Arrests highlight extradition quandary
ASPEN Aspen police recently picked up Jesse James Coleman, 22, on a California warrant for charges that included resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon. California, however, was just fine with leaving Coleman in Colorado. So the Pitkin County Jail released him soon after the arrest. Aspen police again arrested Coleman on Thursday morning on suspicion of stealing a $400 electric scooter. Coleman was released without bond after arrest. Police don’t know who owns the scooter.Catching fugitives is something the Aspen police do on a regular basis, and it’s especially common when those fugitives are transients. Just because police pick someone up on a warrant doesn’t always mean that a given district attorney will want that person back.
In fact, police on Sunday arrested a transient man wanted in Kansas for skipping out on probation from a lewd and lascivious behavior conviction. Shawn Michael Bedient, 37, had exposed himself to someone younger than 16 and was sentenced to community corrections in Douglas County, Kan., in November, according to court records.According to an affidavit from Douglas County, Bedient did not comply with numerous requirements of probation, including meeting with a probation officer, getting a job and not using drugs. Bedient was advised of his rights on Monday. Court records state that Bedient was worried about what would happen to his Chevrolet Camaro if he agreed to extradition to Kansas.
Bedient is due in court Aug. 6, when he will have representation of a public defender.”It costs us a lot of money to bring them back,” said Assistant District Attorney Gail Nichols. “The sheriff either has to fly or drive or pay a service.”Pitkin County regularly brings people back to Aspen to face charges or to go in front of a judge after skipping out on probation. If the fugitive signs a waiver of extradition, then it’s up to the state to come and get that person from the Pitkin County jail. However, if the fugitive fights the extradition, then Nichols said a prosecutor must get a warrant from the governor’s office.
“If we get the governor’s warrant within 90 days, he’s transported,” Nichols said. “It’s very easy, it’s just time-consuming.”The issue is one of those odd quirks of the justice system, whereby a jurisdiction can simply decide it’s not worth bringing a fugitive back. “We routinely do extradite,” Nichols said. “We don’t extradite for a minor case or when there doesn’t seem to be a reason to do it. With Jesse James, he got picked up, but when we notified California, they said ‘We don’t want him.'”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is email@example.com