The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Mendez United States District Judge
BENJAMIN B. WAGNER United States Attorney KEVIN C. KHASIGIAN Assistant U.S. Attorney 501 I Street, Suite 10-100 Sacramento, CA 95814 Telephone: (916)554-2700 Attorneys for the United States
STIPULATION TO STAY FURTHER PROCEEDINGS AND ORDER TIME: N/A COURTROOM: N/A DATE: N/A
The United States, and Claimants David Johns, Mary Johns, and Major Amos Nilson and Lucy H. Nilson, Trustees of the Nilson Family Revocable Trust (hereafter referred to collectively as "claimants"), 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 further proceedings until December 1, 2011 due to an on-going criminal investigation into marijuana cultivation at 9445 Fruitridge Road, Sacramento, California (hereafter "defendant property").
David and Mary Johns are the record owners of the defendant property, which is an approximately fourteen acre parcel with a business office, a large greenhouse facility, and a residence.
1. Each of the claimants has filed a claim to the defendant property. Claimants David Johns, Mary Johns, Major Amos Nilson, and Lucy H. Nilson have not yet filed their Answers and will not be required to do so until the stay contemplated by this stipulation expires.
2. The stay is requested pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1), 981(g)(2), and 21 U.S.C. § 881(i). The United States contends that the defendant property was used to facilitate the cultivation of marijuana.
3. To date, several individuals have been charged with federal criminal crimes related to marijuana cultivation at the defendant property, Case Nos. 2:11-CR-0275-JAM-DAD and 2:11-CR-0276-JAM-DAD; but neither David Johns nor Mary Johns have been charged with any criminal offense by state, local, or federal authorities. It is the United States' position that the statute of limitations has not expired on potential criminal charges relating to the marijuana grow at the defendant property. Nevertheless, the United States intends to depose claimants David and Mary Johns regarding their ownership of the defendant property, as well as their knowledge and participation in large scale marijuana cultivation, including the marijuana grow at the defendant property. If discovery proceeds at this time, claimants will be placed in the difficult position of either invoking their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and losing the ability to pursue their claims to the defendant property, or waiving their Fifth Amendment rights and submitting to a deposition and potentially incriminating themselves. If they invoke their Fifth Amendment rights, the United States will be deprived of the ability to explore the factual basis for the claims they filed with this court.
4. In addition, claimants intend to depose, among others, the agents involved with this investigation, including but not limited to the agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. Allowing depositions of the law enforcement officers at this time would adversely affect the ability of the federal authorities to investigate the alleged 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 claimants' ability to prove their claim to the property and to assert any defenses to forfeiture. For these reasons, the parties jointly request that these matters be stayed until December 1, 2011, in accordance with the terms of this stipulation. At that time the parties will advise the court of the status of the criminal investigation, if any, and will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary.
For the reasons set forth above, this matter is stayed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1), 981(g)(2), and 21 U.S.C. § 881(i) until December 1, 2011. On or before December 1, 2011, the parties will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary.