IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
March 31, 2010
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
APPROXIMATELY $19,000.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, APPROXIMATELY $10,000.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, APPROXIMATELY $16,929.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, AND ONE 2005 FORD F-150 TRUCK, VIN: 1FTPW14515FB11508, CALIFORNIA LICENSE NUMBER: 8A48619, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge
STIPULATION TO STAY FURTHER PROCEEDINGS AND ORDER
Plaintiff United States of America, and claimant Vi Truong (hereafter "Truong"), by and through their respective counsel, hereby stipulate that a stay is necessary in the above-entitled action, and request that the Court enter an order staying all further proceedings until the conclusion of criminal case against Truong.
Truong has filed a claim to the defendant $19,000.00 and the defendant $10,000.00, but has not yet filed his Answer and will not be required to do so until the stay contemplated by this stipulation expires.
The Grand Jury in the Eastern District of California indicted Truong on violations of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) -Conspiracy to Manufacture at Least 100 Marijuana Plants and Manufacture of at Least 100 Marijuana Plants.
The stay is requested pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1), 981(g)(2), and 21 U.S.C. § 881(i). The plaintiff contends that the defendant $19,000.00 and the defendant $10,000.00 (hereafter collectively "defendant currency") constitute moneys or other things of value furnished or intended to be furnished by any person in exchange for a controlled substance or listed chemical in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 et seq.
The plaintiff intends to depose Truong regarding his claim and his involvement in and/or knowledge of drug-trafficking; the source of the funds seized; and other facts as alleged in the complaint. Truong will likely attempt to depose law enforcement officers who have been involved in the drug-trafficking investigation that resulted in the seizure of the defendant currency and that is the basis for the pending criminal case. If discovery proceeds at this time, Truong will be placed in the difficult position of either invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and losing the ability to pursue his claim to the defendant currency, or waiving his Fifth Amendment rights and submitting to a deposition and potentially incriminating himself. If he invokes his Fifth Amendment rights, the plaintiff will be deprived of the ability to explore the factual basis for the claim he filed with this court in this action.
In addition, to the extent Truong intends to depose, among others, the agents involved in the underlying investigation. Allowing depositions of the law enforcement officers at this time would adversely affect the United States' prosecution of the criminal case against Truong.
The parties recognize that proceeding with this action at this time has potential adverse effects on the prosecution of the underlying criminal case and/or upon Truong's ability to prove his claim to the defendant currency and to assert any defenses to the forfeiture. For these reasons, the parties jointly request that this matter be stayed until the conclusion of the criminal case. At that time the parties will advise the court of the status of the criminal case and will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary.
BENJAMIN B. WAGNER United States Attorney
SARALYN M. ANG-OLSON Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Attorneys for the United States
By: Ray Schwarte, Esq., for DOUGLAS I. HORNGRAD Attorney for Claimant Vi Truong
For the reasons set forth above, this action is stayed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 981(g)(1), 18 U.S.C. § 981(g)(2), and 21 U.S.C. § 881(i) until the conclusion of the criminal case, at which time the Parties will advise the Court whether a further stay is necessary.
Furthermore, Truong's answer in this civil action must be filed in this civil action within 20 days after such stay is lifted.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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