News

Our Community is Safer

 

Crime is down. Our neighborhoods are safer. Children are safer.

Our community is safer because Mark Lindquist is our Prosecutor.

In the nine years Lindquist has served as our Prosecutor, felony crimes in Pierce county have gone down 18%. Misdemeanor crimes are down 29%.

The Prosecutor’s Office has helped reduce crime with a variety of innovative strategies. Lindquist formed an Elder Abuse Team to better protect vulnerable adults, a Gang Unit to reduce gang violence, and a High Priority Offender Program, which uses data-driven prosecution to get career criminals off of our streets.

To better protect and serve survivors of domestic violence, Lindquist unified felony and misdemeanor domestic violence teams in the Prosecutor’s Office with victim advocates and law enforcement in one central location. Pierce County was the first in the state to do this.

Additionally, Lindquist has been a leader in championing therapeutic courts, such as Drug Court, Veterans Court, and Mental Health Court, as well as other reforms to the criminal justice system.

Pierce County was once a dumping ground for offenders from other counties, but the dumping has been dramatically reduced thanks to the leadership of Lindquist and other partners.

Pierce County has a colorful history and a bright future. We are safer than ever.


Halloween Bash with The Beatniks

 

The Beatniks are a local legend. They have played their brand of 60’s to 90’s rock and roll for Microsoft, the Seahawks, actor Bruce Willis, and our Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. 

Lindquist is bringing The Beatniks to the Swiss Pub in Tacoma on Wednesday, October 24, at 6:00 pm. This is a Halloween celebration and costumes are encouraged. 

At past Lindquist fundraisers, Peter Buck of R.E.M., actress and singer Molly Ringwald, Scott McCaughey of Young Fresh Fellows, and Lindquist himself have joined The Beatniks on stage for crowd-pleasing classics such as “Wild Thing,” “Gloria,” and “Louie, Louie.”  

 Lindquist was appointed as our Pierce County Prosecutor in 2009, was elected in 2010, and re-elected in 2014. He is running again this year.

“When I first ran in 2010, I promised to make our community safer,” Lindquist said. “I’ve kept that promise.”

Lindquist’s campaign has cited his innovative public safety initiatives, including successful efforts to protect elders, dramatically reduce gang violence, and get career criminals off the streets with data-driven prosecution.

He has also championed therapeutic courts for people with substance abuse or mental health issues, along with other reforms to the criminal justice system.

Additionally, last year Lindquist filed a lawsuit against Big Pharma to hold them accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic and recover money for Pierce County.

Crime is down in Tacoma and Pierce County, while it is up in Seattle and in Washington State.

“Mark stands tall as our Prosecutor,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “He’s inclusive and brings everyone to the table to solve community safety issues.”

Lindquist is endorsed by Democrats and Republicans, including Governor Jay Inslee (D), former Governor Dan Evans (R), former Congressman Norm Dicks (D), Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R), and local Congressman Derek Kilmer (D).

He is also endorsed by unions and businesses, firefighters, law enforcement, teachers, several members of the Tacoma City Council, including Deputy Mayor Anders Ibsen, and more than 500 other organizations and community leaders.

When Lindquist throws a party with The Beatniks, it always draws a diverse, interesting, and large crowd. The event is kid-friendly.


Reducing Gang Violence

Gang violence has been cut in half with Mark Lindquist as our Prosecutor.

Under Lindquist’s leadership, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office was the first in the state to use conspiracy statutes to hold violent gang members accountable. Several violent street gangs have been successfully prosecuted in a series of sweeps designed to reduce gang violence in our neighborhoods.

Lindquist’s office has also worked with their partners on prevention efforts so that young people choose alternatives to gangs. As part of a larger effort to reform the criminal justice system, the office has expanded diversion programs to rehabilitate young offenders before their criminal conduct escalates to violence.

The Gang Unit in the Prosecutor’s Office is supported in their effort to reduce gang violence by the High Priority Offender Program, which was begun by Lindquist in 2015. This cutting-edge program, commonly called HPO, uses data-driven prosecution get career criminals off the streets.

Using FBI numbers on serious offenses, crime is up last year by 7% in Seattle, up by 5% in Washington State, but down by 4% in Pierce County.

Further, felony crimes overall are down 18% in Pierce County in the nine years Lindquist has served as our Prosecutor. Misdemeanor crimes are down 29%.

