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Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:00 PM

Guest deals some drugs in small family owned motel. Govt want's to seize it

BOSTON (AP) — Russ Caswell is not charged with any crime, but next week he'll be in a federal courtroom fighting to keep a motel his father built almost six decades ago.

The U.S. government has moved to take the Motel Caswell, a $57-per-night budget motel, under a law that allows for the forfeiture of properties connected to crimes. The government says the motel should be shut down because of drug dealing by some of its guests.

Caswell, 69, is still stunned by the move, three years after he received a forfeiture notice in the mail.

"They are holding me responsible for the actions of a few people who I don't know and I've never met before, people who rent a room," Caswell said. "Out of thousands of people who stay here, a handful do something wrong and they're trying to blame me for it."

...

Caswell's lawyers say every budget motel has a certain number of guests who commit crimes, but the government targeted the Motel Caswell because it is family-owned and mortgage-free.

...

Criminal forfeiture laws require a person to be convicted of a crime before property can be taken, but civil forfeiture allows prosecutors to take properties without convicting anyone.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/motel-caswell-drugs_n_2076219.html

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Reply Guest deals some drugs in small family owned motel. Govt want's to seize it (Original post)
The Straight Story Nov 2012 OP
Jackpine Radical Nov 2012 #1
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #2
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #3
magical thyme Nov 2012 #4
PSPS Nov 2012 #5
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #12
PSPS Nov 2012 #24
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #26
PSPS Nov 2012 #33
eShirl Nov 2012 #35
ChisolmTrailDem Nov 2012 #13
PSPS Nov 2012 #25
Cerridwen Nov 2012 #6
freshwest Nov 2012 #18
BlueCaliDem Nov 2012 #19
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #20
Cerridwen Nov 2012 #22
seaglass Nov 2012 #37
ck4829 Nov 2012 #7
Ezlivin Nov 2012 #8
Poll_Blind Nov 2012 #11
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #27
HopeHoops Nov 2012 #9
Comrade Grumpy Nov 2012 #10
Live and Learn Nov 2012 #16
Patiod Nov 2012 #23
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #28
4th law of robotics Nov 2012 #14
msongs Nov 2012 #15
Smilo Nov 2012 #17
Evergreen Emerald Nov 2012 #21
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #29
Evergreen Emerald Nov 2012 #31
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #32
Evergreen Emerald Nov 2012 #34
sarcasmo Nov 2012 #30
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #36

Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:07 PM

1. I have yet to understand why people tolerate this.

Every case like this needs to be published fare & wide, and there needs to be a huge public outcry & demand for an end to the drug war, which has been the fertile ground out of which we have grown our domestic Gestapo.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:16 PM

2. K&R A daily outrage for over 30 years now. Land of the free, indeed. n/t

 

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:19 PM

3. "Annette Funicello and the Mouseketeers spent a night here a half a century ago. But it doesn’t get

 

guests like the Mouseketeers anymore."

http://www.wbur.org/2012/11/14/tewksbury-motel-owner-fights-property-seizure

"The DEA set the U.S. attorney into motion. It has a special agent here in Boston who seeks out targets for forfeiture.

"As he describes his job, he looks through the newspapers and looks at the Internet, looking for news stories of properties that might be forfeitable and brings them to the attention of the U.S. attorney," Caswell’s attorney, Larry Salzman, said.

According to the agent’s sworn testimony, he then goes to the Registry of Deeds to determine the value of the targeted property. The DEA rejects anything with less than $50,000 equity.

In the case of the Caswell, the agent saw its worth close to $1.5 million with no mortgage. That made it a fat target for the U.S. attorney, says another of Caswell’s lawyers, Scott Bullock.

http://www.wbur.org/2012/11/14/tewksbury-motel-owner-fights-property-seizure



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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:29 PM

4. Despicable.

Over 14,000 room nights over the years in question. Free rooms provided to police for sting operations and investigations. A handful of arrests.

Stealing, plain and simple. It's not the first time I've seen local governments steal property from individuals in Massachusetts.

A couple years before I left that hellhole of a state, a woman who was a national champion trainer in the quarterhorse world had her horses, valued at over $250K, stolen by the state's animal control. Her problems started with a new neighbor who moved in from the city and didn't want horses next door. He reported her for "starving" a horse: she had just purchased and shipped the horse 3,000+ miles cross-country. It arrived thin, which sometimes happens due to the trip. The sellers may not have been feeding the horse well once he was sold; that sometimes happens too. Not her fault, the horse was shipped legally and all her other horses were in show condition, but now the state was watching her and waiting. Some time later, her husband was dying of cancer. She pulled her horses out of training and kept them on a straight hay diet while she cared for her husband. Normal and correct care for horses that aren't working to take them off a working diet and feed straight hay.

