On September 15, The News Tribune published this excellent article, which explained:
“Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist faces a possible disciplinary hearing that could lead to the suspension of his license to practice law and threaten his ability to continue to serve in elected office. The Sept. 8 recommendation from the Washington State Bar Association’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel qualifies as one of the biggest bombshells in Lindquist’s turbulent seven years in office: a rare case of the bar association considering sanctions against an elected prosecutor.”
The state bar’s recommendation is a response to Lindquist’s decision to appear on Nancy Grace’s television show to discuss the case of Skylar Nemetz, who was in the midst of trial at the time. Lindquist and seven of his staffers have faced 11 bar complaints since 2014.
The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s troubled tenure has been a regular source of content for our website. In 2015, a three-decade veteran of the office filed a whistleblower complaint with the county and state governments that raised concerns about unethical practices. Later that year, the Pierce County Human Resources Commission published a damning report, which we explained “portray[ed] a prosecutor’s office riven with ethics violations and run on a system of retaliation against employees and defense attorneys who dare to criticize the district attorney.” Given this backdrop, it is not surprising that Pierce County “leads the state in convictions overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct” in recent years.
This latest development is a reminder that meaningful scrutiny of DAs’ offices must be ongoing to be effective. While professional disciplinary proceedings often produce underwhelming results, they also tend to help raise public awareness, particularly when there is excellent local media coverage, as there has been in this instance. And, history suggests that Lindquist may be more sensitive to negative media coverage than any other prosecutor in the country.