West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Nicholas Broughton’s bail back to $100,000 – in a new warrant

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

On this second consecutive day of Guardian One visits to West Seattle, you might remember a helicopter search near The Junction one night almost four months ago, when a stolen pickup truck was driven through a fence, and the suspected driver was found inside a nearby house where he used to live. The man arrested that night, 32-year-old Nicholas Broughton, was charged with hit-run, trespass, possession of a stolen vehicle – and got out of jail two weeks after his arrest, posting bond after his original $100,000 bail was cut to $25,000 by King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer.

Less than a month after that first arrest – as reported here – more charges were filed against Broughton in a separate case, alleged ID theft involving credit/debit cards stolen in car prowls (with at least one West Seattle victim). Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi denied prosecutors’ request to raise Broughton’s bail after those charges were filed, even though they told him about Broughton’s lengthy criminal history and record of failing to appear.

So now, three months after that second round of charges, we discovered via a routine check of online files that an arrest warrant is out for Broughton today because of … a failure to appear. Court records show he didn’t show up for a case-setting hearing yesterday. If and when he’s found – the bail amount will be that original $100,000, as approved yesterday by yet another Superior Court Judge, Jim Rogers. We’d assume 911 would want to hear about it if you see him – mention the warrant. (The photo above, originally shown in our March report, is from the state Corrections Department, taken during a previous prison stay by Broughton.)

29 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Nicholas Broughton's bail back to $100,000 - in a new warrant"

  • schwaggy May 22, 2014 (1:33 pm)

    Let’s start a wager. I say he’s caught doing something stupid by the end of the weekend.

    Also – Judge Catherine Shaffer – we’re on to you.

  • Mookie May 22, 2014 (1:53 pm)

    I’d like to show Hizzonner Patrick Oishi my “surprised face,” too.

  • JanS May 22, 2014 (1:56 pm)

    well, DUH !

  • PG May 22, 2014 (1:58 pm)

    I’ve starting keeping a watch list for next election.

    Let’s just hope she doesn’t run unopposed.

  • MrZach May 22, 2014 (2:05 pm)

    Nice editorial.

    It’s unfortunate we don’t get to read the case files presented to the judges who’ve worked these matters.

    Why isn’t the prosecutor’s name cited? If the blog is going to imply concern I would hope to see a degree of effort directed toward the district attorney responsible for the matter at hand, not just the officials elected to judge on those matters.

    • WSB May 22, 2014 (2:27 pm)

      Mr. Z, we don’t do editorials. We report. Nothing in this is an opinion; it’s all facts. But you can certainly verify it for yourself and get all the additional names you want by reading all the court documents via ECR Online – register for an account, pay 15 cents a page to download. This one is case #141004598.
      (Addendum, I did see an adverb that the headline absolutely didn’t need in the conveyance of facts, so I’ve removed it.)

  • Jeff May 22, 2014 (2:23 pm)

    Failure to appear. What a shock.

  • MH May 22, 2014 (2:59 pm)

    I’ve watched a lot of Dog the Bounty hunter in my spare time so I think I’ll spend my Memorial Day weekend putting that to use and tracking this dude down! Schwaggy what’s your over under that I catch him by Sunday night?

  • MrZach May 22, 2014 (3:23 pm)

    I should have used the term tabloid journalism: I wasn’t speaking the publishing of opinion but rather the distinct lack all information cited in the entire case file.

    Sure, it may be a Cliff’s notes blog summary, but any good summary should cover all of the story highlights: including the main characters.

    Why is there no mention of the prosecution?

    Two different judges acted in the same way – I don’t find this coincidence yet the structure of your article, the facts you selected to publish and the language used suggest otherwise. This point is echoed in your readers’ comments about the judges in the case.

  • Eric May 22, 2014 (3:41 pm)

    Quote: Less than a month after that first arrest – as reported here – more charges were filed against Broughton in a separate case, alleged ID theft involving credit/debit cards stolen in car prowls (with at least one West Seattle victim). Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi denied prosecutors’ request to raise Broughton’s bail after those charges were filed, even though they told him about Broughton’s lengthy criminal history and record of failing to appear.

    Eric: Wow. I would love to hear his “reasoning” for this. Oishi’s on my election list.

    Also, personally, I would love to see harsher sentences for ID theft, like a sizable mandatory minimum added on to regular theft sentencing.

  • I. Ponder May 22, 2014 (3:41 pm)

    It’d be interesting to know how actual law applies to these kinds of release of offenders. Is it possible the judges don’t have discretion? Elect all the new Hang-em Harry judges you want. If the law allows for release of objectionable offenders then I suppose they’ll continue to be released. I suppose you can eliminate defense attorneys and just take the dude out back.

  • ScubaFrog May 22, 2014 (4:45 pm)

    Gosh I’d have thought he’d certainly appear in court – I mean his background is such that he seems like such a trustworthy guy.

    But yeah, he should have been held without bail. And now he’ll likely horribly victimize many, many more people and end up in a chase again before he’s caught (I hope he doesn’t kill a police officer or innocent citizen in his next rampage).

    Shame on you Judge Catherine Shaffer. Shame on you Judge Patrick Oishi.

  • quiz May 22, 2014 (5:02 pm)

    @MrZach chill out. You don’t like how the WSB does it, don’t read it.

