United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS
Michael E. Hegarty United States Magistrate Judge.
Richard Martinez (“Claimant”) files an Unopposed
Motion to Stay Proceedings with respect to Defendants 10131
Grape Court, Thornton, Colorado; 2017 GMC Sierra Denali 2500,
VIN 1GT12UEY3HF104690; $4, 563.00 in United States Currency;
Men's Rolex Watch; and 2011 Peterbilt 386 Semi-Tractor
(collectively, the “identified Defendants”). The
Court grants the motion.
initiated this forfeiture action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 881 et seq. on March 26, 2018, seeking the
forfeiture of two properties (one held in the name of
Claimant) alleged to be used in violation of federal
narcotics law. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 1. Claimant filed an
answer on May 3, 2018, denying the majority of allegations in
the Complaint. Answer, ECF No. 13. On July 30, 2018,
Plaintiff filed an amended complaint seeking the forfeiture
of additional property alleged to be used in an operation to
supply “large amounts of heroin, cocaine,
methamphetamine, and prescription pain narcotics in the North
Denver Metro Area.” Am. Compl. ¶¶ 3, 6, ECF
No. 20. Claimant filed an answer to the amended complaint on
August 23, 2018, again denying the vast majority of the
allegations. Answer to Am. Compl., ECF No. 26. Claimant filed
a motion to dismiss two Defendants from the amended complaint
on August 29, 2018, ECF No. 28, and the Chief Judge Marcia S.
Krieger granted that motion, ECF No. 29.
present motion is unopposed and asks the Court to stay
proceedings related to the identified Defendants pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 981(g)(2). That section provides:
(2) Upon the motion of a claimant, the court shall stay the
civil forfeiture proceeding with respect to that claimant if
the court determines that-
(A) the claimant is the subject of a related criminal
investigation or case;
(B) the claimant has standing to assert a claim in the civil
forfeiture proceeding; and
(C) continuation of the forfeiture proceeding will burden the
right of the claimant against self-incrimination in the
related investigation or case.
claimant satisfies all the elements of the statute, he or she
is entitled to a stay of pending forfeiture proceedings.
United States v. Real Prop. Located at Layton, Utah 84040,
No. 1:07-CV-006 TS, 2007 WL 2572385, at *1 (D. Utah Sept. 5,
unopposed motion satisfies the elements of § 981(g)(2),
and thus a stay is proper. The statute provides that
“[i]n determining whether a criminal case or
investigation is ‘related' to a civil forfeiture
proceeding, the court shall consider the degree of similarity
between the parties, witnesses, facts, and circumstances
involved in the two proceedings . . . .” Id.
§ 981(g)(4). Claimant states that he is a defendant in a
pending state criminal case in Adams County, Colorado, and
the allegations in that case are the “same as the
allegations” in the present forfeiture action. Mot.
¶¶ 2-3. Therefore, the Court is persuaded that the
pending criminal action in Adams County court is a
“related criminal investigation.” Claimant states
that he has an interest in the identified Defendants.
Id. ¶ 1. Claimant further states that
“[t]he closeness of the relationship between the
allegations in this case and those in the criminal cases
place [Claimant] in an unfair dilemma with respect to
invoking his rights against self-incrimination under the
Fifth Amendment.” Id. ¶ 4. Claimant has
sufficiently demonstrated that a stay is proper with respect
to the identified Defendants.
Claimant's unopposed Motion to Stay Proceedings related
to the identified Defendants [filed September 3, 2018;
ECF No. 30] is granted. A temporary
stay of all deadlines with respect to the identified
Defendants is imposed until further order of the Court. The
parties shall file a joint status report on or before
October 18, ...