Good news for the good guys! In a blatant attempt at seizing a valuable, mortgage-free property, the DEA instituted forfeiture proceedings against a motel-owner, shocked shocked that dealing might be going on in the parking lot.  Caswell Motel Case Marks a Victory Against Federal Forfeiture Abuse
crossposted; Stop The Drug War

The shocking part of the story is that there is a Standard Operating Procedure for finding property worthy of seizure; valued at more than $50,000 and mortgage free!

The workings of the asset forfeiture machine were partially revealed in the deposition of Vincent Kelly, DEA Special Agent in the New England office asset forfeiture unit. He testified under oath that his job was to look for high-dollar property with no mortgage to be forfeited. Kelly explained clearly how he checked the Registry of Deeds “to find out who owns the property and how much equity is on the property.” Then, the DEA would contact local police to see how many drug arrests or other serious crimes been committed on the property.

Many kudos to Scott Bullock for working pro bono and for the win.

“This is a complete victory for the Caswell family and for the protection of private property rights,” said attorney Scott Bullock, after Dein’s ruling. Bullock, who represented the family, is a senior attorney for the Institute for Justice (IJ), a Virginia-based public interest law firm specializing in fighting federal and state forfeiture abuse nationwide.

Institute for Justice’s Massachusett’s Civil Forfeiture Release
Mentioned in this post is a report finding that the corrupt practice is getting worse;
How Federal “Equitable Sharing” Encourages Local Police and Prosecutors to Evade State Civil Forfeiture Law for Financial Gain