West Seattle Crime Watch: More charges for Nicholas Broughton, now out; judge refuses to raise bail

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two more charges have been filed against 32-year-old Nicholas Broughton (right), the repeat offender arrested one month ago after stealing an SUV in Tacoma, getting detected by LoJack here in West Seattle – drawing the Guardian One helicopter (whose crew published video of the incident) – crashing the SUV through a fence, and breaking into a relative’s home.

By the time the new charges were filed, Broughton had been out of jail a week and a half, and while prosecutors asked the court to reinstate a higher bail, a judge told them no.

We discovered all this while making a routine check of the case’s status, via online court files; here’s what we found:

Two counts of identity theft were added last Wednesday to the three other charges Broughton already faces – possession of a stolen vehicle, hit and run, and first-degree criminal trespass. That’s the same day he was set to be arraigned on the previous charges; the documents show prosecutors asked the court that day to increase Broughton’s bail back to $100,000, where it was set shortly after his arrest, then reduced to $25,000 on February 5th by Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer. The jail register shows Broughton got out on bail February 16th.

According to the documents, though prosecutors on Wednesday (February 26th) pointed out Broughton’s lengthy criminal history and multiple previous warrants for “failure to appear,” Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi rejected the request to raise Broughton’s bail, and he remains out. (Broughton was present for the hearing, the record shows.)

The new charges, according to court documents, stem from thousands of dollars in fraud involving credit cards and checks stolen in at least two incidents – one in West Seattle in December, one in January that happened two weeks before his arrest following the stolen-truck incident.

The fraud was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, and traces the investigation to Broughton having been arrested in mid-January at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, allegedly trying to use a forged driver’s license. The investigation report, included with the documents adding the identity-theft charges to Broughton’s case, says:

Subsequent investigation by Auburn police located multiple fraudulent and stolen items to include (three) fake Washington temporary driver’s licenses, credit cards, checks, and lists of social security numbers, names, and other financial information.

The document goes on to list the names of three victims, at least one of whom is a West Seattle resident who told investigators that he had been the victim of a car prowl and the stolen items had resulted in more than $10,000 of fraud. The document also says that when arrested, Broughton was in possession of meth, heroin, speed, and oxycodone. And it says he confessed to that possession as well as the fraud allegations when interviewed by Secret Service agents at the South King County SCORE jail.

Less than a week later, the agent’s narrative continues, a woman identified as Broughton’s girlfriend was arrested “for passing counterfeit checks and using counterfeit ID’s” – related to two of the same three victims whose items were listed in Broughton’s case. One card, belonging to the West Seattle victim’s wife, was used at Victoria’s Secret and the Apple Store in University Village and a Nordstrom’s store in Tacoma. The day after her January 22nd arrest, the document says, she and Broughton “voluntarily came to the Secret Service office in Seattle to further discuss the investigation.” (That is the only indication we have of how soon Broughton was released from jail following the casino arrest; SCORE Jail online records are not as detailed as those for the county’s main jails in Seattle and Kent.)

Broughton is quoted as acknowledging he bought more than $4,300 in merchandise at a Sears store in Tacoma – almost half of that spent on a $2,100 TV – and that he “resold the items for US currency on Craigslist.”

When the original charges were filed against Broughton – who is described as having an alias, Jason Draper – those court documents called him an “11-time felon.” We obtained the photo above from the state Department of Corrections, the only law-enforcement agency that will routinely provide mugshots to media by request, though these types of photos are only in their files if the suspect/defendant has served time in the state prison system.

Broughton is scheduled to return to court for a case-setting hearing on March 12th. We haven’t been able to determine from court records if charges were filed against the aforementioned girlfriend. The document written by the Secret Service agent noted they were “still continuing to receive new reports” related to her and Broughton, who is mentioned as also using an alias, Jason Draper.

