Aspen cop kicker could withdraw guilty plea
Landin Smith should already be in prison serving a minimum of four years for assaulting two Aspen police officers.
The 51-year-old chronic thorn in the side of area law enforcement was on the verge of being sentenced earlier this month after pleading guilty in February to two counts of felony assault on a police officer when he decided to fire his public defender. District Judge Chris Seldin appointed an alternate lawyer, but she had to recuse herself because of a public defender.
On Monday, Smith appeared with his third lawyer in a month, Garth McCarty of Glenwood Springs, who said he thinks Smith wants to withdraw his February plea. If that happens, his two cases will revert back to square one in the legal system.
Smith has already spent three years in prison for kicking a police officer in 2009 at Koch Lumber Park. A month after he was released from that stint, he kicked an officer again and was later sentenced to six months in jail.
Then in February 2015, Aspen police Sgt. Dan Davis was taking Smith to a detox facility after finding him drunk in the East Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall. At the time, Davis hadn’t put Smith in handcuffs and allowed him to ride in the front of his patrol car because Smith was calm.
However, Smith became verbally abusive on the way to the detox unit and challenged the officer to a fight. When Davis made a U-turn to take Smith to jail, Smith tried to jump out of the car, forcing Davis to grab Smith with his right hand while attempting to steer the car with his left.
Davis was able to avoid traffic and stop the car, but Smith punched him in the face and fought with him until other law enforcement personnel arrived on the scene and arrested him.
Smith has been in jail awaiting trial in that case for more than a year, though he managed to post bond in December. Hours later, however, officers arrested him again when he was found drunk at the Aspen Homeless Shelter at St. Mary Catholic Church, which violated his terms of release.
After officers finally managed to get him to the jail despite numerous obscenities, threats and uncooperative behavior, Smith kicked Aspen Officer Terry Leitch in the leg.
When he entered his guilty pleas to the two assault charges in February, Smith told Judge Seldin he’d been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. However, both he and his then-lawyer said Smith understood what he was doing and Seldin accepted his plea.
At that time, Smith said he had no memory of attacking the two officers, “but it did happen and it was us that did it.” He faced between four and 10 years in prison for those pleas.
Smith has now pleaded guilty twice to the assault charge involving Davis, and withdrawn his plea twice. The first time occurred after he received the second assault charge related to the incident with Leitch in December.
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