The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge: Hon. Lawrence K. Karlton
DANIEL J. BRODERICK, #89424 Federal Defender COURTNEY FEIN, Bar #244785 Assistant Federal Defender RACHELLE BARBOUR, Bar #185395 Research and Writing Attorney 801 I Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, California 95814 Telephone: (916) 498-5700 Attorneys for Claimant MARIANO VALLEJO
STIPULATION FOR STAY; ORDER
Plaintiff United States of America, and claimants MARIANO VALLEJO and MARICELA ACEVES (hereafter, "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 all further proceedings until the conclusion of the criminal case against Vallejo.
The related criminal case is UNITED STATES v. MARIANO MONTENEGRO VALLEJO, Case No. 12-CR-0156-LKK. Claimants have filed claims to the real property located at 9688 POPLAR COURT, LIVE OAK, CALIFORNIA, SUTTER COUNTY, APN: 06-670-016 (hereafter the "defendant real property").*fn1 On April 19, 2012, the Grand Jury of the Eastern District of California indicted Mariano Vallejo for violations of 21 U.S.C. § 841 (a)(1) - Distribution of Cocaine & Methamphetamine, and 21 U.S.C. § 861(a) - Use of Person Under 18 Years of Age in Drug Operation. 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 real property was used or intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, a violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 et seq.
The defense invokes Mr. Vallejo's rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate himself in answering the complaint or sitting for deposition. The United States intends to depose Claimants regarding their claims and their involvement in and/or knowledge of drug trafficking and other facts as alleged in the complaint. Claimants will likely seek to depose law enforcement officers who have been involved in the drug-trafficking investigation, which is also the basis for the pending criminal case.
If discovery proceeds at this time, Mr. Vallejo will be placed in the difficult position of either invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and losing the ability to pursue his claims to the defendant real property, or waiving his Fifth Amendment rights and submitting to depositions and potentially incriminating himself. If he invokes his 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 in this action. In addition, to the extent Claimants intend to depose, among others, the agents involved in the underlying investigation, allowing depositions of the law enforcement officers at this time would adversely affect the United States' prosecution of the criminal case against Vallejo and disclose the identity of a confidential informant.
The parties recognize that proceeding with this action at this time has potential adverse effects on the prosecution of the underlying criminal case and/or upon the ability of Claimants to prove their claims to the defendant assets and to assert any defenses to the forfeiture. For these reasons, the parties jointly request that this matter be stayed until the conclusion of the criminal case. At that time the parties will advise the court on the status of the related cases and whether a further stay is necessary.
For the reasons set forth above, this action is stayed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 981(g)(1), 18 U.S.C. § 981(g)(2), and 21 U.S.C. § 881(i) until the conclusion of the criminal case, at which time the parties will advise the Court whether a further stay is necessary.