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Ortiz specifically has brought other cases that have made me furious. Check out this one where she is trying to seize a family owned budget motel. There is no complaint whatsoever against the owner, but about once every other year the cops bust some low-level drug deal. The motel is paid-off and owned by the son of the founder and is worth 1.5 million, therefore she saw an easy civil forfeiture target. She is out of control and not helping the people of Massachusetts.


Careful here. Any time you read a story like "government attempts to liquidate real property to fund police department", your first thought should be "that's not the whole story", because (for the most part) that's not how the federal government operates. So, some issues with this story:

* This case is Sonya Rao, not Carmen Ortiz (though once again Ortiz oversees all the cases in her office).

* The hotel is, let's not sugarcoat it, a blighted flophouse. Don't take my word for it; here's TripAdvisor ("ROOMS BY THE HOUR: Hookers, drug addicts, drug dealers, need I say more") complete with picture: http://tinyurl.com/ta-caswell and here's Yelp ("Please don't bring your kids here.") http://tinyurl.com/y-caswell

* The owners of the hotel were warned repeatedly by local law enforcement and an intervention of local hotel owners; specific measures were suggested to minimize the problems at this place and weren't taken; the hotel had no security, and its drug countermeasures consisted of a list of persons not to rent to again.

* The hotel owners made no policy changes after a methamphetamine lab was discovered in one of their rooms.

* The hotel owners made no changes after the dead body of a heroin overdose victim was found in one of their rooms.

* Drug deals weren't simply occurring at the hotel; the Tewskbury PD repeatedly discovered drug dealers operating full-time out of rooms in the hotel.

* The owners of the hotel repeatedly admitted under oath that they had continuing knowledge of drug crimes occurring on their premises, and had no policies to investigate the use of their rooms.

There are places like this all over America and they're all neighborhood blights that need to be shut down (hey, by the way, still think there couldn't possibly be a difference between an apartment and a room up for temporary let on Airbnb?).

If all we're saying is that civil asset forfeiture is the wrong means to shut them down, I'm with you. But this case does not make my blood boil the way it does for you.

You might want to look into how civil forfeiture laws are used in the U.S. Furthermore, if you have such a problem with this property why don't you make an offer to the property owner and buy it? Shutting down someone's business & stealing their property because you don't like it is deeply immoral.

> Furthermore, if you have such a problem with this property why don't you make an offer to the property owner and buy it?

Maybe he pays taxes exactly because he expects that the government would do their job? No one person can buy up every piece-of-shit property and clean it up, that's the whole point of foisting that shit job (and it's certainly a shit job) on the government

I find it troubling that it remains acceptable to steal people's property on the premise that it is "blighted". This is nothing more that social engineering. Using violence to do away with something that you don't like is not morally acceptable.

Using violence to do away with something that you don't like is not morally acceptable.

Um...are you arguing that states are fundamentally immoral?

Because I'm fine with using laws (read: state violence) to do away with things I don't think are morally acceptable, like, murder, rape, child abuse, etc. Really, I'm totally 100% fine with it.

Since when is it a private business owner's responsibility to play law enforcement?

If the police knows a place to be an epicenter of criminal activities, isn't that a great opportunity to do proper police work, and keep the place under surveillance?

>and here's Yelp ("Please don't bring your kids here.")

Despite the possibilty that they may reflect the truth, most of those reviews are obvious snark, written in the style of depilatory creme reviews http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R231U4ZG0YDNHD/ref=cm_cr_dp_t... ie: not to be taken seriously.

I know that motel. I have friends who live across the street. Those reviews are not snark. The place is an absolute hole, and the owner knows exactly what business he is in. Many locals in town would be pleased to see it shutdown.

I've posted a response and I enjoyed our back-and-forth on this particular topic on the other thread where this case is discussed: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5084791

This was written over a year ago. Do you know the resolution of this case?

Hasn't been resolved yet. Trial was in November, no verdict yet - http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_22253534/caswell...

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