$100 a Day Per Document and Adding Up Fast; Pierce County Taxpayers Will Learn by the Numbers What Bad Government Looks Like; Prosecutor Mark Lindquist On Wrong Side of Losing Battle When It Comes to Public Records Laws

*Editor’s Update (December 18th, 2017): A judge has been unsatisfied with answers from the Pierce County Prosecutor, Mark Lindquist, as it relates to public records, specifically narrowed down to 15 text messages. The article when written factored 153 text messages, however the judge has ordered an “in camera” review of the 15 text messages to see if any are public record. So therefore it is appropriate to update this notation accordingly. So let’s go even lower in all conservative figures, and go with only 1 text message figured out to be public record (let’s go with just 1, not the plethora of all the same documents introduced to the court as redacted that should have been non redacted). Let’s assume March 24th (2017), despite all the public records were and should have been available in 2011/2012. So at 1 x (let’s use January 2nd, the day the Pierce County Council meets behind closed doors to see if they come to their senses with such agenda items as this blog, or we see if they appeal the judge’s “in camera” review adding to the overall taxpayer expense, and that which will prove a no win outcome, including $100 per day penalty per document, plus legal fees)
So 273 days x $100 (per day penalty) = $27,300

This editor’s note would like to encourage Pierce County Council to take all the time in the world given the no win strategy at taxpayer’s expense. It’s the only way they will learn with a rogue and unaccountable government they have allowed. And this editor’s note hopes more than 1 is found to be public, and that goes for all the other documents that were redacted that should have been made public years ago.

Let’s do some simple math. This isn’t Common Core. No, this is isn’t about how it makes you feel. This is about taxpayers and how it makes them feel when they foot the bill for bad government. Enter in Pierce County and Bad Government and Pigs at the Trough.
I tell you, the only way to fight back the corrupt government is via the Public Records Act RCW 42.56 and Brady vs Maryland. It’s all we got, along with persistence and uniting against bad government. So this is how you show the numbers in quantitative fashion.
Credit: Sean Robinson / The News Tribune
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article137860268.html

“Lindquist text message case: Still going, defense bills exceed $584,000
So let’s continue on with the math. This is what happens when government runs itself into the ground at taxpayer’s expense and runs itself by way of risk management.
“According to the latest figures from the county’s risk management division, the public bill for the long-running legal tussle stands at $584,989 and climbing, with the next stage of court action set for April 7 in Thurston County.”

“Coupled with other legal bills tied to complaints of misconduct by Lindquist and his subordinates, the collective costs rise to $1.92 million, with no near-term prospects for resolution.”

“At issue: another 153 text messages sent and received in 2011 by the prosecutor on his private phone.” “…24 involve unnamed county employees.”

“… 37 are messages to and from friends he does not name. He describes 12 sent to “friends” in the media.”

“He (Prosecutor Mark Lindquist) notes that another 34 messages are to and from county employees he does not name — nor does he say whether the employees used public devices in responses to him.”

“Another 21 messages fall into an unknown category: The senders and recipients are not identified.”

That sounds like Hillary and her daughters wedding and yoga lessons…

“To date, the county has paid $51,672 to outside attorneys defending the case.”

“Defense costs for the complaints have reached $227,513, according to risk management figures.”

That’s a lot of red. That’s a lot of red because Pierce County has a lot to hide.
And this is where more red comes into the picture because they have a lot of audacity to hide these text messages and public records.

from: B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>to: pcexecutive@co.pierce.wa.us
date: Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 1:16 PM
subject: Public Records Request – Pierce County 03152017BW
mailed-by: gmail.com
: Important according to our magic sauce.

B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>

Mar 15 (12 days ago)

to pcexecutive
Dear Pierce County public officers,
I wish to request records per RCW 42.56

I request all text messages that are work related and public records involved in communications by Prosecutor Mark Lindquist as it relates to Nissen v. Pierce County court case.