Mark Lindquist has kept his promise to make our community safer.


Safety and Civility

Our Prosecutor Mark Lindquist and family

After the Tacoma City Club candidate forum, people enthusiastically praised Mark’s presentation. Some asked us for a copy of his closing statement. Mark doesn’t use notes when he speaks, so the text below is not 100% accurate, but it’s close. Please share.

Closing Remarks by Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, delivered at Tacoma City Club candidate forum on October 3, 2018.

I’m going to wrap up with three quick stories, snapshots really.

First snapshot: 

A few years ago I was in a parking lot with my wife Chelsea and a woman I didn’t recognize approached me. She said, “I know you.”

Neither Chelsea or I could tell where this was going. 

The woman continued, “You prosecuted my boyfriend.”

Not knowing what to say, I said hello.

She said, “The judge hammered him, like ten years.”  

As I stood there listening, I was thinking, well, at least she partly blames the judge.

But she went on to tell me that while her boyfriend was in prison for assaulting her, she got her life together. She found a job, her kids enrolled in a school they liked, life was good. She just wanted to let me know and express her gratitude.

I hear stories like this pretty often. These moments remind me what our work in the Prosecutor’s Office is truly about.

Second snapshot:

Do people remember Lee Atwater? He was the campaign manager for the George H.W. Bush and semi-famous for using misinformation, general meanness, and “naked cruelty” in politics. Naked cruelty was his own phrase. On his deathbed, he deeply regretted this. He came to believe our politics needed to be more civil and spiritual. That was in 1991.

Third snapshot:

Recently I was speaking with a gentlemen who spent more than 40 years in public service. He was lamenting how nasty and negative our politics have become, the worst he has ever seen. Now he’s done. He left me with the notion that it’s up to us, those of us still in the arena, to turn this trend around.

And it is up to us, all of us, public servants and citizens alike, to elevate the dialogue. If we endeavor to improve our politics, and therefore our country and our communities, we need to rise above the mire and treat each other civilly, honestly, and respectfully. 

Robert F. Kennedy said we all want basically the same thing: to live our lives in purpose and happiness and raise our families in safety. As your Prosecutor, I’ll continue to focus on making that possible in Pierce County. Thank you.


Bipartisan Support

Mark Lindquist has bipartisan support

Republicans and Democrats agree: our community is safer because Mark Lindquist is our Prosecutor.  Former Governor Dan Evans (R) and current Governor Jay Inslee (D) have both endorsed our Prosecutor.  So has Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R) and former Lt. Governor Brad Owen (D).

In Puyallup, our Prosecutor Mark Lindquist is endorsed by State Senator Hans Zeiger, a Republican, as well as former State Representative Dawn Morrell, a Democrat. They once ran against each other, but they are united in caring about the safety of our community and supporting our Prosecutor.

In Gig Harbor, our Prosecutor is endorsed by former County Council Member Terry Lee, a Republican, as well as current County Council Member Derek Young, a Democrat.

In Lakewood, our Prosecutor is endorsed by Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen, a Republican, as well as Lakewood Council Member Mary Moss, a Democrat.

All over Pierce County, there is bipartisan agreement on this: our communities are safer because Mark Lindquist is our Prosecutor.

Mark is also endorsed by the Washington State Council of Firefighters, the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association, the Pierce County Central Labor Council, the Tacoma Education Association, and more.

Please see the full list of more than 500 bipartisan endorsements by organizations, public servants, and community leaders who agree we need to keep our Prosecutor and keep our community safe.

Feel free to add your name and join our team, thank you.


Caring and Keeping Us Safe

Our Prosecutor Mark Lindquist cares and he’s committed to keeping us safe.

Rape survivor, and former Sexual Assault Center Board member, Jo Jensen praised Lindquist and the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, “I was raped when I was 17-years-old. In those days you didn’t come forward and talk about it. But today, things are better because of the Prosecutor’s Office and people like Mark Lindquist.”

“When victims are treated with compassion, they find their voices, and are able to tell their stories in court,” said Prosecutor Lindquist. “Attackers are then held accountable and we’re all safer.”

Our community is safer because Mark Lindquist is our Prosecutor.


Protecting and Supporting Victims

Mark Lindquist Protecting Victims

 

by Tacoma Weekly Staff

In 2017, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office consolidated its felony and misdemeanor domestic violence prosecutors and victim advocates in one central location. This consolidated unit is the first of its kind in Washington and is housed inside the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center (CJFJC), which partners with law enforcement and other community advocates.  

