UPDATE ON TYLER by Kimberlee West

Our 19-year-old son is autistic with a serious mental illness but never mind that. Those facts are not factors within the Department of Justice. Tyler was sentenced to 20 months to 15 years. The judge checked 20 months — the minimum. Ty has already served 544 days. He will be transferred from jail to Jackson, Michigan prison. Once there, he'll meet with a parole board who will decide if he serves five months or 13 months or more.

Ty plead guilty to the home invasion (sleeping on our neighbors sofa) and a CS3 (third degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan). There were no victim impact statements. None of the victims ever came to court. He will have five years of probation. He could come home in five months to one year and one month. He could be placed in a halfway house. There's no circuit court for mental health. There's no real treatment or help. There's lots of money involved and fines. Tyler had every reason to fight but dragging this out  could have added an extra year onto his sentence. It's exhausting when, as parents, we do our very best and it still isn't enough. We hope to God Ty survives prison. He's not a fighter. He's a sweet kid. 

The court gave us one hour notice, today, for Ty's plea. The prosecutor tried every trick including trying to renege on our deal of no more than 20 months for both cases. He tried giving Ty three more years. He tried to put Ty on the sex offender list. He was unsuccessful. We're thankful for our private attorney who stopped that with a statue and case law.  Even though the girl involved told the hospital nothing happened, our chances with the jury were slim. Juries usually don't vote "not guilty" for mentally ill people.

We need a law that says it's illegal to take advantage of a disabled, handicapped person. People used to understand what handicapped meant. Now it's politically incorrect and we call it an intellectual disability. Legally, this means someone knows better after 17 and can be charged like everyone else. Our attorney had a downs syndrome person sentenced to 10 years. This is what we've become. It's shameful. I've worked with kids with disabilities for over 35 years. They were born that way. Yet, for reasons beyond my understanding, the court doesn't recognize that. The burden should be on the prosecution to prove that disability was not a factor in committing a crime before the disabled person is charged with a crime. 

If my son were on drugs or alcohol, he'd get a break. If he were a vet, he'd get a break. 
If he were a violent offender, he'd most likely be released. The inmate, who beat Tyler up and knocked him out cold and then fired a gun at someone, was released from jail. Yet Ty's still there. 
He's simply seriously mentally ill. 

We haven't spoken to Ty since he left Muskegon. He's quarantined for 30 days. It's standard for entering Michigan prison. We have no way to contact him except by mail. We tried to put money on his phone and commissary accounts but were not allowed to do so.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to many of you. Thank you for writing letters, supporting us, and praying through Tyler's trial. We'd love to give bear hugs to every one of you who supported us. Your kindness is overwhelming. Please continue to pray for his safety and release.



See more stories about Tyler by Kimberlee West. Click in the Archives on the right hand side of the blog.

August 22, 2017 - Walk A Mile In Our Shoes
November 15, 2017 - Hope One Day We'll Have Real Choices
January 12, 2018 - The Failure of Kevin's Law