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SPAVENTO v. UNITED STATES

July 7, 1995

ALFREDO SPAVENTO, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN E. SPRIZZO

 SPRIZZO, D.J.,

 Pro se petitioner Alfredo Spavento brings the instant action for the return of $ 8,850.00 forfeited to the United States. *fn1" For the following reasons, Spavento's petition is denied.

 BACKGROUND

 On April 25, 1989, Spavento was convicted of conspiring to distribute illegal narcotics in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 and distribution of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). On September 25, 1989, the United States brought a civil action pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881, seeking forfeiture of approximately $ 9,086.00 in United States currency seized from Spavento's residence as proceeds of narcotics trafficking (the "1989 forfeiture action"). Declaration of Sarah Thomas dated March 2, 1995 ("Thomas Decl.") P 5, Ex. D. On December 5, 1991, a Judgment of Forfeiture for $ 9,086.00 was entered against Spavento. Id. P 6, Ex. E. On April 9, 1992, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed Spavento's appeal for failure to perfect the appeal. Id. P 7, Ex. F.

 In 1992, Spavento filed a civil action against the United States seeking the return of the seized currency as well as other items (the "1992 action"). Thomas Decl. P 2, Ex. A. Following the return of various items to Spavento in August 1993, id. P 3, Ex. B, Spavento voluntarily discontinued the 1992 action with prejudice on November 16, 1993. Id. P 4, Ex. C. On January 4, 1995, Spavento filed the instant action for the return of $ 8,850.00, claiming that it was unlawfully seized without probable cause, does not constitute evidence of a crime, and is not subject to forfeiture under 21 U.S.C. § 881.

 DISCUSSION

 An action filed under Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(e) after the movant has been sentenced and when criminal proceedings against the movant are no longer pending, is to be treated as a civil equitable proceeding. See Mora v. United States, 955 F.2d 156 (2d Cir. 1992). The doctrine of res judicata precludes the filing of repetitious actions seeking the same relief. Under the doctrine, "a valid, final judgment, rendered on the merits, constitutes an absolute bar to a subsequent action between the same parties, or those in privity with them, upon the same claim or demand." Winters v. Lavine, 574 F.2d 46, 57 n.10 (2d Cir. 1978) (quoting Saylor v. Lindsley, 391 F.2d 965, 968 (2d Cir. 1968)); Local 363 v. New York State Dep't of Labor, 842 F. Supp. 1561, 1565 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).

 CONCLUSION

 For the reasons set forth above, Spavento's petition for the return of $ 8,850.00 pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(e) is denied.

 It is SO ORDERED.

 Dated: New York, New ...


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