Attorneys.Media

Get Interviewed!
|

Data Mining Criminal Records By Pierce County Authorities?

Data Mining Criminal Records By Pierce County Authorities?

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Hi, this is Ray Hrdlicka. We’re sitting with Spencer Freeman, an attorney in Pierce County, Washington, to talk about a relevant news item, data mining by Pierce County Authorities. Now the headline itself sound kind of scary, but once you read into it, you realize…wait a minute. These guys are actually using the information that is available because of technology today, in a much better way to make the public safer. Just to give you a little bit of background here, this unit, which is called the “High Priority Offender Unit”, is one of its kind. In Pierce County.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to cut you off. It’s interesting that you started with the title of the article…the data mining. It does seem like it’s got some sort of nefarious or new aspect to it, but that’s really not true. Prosecutors, for a very long time, as long as I can remember, keep track of and have kept track of high volume offenders. And it’s just at this point it’s so much easier to do when you’ve got OCR readable PDF’s and you can run a search through a computer system for any police report or any type of report where somebody’s been reported as having committed a crime. You can have easy access to that information.

But historically, when you had prosecutors that were in their job for long periods of time, they remember. And they would keep files on high volume offenders. So, this is just a more pointed and efficient way. I think that Pierce County, in having a unit, just recognizes that there’s just a large number of those offenders in Pierce County. And this is the most efficient way to keep track of those large numbers, and know what to do when you have somebody that’s a high volume offender.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Well, as we went through the article and we talk here, it seems like there’s a department within a department, and it’s only focus is, of course, on these high offender statuses of the criminals. And what’s interesting is that there’s five prosecutors designated. That’s all the individuals that they focus on…this high offender unit. The interesting this is that they’re watching several thousand of repeat offenders. And when they prosecute them…that’s my question to you now…what’s the difference between their actions and, let’s say, everyone else in the criminal justice system.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Well, I think that the first thing, from our perspective…the criminal defense perspective, that you would notice when you are representing somebody that’s either being watched by this unit or being processed by this unit, is that the negotiation process is substantially different. The prosecutors are going to less willing to take into account potential mitigating circumstances and trying to resolve a case, and maybe less willing to resolve a case short of “plead guilty as charged” or go to trial. Their point being when you’ve got a high volume repeat offender…and that’s important, it’s not just one time before, two times before. Somebody who have continually shown they’re going to offend again and again. That they treat them differently when it comes what to do with them with any particular case. So, they take their history into account pretty significantly.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Well, you remember, California…three strikes and you’re out. It’s been around forever, and in reality, it’s not really three strikes. There’s a lot of felonies that aren’t actually strikes down there. But when you get three strikes, it’s a lifetime sentence. So, is it something similar here (Washington)? Where they’re going after it…is trying to take them off the streets forever?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“No. Not when you phrase it like that. It’s not forever. And Washington has three strikes rule also, and it’s very specific to certain types of felonies. There is a bunch of felonies…including some violent felonies….where it’s not a strikes case. But when you have somebody…and the system, by the way, is already built to try to handle repeat offenders. On felony cases, the state sentencing guidelines, the guidelines for a standard range of sentences, changes depending upon the number of past felonies you’ve had. But there’s a cap on when that changes. And usually when you’ve got an offender score higher than 10, the amount of felonies doesn’t really alter the score anymore.

But when you have a prosecutors office that is looking at high volume repeat offenders, they are now going to go for the high end of those sentence guideline ranges and maybe even try to get an exceptional upward past the high end of the range. It’s not like they’re going to be able to get a life sentence because the legislature dictates whether or not life sentence is available per the type of crime that it is, but it will enable the prosecutors to more forcefully lay down the hammer, essentially.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Okay. Can you explain…when you said a score of 10…explain how that scoring occurs?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“So, generally speaking, when you get convicted of a felony, here is Washington, you get an offender score point of one.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Just one.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Every felony…it counts as one. I say that generally because there’s these worksheets…that when you get charged and convicted of certain level crimes, sex crimes is a prime example, the way that the legislature has essentially created the math to calculate your prior offender score changes. So, it may be worth more than one point depending upon what your subsequent crimes are. But generally speaking, you’re going to get a felony offender score of one for every felony that you have committed and been convicted of.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“That’s a lot of felonies to get to 10. Obviously, doing the math, and it’s simple math. But that’s a lot of repeat offenders.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“It’s a lot of crimes, but also remember, you could be convicted of three felonies out of one incident. So, there’s that, but it is true that there are quite a few citizens that have offender scores greater than nine. It’s not that uncommon.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“So, this unit, again, it’s unique to Pierce County, which is quite interesting in and of itself. They have prosecutors solely designated for this group. They have investigators solely dedicated for this group. And they focus in on these several thousand inmates…not inmates…several thousand potential repeat offenders, and then they actually…actively, that’s that word here, watch several hundred. So, the question I have is…once you get on that, it almost sounds like it’s impossible to turn yourself around and ever say, “wait a minute, I have rehabilitated myself”.

