Attorneys say officials violated Lesyshen’s right to counsel
July 5, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The attorneys representing the Routt County woman accused of killing her 9-year-old son are accusing local officials of violating her right to confidential communications with her attorneys.
As punishment, public defenders M. Scott Troxell and Kiyomi Bolick want the three officials to each pay Lisa Lesyshen $1,000. In a motion filed June 27 with the 14th Judicial District, the three officials named are District Attorney Brett Barkey, Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle and Undersheriff Ray Birch. A judge has not ruled on the motion.
Barkey wrote in an email Friday that his office planned to file a formal response opposing the motion.
Lesyshen has been charged with first-degree murder. She is accused of shooting her only son, Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan, five times in the early hours of May 29 before shooting herself in the neck area. According to court documents, Lesyshen told her husband, Michael Kirlan, that she shot their only child because she wanted to hurt Kirlan. The couple lived together at their Stagecoach home but were in the process of separating. Kirlan awoke to the sound of gunshots that night but was not injured himself.
Since the incident, Lesyshen reportedly has been paralyzed and receiving treatment at Denver Health Medical Center. After being taken into the custody of the Routt County Sheriff's Office on May 31, she has been under constant guard. First, Sheriff's Office deputies were guarding her. Then, to save money, the Sheriff's Office hired a private security company.
In the motion, Lesyshen's attorneys wrote that they were able to visit privately with Lesyshen on several occasions, but that became "more difficult" after the private security company was hired. The public defenders learned about revised visitation procedures June 20.
"At that time Undersheriff Birch informed Ms. Bolick that a decision had been made to prohibit Ms. Lesyshen's attorneys from visiting with her privately, as he had ordered the private security detail to remain in the room for all visits, both with her medical staff and for any attorney visits," the motion states.
Birch said Friday that he made the decision after consulting with members of the District Attorney's Office. Birch said the security procedure was put in place after doctors wanted to transfer Lesyshen from a secure area at Denver Health back to a non-secure area for treatment.
He said private visitations were not allowed for a nine-day period.
"It was a very unique situation, one that we erred on the side of caution," Birch said.
Birch said private visitations with attorneys once again were allowed when Lesyshen was transferred to the secure area called the Correctional Care Medical Facility. According to the Denver Health website, the 20-bed facility is aimed toward treating inmates and is guarded by Denver County Sheriff's Office deputies.
Birch said that in the next couple of weeks, they would review whether Lesyshen can be moved from the Correctional Care Medical Facility at Denver Health. Even once she is released, Routt County would not be able to meet her medical needs, Birch said.
Once Lesyshen is well enough, the Sheriff's Office is arranging to have her held at the infirmary at the Denver Downtown Detention Center. That would cost $586 per day plus the cost of medications and supplies.
By comparison, it costs $52.50 per day to house a healthy inmate at the Routt County Jail.
Lesyshen still has not been advised by a judge of the charges against her. It is unclear whether some court proceeding could occur via video conference between Denver and the Routt County Justice Center. Birch said it also is possible that Lesyshen would have to be driven to Routt County for court.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com