Caswell Family Wins Three-Year Battle With Feds

Judge rules that motel is not subject to forfeiture.

The Motel Caswell is remaining under the ownership of the Caswell family for the forseeable future.

On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein ruled that the Tewksbury motel was not subject to forfeiture, as argued by Federal law enforcement officials.

In her 59-page ruling dismissing the forfeiture action, Dein stated, 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."

The U.S. Attorney's Office first took action to seize the Motel Caswell back in September 2009, claiming it had long been a hotspot for srime in Tewksbury, particularly drug activity. Government attorneys cited 15 specific incidents that had taken place between 1994 and 2008 and argued that since owner Russ Caswell lived in a home adjacent to the motel itself, he must have known about the illegal activities engaged in by his guests.

Caswell was being represented pro bono by lawyers from the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based organization that specializes in government forfeiture cases. IJ attorneys argued that Caswell himself had never been accused of any crime or of being involved in any illegal activity. They further argued that over that same 14-year period, the Motel Caswell served roughly 196,000 guests.


TONY D January 26, 2013 at 02:59 AM
Honest Joe, Of course Janellen27 is stating that the Town paid for the legal fees. She is privy to a lot of insider information.
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 07:10 AM
TONY D: I said the Chinese Restaurant gets to stay in business becuase so much of their business comes from across the street at the Caswell, sort of a joke.
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 07:14 AM
TONY D: My clerical mistake wrt # incidents in # years. Thank you for noting that.
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 07:16 AM
TONY D: "A privately run teen center on the Tewksbury/Lowell line. Yeah, that is not going to draw too many teenage pothead!!! The teens from Lawrence could jump off 495 and join them." You've got a bad attitude. Weren't you the one who didn't like Tewksbury and preferred Westford on the HomeGoods thread? Think of something productive and positive they could do with the place yourself.
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 07:18 AM
TONY D; Again, you're stirring up trouble. What the hell is with that, anyway?
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 07:20 AM
Honest Joe: If you want to know, ask them. Sounds like you already know quite a bit about the Caswell business. Please don't talk about Tewksbury yards referring to them as "dumps".
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 07:25 AM
Honest Joe: This was what I typed: "How much did the residents of the town pay for the 3 years' worth of Legal Fees to lose that case?" Now, does that look like a STATEMENT to you? Looks like a QUESTION to me--in other words, what is called "seeking information". Since it was the Town who started this whole Suit thing against The Caswell, going to The Feds for assistance, one might assume, though, that it did run up a few hours worth of expenses, plus some travel expenses. Of course, I haven't studied the case, I've only been hearing about it for years, so I might not assume. You seem to know a lot about it. . . why don't you share.
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 07:34 AM
TONY D & Honest Joe: Please share all the information that you are "privy to", and stop the bullying.
ron t January 26, 2013 at 07:57 PM
OK Mary next time you go to a hotel and they want to do a background ckeck on you would you like it ?? Thoughs of us that know Russ Caswell never lost confidence in him. What you should be leary of is a police department that never did it's job and went along with the whole fiasco .
ron t January 26, 2013 at 08:09 PM
What a pompus fool you are looking down your nose at a citizen that has been a good nieghbor all along. Non of you had concerns till they trumped up the charges againt him and he has been an upstanding member of the community longer than you .
ron t January 26, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Another mindless idiot , your in Somerville with trees, give us your address so we can asses your dump.
ron t January 26, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Where do you get the usage figure from and when did ambulance service become free? How about the insane commercial tax rate and room tax he pays . Businesses in this town pay the majority of taxes and get the least in return
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 08:59 PM
southie: Wondering if you could share the Top 10-15 with us from what you read. I can see The Caswell not quite making the top of the list; they're a smaller outfit than others in town.
Janellen27 January 26, 2013 at 09:14 PM
If you know how much "the taxpayers" paid for this, Robert, please tell us. Started out on the local level, went to the Federal level. . . residents pay both types of taxes, so wondering what it would have cost. Just a reminder, Robert. . . it never would have gone to the federal level had the defendant responded appropriately at the local level.
TONY D January 27, 2013 at 03:18 PM
I myself do not frequent the Jade but whenever I drive by, their parking lot is pretty well full. Seems they do quite a good business. Can't be people just walking across the street.
TONY D January 27, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Didn't say I wanted to live in Westford. Just said it is a much nicer Town. Was warning the person that said they were thinking of moving there that the taxes were higher than Tewksbury's.
Janellen27 January 27, 2013 at 05:38 PM
TONY D: I said "it was sort of a joke". And, a LOT of people cross the street to go to the Jade. Have to remember to keep an eye out for crossers when I pass by.
Janellen27 January 27, 2013 at 05:51 PM
