Posts Tagged ‘Russ Caswell’

American Civil Forfeiture Laws Require Drastic Reforms

November 1st, 2012 1 comment

Under US law knowns as “civil forfeiture,” governments claim they can take property suspected to be involved in a crime without arrest, prosecution, or conviction of the owner of the property. They don’t even have to prove any crime was committed. All they have to do is state the property is suspected to have been used in a crime or to have been acquired as a result of a crime. Nobody has to be convicted for the owner to lose the property to the government. The government can then liquidate it and keep the proceeds unless their victim is wealthy enough to be able to fight them in court at significant expense.

How are the proceeds from government theft (civil forfeiture) used? There are few if any restrictions. The use is typically at the discretion of whomever runs the agency receiving the proceeds of the government-backed theft. The funds can be used to pay a police chief’s salary, or to buy private gym memberships for law enforcement officers, or to throw a Christmas party for the cops involved in the theft.

Motel Customers Can Cost Motel Owners Their Properties

The Caswell family of Lowell, Massachusetts, is about to lose its motel to the Federal government because criminals who rented motel rooms sold drugs or committed crimes on the premises.

The Institute of Justice, which is helping the Caswells fight the government action, points out that only about 0.05% of their 125,000 room rentals over the past two decades resulted in arrests of customers committing crimes. That works out to around 3 or 4 arrests per year.

Despite this, the government plans to take the motel valued at over $1 million. If they succeed, it will be a windfall for them because the motel is free and clear without a mortgage. They then plan to split up the proceeds between the US Federal Government and local law enforcement.

POLICING FOR PROFIT: Feds try to take innocent elderly couple’s Mom-and-Pop motel

This same abusiveness is often applied by the government against many others, not just owners of motels. A more common example is that you loan your car to a friend who then uses it to do something like transporting yet another person who was carrying drugs or stolen property. Even though your car was used to commit a crime without your knowledge or approval and your friend may not have even known what was happening either, you will likely lose your car to the government without any reimbursement.

Police Dogs Help Cops Steal

The cops don’t even have to file a case against you to do steal your property. They don’t even have to arrest anybody for a crime. All they have to do is claims there is a suspicions of a crime involving your property. All they need to do is to get a police dog to act suspicious around your property and they can then take your property.
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