Editor’s Note: Former Columbian staff writer Ken Olsen also contributed to this story.
Clyde Ray Spencer was awarded $9 million Monday by a federal jury that unanimously agreed a detective from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office violated Spencer’s constitutional right to due process by fabricating the evidence that put him behind bars for two decades for sexually abusing his two children and a stepson.
The $9 million award is the highest in Washington in a civil rights case, said Kathleen Zellner, Spencer’s attorney.
“Justice was served — even though it took 30 years,” Zellner said. “We were able to prove they framed him. We’ve proven the evidence was fabricated. And, after 30 years, that’s remarkable. Justice is alive and well in Washington.”
For Spencer, 66, and his family, the verdict brought incredible relief.
“It’s a good feeling that the criminal justice system finally got it right,” Spencer said moments after he heard the jury’s decision. “My name is finally cleared, and those who are responsible are going to have to face the ridicule I did.”