Maurice Clemmons associate sues state for $200,000

An associate of cop killer Maurice Clemmons has sued the state of Washington, saying he should be compensated for the more than four years he spent incarcerated on charges that later were dismissed on appeal.

Douglas Davis, 27, seeks at least $200,000 in damages under a state law passed last year that allows the wrongfully incarcerated to seek compensation from taxpayers, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Pierce County Superior Court.

He also seeks free tuition at state colleges and reimbursement of restitution, fees and other court costs associated with his convictions.

Davis was one of the so-called Clemmons Seven — those charged with crimes in the aftermath of Clemmons’ massacre of Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Gregory Richards and Ronald Owens in November 2009.

Pierce County prosecutors charged Davis with rendering criminal assistance and multiple weapons counts in the days after the killings.

They alleged he helped Clemmons escape Pierce County and possessed a gun the killer had stolen from Richards after he shot him and his colleagues at a Parkland coffee shop.

A Seattle police officer killed Clemmons after an intense manhunt.

A Pierce County jury acquitted Davis of the rendering charge but convicted him of illegally possessing a gun and possessing a stolen firearm. He was sentenced in January 2011 to seven years, six months in prison.

The state Court of Appeals overturned the convictions last year, ruling that Davis could not be guilty of possessing the gun because he never touched it.

Prosecutors had argued he “constructively” possessed the weapon because he’d been in the same car and house with it and had ready access to it.

Davis’ attorney, Kent Underwood, argued in the lawsuit filed this week that Davis qualifies for compensation under the new law.

That law allows people who were wrongfully convicted to file a claim against the state. They must show their conviction was reversed or vacated based on significant evidence of actual innocence.

Once a judge or jury determines the claim is valid, the court could award damages up to $50,000 per year for each year of incarceration, including time spent in jail awaiting trial.

“The Court of Appeals found that the conduct of Plaintiff Douglas Davis was not criminal,” Underwood wrote in the lawsuit. “The plaintiff, therefore, is factually and actually innocent of the charges for which he was convicted.”

Efforts to reach the state Attorney General’s Office, which will defend the state against the claim, were unsuccessful Wednesday.