IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
April 29, 2009
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
REAL PROPERTY LOCATED AT 70 CENTENNIAL AVENUE, CHICO, CALIFORNIA, BUTTE COUNTY, APN: 018-010-049-000 (FORMERLY ) APN: 011-010-049), INCLUDING ALL APPURTENANCES AND IMPROVEMENTS THERETO, AND DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John A. Mendez U.S. District Judge
APPLICATION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL AND ORDER
Claimant Elaine I. Meiri, through her current counsel submits this application for appointment of counsel, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 983(b)(2)(A), which states as follows:
If a person with standing to contest the forfeiture of property in a judicial civil procedure statute is financially unable to obtain representation by counsel and the property subject to forfeiture is real property that is being used by the person as a primary residence, the court, at the request of the person, shall insure that the person is represented by an attorney for the Legal Services Corporation with respect to the claim.
Here, Ms. Meiri qualifies for appointment of counsel under this statute. She has filed a verified statement of interest attesting under oath that she is the sole owner of the real property at issue in this forfeiture action and that she resides on the property. She has also submitted a financial affidavit showing that she is financially eligible for appointment of counsel. Exhibit A. Undersigned attorney John Balazs represents that he assisted Ms. Meiri in preparing a motion for relief from entry of default on a pro bono basis and did not receive any compensation for his services. Mr. Balazs, however, cannot continue representing Ms. Meiri on a pro bono basis in this action and thus requests that attorney William Bonham substitute in as appointed counsel through the Legal Services Corporation. CJA panel William Bonham has agreed to represent Ms. Meiri in this civil forfeiture action and Ms. Meiri agrees to his representation. The Legal Services Corporation consents to the appointment of Mr. Bonham in this action under § 983(b)(2)(A). Exhibit B. Ms. Meiri thus requests that Mr. Bonham be appointed to represent her in this action. A proposed order is attached.
Dated: February 16, 2009
John Balazs Attorney Seeking Appointment for Claimant Elaine I. Meiri
John Balazs, Bar. No. 157287 Attorney At Law 916 Second Street, Suite F Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 447-9299 John@Balazslaw.com Attorney For Claimant Elaine I. Meiri
ORDER RE APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
Upon application of claimant Elaine I. Meiri, and finding that under 18 U.S.C. § 983(b)(2)(a), the applicant is financially unable to obtain representation by counsel in this case regarding real property subject to forfeiture that is being used by the applicant as a primary residence, and on consent of the Legal Services Corporation that attorney William Bonham may provide representation to the applicant on its behalf and Mr. Bonham having agreed to do so, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 983, the Legal Services Corporation shall provide counsel to the applicant and that William Bonham shall be such counsel and shall substitute in as counsel of record for attorney John Balazs..
Furthermore, it is hereby ordered that any judgment for fees and costs for LSC pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 983(b)(2)(B) shall be awarded to William Bonham or the Legal Services Corporation subject to the submission of appropriate statements of such fees and costs and the consent of the Legal Services Corporation.
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