On the day of her husband's funeral, without warning or notice, the state seized her horses. While she was burying her husband, they came onto her property with a bunch of volunteers with trailers...and took the horses. Instead of following the law and taking them to the state facility, they hid them at various "volunteer" farms. They refused to allow her veterinarian see them to testify on her behalf. She had no money or fight left. Last I heard, she gave up, sold her farm and left. I hope she sold it to a goddam pig farmer. It would serve the jerkoff neighbor right.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:31 PM

5. It might not be as simple as this. The owner is likely culpable.

I've stayed in "budget" motels before where I was unable to sleep because people kept banging on my door or an adjacent room's door all night looking for dope or some other nefarious "service." I would try to contact the manager who, of course, was never around. I came to the conclusion that the manager/owner was likely in on the action or, at least, condoned it because of his unwillingness to just kick out the troublemakers.

I'd instruct the bank to reverse the credit card charges and then write to the motel owner inviting them to sue me, telling them I was just giddy at the prospect of describing my experience in a public court. None ever took me up on my offer.

This sounds like the same kind of deal. If this "Russ Caswell" guy isn't interested in cleaning up his clientele by kicking them out, he's part of the problem and should lose his "blight on society."

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Response to PSPS (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 01:59 PM

12. what didn't you get about "taken without anyone being found guilty"?

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #12)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 05:57 PM

24. It's widely known that the guy is running a drug/prostitution racket. Good riddance.

Like I said, the owner is the problem. Society would be better served by a bulldozed lot than what he's running out of there.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #24)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:00 PM

26. 'widely known' -- by whom? not in the story. whether it's widely known or not,

 

you don't take people's property without due process.

that's totalitarianism. but if you think it's ok, well...

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #26)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 07:36 PM

33. It's right here

As posted by someone else:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g41863-d1124170-Reviews-Motel_Caswell-Tewksbury_Massachusetts.html

It's not "totalitarianism." It's a community ridding itself of a menace.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #24)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:48 AM

35. I prefer the Bill of Rights.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:04 PM

13. Since we're speculating here, perhaps...

he was coerced into keeping quiet? Or perhaps he was afraid to call police or otherwise "cleaning up his clientele by kicking them out", fearing retribution.

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Response to ChisolmTrailDem (Reply #13)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:00 PM

25. LOL

Yes, a man who cowers behind his desk "afraid to call the police" is just the guy to run a "cheap motel."

As others have indicated, he wouldn't have even had to use a phone to "call the police." They apparently spend quite a bit of their time in his parking lot trying to clean up the problem he is fostering.

Your sympathy is being wasted on this ne'er-do-well.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:36 PM

6. Interesting reviews of this place online; these past years.

From tripadvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g41863-d1124170-Reviews-Motel_Caswell-Tewksbury_Massachusetts.html




“ROOMS BY THE HOUR”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2012 via mobile


Hookers, Drug Addicts, Drug Dealers Need I Say More?!. Dirty, Disgusting & Old! Do Not Stay Here!!!!!
Was this review helpful? Yes
Problem with this review?
SpeedyTiger
Melbourne

Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Out of desparation.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2011


After missing our exit from the Freeway, we were so frazzled (& everybody over there seems to drive on the wrong side of the road & all the car steering wheels are on the wrong side of the car) we decided to stop at the first motel we came across. OH DEAR - NOT A GREAT CHOICE. Firstly, there seems... More

sdkfhvlskjdbvhf00025
Lowell, Massachusetts

“Green truck, fat lady... Fire her now!!!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2011


This hotel absolutely sucks seriously!!!! Over $1000 a month for one room and one bed, the shower doesn't work properly, the bathroom light hates to come on and there was cigarette burns all over the sheets and blankets (thank god we had our own)... I mean come on now really??? Treated veterans with utmost disrespect and terrible manners. Seriously the... More
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Problem with this review?
Eggie617

“This motel caswell should really be called Joe's Apartment.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2011 via mobile

First of all Nothing was clean, there were no towells, no soap, the shower not only was shooting out in ever direction but the water was brown Yes, BROWN!!!! This place should be shut down it even has spider webs up to ying yang and little roaches and crackheads surround the whole place I would never ever recommend this motel... More
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localstayinglocal
Lowell, Massachusetts

“You get what you pay for”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2011


Stayed on a quiet night. No remote to the TV, which was stuck tinted green. No alarm clock, no internet, several holes in walls, decaying furniture. A solid reputation for drug and prostitution activity with regular police patrols. It was, however, really cheap.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Problem with this review?
VARay2009
VA

“Bed bugs”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2009


Lots of bug bites overnight. All rooms are placarded non-smoking, but are supplied with ashtrays, so they're heavy with fresh smoke smell anyway. Walls are probably only as thick as the paneling you see, cause you can hear very well next door. Local police are often milling about, running checks on cars in the lot.



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Response to Cerridwen (Reply #6)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:22 PM

18. EPIC FAIL! Half the net knew, but he didn't know! Thanks, Cerridwen.

Last edited Fri Nov 23, 2012, 03:26 PM - Edit history (1)



Help! Help! I'm being repressed!





