The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge
STIPULATION FOR STAY OF FURTHER PROCEEDINGS AND ORDER [PROPOSED] DATE: N/A TIME: N/A COURTROOM: N/A
Plaintiff United States of America and claimants Jamarus Smith, Monique Banks, and Lilah Thomasson submit the following Joint Request for Stay and request that the Court enter an order staying all further proceedings in this civil forfeiture action until the proceedings in the related criminal case, U.S. v. Jamarus Smith, 2:10-cr-00187 MCE, have concluded. The parties request this stay for the following reasons:
1. The parties request this stay pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1) and 981(g)(2). The United States contends that the defendant currency is forfeitable to the United States because it is the proceeds of drug trafficking. The United States also contends that the defendant vehicle was purchased with drug proceeds, and that it was used to facilitate the transportation and sale of controlled substances. During the search of the vehicle officers found 10 bottles of cough syrup with codeine (available only by prescription); marijuana, and mailing boxes and packaging material (styrofoam "peanuts") and delivery receipts. Based on this evidence and other items seized during the search of claimant Smith's residence, the United States contends that claimant Smith was mailing controlled substances to customers as far away as Arkansas. The details of the underlying criminal investigation are set forth in the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem filed on August 12, 2010. Claimants deny these allegations.
2. Some of the defendant currency ($7960 and $2260) was seized on or about January 27, 2010, in Vallejo during a routine vehicle stop involving claimant Jamarus Smith for speeding. The remaining currency and the defendant vehicle were seized on April 29, 2010, during the execution of federal search warrants.
3. The United States intends to depose claimants about the claims they filed in this case and the facts surrounding claimant Smith's alleged involvement in the drug trafficking.
If discovery proceeds, claimant Smith would be placed in the difficult position of either invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and losing the ability to protect his alleged interest in the defendant property, or waiving his Fifth Amendment right and submitting to a deposition and potentially incriminating himself in the pending criminal matter. If claimant invokes his Fifth Amendment right, the United States will be deprived of the ability to explore the factual basis for the claim he filed in this action.
4. In addition, claimants intend to depose law enforcement officers who were involved in underlying drug-trafficking investigation, and the execution of the federal search and arrest warrants. Allowing depositions of these officers would adversely affect the ability of the federal government to properly prosecute the case.
5. Accordingly, the parties recognize that proceeding with this action at this time has potential adverse affects on the prosecution of the related-criminal case and/or upon claimants' ability to prove their claims to the property and to contest the government's allegations that the property is forfeitable.
6. For these reasons, the parties jointly request that this matter be stayed until the related criminal case has concluded. Within 30 days after the conclusion of the related criminal case claimants will file their Answer to the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem, and the parties will submit a joint status report addressing the matters set forth in the August 13, 2010, Order Requiring Joint Status Report.
Dated: October 15, 2010 DANIEL BRODERICK Federal Defender MICHAEL PETRIK, Jr. Assistant Federal Defender (As authorized on 10/14/10) Attorney for Claimants Monique Banks, Lilah Thomasson, and Jamarus Smith (as to the $3195, $3927, $2260, and the Cadillac Escalade only)
Dated: October 15, 2010 HAROLD ROSENTHAL (As authorized on 10/15/10) Attorney for Claimant Jamarus Smith (as to the $7960 only)
For the reasons set forth above, this matter is stayed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1) and 981(g)(2) until the conclusion of the related criminal case. Within 30 days after the criminal case has concluded claimants will file their Answer to the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem, and the parties will submit a joint status report ...