For those responsive records that currently exist in electronic format (such as email, Word, or PDF files), please provide those documents in such native format by either forwarding the files to me by email or copying the files onto a CDR or DVD. For those documents which exist only in paper form, please scan those documents into PDF files and copy those files onto a CDR or DVD. Where paper copies of records available in electronic form contain handwritten marks or notes, please provide both the native electronic record and a copy of the paper record.

“Public record” includes “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state, county, or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.” RCW 42.56.010(2).

“‘Writing’ means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, and every other means of recording any form of communication or representation including, but not limited to, letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, motion picture, film and video recordings, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, diskettes, sound recordings, and other documents including existing data compilations from which information may be obtained or translated.” RCW 42.56.010(3).

This request specifically includes -and you are specifically directed to obtain, preserve in native format, and produce -any records that exist on any computers, hard drives, portable phones, jump drives, BlackBerries, iPhone, Kindle, IPad, or other devices, or in email, data, voice mail, or text mail accounts owned, controlled or paid for, directly or indirectly, by any agency or taxpayer.

For each record that the agency contends is exempt from public disclosure, please specifically identify the record by subject, title, author, custodian and date, and specifically state how the specific statutory exemption applies to the record as required by RCW 42.56.210(3). For each responsive record that you contend is exempt from public disclosure, in whole or in part, please specifically identify the record by subject, title, author, custodian and date, and state how a specific statutory exemption applies to each record as required by RCW 42.56.210(3) and Rental Housing Ass’n v. Des Moines, 165 Wn.2d 525, 199 P.3d 393 (2009).

To provide the fullest assistance to the requester, I am asking that you forward all responsive records to me at this email address. Please let me know if the cost of copying these records will exceed $500.00. You have five days to respond to this request as required by RCW 42.56.520.

Thank you and sincerely,

brent woods

from: Diane Ladenburg <dbraate@co.pierce.wa.us>
to: “brent.a.woods@gmail.com” <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>date: Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 4:21 PM
subject: RE: Public Records Request – Pierce County 03152017BW
mailed-by: co.pierce.wa.us
signed-by: piercecountywa.onmicrosoft.com
encryption: Standard (TLS) Learn more
: Important mainly because of your interaction with messages in the conversation.

B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>

Mar 15 (12 days ago)

to pcexecutive
Dear Pierce County public officers,
I wish to request records per RCW 42.56

I request all text messages that are work related and public records involved in communications by Prosecutor Mark Lindquist as it relates to Nissen v. Pierce County court case.

For those responsive records that currently exist in electronic format (such as email, Word, or PDF files), please provide those documents in such native format by either forwarding the files to me by email or copying the files onto a CDR or DVD. For those documents which exist only in paper form, please scan those documents into PDF files and copy those files onto a CDR or DVD. Where paper copies of records available in electronic form contain handwritten marks or notes, please provide both the native electronic record and a copy of the paper record.

“Public record” includes “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state, county, or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.” RCW 42.56.010(2).

“‘Writing’ means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, and every other means of recording any form of communication or representation including, but not limited to, letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, motion picture, film and video recordings, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, diskettes, sound recordings, and other documents including existing data compilations from which information may be obtained or translated.” RCW 42.56.010(3).

This request specifically includes -and you are specifically directed to obtain, preserve in native format, and produce -any records that exist on any computers, hard drives, portable phones, jump drives, BlackBerries, iPhone, Kindle, IPad, or other devices, or in email, data, voice mail, or text mail accounts owned, controlled or paid for, directly or indirectly, by any agency or taxpayer.

For each record that the agency contends is exempt from public disclosure, please specifically identify the record by subject, title, author, custodian and date, and specifically state how the specific statutory exemption applies to the record as required by RCW 42.56.210(3). For each responsive record that you contend is exempt from public disclosure, in whole or in part, please specifically identify the record by subject, title, author, custodian and date, and state how a specific statutory exemption applies to each record as required by RCW 42.56.210(3) and Rental Housing Ass’n v. Des Moines, 165 Wn.2d 525, 199 P.3d 393 (2009).