  • Paul May 22, 2014 (5:04 pm)

    I know you might be upset with this judge, but IMHO judges should be elected in the first place. When I moved to washington I was personally appalled to find out judges were elected. Judges should answer to the constitution, not the voters. Personally, I abstain from voting for judges.

    It is their job to understand the facts and apply the law. No offense TR, but three paragraphs are hardly the whole story.

    • WSB May 22, 2014 (5:21 pm)

      Constructive criticism is always appreciated. However, in journalism and other kinds of writing, the story stops somewhere; at some point you end the detail. We could add prosecutors. And defense lawyers. And police officers who investigated the case. And the witnesses who called the police. And more. Or, I could not even mention the judges, nor the backstory, and simply say, hey, there’s an arrest warrant out for this guy.
      We get criticism for being too short and for being too long. I recently spent more than a month and a half as the only journalist in the courtroom during the Lovett Chambers trial, aside from a couple scattered reports at the start and end of the trial, and wrote thousands of words about each court session. More often, we write short stories, like this one. Any story, whether short or long, could have more detail. The reporter stops somewhere.
      When possible, we make copious usage of links so that anyone who wants to explore for more detail can do so by jumping off to other places. In this case, like so many, I apologize, but there are no links aside from our earlier stories; nobody bothered to cover it past the initial incident. A couple other news outlets jumped in on it that night; we are the only ones who followed up beyond that. That’s what we do. I have a watch list of about two dozen cases at any given time that, along with everything else we are tracking, we check in on, every week or so, to see what’s happened. Takes time. Today, I happened to run through my list after noticing that the electronic court-records service will be offline from tomorrow until Memorial Day. When I got to this case, I noticed the FTA yesterday, and the warrant issuance, and thought, well, that’s a story. And here it is. It’s the best I could do before moving on. Sorry to disappoint some. – Tracy

  • Paul May 22, 2014 (5:36 pm)

    TR – you coverage was appropriate. My reaction was directed at the armchair judges. We don’t have all of the facts, even with a more detailed report I would have said the same.

  • JoAnne May 22, 2014 (5:48 pm)

    I appreciate anyone reporting at all on a small-time criminal whose presence in the community is not a “big” story journalistically.
    You don’t get a Pulitzer from covering guys like Broughton, but for those of us who live here, it’s important.
    The judge info is important to many as well. It can be quite difficult at election time to get any information at all about a judge, and every little bit helps.
    One last thing: the main thing people ask when they found out a criminal has been set loose to roam among us: Who let this guy out?/how did he get out of jail/why is he out?

  • West Seattle Hipster May 22, 2014 (6:13 pm)

    Thank you so much WSB for keeping our community well informed on who the criminals our in our neighborhoods are. These updates are extremely useful information. Knowledge truly is power.


    The cops seem to be doing a good job, too bad the judicial system can’t.

  • joel May 22, 2014 (6:43 pm)

    no money for transit, no money for parks, need money for free pre school…..but yet LOTS of money around to keep arresting this guy. glad our priorities are in order. how about keep this guy locked up and then take the money you would have spent re-arresting and charging/prosecuting/defending him and use that to pay for the buses?

  • Eric May 22, 2014 (6:58 pm)

    Tracy, you have nothing to be sorry about. The WSB is an outstanding way for us West Seattlites to see what is going on in our community. I for one completely appreciate your efforts!

  • Buddy May 22, 2014 (8:28 pm)

    Thank you for all you do WSB!
    You give us the important info/heads up in a few sentences or sometimes paragraphs, thus making it a web Log (quick notes is my take on the term) I could be wrong. The rest is up to us Blog readers to delve more deep if we want more info. Its actually pretty easy.

  • kumalavula May 22, 2014 (9:44 pm)

    the wsb ethics are impeccable and I appreciate the sensitivity to constructive criticism while weighing how long or short to make each story. you can’t please every all the time but it certainly seems as though you e gotten national as well as local kudos for the continuous work you do. i thank you!

  • J May 22, 2014 (10:37 pm)

    He’s staying at his sister’s house on 47th, where he hid out that night.

  • fiz May 23, 2014 (7:53 am)

    He caused immense damage to a WS family and business with that ID theft. He should be in prison. Now.

  • CandrewB May 23, 2014 (7:59 am)

    J, he wouldn’t be driving a white Escalade by chance, would he?

  • Jeff May 23, 2014 (8:26 am)

    I live right next door J, and I do not believe you are correct. I have not seen him once since that night, and he wasn’t exactly a low profile don’t make waves sort of neighbor before the incident.

  • carole May 23, 2014 (11:22 am)

    Next general election for all superior court judges is 2016. A good resource in an election year is http://www.votingforjudges.org

  • Hisbird May 24, 2014 (9:33 pm)

    Hey J – he is NOT living at his sisters as you stated so matter-of-fact. And shame on you for directing the attention of a warrant search (& blog fueled lynch mob) toward her residence without knowing the truth. You are seriously all vultures – and need to find hobbies. There’s no honor in your vigilante justice – and most of you sound like sociopaths when describing with venom all the ways you could do it better …

  • Sandy DuBuque May 25, 2014 (5:57 pm)

    I feel very terribly sorry for the victims of this young mans crimes. I also feel incredibly sorry for Mr. Broughton’s family who have always been very upstanding members of our West Seattle community. Shame on him for the embarrassment he has brought on his family.

Sorry, comment time is over.