IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
October 16, 2009
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND ROXANNE WILLETT, REVENUE OFFICER, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, PETITIONERS,
STEVEN M. SHERWOOD, RESPONDENT.
ORDER RE: CIVIL CONTEMPT
Taxpayer: STEVEN M. SHERWOOD
This matter came before me on October 16, 2009, under the Order to Show Cause filed July 29, 2009. Caroline A. Newman appeared on behalf of Petitioners, and Roxanne Willett was also present. Respondent did/did not file an opposition to the Order to Show Cause and did/did not appear at the Order to Show Cause hearing. Based upon the entire record, I make the following findings:
(1) On October 21, 2008, Petitioners filed a Petition to enforce an IRS summons directed to the respondent, Steven M. Sherwood, seeking testimony, books, records, papers, and other data as part of an investigation to determine financial information for assessed individual income tax liabilities for the tax years ending December 31, 2000, December 31, 2001, December 31, 2002, December 31, 2003, and December 31, 2004.
(2) On June 3, 2009, this Court issued its Order Enforcing Internal Revenue Service Summons, adopting in full the Magistrate Judge's findings and recommendations and enforcing the IRS summons. This Order required that respondent personally appear to provide testimony and produce documents demanded by the summons at the IRS office in Vallejo, California, within 21 days of the issuance of the order, or at a later time and date to be set by Revenue Officer Roxanne Willett.
(3) On June 9, 2009, the Revenue Officer wrote the respondent setting the compliance date for June 24, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., in the Vallejo IRS Office, for Respondent to appear and comply with the Order. Respondent did not respond to the letter and did not appear at the scheduled appointment.
(4) On July 28, 2009, Petitioners filed a petition for contempt of order filed June 3, 2009. This Court's Order of July 29, 2009, required Respondent to appear before this Court on October 16, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. and show cause as to why he should not be held in civil contempt for failure to comply with the Order filed June 3, 2009. Caroline A. Newman appeared on behalf of Petitioners, and Roxanne Willett was also present. Respondent did/did not file an opposition to the Order to Show Cause and did/did not appear at the Order to Show Cause hearing.
(5) Respondent's failure to comply with the Order of June 3, 2009, continues to the present.
(6) "A court has the inherent power to punish for civil or criminal contempt any obstruction of justice relating to any judicial proceeding." Lambert v. Montana, 545 F.2d 87, 88 (9th Cir. 1976). Petitioners have the burden of proving its prima facie case by clear and convincing proof. Balla v. Idaho State Bd. of Corrs., 869 F.2d 461, 466 (9th Cir. 1989). By the Petition for Contempt and supporting documents, including the declaration of Roxanne Willett, Petitioners have met this burden.
Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby ORDERED that:
A. Respondent, STEVEN M. SHERWOOD, is in civil contempt of this Court for his failure to comply with the Order filed on June 3, 2009, directing Respondent to comply with the I.R.S. Summons issued on April 9, 2008.
B. A bench warrant for the arrest of Respondent, STEVEN M. SHERWOOD, will be issued herewith.
B. Upon arrest, Respondent, STEVEN M. SHERWOOD, is to be incarcerated until he complies with the Order filed on June 3, 2009.
Respondent is hereby notified that a failure to comply with this Order will subject Respondent to possible further sanctions for contempt of Court.
The Clerk shall forward copies of this Order to the Respondent and the United States Attorney.
It is SO ORDERED.
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