The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Mendez United States District Court 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
The United States of America and claimants River City Bank, Thomas W. Jopson, and David E. Jopson, 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 September 1, 2012 pending the outcome of a related criminal case against claimants Thomas W. Jopson and David E. Jopson, Case No. 2:11-CR-00275-JAM.
1. On August 19, 2011, River City Bank filed a claim and answer in this action based on Promissory Note secured by a Deed of Trust, executed on July 12, 2005.
2. The record owners of the defendant property are David E. Jopson, Sandra Lee Jopson, Thomas W. Jopson, and Margaret S. Jopson. On October 4, 2011, David E. Jopson filed a claim and answer in this action. On October 14, 2011, Thomas W. Jopson filed a claim and answer in this action.*fn1
3. 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 is subject to forfeiture to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7) because it was used and intended to be used to commit or facilitate a violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 et seq., specifically, the cultivation of marijuana.
4. The United States intends to depose claimants David E. Jopson and Thomas W. Jopson regarding their claims to the defendant property, the facts surrounding the cultivation of marijuana plants on this property, and the financial transactions that facilitated the marijuana business. If discovery proceeds at this time, claimants David E. Jopson and Thomas W. Jopson will be placed in the difficult position of either invoking their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination which could interfere with their ability to pursue the claims to the defendant property, or waiving their Fifth Amendment right and submitting to a deposition and potentially incriminating themselves. If either individual invokes their Fifth Amendment right, the United States will be deprived of the ability to explore the factual basis for the claims they filed with this court.
5. In addition, claimants David E. Jopson and Thomas W. Jopson intend to depose the law enforcement agents involved in this investigation. Allowing depositions of the law enforcement agents at this time would adversely affect the ability of federal authorities to investigate the underlying criminal conduct.
6. The parties recognize that proceeding with this action at this time has potential adverse affects on the investigation of the underlying criminal conduct and/or upon claimants David E. Jopson's and/or Thomas W. Jopson's ability to prove their claims to the defendant property and assert any defenses to forfeiture. For these reasons, the parties jointly request that this matter be stayed until September 1, 2012. At that time the parties will advise the court of the status of the criminal case and will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary. Dated: 4/30/12 BENJAMIN B. WAGNER
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 September 1, 2012. On or before September 1, 2012, the parties will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary.