A Pierce County judge has ruled that an associate of cop killer Maurice Clemmons should not be compensated for the more than four years he spent incarcerated on charges later dismissed on appeal.
Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck said in a June 26 ruling that Douglas Davis does not qualify for relief under the Wrongful Conviction Compensation Act, a law intended to help people wrongfully convicted of crimes to get on their feet once released from prison.
Davis produced no documentation that his convictions on weapons charges were dismissed because of new “exculpatory evidence” as required by the law, van Doorninck found.
Exculpatory evidence tends to support a person’s innocence of a crime.
Davis, 28, sued the state in November, contending he was owed at least $200,000 in damages for the four years he spent locked up before the state Court of Appeals overturned his convictions.
He also sought free tuition at state colleges and reimbursement of restitution, fees and other court costs associated with his convictions.
Davis is one of the so-called Clemmons Seven — those charged with crimes after Clemmons’ murder of Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Gregory Richards and Ronald Owens in November 2009.
Clemmons later was shot dead by a Seattle police officer.
Prosecutors charged Davis with rendering criminal assistance to Clemmons and with possessing a gun he took from Richards after the deadly attack at a Parkland coffee shop where the officers had gathered before their shifts started.
A jury acquitted Davis of rendering criminal assistance but convicted him of the weapons charges, and he was sentenced in 2011 to seven years, six months in prison.
The Court of Appeals overturned the convictions in 2013, ruling Davis could not be guilty of possessing the gun because he never touched it.
In seeking compensation, Davis, who’d been locked up since his arrested in 2009, argued the Court of Appeals’ dismissal constituted new evidence.
“The Court of Appeals found that the conduct of Plaintiff Douglas Davis was not criminal,” defense attorney Kent Underwood wrote in a pleading. “The plaintiff, therefore, is factually and actually innocent of the charges for which he was convicted.”
The state Attorney General’s Office disagreed.
“The court’s reversal was based solely on facts, information and argument that were available and utilized during Davis’ trial,” assistant attorney general Melanie Tratnik wrote in a pleading. “Davis has failed to produce any significant new exculpatory evidence.”