Oregon wanted Boggie back.

Instead of just opening up the prison doors for Clarence G. Boggie, the Oregon parole board wanted Washington to drive him down to the Columbia River and hand him over to Oregon authorities. Since over a decade earlier, Boggie had been serving a life sentence for a murder he didn’t commit.

I’m not telling this story well. This really does deserve a better telling than I’m giving it here. I suppose this is the double edged sword of coming up with a holiday topical post. I didn’t get to it until too late into the season, and now I am too distracted to really put my heart into it.

Not that Boggie wasn’t the cleanest of men. He had committed crimes in Oregon, and on the day after he release from prison in 1948 (pardoned by Washington’s governor after a Seattle Times investigation) Oregon wanted him back.

Washington’s Warden Tom Smith:

“if they want Boggie,” (Oregon officials) should have followed regular procedure and had “someone waiting for him as he walked through the gates instead of just “pooping off” on Christmas Eve.”

I mean, this story is insane. He was in jail for over a decade, and he was just rotting there. It was the Seattle Times that really sprung him. Over three days they laid out an evidence of his innocence. It was so strong, the state literally threw the doors open to him.

Attorney General Smith Troy (Olympia’s own):

It would be a tragedy not to give Boggie a chance now. I hope Oregon officials will straighten out the technicalities involved and give Boggie a chance to be rehabilitated.

Boggie had been caught up in the historic context of Spokane in the 1930s. Officially, the capitol of the Inland Empire was not a fun place. It was extremely corrupt. Moritz Peterson was beat to death in 1933, and two years later, based on shaky testimony from witnesses, he was convicted.

Among other angles on this story, the Seattle vs. Spokane angle, the Blethens of the Seattle Times taking on their eastern neighbors, is really interesting to me. If I had the time. 


I’ll be honest. I was shopping around for a Christmas post and happened upon this. Literally I was searching “Smith Troy” and Christmas, hoping to find some episode that showed Troy (my favorite politician of all time) in some festive light. 


I even mistook the warden Smith’s quote above with Smith Troy’s. Boggie deserves much better than some dumb Smith Troy angle.

Oregon never got him back. At least behind bars. Boggie died in Lebanon in 1949.