City of Seattle et al. v. Shin

This court case is active

Seattle police believed Ms. Shin was dealing drugs and used informants to gather evidence against her. When she was arrested, Seattle sought to forfeit (take) $19,000 in Ms. Shin’s cash and other property allegedly connected to the drug dealing. The City sent notice of forfeiture by certified mail to a homeless services center address used by thousands of people as their legal mailing address when they lack a traditional address—even though the police knew where she was living. Not surprisingly, the notice did not reach Ms. Shin. Luckily, she found out about the forfeiture anyway, filed a claim challenging it, and is arguing on appeal that the City did not provide her with the legally required notice. The Court of Appeals granted review because of the public interest in the notice issue; many other jurisdictions throughout Washington continue to use improper notice forms. The ACLU will file an amicus brief discussing the significant civil liberties problems associated with civil asset forfeiture and the importance of the government complying with notice procedures.