Claimants-appellants-cross-appellees Jose and Virginia Gonzalez appeal, and plaintiff-appellee-cross-appellant United States of America cross-appeals, from a judgment entered on April 21, 1993 in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Daly, J.) after a bench trial. The judgment runs in favor of the Government on its civil forfeiture claim against in rem defendant 25 Castle Street and in favor of the Gonzalezes to the extent that it denies forfeiture of in rem defendant 19 Castle Street. The district court found that the Government had established a prima facie case that the parcels were subject to forfeiture by demonstrating probable cause that they were used to facilitate narcotics offenses, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) & 844. The district court next found that Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez had failed to establish an innocent owner defense under the provisions of section 881(a)(7) regarding 25 Castle Street because they had knowledge of, and consented to, the section 844 violation thereon. The court did find, however, that the Gonzalezes had established their innocent owner defense in connection with 19 Castle Street because they had no knowledge of the narcotics violations that took place on that property. Treating 19 Castle Street and 25 Castle Street as separate parcels in connection with its forfeiture analysis, the district court accordingly ruled that the Government was entitled to forfeiture only of 25 Castle Street.
On appeal, Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez contend that the district court erred in concluding that they had failed to establish an innocent owner defense as to 25 Castle Street. By way of cross-appeal, the Government contends the district court erred in concluding that 19 Castle Street was a separate parcel under the forfeiture statute and that Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez had established an innocent owner defense as to that parcel. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Miner '56, Roger J., "US v. Two Parcels of Property at Castle Street, 31 F. 3d 35 - Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1994" (1994). Circuit Court Opinions. 421.