible

(Excerpt) Read more at missoulian.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS: caswell; consitution; forfeiture; ma
Forfeiture law is legal theft, applied in the name of the war on some drugs. It is starting to be applied in the war on guns, the war on drugs little brother.
1 posted on 05/26/2012 4:50:44 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain
What country are we in indeed?

This country has become a police state.

It is not BECOMING a police state, it IS a police state -- where units of government at every level: federal, state, local, school boards -- anyone with a little power wields that power in the most dictatorial manner, just because they can.

2 posted on 05/26/2012 5:06:19 AM PDT by Jerrybob (Truth -- the new hate speech.)
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To: marktwain
Buddy of mine was a DC detective ~ and it was his practice to lead the charge through the door on drug raids.

One day he led the charge and got shot ~ put him right out of the detective business fur shur.

The location had been raided numerous times before ~ which meant SOMEBODY ~ e.g. the landlord ~ had an idea who he was doing business with.

The police union sued the landlord under a variety of laws. They eventually won (well over a decade later).

The DC government and DOJ didn't lift a finger.

What I gather from this article is that DOJ has finally figured out that the landlords do know ~

3 posted on 05/26/2012 5:08:19 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: marktwain

“Forfeiture law is legal theft”

Agreed. Here in NC, they seize tool chests, depriving their former owners of an honest means of making a living, and toddler tricycles. I am sick of the WOD. I am sick of sacrificing my freedom in the name of saving a few morons from themselves. I say put the drugs in free street-corner dispersers and send trucks out twice a day to fill them up and retrieve the ODs. No more crimes to get drug money. No more beheadings in Mexico.


4 posted on 05/26/2012 5:17:24 AM PDT by beef (Who Killed Kennewick Man?)
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To: muawiyah

Well, my goodness, by all means let’s apply this standard to public housing, then.

How many drug deals have occurred in your average project?

Seems to me there’s some issue with equal protection under the law going on, here.

Governments from the federal level on down to the tiniest municipality have become ravening black holes as far as money is concerned due to their own profligacy.

Do you really want to allow them an incentive to just seize private property under whatever pretext they can dream up to disguise their profit motive?

You really do live in a Postal Service DC bubble if so.


5 posted on 05/26/2012 5:41:12 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: marktwain

and it will be applied in the war on raw milk...

for those that think us small l libertarians are only interested in “getting high” because of our stance on the war on drugs...

here is your result.....

taking of liberties is the taking of liberties, regardless of the pretty package it is presented in..


6 posted on 05/26/2012 5:45:47 AM PDT by joe fonebone (I am the 15%)
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To: muawiyah

Sure, and for the sake of such a “haven” they’d go to all the bother of renting several orders of magnitudes more rooms than ever were involved with drug deals? And deals that weren’t so much like huge million dollar heroin stashes, but rather like penny ante marijuana affairs?

I think you lost your head in a mailbox somewhere along the line.


7 posted on 05/26/2012 5:49:10 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou, let me ABOs run loose! They are of much use Lou, so let me ABOs run loose)
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To: muawiyah

Oh. Then you support asset seizure by the government? Care to justify your position?


8 posted on 05/26/2012 5:51:41 AM PDT by DariusBane (People are like sheep and have two speeds: grazing and stampede)
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To: marktwain

On these grounds a lot of housing projects should be up for grabs, or the national parks for that matter.

Obscene.


9 posted on 05/26/2012 5:59:42 AM PDT by heartwood
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To: heartwood

Maybe the UN should get them — sometimes I wonder if the UN could do far worse than our hobble-happy Feds.


10 posted on 05/26/2012 6:03:17 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou, let me ABOs run loose! They are of much use Lou, so let me ABOs run loose)
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To: marktwain
Forfeiture Endangers American Rights.
11 posted on 05/26/2012 6:37:02 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: marktwain

my family had a private beach seized by the government that had been in the family as payment for helping to finance the Revolutionary War. Ted Kennedy promised to return it and never did.


12 posted on 05/26/2012 6:47:13 AM PDT by television is just wrong
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To: joe fonebone

Agreed, the war on drugs was never declared as a war in congress and thus is unconstitutional by definition.

The drug “war” is nothing more than a federal police action against civilians, most of them guilty of drug use, some guilty of drug dealing, and a number of people who are completely innocent...

The drug war is also the reason you can take over a certain amount of cash out of the bank without being a criminal by their definition.


13 posted on 05/26/2012 7:12:53 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: television is just wrong

Next thing they will be taking farmer’s land where the drug people go in and plant pot between the corn rows....

