Pre-Trial Procedural Issues - Chapter 8 - Asset Forfeiture Law in the United States - 2nd Edition
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Asset Forfeiture in the United States - 2nd Edition - Hardcover
Asset Forfeiture in the United States - 2nd Edition - Electronic
§ 8-1 Overview
Once the Government has filed a civil forfeiture complaint and
the claimant has filed a claim and answer, the parties may engage
in discovery and raise pre-trial procedural issues. The
Government may request restraining order; the claimant may
request the appointment of counsel, and either party may request
the interlocutory sale of the defendant property, or ask the court
to stay the civil case pending the completion of a parallel criminal
investigation or trial. Along the way, either party may seek to
bring the case to an early end by filing a dispositive motion.
One such dispositive motion — the claimant’s motion to
dismiss the complaint for failure to comply with Rule G(2) — was
discussed in Chapter 7. Others will be covered in Chapter 9. This
chapter deals with the non-dispositive pre-trial issues, beginning
with the Government’s right to serve the claimant with special
interrogatories under Rule G(6) to determine if he or she has
standing to oppose the complaint. It then discusses civil discovery
generally, the claimant’s right to counsel under 18 U.S.C. § 983(b),
the Government’s right to a pre-trial restraining order under 18
U.S.C. § 983(j), the court’s authority to order the interlocutory sale
of property under Rule G(7), and the right of either party to move
for a stay of the civil case under 18 U.S.C. § 981(g).
§ 8-2 Special Interrogatories
Prior to the effective date of Rule G, the Government was
entitled to serve a potential claimant with a set of interrogatories
at the time it sent him a copy of the civil forfeiture complaint.
Defense attorneys complained that this had a chilling effect on the
willingness of property owners to oppose the forfeiture and led to
meritorious cases being decided by default.
The Government, on the other hand, argued that it should not
have to litigate any issue in a civil forfeiture case with a person
who did not have standing to contest the forfeiture, and that
accordingly it needed a means of obtaining information from the
Stefan D. Cassella, as a federal prosecutor, was one of the federal government's leading experts on asset forfeiture law for over thirty years, and now serves as an expert witness and consultant to law enforcement agencies and the financial sector as the CEO of AssetForfeitureLaw, LLC. As a Deputy Chief for the Justice Department's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and later as the Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore, MD, he litigated some of the Government's most significant forfeiture and money laundering cases and drafted many of the federal forfeiture and money laundering statutes. Mr. Cassella handled the forfeiture in one of the largest forfeiture cases ever brought by the United States - the forfeiture of $1.2 billion in assets from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), was the principal author of much of the federal forfeiture legislation, including the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA), and the applicable sections of the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, and is the author of numerous law review articles on asset forfeiture and money laundering. In the 1980s, Mr. Cassella was Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He has a J.D. from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physics from Cornell University. This book was written in the author's private capacity as a lawyer, and the book does not in any way constitute an official statement of the law or policy or otherwise reflect the views of the United States Department of Justice or any of its agencies.