29 Apr Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney Iris Eytan Interviewed by Law360 in Pro Bono Spotlight
April 29, 2019
Pro Bono Spotlight
In 2006, Eugene Zuniga was arrested in Colorado for stealing a bike and was declared unable to stand trial because of severe mental illness. But instead of being sent for treatment, he spent five months in a local jail without appropriate services, causing his mental state to deteriorate even further.
But even though Zuniga’s case attracted media attention and sparked a lawsuit that brought short-lived reforms, activists said that in the years since, not much has changed in Colorado for people with mental illness who have been charged with a crime. That might be changing, however, thanks in part to pro bono efforts by attorneys from Fox Rothschild, Snell & Wilmer
and several local Colorado firms.
In the latest development in a decade-long legal saga, the state of Colorado has agreed to a consent decree that would require it to provide evaluation and treatment to mentally ill criminal defendants within strict time frames or face up to $10 million in fines per year.