“Working together we can better protect and support victims,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “By providing resources and services to victims of domestic violence and their children in one safe location, the result is an effective, coordinated response to prevent domestic violence from escalating.”

Domestic violence crimes happen within families, marriages, dating relationships and households. Crimes include assault, violation of protection orders, harassment, and property damage. The one thing these crimes have in common is they evoke fear and anxiety in victims, especially children. The CJFJC is a one-stop-shop approach to expedite justice and ease fears.

At the CJFJC, victims can meet with prosecutors, victim advocates, and law enforcement officers. Even in non-criminal matters, victims can meet with community victim advocates and receive the individual assistance they need to develop a safety plan, get protection orders, housing, and legal and mental health counselling. 

By offering these services in a single, safe location, the CJFJC reduces the barriers that, historically, have kept victims from getting help. Together, prosecutors, victim advocates and other CJFJC partners employ a “coordinated community response” to domestic violence and thereby help them lead safer lives. 

Read the story in The Tacoma Weekly …


Getting Career Criminals Off Our Streets

 

High Priority Offender Program Reduces Crime

By our Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, first published in The Tacoma Weekly

He began his criminal career with a burglary in 2000. Before he turned 40, he racked up 16 felony convictions. Though he was versatile – stealing cars, committing identify theft and dabbling in drugs – burglary remained his crime of choice.

This year he went on a short crime spree, which included yet another burglary. Our new data-driven system identified him as a High Priority Offender (HPO) based on his conduct and history. He was charged, convicted and recently sentenced to several years in prison.

This was our 500th HPO case.

Your Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office is focusing resources on the small percentage of criminals who are committing a large percentage of the crimes. Some call them career criminals; we call them high priority offenders.

In almost every context, it’s a small group of bad actors causing most of the problems. This is certainly true in the world of criminal justice. That’s not new; that’s common sense. What is new is how our office uses data and technology to identify the worst offenders – the career criminals – and get them off our streets.

As part of our ongoing effort to keep our community safe, we began the HPO program in 2015. We studied similar data-driven programs on the East Coast, particularly in New York, and adapted the techniques for Pierce County. Consistent with the crime-fighting innovation we have demonstrated with our Elder Abuse Unit and gang sweeps, we are the first on the West Coast to implement this program.

The HPO program is based on three elements of criminality: rate, persistence and dangerousness. As a result, the focus is on those offenders who most impact our community.

Investigator Gene Miller, a former Tacoma Police Department detective, manages the data. As your prosecutor, I worked with Detective Miller on homicide cases and on the Tacoma Mall shooting. I have high confidence in him and in our program. We are not only reducing crime in our community, we are reducing bias in the system, because data is objective.

My confidence and enthusiasm for the program are shared by our partners in law enforcement. Using data to focus resources and improve public safety is cost-effective and forward-thinking.

High priority offenders average 11 prior felony convictions and more than three prior trips to prison. After conviction as a HPO, the individual serves a sentence that is nearly four times greater than the average sentence in Washington. And when you send a career criminal to prison, you prevent dozens of future crimes.

Why do we need this program when Washington has a three-strikes law? Because not all felonies are strikes. In fact, only “most serious offenses” are strikes. HPO applies to burglaries and other crimes that do not qualify as strike offenses, but still impact victims and our community. 

Our future plan is to build on the success of this program by instituting a notification system. We want high priority offenders to know they have been identified. Our goal is to end their criminal careers. They can go to prison, or they can change careers. Either way, our community is safer.

Pierce County is booming. Population is up, crime is down. Our HPO program is one of the reasons.

Read More of the Story in the Tacoma Weekly


Keeping Our Elders Safe

Our Prosecutor Protecting Elders

 

Keeping Our Elders Safe

by Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, first published in The Tacoma Weekly

Mr. Villegas’ life savings began to dwindle under the control of his daughter. He was 81-years-old with dementia and early Alzheimer’s. Frugal, he lived on a modest income. His savings was nearly $200,000, primarily from the sale of his home, but his daughter drained his account to almost nothing over the course of a few years.

Without money, Mr. Villegas could not afford the assisted living he needed. Luckily, Mr. Villegas’ son Robert became aware of the situation and intervened. Mr. Villegas’ daughter went to prison for the theft and Mr. Villegas moved in with his son, where he was properly cared for.