Even though they plant pot on the federal parks....

I hate the war on drugs, not because I like drugs, but because I hate the oppresive power it gives government.


14 posted on 05/26/2012 7:15:50 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: marktwain
And if he had turned away those potentially drug-dealing guests (profiling! - if you know what I mean) some anti-discrimination department would have sued him into bankruptcy anyway...
15 posted on 05/26/2012 7:19:50 AM PDT by Moltke (Always retaliate first.)
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To: heartwood

Think of all of the shopping malls that could be siezed. Makes your head spin. Think of all of the parking lots that have been used in franches and national chains. There are billiona available. Let the good times roll.

What civil rights


16 posted on 05/26/2012 7:57:31 AM PDT by dirtymac (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country., Really! NOW!!!)
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To: marktwain

Go to the link, and read the only comment!


17 posted on 05/26/2012 7:58:46 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: marktwain
HELL...... SEIZE THE WHITE HOUSE!!!
18 posted on 05/26/2012 8:07:06 AM PDT by Musketeer
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To: Jerrybob

Credit where credit is due: it was Ronald Reagan’s War on Crime/War on Drugs that opened the door to all of this statist exploitation. The ACLU, collectivist as they are, tried to warn us but we conservatives wouldn’t listen. I guess we assumed that police departments would always be run by fine, upstanding white males with a sense of honor...


19 posted on 05/26/2012 8:09:08 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: GraceG
The drug war is also the reason you can take over a certain amount of cash out of the bank without being a criminal by their definition.

Did you mean "can't" take over a certain amount?

FMCDH(BITS)

20 posted on 05/26/2012 8:13:07 AM PDT by nothingnew (I fear for my Republic due to marxist influence in our government. Open eyes/see)
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To: muawiyah

“What I gather from this article is that DOJ has finally figured out that the landlords do know “

Indeed? What *I* gather is that the law enforcement community wants to delegate its duties to the rest of us — at gun point.

Anyone who still says the Pledge of Allegiance is a fool.


21 posted on 05/26/2012 8:41:56 AM PDT by Romulus (The Traditional Latin Mass is the real Youth Mass)
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To: marktwain

What caught my notice in this article is the name of the place, Tewksbury.

The Graham-Tewksbury Feud, also known as the Pleasant Valley War, was the second bloodiest feud in US history, after the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. Taking place mostly in Arizona, it ended up with all combatant members of both families being killed.


22 posted on 05/26/2012 8:47:15 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: marktwain
Here is a Google Street View of the Caswell Motel. There's another big wing in the back. Looks like a substantial property and business. ( The Ira Toyota is another few hundred yards down the road. )
23 posted on 05/26/2012 9:37:42 AM PDT by dr_lew
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To: RegulatorCountry
Well, my goodness, by all means let’s apply this standard to public housing, then.

Sorry, but in most cases that would be RAACISSST! DOJ won't go for it!

24 posted on 05/26/2012 10:04:20 AM PDT by JimRed (Excising a cancer before it kills us waters the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: JimRed

In all seriousness, the government can’t seize public housing because the government already owns public housing. To whom would the government forfeit its property? To itself. Sorry, but the government wants more property (and desperately needs more revenue to finance its spending habits), so only private property is in danger, not property that the government already owns.


25 posted on 05/26/2012 10:21:46 AM PDT by dufekin (Obama and Pelosi: at war against the Church--and innocent American babies)
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To: marktwain

George Will wrote this? Maybe he’s starting to get it.


26 posted on 05/26/2012 11:28:34 AM PDT by Ken H (Austerity is the irresistible force. Entitlements are the immovable object.)
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To: muawiyah

“What I gather from this article is that DOJ has finally figured out that the landlords do know ~”

So, are you implying that the motel owner was in on the drug dealing, or that he somehow *should* have known what someone renting a room for a night or two was doing behind closed doors?

Should he have played the statistics an refused to rent rooms to those most likely to be drug dealers - young blacks and hispanics ?


27 posted on 05/26/2012 2:41:35 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: PLMerite

Just refuse to rent to Amish who tell you they really like your hot tubs.


28 posted on 05/26/2012 2:49:15 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Mr. Jeeves
Your comment is spot on.

Drug War Victims

29 posted on 05/26/2012 2:59:17 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.)
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To: marktwain

This law is so bogus. Plenty of drug deals go down on fed property, but we don’t see that going up for sale.


30 posted on 05/26/2012 9:56:15 PM PDT by Kevmo (SUCINOFRAGOPWIASS: Shut Up, CINOs; Free Republic Aint a GOP Website. It's A Socon Site.)
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