Extension of Time to File
In some civil asset forfeiture cases involving the seizure of U.S. Currency or other property, the Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) might request an extension of time to file a complaint after a claim is filed.
When our office filed the verified complaint that is signed by our client, the rightful owner of the property, it triggers a 90-day deadline.
To avoid this deadline AUSA might seek to file an agreed upon motion to extend the time in which to file its complaint.
The motion will show when the federal agency (DEA, CBP, HSI, or a local law enforcement agency) administratively seized U.S. Currency from a traveler. Many of these seizures take place at an airport.
Pursuant to Title 18 U.S.C. 983(a)(3)(A), the government is required to file a complaint in forfeiture 90 days after a claim has been filed or if no complaint is filed, to release the property.
The statute also provides that the Court may extend the time for good cause shown or by agreement of the parties.
Attorney on the AUSA’s Request for Extension of Time
At Sammis Law Firm, we often file the verified claim on the same day that the seizure takes place without waiting for the 60 day notice to arrive in the mail.
If the 60 day notice does arrive in the mail, then we file a second verified claim just to cover all of the bases.
Because we act so quickly to get our client’s property back, we often refuse to agree to such an extension of the 90 day deadline after we file a claim to recovery seized property being held for forfeiture.
We often team up with attorneys throughout the country to litigate these cases.
Contact us to see how we handle civil asset forfeiture cases in Florida and throughout the county.
The 90 Day Deadline in Title 18 USC 983(a)(3)(A)
Title 18 USC 983(a)(3)(A) reads:
Not later than 90 days after a claim has been filed, the Government shall file a complaint for forfeiture in the matter set forth in the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims or return the property pending the filing of a complaint, except that a court in the district in which the complaint will be filed may extend the period for filing a complaint for good cause shown or upon agreement of the parties.
That 90 day deadline is triggered when the Claimant filed a claim contesting the forfeiture and alleging ownership of the currency seized by the DEA agent (or other law enforcement officers or federal agents), the agency is required to refer the case to the United States Attorney’s Office in the appropriate district.
You do not have to wait for the 60 day notice to arrive to file the claim. In fact, the verified claim can be file the same day as the seizure.
When seeking an extension of time, the AUSA will file a motion explaining when the 90 day deadline for filing a civil complaint in the above-described matter is scheduled to expire.
If the parties have entered into ongoing negotiations, but the negotiations require additional time to be finalized, then they might agree to an extension of time in order to minimize duplication of efforts and to coordinate an on-going investigation and the pending-civil deadline.
For this reason, the United States might request to extend the time for filing its complaint in order to obtain a complete resolution of the seized assets.
The Local Rules often require the AUSA to contacted the Claimant(s) in order to secure their agreement and acknowledge that they have no objection to the requested deadline extension.
Propose Order for Extension of Time
A proposed order is usually provided with the motion. The proposed order provides:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
________ DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE. No. :_______________________
IN RE: SEIZURE OF: $_______
IN U.S. CURRENCY SEIZED
FROM ______ ON _________
ORDER THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon the United States’ Agreed Motion To Extend Time In Which To File Complaint.
Having considered this matter and being duly advised in the premises, the Court finds that all the respective parties have agreed to extend the time to file a forfeiture complaint against the above property.
Accordingly, it is hereby: ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the United States’ Agreed Motion To Extend Time In Which To File a Complaint is GRANTED.
The United States’ shall have until ______, in which to file its forfeiture complaint in this matter.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at _______, this _____ day of _____, 2020.
THE HONORABLE _________
U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
This article was last updated on Friday, August 17, 2020.