DA challenges call for sanctions in Aspen drug case
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” The lead prosecutor in the case against suspected drug dealer Devin Schutter of Aspen shot down claims of alleged misconduct in the matter, claiming the defense is confused about the issue, according to a court filing.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin filed a motion in Pitkin County District Court that opposes proposed sanctions against him in the case.
Mordkin heads the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Aspen. He filed the motion late Friday afternoon.
The filing came in response to an April 10 motion by public defender Stephen McCrohan, who called for sanctions because of a number of remarks Mordkin made to the media. McCrohan represents Schutter.
One of the proposed sanctions calls for Mordkin to be removed as the prosecutor in the case. The other sanction would be the dismissal of all habitual counts against Schutter.
The habitual counts are related to Schutter’s prior felony convictions. Those convictions would also trigger enhanced sentencing guidelines should he be convicted in the drug case.
McCrohan claims the comments, which appeared in Aspen newspapers, would “make it very difficult if not impossible to seat a fair and impartial jury in Pitkin County.”
The issue is “properly raised only upon a motion for a change of venue,” Mordkin wrote. “No such motion has yet to be filed.”
Mordkin also denied the notion that the habitual counts should be dismissed in part because the defense “cites no authority for this proposition,” the motion states.
Schutter was arrested Feb. 20, 2008, at his mother’s house in Aspen. Police found Schutter and Elizabeth Klempf in his bedroom during the execution of a search warrant, according to court records.
The search allegedly turned up a number of drug-related items, including cocaine and products used to “cut,” weigh and package the material.
Klempf later pleaded guilty to cocaine possession. She received a year of probation and was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.
Schutter is accused of multiple felonies in connection with the arrest. The counts against him range from intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance (cocaine) to possession of a schedule II controlled substance.
The count for dealing cocaine carries a maximum penalty of 96 years in state prison. Schutter is to next appear in Pitkin County District Court on May 4.
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