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United States of America and Lorena Ramos, Revenue Officer v. Janet Reid-Bills

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


November 18, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND LORENA RAMOS, REVENUE OFFICER, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE,
PETITIONERS,
v.
JANET REID-BILLS,
RESPONDENT.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Lawrence J. O'Neill UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

BENJAMIN B. WAGNER United States Attorney GLEN F. DORGAN (SBN 160502) Assistant United States Attorney United States Courthouse 2500 Tulare Street, Suite 4401 Fresno, California 93721 Telephone: (559) 497-4000 Facsimile: (559) 497-4099

Attorney for Petitioners United States of America and Revenue Officer Lorena Ramos

ORDER RE: CIVIL CONTEMPT

This matter came before me on November 17, 2011, under the Contempt Order to Show Cause filed October 4, 2011. Assistant United States Attorney Glen Dorgan and investigating Revenue Officer Lorena Ramos were present. Respondent did not file an opposition to the Order to Show Cause and did not appear at the Order to Show Cause hearing. Based upon the entire record, I make the following findings:

(1) On December 7, 2010, Petitioners filed a Petition to enforce an IRS summons directed to the respondent, Janet Reid-Bills, seeking testimony, books, records, papers, and other data as part of an investigation to determine financial information for the collection of assessed income tax for the taxable years ending December 31, 2002, and December 31, 2005.

(2) On April 6, 2011, this Court issued its Order Enforcing Internal Revenue Service Summons. This Order required that respondent personally appear to provide testimony and produce documents demanded by the summons at the IRS office in Fresno, California, no later than 60 days after the date of that Order.

(3) Respondent appeared and provided the tax return for 2005, but failed to provide the 2002 tax return and failed to provide any testimony or document verification for the tax return.

(4) On September 13, 2011, Petitioners filed a petition for contempt of order filed April 6, 2011. This Court's Order of October 4, 2011, required Respondent to appear before this Court on November 17, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. and show cause as to why she should not be held in civil contempt for failure to comply with the Order filed April 6, 2011. This order was served upon respondent according to the provisions of Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(e). Assistant United States Attorney Glen Dorgan and investigating Revenue Officer Lorena Ramos were present in the Courtroom. Respondent did not file an opposition to the Order to Show Cause and did not appear at the Order to Show Cause hearing.

(5) Respondent's failure to comply with the Order of April 6, 2011, continues to the present.

(6) "A court has the inherent power to punish for civil or criminal contempt any obstruction of justice relating to any judicial proceeding." Lambert v. Montana, 545 F.2d 87, 88 (9th Cir. 1976). Petitioners have the burden of proving its prima facie case by clear and convincing proof. Balla v. Idaho State Bd. of Corrs., 869 F.2d 461, 466 (9th Cir. 1989). By the Petition for Contempt and supporting documents, including the declaration of Lorena Ramos, Petitioners have met this burden.

Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby ORDERED that:

A. Respondent, JANET REID-BILLS, is in civil contempt of this Court for her failure to comply with the Order filed on April 6, 2011, directing Respondent to comply with the I.R.S. Summons issued on January 5, 2010.

B. A bench warrant for the arrest of Respondent, JANET REID-BILLS, will be issued herewith.

B. Upon arrest, Respondent, JANET REID-BILLS, is to be incarcerated until she complies with the Order filed on April 6, 2011.

Respondent is hereby notified that a failure to comply with this Order will subject Respondent to possible further sanctions for contempt of Court.

The Clerk shall forward copies of this Order to the Respondent and the United States Attorney.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20111118

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