To provide the fullest assistance to the requester, I am asking that you forward all responsive records to me at this email address. Please let me know if the cost of copying these records will exceed $500.00. You have five days to respond to this request as required by RCW 42.56.520.

Thank you and sincerely,

brent woods
Diane Ladenburg <dbraate@co.pierce.wa.us>

Mar 20 (7 days ago)

to me

The Office of the Pierce County Executive received your public records request on March 15, 2017 via email. Copy below.

The county’s procedure for making a public records request can be found on the county’s website: http://www.piercecountywa.org/publicrecordsofficers. On this page, you will find a list of public records officers (PRO), their address, telephone, and fax number and request form.

Requesters are asked to submit their requests in writing and deliver by mail, fax, or in person to the designated PRO of the Agency to which the request is directed. Do not send via email. We want to ensure receipt of public records requests and timely responses. We have found email to be unreliable due to the county’s spam filters.

A staff member who monitors the email account alerted me to your request.

I am the ombudsperson for Pierce County. One of my duties include locating the agency that may have records responsive to a request. Since your request is for records “…by Prosecutor Mark Lindquist…”, I suggest your request should be made to Theresa Brown, the PRO, for the Prosecuting Attorney Office. Please use the county procedures I gave you above to make the request to Ms. Brown. As a courtesy, I have provided Ms. Brown a copy of your request so that she can begin searching for records and provide you with a response. If you do not hear from Ms. Brown, please contact her directly.

Since your request was sent to the Executive’s Office, I looked at past requests to the Executive’s Office and found a two-page letter from Mary Robnett to Michael Tardif. The letter was regarding Robnett/Lindquist Text Messages and had an attachment of text messages with partially redacted phone numbers. The copies with redactions are the only copies in the Executive’s office. If you would like a copy of these three pages, please provide me with your address and I will mail you a copy. Copies will remain in the Executive’s Office for 30 days for you to claim.

If you have any questions, believe we have somehow misunderstood your request(s) or wish to clarify your request, please do not hesitate to contact me. If I have not heard back from you within 30 days, I will consider this matter closed.

Diane Ladenburg

Pierce County Public Records Officer & Ombudsperson

Telephone: (253) 798-7477 FAX: (253) 798-6628

from: B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>to: Diane Ladenburg <dbraate@co.pierce.wa.us>
date: Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 4:41 PM
subject: Re: Public Records Request – Pierce County 03152017BW
mailed-by:

B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>

Mar 20 (7 days ago)

to Diane
Ms. Ladenburg,
Per RCW 42.56 I wish to request the records via email as I have and I sent to the County Executive addressed to the public officers. Since you are in receipt of the records request as your email confirms. I would kindly ask that they get fielded. You are misunderstanding me as I am requesting the public records as stated in the records request for the text messages, not redacted copies, but the actual public records.
My email request is within the scope of the law per RCW 42.56. I kindly ask for the public records requested as stated.

Thank you,

brent woods

from: B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>to: Diane Ladenburg <dbraate@co.pierce.wa.us>
date: Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 6:09 PM
subject: Re: Public Records Request – Pierce County 03152017BW
mailed-by: gmail.com

B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>

Mar 20 (7 days ago)

to Diane
To further clarify in advance, I am looking for all public records that are required per RCW 42.56 and not records that were redacted because Pierce County believes they are not required to provide them, so this is not to be misconstrued that just because there is a redaction that I do not want the copy per request, it’s just that I want the records that are required per RCW 42.56. If the records that you have are pertinent then I will accept them but I am seeking public records per RCW 42.56.

brent woods

from: Theresa Brown <tbrown1@co.pierce.wa.us>
to: “brent.a.woods@gmail.com” <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>date: Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 2:34 PM
subject: Public Record Request Dated March 15, 2017
mailed-by: co.pierce.wa.us
signed-by: piercecountywa.onmicrosoft.com
encryption: Standard (TLS) Learn more
: Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.

Theresa Brown <tbrown1@co.pierce.wa.us>

AttachmentsMar 22 (5 days ago)

to me

Please confirm receipt of this email.

