Superior Court of Pierce County. Superior Court Docket No. 94-1-00648-9. Date Filed In Superior Court: February 27, 1995. Superior Court Judge Signing: Brian Tollefson.
Written By: Morgan, J., Concurred IN By: Seinfeld, C.j., Bridgewater, J.
MORGAN, J. -- The defendant claims that double jeopardy barred this prosecution for controlled substances. The trial court denied his claim, and he was convicted. He appeals, but we affirm.
On February 8, 1994, officers of the Tacoma Police Department placed Anderson under arrest for possession of cocaine. During a search of the vehicle he was driving, the officers seized $97 in cash and two pagers. On February 9, 1994, Anderson was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.*fn1
On the day of his arrest, February 8, the City of Tacoma served Anderson with a notice that it intended to forfeit the cash and pagers, pursuant to RCW 69.50.505. Under
that statute, Anderson had 45 days to claim ownership, or "the items seized shall be deemed forfeited."*fn2 Anderson did not claim ownership within 45 days, or at any time thereafter. Thus, on May 18, 1994, a hearing examiner issued an "Order Confirming Forfeiture."*fn3
On April 6, 1994, Anderson pled guilty to the criminal charge. On November 18, 1994, he moved to vacate his guilty plea based upon double jeopardy. The trial court denied the motion, concluding:
The defendant failed to perfect any claim of ownership in the property that was forfeited. This court finds that this defendant was not 'punished' as a result of the forfeiture of property found in his possession at the time of his arrest.*fn4
The double jeopardy clause guarantees that no person shall "be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."*fn5 Generally, it bars trial if three elements are met: (a) jeopardy previously attached,*fn6 (b) jeopardy previously terminated,*fn7 and (c) the defendant is again in jeopardy "for the same offense."*fn8 The first two elements determine "former" jeopardy, which is a prerequisite to "double" jeopardy.*fn9 When "former" jeopardy is assumed or established, the third element determines
"double" jeopardy. The question here is whether jeopardy attached.
Generally, a defendant is not put in jeopardy if he or she is not a party to the action. As stated in ...