Hot tub defendant questions plea deal |

Hot tub defendant questions plea deal

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” A routine plea hearing Tuesday in Pitkin County Court turned into a long and sometimes heated affair, largely because the defendant seemed confused about the deal offered by the prosecution.

Suzanne Nadia Gouda, 43, appeared before Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely to presumably affirm her misdemeanor plea agreement with prosecutors.

She was expected to plead guilty to obstruction of a police officer and be given a one-year deferred sentence for her role in an alleged trespassing incident at Chateau Roaring Fork condominiums in Aspen.

Gouda was arrested about 3:50 a.m. Jan. 11 with Matthew Rodney Elvey, 35, after they apparently became argumentative with police while being questioned at the condominium complex hot tubs.

“I apologize. I have some questions. I feel like I am being pressured into signing this,” Gouda told the judge as she sat at the defendant’s table with the plea offer in hand.

At that point, Deputy District Attorney Richard Nedlin told the judge he had spent about 45 minutes last week explaining the offer to Gouda. Nedlin said he also called in an investigator to document and witness the meeting to make sure there was no confusion.

In exchange for the plea the prosecution agreed to drop three other counts, including disorderly conduct and drug paraphernalia offenses.

“I explained everything,” Nedlin said.

Ely then went over with Gouda each of the details in the plea offer. Gouda then told the judge she wanted to confer with Elvey, who was also in court Tuesday for a related plea hearing.

After a discussion between the two defendants Elvey began peppering the judge with a number of questions about his plea deal. Elvey was expected to plead guilty to resisting arrest, and also be given a one-year deferred sentence for his role in the incident.

Sensing they weren’t making any headway, despite spending about 45 minutes talking about the offers, a new court date was set by the judge.

Both Gouda and Elvey were ordered back March 17.

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