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United States of America v. Real Property Located At 5796 Zenia Lake Mountain Road

February 28, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
REAL PROPERTY LOCATED AT 5796 ZENIA LAKE MOUNTAIN ROAD, KETTENPOM, CALIFORNIA, TRINITY COUNTY, APN: 022-080-3800, DATE: N/A INCLUDING ALL APPURTENANCES TIME: N/A AND IMPROVEMENTS THERETO, COURTROOM: N/A DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Mendez United States District Judge

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE STAY; DECLARATION OF LYNN TRINKA ERNCE; ORDER

Plaintiff United States of America hereby applies ex parte for an order that continues the stay in this case until May 31, 2011. In support of its request, the United States respectfully states as follows:

1. The United States commenced this civil forfeiture action against the defendant property on April 1, 2010. Docket No. 1. The United States contends that claimant was growing marijuana on the defendant property. Claimant denies these allegations and has answered the complaint. Docket No. 12.

1 United States' Ex Parte

Application to Continue Stay and Order

2. The Trinity County District Attorney filed drug charges against claimant and his brother, James, on April 23, 2010.

3. The criminal charges (possession of marijuana for sale cultivation of marijuana, and an enhancement for a firearm) pending against claimant in Trinity County arise out of the same conduct that led to the filing of the instant civil forfeiture action against the defendant real property.

4. On June 30, 2010, the United States and claimant filed a stipulation and proposed order which requested that this civil forfeiture case be stayed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1) and 981(g)(2) until January 6, 2011 because of the pending criminal case. Docket No. 13.

5. In support of their stipulation, the parties stated the following:

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.

Docket No. 13, ¶¶ 3-5.

5. On July 1, 2010, the Court entered an order staying this case until January 6, 2011 (Docket No. 14) and, on January 7, 2011, the Court entered a minute order requiring the parties to file a joint status ...


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