In 2011, we formed an Elder Abuse Unit to protect elders and vigorously prosecute those who take advantage of vulnerable adults. We recognized that as our population ages, there are more elders who need more protection. Since then, our office has been a leader in the prosecution and prevention of elder abuse, whether it’s financial exploitation, physical abuse, or neglect.

Just as we have been leaders in reducing gang violence, prosecuting “cold cases,” and removing career criminals from our streets with data-driven prosecution, we have been leaders in protecting elders with a specialized team.

In 2016, we won a grant from the Department of Justice of nearly $400,000 — we were one of only nine counties in the country to receive this award. The funds are being used to coordinate a comprehensive approach to protecting elders and other vulnerable adults.

Initially, our Elder Abuse Unit was a one-woman team with Deputy Prosecutor Erika Nohavec. Yes, as Erika sometimes joked, there can be an “I” in team when it’s a one-woman team. Our team subsequently expanded to include two deputy prosecutors, two victim advocates, and a legal assistant. The Pierce County Council recognized the vital work we are doing and provided the additional staff.

One major component of this comprehensive approach was the formation of the Coordinated Community Response Team. This group includes prosecutors, law enforcement departments, the Attorney General’s Office, Adult Protective Services, the Korean Women’s Association, and other stakeholders.

Our vision is to create a safe community for vulnerable adults. Our mission is to effectively respond to the needs of older victims, hold abusers accountable, identify and bridge the gaps in services available to victims, and improve coordination between service providers through multidisciplinary collaboration. This collaboration also helps us hold offenders accountable. Working with multiple agencies, our office successfully prosecuted a caregiver in 2016 for a shocking case of neglect.

Mr. Carter was found nonresponsive in his bed and was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital. Several large and deep pressure ulcers were discovered on his backside, the worst of which was 8×13 inches and went down to the bone.

His paid caregiver packed the wounds with paper towels and Neosporin. This led to a serious infection, which ultimately killed Mr. Carter. Doctors and nurses said it was worst example of neglect they had seen in their careers. This was the first murder conviction in Washington premised on a failure to seek necessary medical care for a vulnerable adult.

We prosecute and we prevent. Raising awareness and educating people on how to protect themselves, their friends, and their family members is part of how we reduce crimes against the vulnerable and keep them safe. If you know of a group that would benefit from hearing from us, please let us know.

Read more about preventing elder abuse in The Tacoma Weekly….


Why I Do This Job

Mark Lindquist daughter Sloane

Sometimes people say to me, You’ve got a tough job. Why do you do it?

In the past year, I spoke with more than 200 community groups about public safety, from service clubs to senior centers.  I heard this question several times.

Yes, it’s a tough job. Yes, you see the dark side of people. Yes, you must deal gracefully with endless challenges.

And yet it’s the best job I’ve ever had. I say this as someone who has been blessed with an interesting life and many good jobs.

Today, we charged a defendant with the murder of a 12-year-old girl in the spring of 1986. A few weeks ago, we charged a different defendant with the murder of a 13-year-old girl that same year. The mother of the 13-year-old victim came to court to support the mother of the 12-year-old.

These two cases stunned our community and changed the way parents viewed our world.

After the arraignment, friends and family of the victims joined me and our Chief Criminal Deputy in my office along with the detectives. Turns out I knew one of the friends. Pierce County is a small town that way.

Sunlight angled into my office and the room was bright. Emotions were many. The grim reality of what happened 32 years ago was tempered by a sense of justice. In retrospect, it seems odd to smile and feel light in such a meeting, but we did. Such is the power of righting wrongs.

These two cases were among the main reasons we agreed to join a cold case team in 2011 with the Tacoma Police Department, the FBI, and other agencies. Working together, we wanted to hold offenders accountable, deliver justice, and send a message.

As I said at the news conference where we shared information with the community we serve, DNA technology is advancing. Today we are at a point where if you’re a criminal, and you left your DNA at the scene, you might as well turn yourself in now. We will catch you.

We have been innovative and relentless in our crime-fighting efforts, whether it’s seeking justice on cold cases, protecting vulnerable victims, or reducing gang violence. To paraphrase former United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, we are forever endeavoring to tame the savageness of man.

I came home tonight and hugged my seven-year-old daughter and thought again about why I do this job.

I do it to keep our community safe for everyone, especially our children.