Crime

Puyallup man sues state after dismissal of theft charges

A Puyallup man whose convictions for illegally taking workers’ compensation money were overturned on appeal is suing the state for wrongful incarceration.

Christopher Briejer, 47, seeks undisclosed monetary damages under a state law passed in 2013 that allows the wrongfully incarcerated to seek compensation from taxpayers.

Attorney Lance Hester filed the lawsuit on Briejer’s behalf last week in Pierce County Superior Court.

Briejer, who worked as a carpenter before hurting his back, served two years in prison after being convicted of 56 counts of theft in 2010.

The state Attorney General’s Office argued Briejer lied about his some of his injuries.

Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that he participated in extreme sports, including mountain climbing, to the Pierce County jury that convicted him.

Briejer maintained his innocence and told The News Tribune in 2009 his mountain-climbing, including summiting Mount Rainier, was sanctioned by his doctors.

The Washington State Court of Appeals overturned his convictions in 2012, ruling Briejer’s fair-trial rights were violated when then Judge Frederick Fleming allowed the jury to consider Briejer’s participation in extreme sports.

The appeals court also found Briejer had not lied about his injuries.

The opinion precluded the state from refiling the charges.

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