Aspen bomb-threat charge sticks against Glenwood resident
ASPEN – A district judge upheld a felony bomb-threat charge against a Glenwood Springs man Monday in Pitkin County District Court but dismissed two counts related to assault on a police officer.
Judge Gail Nichols said that the Pitkin County District Attorney’s Office’s failure to release evidence in a timely manner to the Public Defender’s Office fueled her decision to drop the two charges: second-degree assault on a police officer, which carried a mandatory four years in state prison, and assault on a police officer while in custody. She issued a 26-page ruling Monday, as well.
With the judge’s ruling, the bomb-threat portion of the case against Asa Robinson, 30, can move forward. Aspen police arrested Robinson on Nov. 22 on suspicion of calling in a bomb threat to Belly Up after tracing the call to his cellphone number. The crowd was let back in after police found no signs of explosives at the venue.
Police detained and arrested Robinson while he was in line to get into the club, resulting in a scuffle between the suspect and an officer. One of the officers said Robinson struck him on the head as he was being detained for questioning.
In April, public defender Tina Fang filed a motion to dismiss all three of the felony charges, alleging that Mordkin did not turn over recorded statements that Robinson made to police until March 22, four months after his arrest.
The motion argued that Robinson’s statements were exculpatory because in his own mind he did not actually assault a peace officer or remember assaulting one.
The motion also said that photographs of injuries to Robinson, which were administered by police officers, also were not provided to the defense in a timely manner.
Additionally, Fang contended that the lag-time in the Robinson case supported an ongoing pattern by the Pitkin County prosecutor’s office of not providing evidence to defense attorneys in a timely manner.
Mordkin, meanwhile, filed a court motion admitting his office made mistakes in the Robinson case and other cases, mainly with turning over evidence, such as video of a police interrogation of Robinson. However, Mordkin contended his office took steps to rectify the problems and that, as a general rule, his office did not have the chronic pattern of discovery missteps that Fang alleged.
Additionally, Nichols said Monday that Mordkin’s office has “substantially improved its system to get information to them (defense attorneys).”
The judge said she “tossed and turned” over her decision, adding that “I hope this is the end.”
“I just want to resolve this and move on,” she said.
Robinson is due back in court June 4 for further proceedings.
Fang said she is open to negotiating a plea agreement for Robinson, to which Mordkin did not respond. Robinson has been in custody at Pitkin County Jail on $25,000 bond since his arrest.
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Pitkin County administrators are proposing a more than $142 million budget for 2020, which is about $6 million less than this year because of fewer construction projects and capital improvements.