Theresa Brown

Public Records Officer

Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

955 Tacoma Avenue South, Suite 301

Tacoma WA 98402

Phone: 253-798-4149 | Fax: 253-798-6713

from: B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>to: Theresa Brown <tbrown1@co.pierce.wa.us>
date: Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 3:55 PM
subject: Re: Public Record Request Dated March 15, 2017
mailed-by: gmail.com

B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>

Mar 22 (5 days ago)

to Theresa
Ms. Brown,
I am in receipt of your email. Sorry for any confusion.
I am seeking all records per my request subject to RCW 42.56.
I understand that the City of Tacoma is fighting this, that’s on them. I am wanting the text messages and records per my request and the law, RCW 42.56. This communication clarifies any previous communication as your ombudsman has some questions as well before I saw this (attachment). I’m seeking the records required under RCW 42.56, I want all the records per the request as well as records the City contends is not subject to RCW 42.56 and in my opinion is withholding in violation of RCW 42.56, as will be seen.

“All text messages that are work related and public records involved in communications by Prosecutor Mark Lindquist as it relates to Nissen vs Pierce County court case.”

I am requesting all the text messages as so dated by this clarification 3/22/2017.

brent woods

*Editor Note, I see I mentioned City when I meant County. Doesn’t matter I asked for the records per as stated. That is clearly stated.

from: Theresa Brown <tbrown1@co.pierce.wa.us>
to: “brent.a.woods@gmail.com” <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>date: Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 4:30 PM
subject: Public Records Request Dated March 15, 2017 PA Reference No. 17 0452
mailed-by: co.pierce.wa.us
signed-by: piercecountywa.onmicrosoft.com
encryption: Standard (TLS) Learn more
: Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.

Theresa Brown

AttachmentsMar 23 (4 days ago)

to me

Please confirm receipt of this email.

Theresa Brown

Public Records Officer

Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

955 Tacoma Avenue South, Suite 301

Tacoma WA 98402

Phone: 253-798-4149 | Fax: 253-798-6713

from: B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>to: Theresa Brown <tbrown1@co.pierce.wa.us>
date: Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 5:35 PM
subject: Re: Public Records Request Dated March 15, 2017 PA Reference No. 17 0452
mailed-by: gmail.com

B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>

Mar 23 (4 days ago)

to Theresa
I challenge that assertion and I am seeking all records and text messages that are subject to RCW 42.56 and I am requesting records Pierce County is withholding and fighting from public view. I will challenge Pierce County on this request should any of the text messages I have requested be withheld or concealed. If they are subject to the RCW 42.56 I want those text messages, to bring greater clarity to the matter, so kindly provide the text messages and the records per my request and not to be confused with your assertion of what it is I am asking for only to assert what you wish to provide, because I have clearly stated what I intend on getting per my request. Let it be known on this March 23, 2017 at approximately 5:35 PM.

Sincerely,

brent woods

from: Diane Ladenburg <dbraate@co.pierce.wa.us>
to: B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>date: Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 5:12 PM
subject: SUBJECT: 2017Mar15-PRR-Brent.Woods_Response2
mailed-by: co.pierce.wa.us
signed-by: piercecountywa.onmicrosoft.com
encryption: Standard (TLS) Learn more
: Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.

Diane Ladenburg

Mar 23 (4 days ago)

to me

Dear Mr. Woods,

The Office of the Pierce County Executive received your public records request on March 15, 2017 via email.

On March 20, 2017, I directed you to our website where the county has published its procedures for making public records requests, which does not include email.

I described three pages of documents in the Executive’s Office which I indicated that I would need your address to mail them to you.

I gave a copy of your request to Theresa Brown, public records officer for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, to respond since your request is for “…communications by Prosecutor Mark Lindquist…”.

