United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
DECREE OF FORFEITURE
L. CHRISTENSEN CHIEF JUDGE
matter having come before the Court on the United States'
Unopposed Motion for Entry of Default as to Unknown Claimants
and for Forfeiture Decree, and the Court having reviewed the
motion and having previously approved the Settlement
Agreement filed with the Court, hereby makes the following
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decree:
September 16, 2016, the United States filed a Verified
Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem seeking the
forfeiture of $4, 566.00 in United States currency pursuant
to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6) for currency seized from Earl
Scott John as set forth in the Verified Complaint. (Doc. 1).
October 17, 2016, the U.S. Marshals executed the Warrant of
Arrest In Rem on the Defendant property. (Doc. 7).
September 19, 2016, the United States sent Notice of
Complaint for Forfeiture to the only known potential
claimant, Earl Scott John, and to his counsel John Rhodes.
(Doc. 2). Earl Scott John through counsel, John Rhodes filed
a timely claim to the property and answer to the forfeiture
complaint. (Docs. 6 and 9).
accordance with Supplemental Rule G(4)(a)(iv)(C), Notice of
Civil Forfeiture to any other person who may have a claim to
the property was published by posting the notice on an
official government internet website for at least 30
consecutive days beginning on September 21, 2016, and ending
on October 20, 2016 as verified in the Declaration of
Publication filed with the Court as document 8. The Notice of
Forfeiture Action published provides as follows:
Any person claiming a legal interest in the Defendant
Property must file a verified Claim with the court within 60
days from the first day of publication (September 21, 2016)
of this Notice on this official government internet web site
and an Answer to the complaint or motion under Rule 12 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure within 21 days
(Doc. 8, Art. 1 Advertisement Certification Report, p. 2).
The court record reflects that no claims were filed by any
person within 60 days of the first day of publication, other
than the claim of Earl Scott John. Thus, the Court may enter
default as to unknown claimants.
United States and Claimant Earl Scott John entered into a
Settlement Agreement resolving the claims of Earl Scott John.
(Doc. 15). The Settlement Agreement provides that Claimant
Earl Scott John consents and agrees that there was probable
cause to arrest the Defendant property, and further agrees to
the entry of a judgment on the Verified Complaint for
Forfeiture In Rem in favor of the United States in
the amount of $3, 566.00. The United States agreed to release
the remaining $1, 000.00 to Claimant Earl Scott John. (Doc.
15, ¶¶ 3-4). The Settlement Agreement further
provides that the United States shall return the $1, 000 to
Earl Scott John in a check made payable to Claimant Earl
Scott John, with said check being mailed to Claimant's
counsel of record, John Rhodes, at his address of record, for
distribution to the Claimant. The Settlement Agreement has
been approved by this Court in its Order. (Doc. 16).
upon the Foregoing Findings of Fact, the Court makes the
following conclusions of law:
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1345 and 1355. The United States filed a Verified Forfeiture
Complaint In Rem to forfeit $4, 566.00 in United
States currency. Under the Settlement Agreement filed with
the Court, $3, 566.00 shall be forfeited to the United
States, and $1, 000.00 shall be returned to Claimant Earl
Scott John as specified above in paragraph 5 of the Findings
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1355(b)(1)(B) and 1395(b)
or (c), venue is proper in this District Court because this
is a civil proceeding for the ...