The family of the young man that my sister, Iris Eytan, successfully defended after being falsely accused and coerced by police to confess to a crime he did not commit, is on The Front Page of The Denver Post today.
The young man, Tyler Sanchez, has an established learning disability and clear record of impairment, confirmed by multiple court-ordered evaluations.The story of his family over the last 3 years is not a happy one, in the face of a justice system that did not recognize his limitations for 3 years.
For nearly three years, the family flinched at passing police cars, rearranged their lives to accommodate dozens of court dates, drained bank accounts and lived in fear that Sanchez would spend his life in prison.
Defense attorney Iris Eytan pointed out that it was evident from court proceedings that her client had a difficult time grasping abstract legal concepts and that school records dating back to first grade documented his impairment.
Court-ordered evaluations later revealed that Tyler Sanchez’s intellectual and hearing impairments, coupled with an anxiety disorder that flares up around authority figures, made it easy to put words in his mouth. It also made it impossible for him to competently waive his Miranda rights.
From the perspective of a physician, when I see Tyler’s motionless face on the Colorado News 9 story from last week, it seems almost unfathomable that a person already so vulnerable in the health system is so unprotected in our social systems. And yet they are.
Something to think about as we discuss social determinants.
Even though she’s going to give me a hard time for posting this, I have to say, I’m proud of you for helping the people of Colorado be healthy, sis!