GLENWOOD SPRINGS - The alleged leader of a drug ring in Carbondale on Thursday saw his bond slashed to a 10th of what it was originally, in response to an appeal by his attorney to District Judge Denise Lynch's sense of fair play.
"The burden of a bond reduction hearing is not whether or not [the defendant] is guilty, but whether or not he will appear in court," said attorney Kathy Goudy, speaking on behalf of defendant Evance Grandberry of Carbondale.
The judge set Grandberry's bond at $30,000 in all, covering three cases against him.
Grandberry, 22, has been in jail since he was arrested on Dec. 12, 2012, along with more than a dozen others, mostly from Carbondale, accused of selling illicit drugs to undercover agents for TRIDENT (Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team) during a nine-month investigation.
He already won an earlier bond reduction in early January, when Garfield County Judge Jonathan Pototsky cut it nearly in half, from a high mark of $300,000 for three separate cases, down to $155,000.
The three cases, and the bond amounts attached to them before Thursday's decision, are:
• Multiple counts of selling cocaine and MDMA (also known as ecstasy) to TRIDENT agents ($100,000);
• Charges that he was selling prescription drugs, based on the discovery of loose Xanax prescription pills in a safe owned by Grandberry ($50,000);
• One count of violating the conditions of his probation from an earlier case ($5,000).
Goudy argued before Judge Lynch that there was no evidence Grandberry ever sold Xanax to anyone, including to a TRIDENT agent.
She also maintained that Grandberry has a prescription for the pills, although she was still waiting for records from a City Market pharmacy to support that contention.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Turner objected to Goudy's motion for bond reduction concerning the Xanax pills, noting that he had not seen any evidence of a prescription.
But the judge remarked that the amount of bond is not meant as punishment. Punishment, if warranted, comes after conviction, she said, and agreed to reduce the bond for the Xanax charges.
Regarding the main charges of dealing cocaine and MDMA, Goudy argued that TRIDENT agents allowed Grandberry to remain free for nine months while they finished their investigation into his activities and those of some 20 other suspects.
TRIDENT must not have considered Grandberry a threat to the community for those nine months, she said, and there is no evidence his behavior has become any more threatening since his arrest.
Goudy criticized TRIDENT's effort to characterize Grandberry as a "ringleader" in its press releases about the arrests, calling the statements "a creative writing exercise.
"It's a lot of innuendo, your honor," she told the judge. "There's a lot of fearmongering going on."
Judge Lynch cut Grandberry's bond amounts to $20,000 for the main charges stemming from the TRIDENT investigation; $5,000 for a charge that he was dealing Xanax; and $5,000 for a charge of violating the conditions of his probation from an earlier drug case.
At the end of the hearing, as he shuffled away in leg irons, Grandberry said clearly to the judge, "Thank you, your honor."
He is due in court again on March 4.