Aspen bomb-threat defendant wants charges dismissed
ASPEN – The public defender for a man accused of calling in a bomb threat to a downtown Aspen nightclub has filed a motion lobbying for a dismissal of the charges.
The motion claims that the prosecution didn’t provide evidence in a timely manner to Tina Fang, the defense attorney for Asa Robinson. Some of that evidence, Fang’s motion contends, is exculpatory.
The motion also offers critical remarks about prosecutor Arnold Mordkin, who runs the Pitkin County branch of the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, claiming that over the years he has demonstrated a pattern of miscues over discovery issues.
“Mr. Mordkin will likely blame someone else for the violations in Mr. Robinson’s case,” Fang wrote. “However, the Court should make it clear that the blame rests with him and his office – alone. The only way the Court can be assured that the Court’s authority to enforce these rules will be respected is to dismiss this case.”
Fang filed the motion April 13. Last week, Mordkin declined to comment about Fang’s contentions. He said that this week he will file a formal response to the motion to dismiss.
Aspen police arrested Robinson, 30, of Glenwood Springs, on Nov. 22 on suspicion of calling in a bomb threat to Belly Up. Belly Up was forced to evacuate its sold-out crowd, composed of some 450 patrons, because of the threat. But the crowd was let back in after police found no signs of a bomb at the concert venue, where the band Zeds Dead was the headline act.
Police said that they traced the cell-phone number from which the call was made to Robinson’s name. Police also said Robinson initially was denied entry into Belly Up because it was sold out. When the patrons were told they could return to the club because there was no apparent threat of a bomb, Robinson was in line, where Officer Greggory Cole spotted him.
As Cole detained Robinson for questioning, the suspect struck the officer in the head, according to court testimony and records.
Robinson is charged with second-degree assault on a police officer, which carries a mandatory four years in state prison. He also faces felony offenses of false reporting of an explosive and assault on a police officer while in custody.
A trial is scheduled for Aug. 21. Robinson is in Pitkin County Jail on $25,000 bond.
Fang’s motion alleges that Mordkin did not turn over recorded statements that Robinson made to police until March 22, four months after his arrest.
“Once reviewed, counsel noted several important and exculpatory statements that were not included in Detective (Ian) MacAyeal’s (police) report,” the motion says. “First, the recording does not reflect that the detective read Mr. Robinson his Miranda warnings as his report suggests. Further, there is no Miranda form discovery to corroborate that. Second, Mr. Robinson makes highly exculpatory statements during that recording, none of which are in the detective’s report.”
Some of Robinson’s statements, made to MacAyeal during his interrogation, exonerate him from the police-officer assault allegations, the motion contends. Among them: “Next thing I know I am being tackled by the cops and I thought I was being jumped and the cop had his f—ing boot on the back of my head.” He later said that he believed he was being charged for “ah, resisting arrest, I don’t know specifically,” the motion says.
The motion maintains Robinson’s statements are exculpatory because in his own mind he did not actually assault a peace officer or remember assaulting one.
The motion also says that photographs of injuries to Robinson, which were administered by police officers, also were not provided to the defense in a timely manner.
“Those photographs depict exculpatory and mitigating information in that they show that Mr. Robinson sustained injuries at the hands of law enforcement,” the motion says. “These statements corroborate his statements that he was ‘jumped.’ … Since these photographs were discovered late, Mr. Robinson could not hire an expert to evaluate these injuries in person, or document those injuries more carefully with a defense investigator.
“That opportunity for him is forever lost. The playing field cannot be leveled in any meaningful way, short of dismissal.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, declaring that “democracy has prevailed” as he took the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherited a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.