My Current Favorite Non-Profit

The Institute for Justice, or IJ.  The do great work.  What the ACLU should have been if it wasn't founded by Stalinists.  Check out this aggravating example:

Imagine you own a million-dollar piece of property free and clear, but then the federal government and local law enforcement agents announce that they are going to take it from you, not compensate you one dime, and then use the money they get from selling your land to pad their budgets—all this even though you have never so much as been accused of a crime, let alone convicted of one.”

That is the nightmare Russ Caswell and his family is now facing in Tewksbury, Mass., where they stand to lose the family-operated motel they have owned for two generations.

The most contentious civil forfeiture fight in the nation will be the subject of a week-long trial starting Monday, November 5, 2012, in Boston. Throughout the week, the Institute for Justice, which represents the property owners in the case, will expose the ugly practice of civil forfeiture—where law enforcement agencies can pad their budgets by taking property from innocent owners who have never been convicted or even charged with a crime.



  1. Jason:

    I send them $ on a regular basis. Great work.

  2. sabre_springs_mark:

    Well if you read further, the place is not being taken care of, has become a blight and a hotbed of soft crime (drug dealing and prostitution) It is owned by an elderly couple that obviously are not capable of maintaining the property. So it isn't the most sympathetic case.

    But this is where the eminent domain (Kelo Case) that everyone decried a few years back comes in. The city could buy these people out for "redevelopment" purposes, and then tear the thing down. Never understood the outcry from that case. The Justices interpreted the constitution correctly - it is up to federal government and states to "prevent this" if folks don't like it - but then we get this - elderly people unable to care for the property - hmm what to do?

    I don't think having the government steal it is good - though in this case I don't think the local government is padding anything, the hotel is worthless, and who knows if they can sell the land for other purposes.

  3. Rick Caird:

    Mark, how much of that "becoming a blight" is because of the cost of fighting an out of control government?

  4. sabre_springs_mark:

    I think the problem was in reverse. The citizens of the community have been complaining about the state of the hotel and the local officials are trying to do something. I like thumbs down I got, for merely presenting the facts I found regarding the other side of the issue. From a libertarian POV, I would sue them - with the rest of my neighbors - for creating a blight/encouraging crime and take the property over that way. So either have city officials take it, or as a libertarian take it through the courts. Personally I would prefer the city to take over because I would not want the liability for the place.

  5. Nehemiah:

    If there are code violations, fine the owners and keep fining them until they bring the property up to code. If they cannot do so condemn the property, put a lien on it for unpaid fines and take it through that process. Sell the property, recover any unpaid fines with interest and send any remaining balance to the owners. If there are crimes taking place on the property, police it more thoroughly. This situation does not fit the Eminent Domain profile.