November 1, 2012
CAN THE GOVERNMENT TAKE YOUR BUSINESS WHEN YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG?: A important trial being litigated by the superlawyers at the Institute for Justice begins this Monday in the federal court in Boston. At issue: Whether the government can seize a private business, using what’s called “civil forfeiture,” just because a third party has used the property to commit a crime.
The case is a compelling story of the Caswells, who own a mom-and-pop motel, the Motel Caswell, at which a few drug busts have occurred over the last decade or so (about .05% of the patrons of the hotel were arrested for drug crimes). The Caswells have not been accused of any wrongdoing, yet the federal and local governments have partnered up to seize the hotel–worth over $1 million dollars. If the forfeiture is successful, the Caswells will lose their business entirely and will not be compensated one dime.
Watch this video to find out more about the stakes involved in this outrageous (and growing) use of government power: