U.S. v. Funds in the Amount of $574,840

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
No. 12-3568
Decision Date: 
June 11, 2013
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.
Reversed and remanded
Dist. Ct. erred in denying claimant’s request to stay instant civil forfeiture proceeding that govt. had filed with respect of cash seized from claimants’ apartment that govt. had believed was related to drug activity. Stay should have been entered where claimants asserted that forfeiture proceeding would undermine their right not to incriminate themselves in pending criminal charges in which instant seizure had been successfully challenged. Moreover, Dist. Ct.’s issuance of protective order precluding govt. from disclosing claimants’ answers to interrogatories regarding ownership of seized cash was not suitable alternative to stay request. Dist. Ct. also erred in striking claimants’ claim, after noting that claimants had refused to answer certain interrogatories regarding source of seized cash, where Dist. Ct. improperly believed that claimants’ refusal to answer all interrogatories precluded them from establishing standing to pursue their claim.