Malicious Prosecutions and Negligent Law Enforcement Practices Buys Okanogan County a Civil Rights Lawsuit
SEATTLE, WA – It’s been over five years since James and Angela Faire were swept-up into a living nightmare. Not only have their reputations been irreparably damaged, their years of struggle against a Washington State justice system hell-bent on criminalizing them has left them traumatized, financially struggling, wary of police officers and government, and utterly desperate to reclaim the peace and health they had in their lives prior to being falsely labeled murderers. But that hasn’t stopped Washington State from abdicating their responsibility to resolve the Faires tort claim prudently and quickly. Instead, the state has forced the filing of the Faires’ civil rights lawsuit in federal district court on June 19, 2020 against Okanogan County for Malicious Prosecution and Negligent Law Enforcement Practices, which resulted in a multitude of civil rights violations.
For the Faires, these five years have been spent defending themselves, much like they did when they were viciously attacked on June 18, 2015 by an admitted, organized effort to detain, even kill them. Fortunately, in that moment, they escaped with their lives. Unfortunately, a woman, Debra Long, had been killed trying to keep them from escaping the violent assault the Faires endured at the hands of a man who was armed with a deadly weapon. That man, 300-plus-pound George Abrantes, was also injured as the Faires fled to safety.
It is this incident that triggered the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office to initially arrest James and Angela on murder charges. Okanogan County Sheriff Detective Kreg Sloan was the lead detective on the case. His elected-prosecutor brother, Karl Sloan, took-on James and Angela’s prosecutions on separate charges. James for murder and more. Angela for other charges. Both however, were forced to defend themselves for crimes they did not commit, and both were certainly vilified.
Okanogan County’s Negligent Law Enforcement Practices
From the beginning, the system wronged the Faires. Deputies relied solely on the questioning of one set of witnesses even after a non-biased witness, Boyd McPherson, came forward disputing their stories. Even their “forensics” and evidence collection practices were flawed.
Gregory Gilbertson of Gilbertson Investigations referred to Okanogan County’s investigation that led to the wrongful arrest and prosecution of James Faire and Angela Nobilis-Faire as “amateurish, incomplete and inept.” Gilbertson is an independent expert who was hired to assess the evidence.
The elected Okanogan County Sheriff, Frank Rogers was interviewed by KREM 2 News the night after the incident and went on the record, without any factually based evidence, stating James and Angela had been squatting and had killed a woman. He spoke in clear terms; they had done it. By vehemently maligning the Faires to the public and speaking in absolutes that they had committed the crimes, Sheriff Rogers tied the county to incredible liability if the county could not secure a conviction.
As a defendant in a criminal case you are supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty,” and you are to be portrayed that way. However, in Okanogan County it appears that guilt comes at a cursory glance, no proof needed. Even worse, they will attempt to make the charges stick, even if you are ultimately found to be innocent, like the Faires.
Evidence… What Evidence?
Being in charge of the investigation, Detective Sloan was responsible for making sure the evidence was collected and stored securely. In conversation with Gregory Gilbertson, however, Sloan admitted to not logging certain pieces into evidence.
Evidently, being a detective in Okanogan County means you can pick and choose the evidence you collect in order to make whoever you want look guilty. Detective Sloan’s efforts to ensure the Faires’ convictions could have very well crossed into outright destruction of evidence. According to Gilbertson’s Declaration he submitted to the court, Detective Sloan informed him and James Faire’s attorney that they had “done a ‘data dump’ of the cell phones of George Abrantes and Debra Long, and a ‘data dump’ of the IPad of Angela Faire, and that they had stored this data since June 2015 on the department’s computer. At no time did Detective Sloan indicate that the computer ‘had crashed’ or that the data had been lost.
“Detective Sloan further told us that [prosecutor] Karl Sloan was the person who had taken the cell phone of George Abrantes out of evidence, and that Karl Sloan was the person who had returned the cell phone to George Abrantes.”
This of course was prior to James Faire’s defense ever getting a chance to examine the device and evidence it contained.
This crucial piece of evidence became the center of much speculation when during sworn testimony, Detective Sloan changed the story he had given Gilbertson. He testified that he had downloaded the contents of George Abrantes’ phone onto his personal work laptop – not the department’s main computer – holding it from the defense for 30 months, and that he ultimately “lost” the phone contents to a “Russian ransomware attack.”
Apparently, being a detective in Okanogan County and having an elected prosecutor brother allows you to hide, destroy, deny and lie about evidence that could be used in the defense of someone you are trying to convict.
Being Lost in The System
James Faire suffered for months in the Okanogan jail. Several public defenders were appointed to represent him, yet all but the first one failed to file to be his attorney of record. This attorney, Nicholas Blount, left the public defender pool at the end of July 2015 – about a month after he had been assigned Faire’s case. The other appointed attorneys rarely even showed up in court for Faire’s hearings and none of them personally met with him. Technically, they were never legally representing Faire. For all intents and purposes, Faire had been abandoned by Okanogan County’s public defender’s office for the duration he required their services.
In total, James Faire spent eight months languishing in jail, six months without any real legal representation. Also, while jailed, Faire suffered medical issues without treatment, the effects of which he still suffers today.
After securing a private attorney, James Faire was able to secure a reduced bail. He would go on to be electronically monitored for an additional 8 months.
Okanogan County’s Malicious Prosecution
Prosecutors Karl Sloan, as a representative of Okanogan County, acted under color of state law to institute and continue the criminal prosecution of James and Angela Faire, even though “there was no probable cause to support the filing and continued prosecution of the charges against the Faires, particularly after the June 29, 2015 McPherson interview and interviews of other witnesses who confirmed that the Faires were surrounded with the intent to forcibly detain them after they lawfully entered the property.”
In fact, Prosecutor Sloan was given evidence of both James Faire and Angela Nobilis-Faire’s innocence. He refused to acknowledge that evidence and instead pushed forward with their prosecutions, thereby showing justice was not what Prosecutor Sloan was after at all.
With several editions of the US~Observer distributed throughout Okanogan County calling into question Sloan’s prosecution and underhanded tactics, public pressure mounted. Prosecutor Sloan resigned his elected position in the Summer of 2017.
Soon thereafter, Branden Platter, Karl Sloan’s assistant and personal pick for his replacement, was appointed by the County Commissioners as “Interim County Prosecutor.” In this role, Branden Platter continued the criminal prosecution of James and Angela Faire. Knowing just how hard it is to meet the benchmark of proof in a murder case, yet still needing a successful prosecution, Platter reduced the charges to Vehicular Homicide/Manslaughter and Vehicular Assault and continued the criminal prosecution of James Faire. These charges were easier to successfully prosecute and get convictions.
Platter also tried on multiple occasions to force Angela Nobilis-Faire into a plea agreement. She refused, ultimately forcing Platter to abandon his case against her. She had been forced to not only endure the wrongful imprisonment of her husband but suffered from several years of false prosecution herself.
On July 18, 2018, Okanogan Superior Court Judge Christopher Culp dismissed James Faire’s charges with prejudice and the criminal prosecution of James Faire ended. In his Conclusions of Law, Judge Culp wrote, “Dismissal is appropriate given the egregious nature of the cumulative misconduct. The cumulative effect of the government’s actions, or inaction, constitutes sufficient bad faith that dismissal is required.”
Branden Platter filed a notice of appeal on the judge’s ruling.
State Voluntarily Withdraws Appeal
While the appeal was pending, Branden Platter lost his election bid for his interim post largely due to the US~Observer’s constant publication of his continued false prosecution of James Faire. Okanogan County had elected a new Prosecuting Attorney, Arian Noma.
Prosecutor Noma found that he had a legal conflict preventing him from representing the County on the appeal and appointed Special Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tamara Hanlon from Yakima County to handle the Faire matter on appeal. After dragging the appeal out for months, Yakima County Prosecutor Joseph Brusic requested review of the appeal by the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (WAPA). The WAPA workgroup, led by Attorney Pamela Loginsky, filed a Voluntary Motion to Withdraw the Appeal within six business days of receiving the case, stating “the State is unlikely to succeed at trial in disproving Mr. Faire’s claim of self-defense.”
It literally took six days for Loginsky and her hand-picked independent panel of prosecutors to acknowledge there was no case against James Faire. From June 18, 2015 through July 9th, 2019 James Faire had been under the thumb of Washington’s Justice System.
The Damages Continue
James and Angela Faire have suffered and will continue to suffer the loss of enjoyment of life, pain, loss of liberty, mental anguish, mental injury, loss of dignity, loss of reputation and other injuries. Despite the court’s dismissal of all charges, media articles and videos disparaging the Faires remain on the internet arising out of the wrongful charges brought against them.
Breean Beggs, Attorney for the Faires, has attempted to mediate the claim for damages with Okanogan County. Okanogan County is represented by Attorney Paul Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick & Startzel P.S. and Assistant Attorney General Gregory Silvey of the State of Washington Attorney General’s Tort Division represents the State of Washington regarding the State’s liability.
Mediation day came on April 9th, resulting in the Faires and their attorneys being excused less than half way through the talks. According to US~Observer sources, Okanogan County came to the Mediation ready to settle the case, however Silvey was completely unprepared and/or unwilling to settle for the state.
The lawsuit, filed by attorneys Breean Beggs and Beth Dillon of the law office of Paukert & Troppmann, PLLC, seeks to recover costs and damages due to negligent law enforcement practices and malicious prosecution against James and Angela Faire in Okanogan County. The lawsuit names former County Prosecutors Karl Sloan and Branden Platter, former Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers and Okanogan County Sheriff’s Detective Kreg Sloan. All individuals have been sued in their professional and personal capacity. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages against Kreg Sloan to “deter similar misconduct in the future since his conduct was intentional, reckless and/or in wanton disregard” of Faire’s rights.
United States District Court Judge Thomas Zilly will preside over the matter of Faire v. Okanogan County, et al. According to court records, the attorneys currently anticipate an 8 day trial and that the case will be ready for trial by February 1, 2022.
Think about this legal maxim: “Justice delayed is justice denied”. It means that if legal redress or equitable relief to an injured party is available, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no remedy at all. As Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger noted in an address to the American Bar Association in 1970:
“A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching; that people come to believe the law – in the larger sense – cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets.”
Edward Snook, Editor-in-Chief of the US~Observer, spoke about the lawsuit, “It is absolutely imperative that Okanogan County and Washington State, and all those involved, be held accountable for this travesty of justice and the harm they brought to two upstanding citizens, who were themselves the victims of the initial crime.”
He went on issuing a stark warning, “If the parties aren’t punished accordingly, you better believe they will continue the practice, and you just might find yourselves in the crosshairs of a false prosecution. Only then will you realize how cruel, painful, and utterly life altering that process is, and no amount of money is too much when compensating those that face it.”
Editor’s Note: Anyone with information about provable corruption on the part of WA State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, WA State Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Silvey, former Okanogan Prosecutors Karl Sloan and Branden Platter, or Okanogan Deputy Sheriff Kreg Sloan are urged to contact Edward Snook at 541-474-7885 or at email@example.com. The US~Observer is especially interested in Okanogan County Prosecutor Arian Noma as we have received numerous complaints about actions he has taken as Prosecutor and his failure to keep campaign promises.
Remember, bad cops and corrupted prosecutors are the ruination of our criminal justice system. They are extremely expensive for all taxpayers and they, along with their fellow conspirators are a serious threat to all Americans.
This article was written by Ron Lee, Editor and Investigative Journalist – US~Observer.