The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge
STIPULATION FOR STAY OF FURTHER PROCEEDINGS AND ORDER [PROPOSED]
Plaintiff United States of America and claimant Maggie Loung (hereafter "claimant") stipulate that a stay is necessary in the above-entitled action, and request that the Court enter an order staying all further proceedings pending the outcome of a related criminal case now pending in this Court (United States v. Maggie Luong, et al., 2:08-cr-00543 GEB). This stipulation is based on the following:
1. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1), (g)(2) and 21 U.S.C. § 881(i) the parties suggest that a stay of further proceedings in this case is necessary. The United States contends that the defendant real property was used to facilitate violations of federal drug laws (conspiracy to manufacture at least 1000 marijuana plants and manufacture of at least 1000 marijuana plants) and is therefore forfeitable to the United States. The United States intends to depose the claimant about the claims she filed in this case and the facts surrounding the modification of the defendant property for use as an indoor marijuana cultivation operation. The United States will also question claimant about the 591 marijuana plants, 40 grow lights, and fertilizing scheduled found during the search of the defendant property on September 17, 2008. If discovery proceeds, claimant would be placed in the difficult position of either invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and losing the ability to protect her interest in the defendant property, or waiving her Fifth Amendment rights and submitting to a deposition and potentially incriminating herself in the pending criminal matter. If claimant invokes their Fifth Amendment rights, the United States will be deprived of the ability to explore the factual basis for the claim she filed in this action and the defenses raised in her Answer.
2. In addition, if this case is not stayed claimant will attempt to depose law enforcement officers who were involved in the execution of the search warrant at the defendant property. Allowing depositions of these officers would adversely affect the ability of the federal authorities to conduct its related criminal prosecution.
3. Accordingly, the parties contend that proceeding with this action at this time has potential adverse affects on the prosecution of the related criminal case and/or upon claimant's ability to prove her claim to the property and to contest the government's allegations that the property is forfeitable. For these reasons, the parties request that this matter be stayed for a period of six months. At that time the parties will advise the Court whether a further stay is necessary.
4. The defendant property is encumbered by a deed of trust, and the United States has served the lienholder with the Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem and related documents, but to date no claim has been filed. Nevertheless, claimant agrees to keep current all payments due to CTX Mortgage Company LLC under the promissory note dated August 1, 2005, in the original principal amount of $130,000, and secured by the deed of trust recorded in Sacramento County on August 9, 2005, encumbering the defendant property. If claimant defaults on the promissory note (as "default" is defined in the promissory note), claimant will not object to a request by plaintiff or the lienholder for an order permitting an interlocutory sale of the defendant property in accordance with Rule G(7)(b) of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions.
LAWRENCE G. BROWN Acting United States Attorney KRISTIN S. DOOR Assistant U.S. Attorney Attorneys for plaintiff
JOHN BALAZS Attorney for claimant Maggie Luong (Original signatures retained by AUSA Door)
Good cause having been shown, the Status (Pretrial Scheduling) Conference now scheduled for July 13, 2009, is continued to January 19, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. The parties shall submit a joint scheduling report fourteen days prior to the hearing advising the court if a further stay is necessary.
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