Basalt student, facing five felonies, put in detention center in Grand Junction
November 18, 2010
ASPEN – A 16-year-old Basalt High School student was transported to a juvenile detention facility in Grand Junction on Wednesday after police allegedly found a knife in his school locker.District Judge James Boyd ordered that the student be held in detention until his next scheduled court hearing on Dec. 6.The student was advised Wednesday that he faces five felony charges, and will be charged as a juvenile.Prosecutor Arnold Mordkin said he plans to file two class-five felony counts of forgery (writing checks), two class-six felony charges for possession of a forged instrument (checks), and one class-six felony count of unlawful carrying of a weapon on school grounds (a knife).The student faces maximum two-year sentences for each charge, if he’s convicted, in the state’s department of youth corrections. The student initially appeared in court Monday in Aspen for a hearing in front of Judge Gail Nichols, after he was arrested Friday on a warrant connected to another alleged crime. Nichols told him that he did not face detention so long as he behaved and cooperated with YouthZone, a program that works with troubled youths. But, according to Mordkin’s statements Wednesday in court, the student skipped a drug test Monday and proceeded to write at least two checks on accounts not in his name. “He was admonished Monday, and [Judge Nichols] said he would not be in custody if he made sure not to violate any laws,” Mordkin said. The student’s father, who attended the hearing, argued to Judge Boyd that the allegations against his son are misdirected. The knife police found, the father contended, is a family possession used to cut hay strings. The student simply forgot the knife was in his jacket when he went to school, the father said. “I understand the court might see it as [an illegal] weapon but the truth is it’s used for cutting hay,” he said. The father said he has been in daily communications with school officials and YouthZone, and his son has been focused on his school work. He also said his son did not refuse to take the drug test Monday. Instead, he simply “missed it” and subjected himself to a test Tuesday. On his three prior drug tests, the student tested positive for Ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine, according to testimony. “We’re basing things on information that is sketchy at best,” the father said when arguing that his son, who already faces a five-day expulsion from the school, be allowed to live with him while the son wears a monitoring brace on his ankle.The son currently lives with his father. His mother also attended the hearing.
Editor’s note: The Aspen Times does not print the name of juvenile defendants in criminal cases. Additionally, while juvenile hearings are typically open to the public, court filings for juveniles are kept under seal. firstname.lastname@example.org