United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER REGARDING NEW CIVIL INTERPLEADER ACTION;
Oki Mollway United States District Judge
legal action commenced on December 13, 2017, in the course of
a hearing before this court. The hearing was held in the
context of United States v. Shimabukuro, Crim. No.
03-00560(4), a case in which a United States Probation
Officer seized items from Defendant Wallace Shimabukuro as
evidence of a suspected violation of a condition of
supervised release. Those items were held by Probation as
this court attempted to determine who the rightful owners of
the items were. Faced with competing claims by Shimabukuro
and others, the court, under the umbrella of the criminal
case number, was addressing those claims as civil issues
ancillary to the underlying criminal case.
December 13, 2017, the seized items were transferred in open
court from Probation to the United States Marshals Service.
The United States Attorney's Office then filed, in open
court, the complaint in interpleader, commencing the present
civil case. The United States Marshals Service, again in open
court during the continuing hearing before this court,
promptly deposited the seized items with the Clerk of Court.
Moving forward with the competing claims to the seized items,
this court will conduct proceedings under the umbrella of the
present civil case, no longer under the criminal number.
civil procedure rules now clearly apply, the goal of the
present civil case is the same as the goal of the ancillary
proceedings that were being held in the criminal case. That
goal is to determine the rightful owners of the seized
property. Pro se claimants in this civil action should
understand that they are listed as Defendants in this civil
action only for the purpose of identifying claimants to the
seized property. The United States is not, in this civil
action, suing any Defendant for any wrongdoing.
interpleader complaint such as the one filed in this civil
case is simply an action in which the holder of property (in
this case, the United States) says that the holder has itself
no claim to the property but seeks a court order resolving
competing claims to the property. A court order would protect
the holder of the property from mistakenly turning property
over to the wrong party or from exposing itself to a lawsuit
by the rightful owner for having turned over property to
avoid making the parties have to repeat actions taken in the
ancillary proceedings in the criminal case, this court
attaches to this order certain documents from that case.
Attached as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, respectively, are the
Declaration of Wallace Shimabukuro, Jr. (ECF No. 745 in Crim.
No. 03-00560 (4)); Declaration of Baron McCullough with
Exhibit A (ECF No. 741 in Crim. No. 03-00560 (4));
Declaration of Brian Medcalf (ECF No. 743 in Crim. No.
03-00560 (4)); Declaration of Jae Un Shimabukuro (ECF No. 746
in Crim. No. 03-00560 (4)); and Declaration of Merilee West
(ECF No. 748 in Crim. No. 03-00560 (4)). These materials will
be treated as claims to the property identified in the
declarations, and the declarations are treated as if filed in
the present civil action.
that four of the five Defendants are representing themselves,
this court, in an effort to streamline proceedings, states
that Exhibits 1 through 5, attached to this order, are
accepted by this court as all claimants' responses to the
Complaint. No formal Answer to Complaint needs to be filed,
although any Defendant remains free to file a formal Answer
to Complaint, or motion to dismiss under Rule 12 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or some other response. Any
such filing must comply with the deadlines provided for in
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Each Defendant is also
free to file any counterclaim, cross-claim, third-party
complaint, jury demand, or other material in accordance with
(and by the deadline established in) the Federal Rules of
as Exhibit 6 are photographs taken by Probation in the
criminal case. Probation indicated to the court and the
parties in the criminal case that the photographs represented
some of the items that Defendant Baron McCullough was
claiming in the declaration that is Exhibit 2 to this order.
Certain items listed by McCullough could not be located among
the items Probation had, not because the items are missing
but because McCullough and/or Probation had difficulty
culling through the numerous items when photographs were
taken, even though McCullough had previously identified the
as Exhibit 7 are photographs that go beyond the items
identified in the attached Declaration of Baron McCullough.
The items in Exhibit 7 were added by McCullough after more
thorough review of the seized items. (Representations by
Probation in the criminal case were that McCullough was in
hospice care and did not have the stamina to spend prolonged
periods examining the seized items.) These photographs were
not filed in the criminal case but were shared by Probation
with the United States and Shimabukuro in the criminal case.
as Exhibit 8 are documents provided by McCullough to
Probation in the criminal case. Although not filed in the
criminal case, the documents were shared by Probation with
the United States and Shimabukuro in the criminal case.
court would like to set a schedule in this case that permits
early resolution of the disputes among claimants. Toward that
end, this court asks the Magistrate Judge to act as soon as
allowed by court rules to set a trial date and pretrial
deadlines, as well as to establish discovery procedures that
are reasonable and that take into account such factors as