23 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: More charges for Nicholas Broughton, now out; judge refuses to raise bail"

  • Gene March 2, 2014 (10:10 am)

    Remember these judges names- Catherine Shaffer- who reduced this guys bail- and Patrick Oishi – who refused to raise the bail. Write their names down & remember them when they are on the next ballot.

  • Marty March 2, 2014 (10:46 am)

    Rotten Broughton!

    Reduced bail for a repeat offender with a long criminal history makes no sense. Let’s hope people remember this on Election Day.

  • ScubaFrog March 2, 2014 (10:49 am)

    You have got to be kidding me. Again!? How do judges like these get elected??

  • Diane March 2, 2014 (11:05 am)

    I’m embarrassed to say, I don’t know enough about how all judges get their jobs; are these particular judges elected or appointed?
    if voted, very good point to vote these judges OUT; remember their names
    is there any way for the public to file complaints when judges do something like this? I’m sure many in WS would like to protest these judges allowing this “11-time felon” with record of frequent “failure to appear” to freely be back out on our streets while awaiting trial

    • WSB March 2, 2014 (11:28 am)

      Superior Court Judges are elected, sometimes originally appointed if a judge has left before the end of her/his term. For example, Judge Shaffer was briefly an appointee in fall 2000, almost concurrent with her election, according to this news release from that year, which mentions she was a prosecutor before becoming a full-time judge:
      Judge Oishi’s biographical information says he was appointed in 2011 and then ran unopposed. http://judgeoishi.com/about – He too is listed as having a background including work as a prosecutor.
      I haven’t yet found any master list of when judges are elected and when their positions next go on the ballot … will look again later, have to move on to something else. Seems like it should be fairly easy to find on court websites …

  • WsBoB March 2, 2014 (11:16 am)

    Thank you WS Blog. This is what we need to know…

  • JanS March 2, 2014 (11:36 am)

    and a big problem…many of these judges run unopposed, so they can’t be voted out..

  • Diane March 2, 2014 (11:46 am)

    Thank you; I often get a bit stumped on the ballot when it gets to the judges section, and admittedly, usually leave til the last minute, and don’t even know how to research; this is a good lesson to pay more attention, and do homework on the judges early on, and advocate for the good ones; although, if they run unopposed, what to do?

  • flimflam March 2, 2014 (12:01 pm)

    wow. maybe these judges are worried about job security and want to be sure there are plenty of folks to appear (again and again) in their courtroom?

  • Junction Monkey March 2, 2014 (12:15 pm)

    I think the problem here is NOT the judges, but the jails – or lack of them. Everyone wants these guys in the pokie (including me), but no one wants to pay for it. Recall that a few years ago they were looking to sight a facility in WS – everyone went full scale NIMBY. People, as evidenced by comments on another matter, are not willing to pay taxes for PARKS, much less jails, and Odin-forbid they try to locate one here. Non-violent criminals – even repeat offenders – will most likely be out on bail because there is no room for them at the (crow bar) inn.

    • WSB March 2, 2014 (12:25 pm)

      Junction Monkey – The jail that was being sought was for misdemeanor defendants … in this case, these are felonies. The jail where Broughton was held after the January arrest, apparently just for a few days, SCORE, was built by communities in South King County. It wasn’t NIMBY that led to the jail not being built (with the sites under consideration including the one that later became repeated home of the encampment that called itself “Nickelsville”), it was a lack of need … we covered that whole process extensively, and the neighborhood advocates who worked extensively on the process uncovered information that the county later acknowledged was true – the space wasn’t needed. Couple more references:
      That is from 2010 (“glut of jail space”) but this, with the same info – plenty of space – is newer. I’m sorry I can’t find neutral stats on the county site itself right now; this is from just a quick search:

  • Elikapeka March 2, 2014 (12:25 pm)

    Junction Monkey is right.

    Judges have to prioritize. There’s not enough jail cells or supervision available. We don’t have adequate treatment facilities for addition and mental health issues, so those folks are thrown into the criminal justice system as well, which is ill-equipped to handle them. So non-violent offenders are almost always going to be granted bail. Not agreeing with it, it’s just reality until and unless we fund more facilities.

