Dismissal sought in Aspen sexual contact case
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” A defense attorney is seeking to have a misdemeanor case against a 44-year-old Aspen man dismissed based on alleged governmental misconduct.
Public defender Stephen McCrohan made the claim in the course of a motions hearing in Pitkin County Court for Landin G. Smith. He faces one count of unlawful sexual contact for an alleged event with a minor.
The offense is punishable by up to 18 months in jail.
The two-day hearing ended Tuesday without a decision from Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely, who is expected to rule on whether to dismiss the misdemeanor count within a couple of weeks.
McCrohan claimed during the course of the hearing that police officers and the District Attorney’s Office in Aspen acted in an “outrageous manner” in the case.
The hearing, which began Friday, was heated at times with the defense and prosecution exchanging verbal volleys. At one point in the hearing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin accused McCrohan of “judge shopping.”
The term refers to an effort by an attorney to attempt to influence the assignment of a case to a certain judge.
McCrohan said he took offense to the claim adding, “We did ask to have this heard in District Court.”
Aspen police took Smith into custody on March 25 after Judge Fernandez-Ely signed a warrant for his arrest in the case. Smith was initially accused of felony unlawful sexual contact and contributing to the delinquency of a minor as well as the misdemeanor.
The District Attorney’s Office declined later to proceed with the felony counts. Instead, prosecutors filed a new case alleging four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The felony allegations carry a potential 24 years in prison, if convicted as charged. A preliminary hearing was held Monday in the felony case to determine if Smith stands trial.
Pitkin County District Court Judge James Boyd is expected to issue a finding in about two weeks. The minor was the same individual in each case with the incidents taking place in the vicinity of Rubey Park, Aspen’s downtown bus station.
Smith is being held on $10,000 bond in the Pitkin County jail.
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