Two years probation for Jacobson
January 18, 2016
Former Snowmass Village Town Councilman Chris Jacobson was sentenced to 10 days in jail and two years of probation Monday for drunken driving and tearing up a jail cell in the summer.
However, Jacobson — who received credit for the three days in jail he served when he was arrested — probably won't have to spend any of the remaining seven days behind bars.
That's because District Court Judge Denise Lynch authorized a program called "day reporting" for him, which means he must show up to the Pitkin County Jail each of those days and blow into a device that measures blood alcohol content. As long as he isn't under the influence, he can then leave, prosecutor Andrea Bryan said.
"He's been punished enough," Lynch said. "It sounds like Mr. Jacobson is trying to rebuild his life in Hotchkiss."
Jacobson, who now apparently bakes artisanal bread in Hotchkiss for a living, also will be monitored for sobriety during the two years of probation and must serve 48 hours of community service as part of his sentence. He previously pleaded guilty to DUI — his second — and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors. He was originally charged with felony criminal mischief for doing more than $13,000 damage to a cell at the jail. His first DUI was 32 years ago in New York.
"I guess I've lost a lot of stuff in the last two years," Jacobson told the judge, his voice breaking with emotion. "It would appear that my recollection of that evening is one of those things."
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Bryan told the judge that while Jacobson has taken his punishment seriously, he doesn't seem to have taken responsibility for his actions. Bryan quoted a statement Jacobson wrote to the court saying he only drank 21/2 beers over a four-hour period before he was pulled over at about 12:30 a.m. June 26.
However, Bryan said she checked jail records and found that nine hours after Jacobson was arrested, his blood alcohol content was still 0.089, which is above the legal driving limit of 0.08. Arnold Mordkin, Jacobson's lawyer, said that means Jacobson's blood alcohol content was 0.226 when he was pulled over on Brush Creek Road in Snomwass Village.
"He was incredibly intoxicated when he was pulled over," Bryan said.
Bryan said Jacobson wrote that he wasn't blaming anyone for his arrest, then went on to do exactly that. He claims that someone slipped something in his drink the night he was arrested because of the critical positions he took on the Base Village development in Snowmass Village, Bryan said.
Also, in addition to immediately becoming combative with law enforcement officials who arrested him and making profane statements about former District Judge Gail Nichols, Jacobson "was a danger to everyone on the road that night," Bryan said.
Bryan asked the judge to impose the two consecutive 30-day jail sentences recommended by the state probation department.
Mordkin, a former Aspen prosecutor, said he was surprised by that recommendation and urged the judge to impose the lighter sentence she eventually handed down.
"We don't put people in jail who've had good lives and committed an error," he said.
Mordkin also called Jacobson's case manager at Mind Springs Health, Roger Adams, to the witness stand Monday. Adams confirmed that Jacobson has been "an A student," who never missed an alcohol-monitoring test and never tested positive for alcohol or drugs.
Mordkin said Jacobon has lost the respect of his neighbors and his children, and lost his job as councilman when he was booted from office in the town's first-ever recall election. He said Jacobson "now bakes artisan bread in Paonia."
Jacobson was arrested after an officer saw his car weaving on Brush Creek Road. After he failed roadside sobriety tests, Jacobson was taken to jail and placed in a cell. The former town councilman then repeatedly banged on the cell door and windows, cussed out jail officers, peed on the floor, tore off pieces of the rubberized wall and damaged lights in the cell.
He paid $13,248.30 restitution for the damage at his plea hearing last month in Glenwood Springs.
After he was released from jail in late June, Jacobson inexplicably stopped attending Snowmass Village Town Council meetings, even though critical issues related to Base Village were on the agenda, which led to his recall.
On Monday, Jacobson explained his actions.
"I left for a different environment because I didn't think the community and the people I knew were very healthy for me anymore," he said. "I'd like to remove myself as soon as possible to what I think is a healthier environment.
"I really feel like I've been beneath the wheel a bit, for lack of a better term."
Jacobson declined to comment further after the hearing.