Chris Jacobson pleads to misdemeanors

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times
Chris Jacobson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Former Snowmass Village Town Councilman Chris Jacobson pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal mischief and drunken driving.

Jacobson, 50, entered the pleas to the two misdemeanor charges after handing over a check for more than $13,000 to cover the damage he did to a Pitkin County Jail cell after his DUI arrest in late June. Paying the restitution upfront was a condition of the plea agreement.

Jacobson was initially charged with felony criminal mischief for the jail damage, though the plea deal lowered that count to a misdemeanor. The drunken driving charge — also a misdemeanor — will go down as Jacobson’s second DUI. His first occurred in Ithaca, New York, in 1985, according to court documents.

He will have to serve a mandatory 10 days in jail for the second DUI and possibly up to a year. He also will have to put in a minimum of 48 hours of community service and spend the next two years on probation for that charge. Jacobson faces as many as 18 months in jail for the criminal mischief plea.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in Aspen on Jan. 11.

Jacobson was arrested June 26 after a police officer saw his vehicle weaving on Brush Creek Road in Snowmass Village. He declined to take a breath test.

After he was transported to the Pitkin County Jail and placed in a cell, Jacobson peed on the floor, repeatedly banged on the cell door and windows, cussed out jail officers and eventually had to be forcibly restrained in a chair. In addition, he tore off pieces of the cell’s rubber wall, exposed electrical wiring and damaged lights in the cell.

The total cost to repair that damage was $13,248.30, which was the amount of the check Jacobson handed over to District Judge Denise Lynch on Wednesday morning in Glenwood Springs. However, the former councilman is actually on the hook for $13,700 because of interest and will be required to pay the difference, said Deputy District Attorney Anne Norrdin.

On Wednesday, Jacobson’s attorney, Arnold Mordkin, asked Lynch to allow his client to halt the sobriety monitoring urine tests he has been forced to take since his arrest. The judge noted during Wednesday’s proceedings that Jacobson has done well on the monitoring program.

Jacobson told the judge he lives in Paonia and because his license has been revoked, he must ride his bike 13 miles to Hotchkiss to submit to the urine tests. The situation worked in the summer and fall when the weather was decent, but now he has found himself riding his bike in the dark and sometimes snow, he said.

“It’s been workable, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult,” Jacobson said.

Lynch agreed that the situation could now be dangerous for him, though she declined to end the sobriety monitoring. Instead, she allowed Jacobson’s Aspen-based case manager to be flexible in ordering the tests depending on the weather situation.

After his arrest in June, Jacobson stopped attending Snowmass Village Town Council meetings. Voters recalled him in October in the first-ever recall election in Snowmass Village history.