U.S. Supreme Court to hear Spencer case?

Defendants' lawyers fight reinstatement of $9 million award

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter



The lawyers for two former Clark County Sheriff’s Office employees will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court’s decision to reinstate a $9 million jury award to Clyde Ray Spencer, the former Vancouver police officer who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for sexual abuse.

As part of their plan to file the petition, the attorneys asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay its order, preventing the case from returning to the lower court where the judgment would be issued.

In May, a three-judge panel for the 9th Circuit reinstated the multimillion-dollar verdict to Spencer after finding that he had provided direct evidence that former sheriff’s Detective Sharon Krause fabricated evidence in his criminal case.

A jury in February 2014 awarded Spencer the money following a civil trial in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. But months later, Judge Benjamin H. Settle of the U.S. District Court threw out the verdict after ruling there was insufficient evidence presented that Spencer’s constitutional rights were violated.

Clark County was previously dismissed as a defendant in the civil case but paid for Krause and former sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Davidson’s legal counsel. Davidson, Krause’s supervisor, had an affair with Spencer’s wife, and the jury found he was liable in his capacity as a supervisor.

Months before Settle vacated the jury award, the Clark County Commissioners unanimously voted to no longer protect Krause and Davidson by paying the award. County prosecutors argued that since Krause was found to have fabricated evidence, she was outside the scope of her duties as a county employee.

The 9th Circuit last month denied a petition filed by Krause and Davidson’s attorneys requesting that all of the 9th Circuit judges review the panel’s decision to reinstate the jury award.

Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor Chris Horne said in a phone message Monday that the county is no longer a party in the Spencer case and said he could not comment on the impending petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Davidson’s attorney, Jeffrey Freimund of Freimund Jackson & Tardif in Olympia, said that although they have not yet filed their petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit issued an order Monday granting their request to stay its mandate. They have until Sept. 25 to file their petition, court records state.

Efforts to reach Krause’s attorney, Guy Bogdanovich of Law, Lyman, Daniel, Kamerrer & Bogdanovich in Tumwater, were unsuccessful Monday afternoon.