Carter gets four more years for Aspen escape attempt |

Carter gets four more years for Aspen escape attempt

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – Despite his efforts to withdraw his guilty plea, and accusations that his defense attorney didn’t look out for his best interests and the prosecutor is a racist, Warren Carter was sentenced Monday to four more years in the Department of Corrections.

Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols’ sentencing of Carter, 46, was a result an incident last year in which bolted from the courthouse in Aspen following a three-year sentence that was handed down for a theft conviction.

In February, Carter agreed to a plea deal that would put him away for four years for the escape charge.

But Monday, he tried to withdraw his plea. Carter’s reasoning was three-fold. First, he contended his court-appointed attorney, Peter Rachesky, had a conflict of interest because he was in the courthouse at the time of his escape. Second, he contended Rachesky didn’t provide him an adequate defense. His third contention was that he should have been allowed to employ an affirmative defense, on the basis that he was intoxicated and high on drugs when he escaped.

Judge Nichols, however, said no conflict exited and that Carter, at the time of his February guilty plea, told the court that Rachesky had properly defended him. She also said an affirmative defense only works in such “intent” crimes as murder or fraud.

Upon learning he would be serving a mandatory four years for escape on top of the three years for the 2008 theft conviction, Carter lashed out at Assistant District Attorney Arnold Mordkin.

“This is racism at its best,” said Carter, who is black. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Mordkin later responded to Carter’s claim, saying that Carter is a habitual offender whom Mordkin could have tried to put behind bars for 48 years “for the rest of his life.”

“You’re a racist and you know it and I know it,” Carter said.

A deputy then restrained Carter by telling him to settle down.

More than two dozen separate cases had been filed against Carter in Colorado over the years – ranging from traffic offenses to felony forgery and burglary charges. He has been arrested or ticketed in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Garfield and Jefferson counties, data shows.

He was given 290 days credit for the time he served in the Pitkin County Jail.