Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor has told Pierce County it must pay more than $118,000 in fees and fines due to Prosecutor Mark Lindquist’s failure to disclose a text message that qualified as a public record.
Tabor also seemed to scold the county for, essentially, not taking control of the case, which has now cost taxpayers more than $443,000.
So how can Lindquist’s lawyer paint the ruling as a victory for his client? Because the judge didn’t award the defendant, sheriff’s deputy Glenda Nissen, the full amount she sought? Tabor explained that, saying he lacked the authority to award Nissen the full amount. It had nothing to do with Lindquist winning “on the key issues.”
The state Supreme Court has already ruled that public business conducted on private devices is still a public record subject to disclosure. That’s the key issue here.
This ruling keeps ratcheting up Lindquist’s total bill. Taking three other cases and the state bar complaint into account, the bill is now more than $1.27 million in legal fees and fines. And there’s more to come.
The County Council can say “Enough,” that it won’t authorize payments for further appeals, and that Lindquist should stop fighting and disclose other text messages being sought.
It’s time to start cutting losses.