  • biankat March 2, 2014 (12:31 pm)

    Um, 12 strikes law?

  • miws March 2, 2014 (12:37 pm)

    Diane, don’t feel bad.


    I like to think of myself as a thoughtful Voter, and swear each time that I am going to research Judges up for (re)election, but never seem to get around to it. :-(


    And yeah, it’s not too encouraging when they run unopposed, and I often wonder if leaving the space blank, or doing a Write-In would do anything beyond having on record that “X” number of votes were received for that Position, as opposed to “Y” total number of Ballots being counted.



  • ScubaFrog March 2, 2014 (12:42 pm)

    Junction Monkey, we have the highest prison population on earth. And the recidivism rate is sky-high. Maybe we could release low-level drug offenders, and put violent, 11-time felons like Nicholas Broughton in their place.

    Further, I bet old Nicholas here has 3 strikeable offenses on his record, including the newest hit-and-run charge. People like him belong in prison forever. He’ll likely victimize many more people until his trial/plea bargain.

    We need new city and state prosecutors – committed to justice. And we clearly need new judges. Not more prisons.

  • Gene March 2, 2014 (1:14 pm)

    Folks- just get a sheet of paper- write the names of the names down when you read about cases like this- then next election- check the judges that are running against your list. Yes it’s frustrating if they’re running unopposed- but if not- you can make a more informed decision.

    Scubafrog- in this case prosecutors asked for higher bail – judge denied it.

  • Junction Monkey March 2, 2014 (1:20 pm)

    “Junction Monkey, we have the highest prison population on earth” QED.

    ScubaFrog – I agree on some points, but which “low level drug offenders”? The potheads? That population will dwindle in the jails hopefully, or the guys that constantly break in your home to support their meth or heroin jones? That’s the Broughtons of the world! There is a problem with throughput because of all the people awaiting trail and arraignment – from habitual drunks to wife beaters and beyond. ALSO – Broughton is an 11-time felon, but he has not been convicted for these current crimes. Any defense attorney will have him out on reasonable bail (constitutional right). The solution is FEWER CRIMINALS. Stop the War on Drugs – a total failure. Fund help for those addicts who really want to quit. Provide free drugs (good quality and all they want) for the people too weak to quit. Darwin will do the rest. All of that would be much less expensive than current process. Less crime, fewer criminals, jail space for violent crimes, tax money for infrastructure. My $.02

  • carole March 2, 2014 (5:20 pm)

    Judicial elections are every 4 yrs..I think the next one is 2016. BUT, if a judge is unopposed I believe the name doesn’t appear on the ballot. An appointed judge faces election @ the next genl election following appt.

  • carole March 2, 2014 (5:26 pm)

    Scubafrog, hit run is not a strike offense. Most of the things listed by wsb are not strikes. If he was facing a 3rd strike he’d be in jail. Strikes are rape, murder, high level of assault, crimes against person, not property.

  • wscommuter March 2, 2014 (11:16 pm)

    Yes, by all means. Let’s read one story and immediately decide that a judge who makes one particular decision that we – in our ignorance – decide we disagree with … and then let’s write down that judge’s name so that we can vote against judge for JUST THIS ONE DECISION.

    Heck – let’s make all our decisions this way … find just the one thing we disagree with that any elected official does and make our decision based on that. Very intelligent and very informed decision-making. Excellent – great citizenship folks. Truly admirable.

    Good god.

  • ScubaFrog March 2, 2014 (11:54 pm)

    wscommuter 11 felonies.

  • J March 3, 2014 (4:01 am)

    Alias “Draper”.
    Christopher Broughton, you’re no Don Draper!

  • Jane March 3, 2014 (11:57 am)

    Apparently some of you haven’t been making your lists. Just this one decision? I don’t think so. Judge Catherine Shaffer’s name comes up every time we hear about a criminal given absurdly low bail. That’s the person you want to vote out.

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