Jurors side with Douglas County sheriff detectives in malicious prosecution suit

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DENVER  | Jurors have sided with two Colorado detectives in a lawsuit filed by a man claiming they ignored his disabilities during hours of questioning that led him to falsely confess to sexually assaulting a young girl.

Attorneys for Tyler Sanchez were unable to convince jurors that the two Douglas County Sheriff’s Office detectives maliciously prosecuted him for the young girl’s assault. Jurors deliberated for about a day before ruling Friday in favor of the detectives, Heather Mykes and Mike Duffy.

A malicious prosecution claim required Sanchez’s attorneys to convince jurors that the detectives intentionally caused Sanchez’s jailing or prosecution despite a lack of probable cause.

Sanchez was seeking unspecified financial damages. The lawsuit said he was arrested in 2009 and lived in fear for three years until prosecutors dropped the charges. According to the suit, Sanchez had a “language disorder, borderline intellectual functioning, auditory processing deficits, social anxiety, submissive personality characteristics, and hearing impairment.”

The detectives’ attorneys, though, argued that several psychiatrists reached different conclusions about Sanchez’s mental state.

“This was a very complex case and many people jumped to conclusions that they held to firmly,” said Kelly Dunnaway, the deputy county attorney who represented the detectives. “But when the actual facts were presented to the jury, they were not beholden to any prior conclusion or opinions – just the facts.”