Clyde Spencer appeals from the judgment of U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle who overruled a jury verdict in Spencer’s favor following a seventeen-day jury trial in his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. Spencer spent nearly two decades in jail until his criminal conviction was vacated because Clark County police officer, Sharon Krause, fabricated evidence to gain Spencer’s conviction.
After Spencer’s criminal conviction was vacated, he sued the detective and Clark County for civil right violations stemming from the use of fabricated evidence to gain his unjust conviction. And the jury agreed with Spencer. However, after the jury verdict in Spencer’s favor, Clark County argued to U.S. District Judge Settle who agreed with Clark County’s claim that, “if a detective believes an individual is guilty, she escapes liability for FABRICATING EVIDENCE against the individual.”
During oral argument in the appeal of Judge Settle’s ruling to invalidate a jury verdict, the 9th Circuit found that Clark County’s claim that police officers can fabricate evidence if they believe an individual is guilty “astonishing,” and didn’t buy it. And neither do the citizens of Clark County, nor should any citizen of the state of Washington.
We must all take action to stop the continuation of a pattern and practice of these same acts being committed today and protected by judges like Judge Settle. Otherwise, we leave our due process rights in the hands of judges...and these judges are no assurance they will uphold our laws—as Judge Benjamin Settle clearly demonstrates by overturning a jury verdict!