I subsequently received two more emails from you on March 20th:

(1) Per RCW 42.56 I wish to request the records via email as I have and I sent to the County Executive addressed to the public officers. Since you are in receipt of the records request as your email confirms. I would kindly ask that they get fielded. You are misunderstanding me as I am requesting the public records as stated in the records request for the text messages, not redacted copies, but the actual public records. My email request is within the scope of the law per RCW 42.56. I kindly ask for the public records requested as stated.

(2) To further clarify in advance, I am looking for all public records that are required per RCW 42.56 and not records that were redacted because Pierce County believes they are not required to provide them, so this is not to be misconstrued that just because there is a redaction that I do not want the copy per request, it’s just that I want the records that are required per RCW 42.56. If the records that you have are pertinent then I will accept them but I am seeking public records per RCW 42.56.

In my initial response of March 20th, I stated that “The copies with redactions are the only copies I found in the Executive’s office.” The documents I am referring to exist in paper copy and include redactions.

I can provide you with additional information. The documents, when received by the Executive’s Office, were given to Al Rose. Mr. Rose was the public records officer for Pat McCarthy through December 31, 2016. He is no longer an employee with the county. I searched his files and found the letter and attachment.

In addition to mailing the documents to you, they are also available for inspection, or can be sent by fax or filelocker. Filelocker allows me to securely share files with others outside the county. Please provide me with your phone number or call our offices and I can provide you with the password to access these documents. I will then scan them and you’ll receive in link to these documents by email.

You can also find electronic copies of these documents in an article published by The News Tribune. Use this link and scroll to the bottom of the article to see the published documents: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/crime/article53206345.html

If you have any questions, believe we have somehow misunderstood your request(s) or wish to clarify your request, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have not claimed these documents within 30 days, I will consider this matter closed.

Diane Ladenburg

Executive Aide

Public Records Officer/Ombudsperson, CPRO

Pierce County Executive’s Office

tel. 253.798.6691 fax: 253.798.6628

from: B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>to: Diane Ladenburg <dbraate@co.pierce.wa.us>
date: Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 5:53 PM
subject: Re: SUBJECT: 2017Mar15-PRR-Brent.Woods_Response2
mailed-by: gmail.com

B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>

Mar 23 (4 days ago)

to Diane
Ms. Laderburg,
I responded that your public officer’s had received the public records request and an email request is legal per RCW 42.56.
I also requested the format for the records and this too is legal per RCW 42.56.
I did not provide my address because I did not request the records in the mail as we live in an age with ample technology, and that includes simple text messages, which I have merely requested.
I have asked for records per my requested and I have done so by legal means. The law is RCW 42.56. I have clearly stated what records I am seeking and the law that backs open and transparent government because if it is work related, I want the records requested. Please do not withhold or conceal these public records. Text messages and public records can be forwarded to this email.
If you have public records that you need to send in the format I requested, my address is as follows, and that was clearly stated in the original email, but here it is

brent woods
PO Box 14412
Mill Creek WA 98082

Now let’s get back to that RED

153 Text Messages that they are now withholding as a judge will rule on April 7th. Plus other records they are now withholding.

So let’s go with the bare minimum at 153 x $100 a day (per document) plus legal fees (as this is per law) at 12 days (day judge is ruling) = $183,600

Pierce County it would be better if you hired a Prosecutor didn’t send out text messages and then withhold the public records because this will get costly but perhaps this is how people learn what to do from BAD GOVERNMENT. Let this be a lesson in OPEN and TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT and why public records laws exist. YOU have a right to know what your government is doing, especially when they are spending over $1.1 Million dollars and a lot more fighting text messages.

Let us look at this per day.

153 x $100 (per day) = $15,300

Now I wonder how many of the 153 ARE public records and how many ARE NOT public records. That’s the risk assessment. That’s the risk management. The risk managers are risking a lot at taxpayers expense and the risk managers and taxpayers are going to LOSE BIG. I’ll hedge bet my time and interest that this IS the public’s interest and that these ARE public records. The burden of proof is on the government always,  never the people. This is an example of a government that has something to hide and is to lazy to have just gone to the pay phone to cover up their public record trail. I’ll move to serve the County as soon as the judge rules, but at $100 per day per document, I may not be in too big of a hurry. They may be though. Let’s hear it for government by way of risk management, and may they learn the hard way like the 8th round of a Muay Thai kickboxing fighting when they become exhausted and put their hands down and their chin is exposed, as is their temples. That’s a dangerous way to fight, only this is at the expense of the taxpayers. But I’ll take some of this action.

