The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Mendez United States District Judge
STIPULATION TO STAY FURTHER PROCEEDINGS AND ORDER DATE: N/A TIME: N/A COURTROOM: N/A
Plaintiff United States of America, and Claimant Todd Hudy, "claimant"), by and through their respective counsel, hereby stipulate that a stay is necessary in the above-entitled actions, and request that the Court enter an order staying all further proceedings until January 6, 2011, because criminal charges are pending against claimant in Trinity County. Those charges (possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana, and an enhancement for a firearm) arise out of the same conduct that led to the filing of the instant civil forfeiture action against the defendant real property.
1. The stay is requested pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1) and 981(g)(2). The plaintiff contends that claimant was growing marijuana on the defendant property. Claimant denies these allegations.
2. The Trinity County District Attorney filed drug charges against claimant and his brother, James, on April 23, 2010. Claimant has not been arraigned on these charges, and no dates have been set.
3. Plaintiff intends to depose claimant and his brother regarding their involvement in, or knowledge of, the cultivation of marijuana on the defendant property. Plaintiff also intends to question claimant about the defenses he raised in his Answer to the Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem. If discovery proceeds at this time, claimant 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 property, 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 and the affirmative defenses in his Answer.
4. In addition, claimant intends to depose, among others, the state and federal agents involved with this investigation and the execution of a state search warrant at the defendant property. Allowing depositions of the law enforcement officers at this time would adversely affect the ability of the Trinity County officials to prosecute the underlying criminal conduct.
5. The parties recognize that proceeding with these actions at this time has potential adverse effects on the investigation of the underlying criminal conduct and/or upon the claimant's ability to prove his claim to the property and to assert any defenses to forfeiture. For these reasons, the parties jointly request that these matters be stayed until January 6, 2011. At that time the parties will advise the court of the status of the Trinity County prosecution and will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary.
For the reasons set forth above, these matters is stayed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1) and 981(g)(2) until January 6, 2011. On or before January 6, 2011, the parties will advise the Court whether a further stay is necessary.
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