Caswell May Not Be Out Of The Legal Woods Quite Yet
U.S. Attorney has not ruled out the possibility of appealing court ruling.
Any thoughts Motel Caswell owner Russ Caswell had that he had seen the last of Federal Law Enforcement appear to be a bit premature.
According to an article published on Bostonherald.com, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz is considering appealing the decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein, who ruled that the Tewksbury motel was not subject to forfeiture, as argued by Ortiz' office.
"I don't put anything past them," said Caswell. "As I said before, it's like they don't have anything better to do."
Starting in 2009, the Department of Justice had attempted to seize the Motel Caswell and the property it sits on, arguing that there had been a long history of illegal activity at the motel, including drugs and prostitution, which Caswell knew about and did nothing to stop.
Caswell was represented by lawyers from the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based law firm specializing in property seizure cases. They accused the government of a "land grab" and said there is no way Caswell can know what every one of his guests is doing every day.
Dein's ruling read, in part:
"After careful consideration of the evidence, pleadings, and argument of counsel, this Court concludes that the Government has failed to meet its burden of establishing that the Motel is subject to forfeiture."
Caswell said the judge's ruling gave him a great sense of relief.
"No doubt about it. It's been a long time coming," he said. "I just wanted to get my side of the story out."
Caswell said his story serves as a cautionary tale for other private property owners. He said no one is safe from the government attempting the same thing again.
"It could happen to anyone," said Caswell. "It's like there's no accountability. They just pull this crap."
Caswell said he intends to retain ownership of the motel, at least for the time being. He also said he would welcome a chance to sit down with Police Chief Timothy Sheehan or other members of the department to discuss ways to improve safety at the motel.