*Assuming each text message is a public record

I’m seeing GREEN. Better than letting Risk Management take it fighting this silly and losing battle. Better than letting the Pigs At The Trough have it. Isn’t it?

from: Theresa Brown <tbrown1@co.pierce.wa.us>
to: “brent.a.woods@gmail.com” <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>date: Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 4:36 PM
subject: Public Records Request Dated March 15, 2017 PA Reference No. 17 0452
mailed-by: co.pierce.wa.us
signed-by: piercecountywa.onmicrosoft.com
encryption: Standard (TLS) Learn more
: Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.
Please confirm receipt of this email.

Theresa Brown

Public Records Officer

Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

955 Tacoma Avenue South, Suite 301

Tacoma, WA 98402

Phone: (253)798-4149 | Fax: (253)798-6713

There is no guarantee of timely receipt of emails to or

from external users due to multiple spam filters.

tbrown1@co.pierce.wa.us

4:37 PM (3 hours ago)

to me
Theresa Brown (tbrown1) has shared the following files with you on Filelocker:

PCPAO PRR 17 0452 Woods 1st Installment.pdf

To download this file, use the link below:

https://filelocker.co.pierce.wa.us/public_download?shareId=a3213ef5c65348936c7f5ca3c91e7434
from: B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>to: Theresa Brown <tbrown1@co.pierce.wa.us>
date: Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 6:47 PM
subject: Re: Public Records Request Dated March 15, 2017 PA Reference No. 17 0452
mailed-by: gmail.com
B Woods <brent.a.woods@gmail.com>

6:47 PM (54 minutes ago)

to Theresa
Ms. Brown,
I am in receipt of your email and I have backed up these records, but there is one problem, I did get the log but everything else seems to be redacted. I may be missing something but I thought we were talking about public records.
I’d like to ask based on the redactions if you are aware of any public records that are being withheld or that are disputed as to being public because I requested the records per RCW 42.56?
I’d like to add that based on the redactions that if any records are withheld at this time the withholding of public records will be subject to RCW 42.56 to the fullest extent of the law.

brent woods

See also:
http://www.employmentlawdaily.com/index.php/news/text-messages-on-private-cell-phone-used-for-government-business-are-public-records/

1 comment for “$100 a Day Per Document and Adding Up Fast; Pierce County Taxpayers Will Learn by the Numbers What Bad Government Looks Like; Prosecutor Mark Lindquist On Wrong Side of Losing Battle When It Comes to Public Records Laws

  1. woodman
    January 19, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/crime/article195693479.html

    9 Lindquist text messages are public records, judge rules, setting the stage for more fines and payouts

    By Sean Robinson

    srobinson@thenewstribune.com

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    Order Reprint of this Story

    January 19, 2018 04:04 PM

    Updated 2 hours ago

    A long-running case involving text messages on Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist’s personal phone led to another adverse ruling for the county Friday.

    Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christopher Lanese ruled that nine of 17 text messages on Lindquist’s phone are public records, setting the stage for disclosure and a possible payout of legal fines and attorney fees.

    Over the past six years, Pierce County has spent $623,441 on the case, much of it paid to outside attorneys hired to argue against disclosure.

    On Friday, Lanese walked through a list of text messages line by line, delivering his assessment of a batch he examined in a private review.
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    “Lindquist prepared outgoing text messages within the scope of his employment,” Lanese said.

    The exact wording of the text messages sent during one week in 2011 remains unclear, but they involve conversations between Lindquist and other unidentified county employees.

    Topics include rumors of possible job applicants and related jokes. Other messages appear to involve discussions of letters written to the editorial page of The News Tribune, and references to online comments on news stories.

