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Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Charles

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


February 27, 2006

COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAMERON CHARLES, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Court

ORDER

The defendant, Cameron Charles ("Charles"), has filed a motion to stay this case pending the outcome of a criminal case now pending in Iroquois County, Illinois. Charles faces felony charges arising from the same set of facts and circumstances involved in this case.

Federal courts may "defer[] civil proceedings pending the completion of parallel criminal prosecutions when the interests of justice . . . require such action." U.S. v. Kordel, 397 U.S. 1, 12 n.27 (1970). Charles argues that proceeding with this civil case during the pendency of his criminal prosecution may compromise his ability to defend against both cases. He worries that a jury might draw a negative inference if he invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the civil case.

The plaintiff, Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC"), argues that although the court has discretion to stay civil proceedings pending the outcome of a parallel criminal case, the court is not required to do so. Kordel, 397 U.S. at 12 n. 27; Securities and Exchange Comm. v. Dresser Indus., Inc., 628 F.2d 1368, 1375-76 (D.C. Cir. 1980). CFTC urges the court to deny the motion to stay so that it may begin to depose witnesses who will testify at trial, stating that some of the potential witnesses are elderly, they may be in ill health, and the effect of the passage of time and fading memories will prejudice their case. Presumably, however, those witnesses will testify at the criminal trial, preserving their testimony for use in this civil case. See Fed. R. Evid. 804(b)(1) (regarding former testimony).

The motion to stay [#6] is granted. Charles shall file his responsive pleading within fourteen days after the criminal proceeding concludes. A status conference is scheduled for Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. by telephone conference call. The court will initiate the call.

20060227

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