10th Circuit rules against officers who allegedly procured false confession from mentally disabled man

The Tenth Circuit has affirmed a trial court’s denial of qualified immunity to several Colorado police officers, who are being sued for allegedly using a confession they knew to be false to charge plaintiff Tyler Sanchez, a man with cognitive and developmental disabilities, with burglary and the sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl.

The Court held that Sanchez adequately pled the claim, because his complaint alleged that the officers knew that the victim’s description of her attacker was strikingly different from Sanchez; that Sanchez was unable to give them any details of the supposed crime; and that Sanchez had given details that the officers knew to be false.

The opinion is Sanchez v. Hartley, written by Judge Bacharach.

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