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Well, that easiest way to do that is to stop committing crimes!”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Yes. Exactly!”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“I don’t know that I agree with that statement, but keep in mind…the prosecutors office, one of their main duties here is to protect the public. And treating high volume repeat offenders differently, and focusing on them, is part of that process. If somebody has committed a felony, and it was kind of a bad time in their life, and they just made a bad mistake, they’re not going to be a repeat offender. The systems going to treat them differently. To make sure the public is protected, than somebody who is repeatedly, over and over and over again, been found to have committed felonies. So, I think it’s a good thing that they create that separation.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“It makes sense. You read the headlines and the articles about somebody getting arrested-released, arrested-released, arrested-released, I mean seriously, it just goes on and on.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Yeah, and one of the…I think from the criminal defense standpoint, one of the purpose from the criminal defense attorney is going to be…to make sure that process is not abused. That that doesn’t result in harassment against somebody just because they have a past. I’m not saying that this prosecutor’s office is doing that, I’m not saying that at all. But one of the things from our standpoint is always going to be making sure that whatever protocols and whatever standards that this prosecutor’s office has for this unit are utilized fairly and pursuant to the Constitution.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Right, I get that. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your perspective on this, and we’ll talk again.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Thank you.”


Born and raised in Colorado, Mr. Freeman stayed in the Pacific Northwest after graduating cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in 1995, at which time he was awarded the National Order of Barristers by the National Board of Governors. After gaining extensive trial experience as a prosecutor for the City of Tacoma, Mr. Freeman worked locally for several small law firms focused on personal injury and criminal defense. In 2000, he began to work at a downtown Seattle law firm, where he worked with some of the best lawyers in the nation. During the better part of the next six years, Mr. Freeman was blessed to do work for one of the largest national television providers litigating matters involving the theft of encrypted satellite signals. During this time, he worked closely with corporate counsel and assisted in developing and managing a national litigation campaign. He appeared in federal courts throughout the nation, gaining extensive experience in both federal court litigation and the pursuit of intellectual property thieves attempting to hide on the Internet.

In late 2005, Mr. Freeman decided to open a practice in Tacoma, where his family was growing. Mr. Freeman’s connections locally and nationally nourished his practice over time. He has served the local community as well as handling cases in federal courts across the country. Locally, Mr. Freeman has assisted local businesses in such matters as contentious shareholder disputes and individuals in matters ranging from catastrophic injuries to class A felonies as well as lawsuits against insurance companies for bad faith claims practices. He tried a Whatcom County Superior Court case for a bail bond company that resulted in the first appellate law in Washington truly outlining the rights of fugitive recovery agents. He has tried cases in many counties throughout the State of Washington, argued before the Court of Appeals Division I and Division II and the Washington State Supreme Court.

Mr. Freeman’s practice has taken him beyond Washington State, where he has handled cases for national Internet multi-media companies enforcing copyrights in states such as Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and California. In those cases, he has successfully argued for jurisdiction in the United States against individuals that reside in other countries. Mr. Freeman also represented a publisher against sheriffs regarding First Amendment Rights to distribute a magazine in county jails, resulting in arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the first case law of its kind. He has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals five times and submitted a briefing to the United States Supreme Court.

On more than several occasions, Mr. Freeman has been retained by parties on the near eve of a trial solely for purpose of being lead trial counsel. One such successful case was against the U.S. Department of Justice in their first trial attempting to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act for the actions of independent contractors.

Mr. Freeman’s passion and strength lay in front of a jury. He finds a beautiful balance between fact witnesses, statutes, case law, rules of evidence, and the different contexts of each jury. Most cases find a resolution before trial, but the best resolution occurs when counsel is prepared to try the case. And, when a case cannot find resolution, Mr. Freeman loves to go to work.

Contact Attorney:

Phone: 253-383-4500
Freeman Law Firm, Inc. is one of the most reputable and reliable attorney enterprises with two locations in Tacoma and Olympia, WA.

Industry Skills:

  • Litigation
  • Courts
  • Trials
  • Civil Litigation
  • Appeals
  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Research
  • Litigation Management
  • Depositions
  • Criminal Defense
  • Hearings
  • Negotiation
  • Legal Writing
  • Copyright Law
  • Licensing
  • Arbitration
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Legal Assistance

Tags:

You may also like

Scroll to Top