Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prosecutors and Prostitots

Some scary stuff happened in the Denver area recently:
Residents were alarmed last summer by a rash of thefts, trespasses and burglaries in Stonegate, a neighborhood in Douglas County.

Fear turned to panic in July after an intruder reportedly climbed into a second- story window and groped an 8-year-old girl in her bed.

A sicko was on the loose and pressure was on to catch him.

And they got a suspect:
A week later, Sheriff David Weaver announced that his office had made an arrest.

What Weaver didn't say is that the suspect, Tyler Sanchez, a thin 19-year-old redhead, looks nothing like the 40ish, stockier, brown-haired intruder described by the victim.

What the sheriff left out is that Sanchez has serious cognitive delays.

What the news release failed to mention was that investigators' only evidence against him is a short statement that seems to repeat what Sanchez was told about the crime during 17 hours of interrogation by detectives who didn't seem to catch that he's mentally disabled and hearing impaired.

Like responsible investigators, they decided to run a DNA test. It didn't match. So prosecutors were left with two theories:

1) A bare bones confession by a mentally disabled 19-year old who looks nothing like witness reports maybe isn't reliable, and they've got the wrong man, or

2) Have you seen the clothes young girls are wearing these days?
District Attorney Carol Chambers' office should have dropped the case when the state released its DNA report in November. Instead, the 18th Judicial District official keeps pressing charges because she says the results don't prove anything.

"With the low-cut jeans that girls wear, she could have picked up anyone's DNA off any surface her panties touched while they may have been riding up above her pants. I hate those low-cut pants," Chambers said Friday, swear to God.

"Depending on how long she had been wearing those panties and where, they could have rubbed up against the back of her chair at school, a restaurant, the couch at home that someone else had been sitting on, a bus seat, someone's toilet seat if she did not pull them down far enough — there are many ways to get unknown DNA on clothing. Another kid could have snapped the elastic on her underwear — kids do that sort of thing."

You have to admit: the latter is way less embarrassing for the prosecutor cooler.

Via the Agitator.


joe said...

I can't defend that interrogation, but eyewitness testimony is not exactly infallible. Neither is DNA evidence, CSI aside.

None of this is to say they've got the right guy, because how would I know?

David Schraub said...

Eyewitness testimony isn't infallible, but usually more in the "I can't tell two black guys apart", not "thin white 19 year old redhead, stocky white 40 year old brown haired guy -- whatevs".

joe said...

That's true as far as it goes, but memory's a tricky thing.