    The exact wording of the text messages sent during one week in 2011 remains unclear, but they involve conversations between Lindquist and other unidentified county employees. The topics , include rumors of possible job applicants and related jokes. Other messages appear to involve discussions of letters written to the editorial page of The News Tribune, and references to online comments on news stories.

    Lanese noted that such messages, even if intended as humor, still related to the conduct of Lindquist’s office. He ordered the in-camera review of the messages in December over the county’s objections, after finding that two affidavits submitted by Lindquist regarding the messages didn’t provide sufficient information.

    Glenda Nissen, a former county sheriff’s deputy who has been seeking the text messages for the last six years, said Friday’s ruling represented relief and vindication.

    “It means the world,” she said. “It means that I was right. It gives me my credibility, and that’s a powerful thing.”

    The News Tribune sought comment from Lindquist on Friday. He referred questions to attorney Stewart Estes, who has represented his interests in the case at no cost for several years.

    Estes provided this statement:

    “From hundreds of private records the plaintiff requested, the judge found nine to be public. We respectfully disagree. No government business was conducted with any of these messages.

    “This case was always about protecting the safety and privacy of all public employees, including deputy prosecutors, police, firefighters, teachers, and others who serve the public.

    “Public servants and the people who contact them should not have to give up all their privacy rights. They are entitled to those rights just like the rest of us.”

    Nissen contends Lindquist tried to sabotage her career after she publicly opposed his first campaign for public office in 2010. Apart from the fallout over text messages, public records show that the prosecutor’s office attempted to restrict her case assignments, shunned her, and refused to use evidence she gathered in sexual assault cases involving child victims.

    Nissen won the first phase of the text-message case in 2015, following an argument that stretched to the Washington State Supreme Court and back. Lindquist and lawyers for the county opposed disclosure, arguing that messages created on his private phone were exempt from disclosure.

    The high court disagreed, ruling that records held on private devices can be public if they relate to public business.

    A subsequent lower court ruling found that a text message Lindquist sent to a subordinate, urging comment on a News Tribune story involving Nissen, qualified as a public record. That ruling led to a $128,000 award of fines and fees against the county in 2016.

    A subsequent lower court ruling found that a text message Lindquist sent to one of his subordinates, urging comment on a News Tribune story involving Nissen, qualified as a public record. That ruling led to a $128,000 award of fines and fees against the county in 2016.

    The current case, known in legal shorthand as “Nissen II,” represents the second phase of the same argument. It relates to a larger batch of text messages sent over a week in 2011.

    Friday’s ruling sets the stage for a status conference before Lanese on March 2. He indicated he would order the text messages disclosed on that date, barring an appeal from the county.

    Attorney Michael Tardif, representing the county, said he needed time to consult with County Council members before he could say whether an appeal will follow.

    Ultimately, the decision rests with County Council members, who will meet with Tardif in a private executive session in the coming days to discuss their options. The decision to pursue an appeal might require a public vote.

    The council asserted its control over the case in late 2015, after questions emerged about possible conflicts of interest, and whether Lindquist could represent himself and the county’s legal interests at the same time. The answer was no, which led to Tardif’s appointment.

    Throughout the life of the case, the county has shouldered the burden of legal fees, including earlier fines and payouts. The earlier loss legal loss involved one text message. The current argument involves nine of them, which have been withheld for five years. Penalties for nondisclosure in public records cases can reach a maximum of $100 per day.

    Throughout the life of the case, the county has shouldered the burden of legal fees, as well as fines and payouts.

    The legal loss in 2016 involved one text message. The current argument involves nine, which have been withheld for five years. Penalties for nondisclosure in public records cases can reach a maximum of $100 a day.

    The News Tribune sought comment from County Council members Friday, including Councilwoman Pam Roach, who joined the council in 2017, and had no role in earlier legal decisions. Roach said she couldn’t say how she would vote on a possible appeal, but she was leery of the money already spent.

    “I believe in open government,” she said.

    Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/crime/article195693479.html#storylink=cpy

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