According to a report on The Columbian, Clark County is borrowing $10.5 million to pay Larry Davis, 57, of Vancouver and Alan Northrop, 49, of Woodland ($5.25 million apiece), to settle a federal lawsuit. Both men were wrongfully convicted of rape and recently released.
Now, it’s not prosecutors, nor the detective responsible who have to carry the burden of this injustice, but taxpayers.
On Tuesday, county commissioners approved a financing plan to take out a seven-year loan for $10 million from Banc of America Preferred Funding Corp. at 1.85 percent interest. Clark County Deputy Treasurer John Payne said the additional $500,000 will come out of the county’s general fund. Taking out a loan avoids having the general fund take such a large hit, as it pays for public safety and other essential county services that have already been budgeted.
The county has 30 days to pay the settlement, which was reached nine days into a jury trial in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
The county will pay $711,183 in interest, said Larry Frueh, finance manager for the treasurer’s office.
After the men spent 17 years in prison, it was (you guessed it) a lead detective on the case who failed to do a proper investigation.
The decision to settle was made in late September, when former Clark County Sheriff’s deputy Don Slagle, who was the lead detective on the case, was on the witness stand.
Attorneys for Davis and Northrop argued the county was negligent in employing Slagle, who never checked out other leads in the Davis/Northrop case.