The fate of the Motel Caswell now rests in the hands of U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein.
Testimony and closing arguments concluded Thursday in the motel's drug forfeiture trial in Federal District Court in Boston. Dein has taken the case under advisement but it may be some time before she renders a decision. She has given both sides in the case an additional three weeks to submit written briefs, according to an article published in the Lowell Sun. This means it will likely be mid-December, at the earliest, before a verdict is handed down.
Attorneys from the Institute for Justice, which is representing Motel Caswell owner Russ Caswell pro bono, had asked Dein to issue a directed verdict in the case after the prosecution rested on Wednesday. Dein declined, but said she had concerns about the government's case, according to the Sun article.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office have argued the motel and its property, valued at roughly $1.3 million, should be seized under federal forfeiture laws because there is a "substantial connection" between the motel and area drug trafficking. Prosecutors have pointed to a series of 15 drug related arrests and investigations from 1994-2008 to prove their case, arguing motel owner Russ Caswell must have known what was going on with his customers.
On Thursday, Caswell testified he had no idea motel guests were committing illegal acts until police made arrests. Further, he testified that the Tewksbury Police never communicated with him or worked with him regarding ways to improve security and safety at the motel, according to the Sun article.