I was there last night, in fact. Their new "Loop style" Mall has some stores that are open--Marshall's & Home Goods, not until March. Rte. 110 from Littleton to Chelmsford had nothing on it years ago, and in the past 10 years has become crazy. One of my siblings had a house there in about '65. I wonder what the difference in cost was then and now. At one point three siblings owned there. The main difference between this town and theirs--conscious planning and a sense of aesthetics, keeping all the stores down on Rt. 110, which is now beginning to resemble Rt. 28 in Salem, NH.
Janellen27 January 27, 2013 at 05:57 PM
TONY D: Wondering--from your perspective--what you think the differences are between Tewksbury and Westford.
TONY D January 28, 2013 at 05:39 PM
If you think that the Route 110 corridor in Westford resembles Route 28 in Salem NH there is no sense discussing the difference. The residents of Westford would be appalled by your comparison. Take a walk, not a drive, down Route 38 in Tewksbury. You will see so much trash along the sides of the road. It is disgusting. I used to walk 4-5 miles every other day but got discouraged looking at the trash and the lack, or condition, of the sidewalks. Town and private property all along Main Street is deplorable.
Janellen27 January 28, 2013 at 08:32 PM
TONY D wrote: "If you think that the Route 110 corridor in Westford resembles Route 28 in Salem NH there is no sense discussing the difference. The residents of Westford would be appalled by your comparison. Take a walk, not a drive, down Route 38 in Tewksbury. You will see so much trash along the sides of the road. It is disgusting. I used to walk 4-5 miles every other day but got discouraged looking at the trash and the lack, or condition, of the sidewalks. Town and private property all along Main Street is deplorable." Oh, Tony . . . Please. It was clear I was referring to the massive build-up of business along Rt. 110 between Littleton and Chelmsford--specifically the Westford stretch. I said nothing about trash or anything else other than the development of business and retail. No need to bring Rt. 38 into the discussion at all. Simply comparing when my siblings had their homes built in Westford in the sixties to today in 2013. It was empty and now it's a traffic jam. That's all. If you don't like the trash along Rt. 38, you're welcome to form a few local clean-up days. It appears some people don't know it's their job to "keep America clean" and that there are steep fines for littering, unfortuantely. Such values are taught by parents in homes; looks like some parents skipped over that part, I agree. Where did you grow up, by the way? And, what landed you here in Tewksbury. You don't seem to care much for the town yourself.
Jennifer Nagle January 28, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Just curious, how much did this fiasco of a court case cost us taxpayers..... thinking it may have been a bit more than your "conservative estimate"....
Honest Joe January 29, 2013 at 03:26 AM
I think your the one with the bad attitude Janellen27........talk about bullying!
Honest Joe January 29, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Janellen27: Please don't tell me what I can say and what I can't say about Tewksbury. I'll say it as I see it, thank you very much!
Honest Joe January 29, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Janellen27: I know nothing about it, can't help you out there sweetheart. I was hoping you could provide us with the facts, based upon your assumptions.
Honest Joe January 29, 2013 at 03:35 AM
Janellen27: Bullying? Really? Wow, your a real card. There, now you can you can say I was bullying.
Reality Bites February 02, 2013 at 04:24 AM
Not for nothing but how many of the other hotel/motel facilities would take in a person or family who had next to nothing for funds that just lost everything or have very little left? I'd bank the hotel chains would tell you "oh well nothing we can do" while Russ wouldn't think twice given that same person/family a second chance to get back on their feet. With that being said while his venue has a terrible reputation with the characters a bind eye has been turned to there needs to be more like this. You negative nelly's are going to have your opinion about it but think about the worst case scenario.. you just lost everything, you have no where to go, it's cold out, your kids are whiney, you need a day to recoop and get a game plan set up... Russ would be the best bet to take you in no questions asked. I agree Russ needs to come up with a better way to keep these junk bags out.. I agree TPD and Russ should set up monthly meetings to coordinate the safety of the venue and town. Lets face it Tewksbury is going to Hell in a handbasket and quickly. When authorities work together with business owners there's a way to make a bad situation into a better one. P.S. We're all entitled to our opinions whether anyone likes it or not. This is my opinion - like it or hate it doesn't matter to me. I expressed my opinion just like the rest of you. Perhaps you should realize this happens everywhere.
Joe Gandhi February 02, 2013 at 05:20 AM
You want to say that again in English maybe? Tewksburys a great town. everyone loves it here. Realize what "happens everywhere"? A little conflicted among your many selves, RB?
TONY D February 02, 2013 at 02:18 PM
RB's statement was not that bad. Except for a few spelling and grammatical errors. It is his opinion. Tewksbury is not a great Town and everyone does not love it. And Janellen27 don't jump all over me. I'm not saying I like it or not. Just stating a fact. And yes, bad or unfortunate events happen to people everywhere. Joe Ghandhi get your head out of the sand.
Janellen27 February 02, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Pretty clear you don't like it here, Tony. That's why I asked you where you grew up and what landed you here. I think it's more like people who grew up here love it--probably because most of us tend to love our home towns and the memories they hold. Nevermind, beating a dead horse on this thread.


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