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.