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United States of America v. Approximately $256

January 10, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
APPROXIMATELY $256,533.57 IN U.S. CURRENCY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING MOTION FOR DISCOVERY AND INSPECTION OF EVIDENCE FILED JANUARY 4, 2011 (Document 21)

On January 4, 2011, Alex John Pontillo II filed a Motion for Discovery and Inspection of Evidence in this matter. (Doc. 21.) For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED.

RELEVANT BACKGROUND

In its Order dated December 2, 2010, this Court explained that Mr. Pontillo's pleading entitled "Defendants' [sic] Opposition to Forfeiture" would not be construed to be a verified claim. Mr. Pontillo was also advised that his request for discovery was premature and that he was to follow the applicable federal and local rules. (See Doc. 10 at 2:6-12.) He was provided with an extension of time within which to file a claim and an answer. (Doc. 10, ¶¶ 2-3.)

As of today's date, Mr. Pontillo has failed to file a proper verified claim to the Defendant currency, nor has he filed any other responsive pleading to the forfeiture complaint.

DISCUSSION

A civil forfeiture proceeding is an action in rem. See Republic Nat'l Bank of Miami v. United States, 506 U.S. 80, 84, 113 S.Ct. 554, 121 L.Ed.2d 474 (1992); United States v. Approximately $1.67 Million, 513 F.3d 991, 996 (9th Cir. 2008). In rem jurisdiction is obtained "'by arrest under process of the court.'" United States v. 2,164 Watches, More or Less, Bearing a Registered Trademark of Guess?, Inc., 366 F.3d 767, 771 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Alyeska Pipeline Serv. Co. v. The Vessel Bay Ridge, 703 F.2d 381, 384 (9th Cir. 1983)).

Verified Claim & Answer

Rule G(5) of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions provides as follows, in pertinent part:

(a) Filing a Claim.

(i) A person who asserts an interest in the defendant property may contest the forfeiture by filing a claim in the court where the action is pending. The claim must:(A) identify the specific property claimed;

(B) identify the claimant and state the claimant's interest in the property;

(C) be signed by the claimant under penalty of perjury; and

(D) be served on the government attorney designated under Rule ...


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