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Response to Cerridwen (Reply #6)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:33 PM

19. What a dump and health hazard! The U.S. Gov't is doing people a favor

because this motel sounds like a horror - based on the reviews. Bed bugs?!? Aaaaah . . .!

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Response to Cerridwen (Reply #6)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:40 PM

20. Have to agree with you in this case. The laws are very bad, but this is not a good example

 

of why. It sounds like one is a blight on the neighborhood.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #20)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:43 PM

22. I think forfeiture laws are draconian.

This particular piece of property, however, should probably have been shut down due to health violations many years ago rather than this particular issue.

Unfortunately, decades of bath-tub sized government has allowed a lot of crap like this to go on.

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Response to Cerridwen (Reply #6)


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:38 PM

7. Are we winning the war on drugs yet?

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:41 PM

8. I've been dealing drugs for YEARS out of Marriott Hotels

I sure hope they don't try to shut down that chain of hotels!

Romney help us all.

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Response to Ezlivin (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 01:48 PM

11. LOL!



PB

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Response to Ezlivin (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:03 PM

27. it would be a good thing if they did, but it will never happen. only to little guys.

 

or some drug dealer's grandma who lives on a $600/mo gov't check and owns a miserable little house in the ghetto, her only possession after a lifetime of work.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 01:14 PM

9. That's just so wrong on every level.

 

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 01:42 PM

10. Asset forfeiture creates a moral hazard for law enforcement.

Gives them an incentive to police for profit, not public safety.

Distorts law enforcement priorities.

Activist organization: Forfeiture Endangers American Rights (FEAR) www.fear.org

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:18 PM

16. +1 nt

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 03:05 PM

23. +10

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:03 PM

28. +1. that is a horrible, fascist piece of crap legislation.

 

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:10 PM

14. Does anyone know the general approval rate for the war on drugs?

 

One would think that as stories like these accumulate it would drop. Particularly among the younger generation that doesn't equate pot with "godless hippies that cost us the War!"

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:16 PM

15. you may first ask yourself why the obama administration does this sort of thing nt

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:21 PM

17. Forfeiture laws are themselves open to corruption.

Who is behind this?

It really is getting out of hand.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:42 PM

21. he had to have known about the drug dealing and ignored it

Forfeiture laws require tacit approval of drug dealing.

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Response to Evergreen Emerald (Reply #21)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:05 PM

29. and how do they determine that without due process? which there is none,

 

per the article?

my idea of 'known about it & ignored it' is that there's some kind of trial process, with evidence.

doesn't happen.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #29)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:14 PM

31. Due process is required

Ok...where I live the state cannot take someone's property without a hearing. I cannot vouche for all states.

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Response to Evergreen Emerald (Reply #31)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:31 PM

32. they can in other states, & the SC has declined to rule, e.g.

 

The Supreme Court heard arguments today in a case about the extent to which police can seize property connected to drug crimes without offering any procedure for owners to contest the seizure.

The scenario of concern in the case happens across the U.S. Police, while investigating or making arrests in a drug case, seize property that may be connected to the case, like cars. What happens next depends on state law, but in many places, property owners go months or even years without their property, even when no charges are filed against them.

In his brief summary of the case before the Supreme Court (Alvarez v. Smith), George Mason law professor Ilya Somin points out how state seizure laws can threaten innocent property owners whose car or other property gets swept up in the War on Drugs. In Illinois, state law offers no procedure to challenge the seizure, and requires no proof from police that seizure is necessary to preserve evidence.

http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2009/10/property-seizure-in-the-war-on-drugs.html

case was alvarez v. smith, & the sc declared it moot by the time the case reached them as there was no longer a property dispute.

but there are lots of such cases of property seizure without due process or even a clear/speedy appeals process.

Forfeiture without due process

VICTOR RAMOS GUZMAN and his brother-in-law noticed a Virginia state trooper pull up beside them as they traveled on Interstate 95 near Emporia, Va., in November. “A police car drove by in parallel, looked at our faces and on no more than that decided to stop us,” Mr. Guzman said in a sworn affidavit.

Virginia State Police say the men were speeding, driving 86 mph in a 70 mph zone and “following too closely.” But the trooper did not issue a ticket that morning despite the allegedly excessive speed nor did he charge the men with any civil or criminal violations. He did, however, seize $28,500 in cash.

The episode sheds light on the troubling nature of forfeiture laws that are used to seize money and property without evidence that a crime has been committed. These laws are aggressively enforced in part because police organizations are often allowed to keep the proceeds.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/forfeiture-without-due-process/2011/12/22/gIQAckn3WP_story.html


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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #32)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 09:19 PM

34. thanks

fun reading.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:11 PM

30. Some high profile developer must want this land.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:54 AM

36. Drug War Gravy Train

$$CHUG$$-$$CHUG$$$-$$$$CHUGGIN$$$ ALONG!

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