Judge admonishes Aspen vagrant
December 1, 2011
ASPEN – A city judge Wednesday scorned an Aspen transient for ignoring court orders to complete community service and instead focusing his energies on alcohol consumption.
Judge Brooke Peterson’s remarks came after he found Jimmy Baldwin Jr., 32, guilty of trespassing at Aspen Valley Hospital on the morning of Oct. 27.
Peterson rendered his guilty verdict following a 20-minute trial, during which time a security worker at AVH said Baldwin was verbally abusive toward hospital staffers and tried to make himself a cup of coffee even though he was told the machine was broken. Baldwin said he and three other transients had gone to the hospital to support one of their friends who apparently had been stricken with hypothermia.
But Baldwin, testified hospital security official Robert Sewerd, refused to stay in the waiting room as he was told, and instead paced the hallways.
“I told him to leave and he got very verbal and vocal,” Sewerd said. “I asked him a minimum of two times to leave and he refused to leave.”
Sewerd said Baldwin smelled of alcohol as well.
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“How much did you have to drink?” Peterson later asked Baldwin.
“I only had probably a six-pack, and a dude dropped some beer on my head,” he said, explaining the reason for the scent.
Whatever the case, after Baldwin refused to leave Sewer called the police, who cited him with trespassing.
Baldwin told the judge that he didn’t want to stay in the waiting room because “I was just worried about something. That’s all. I was worried and nervous and walking down the hallway. … When he told me to leave I said I didn’t want to. He said he would call the cops and I said ‘fine’ and went outside and smoked a cigarette.”
Baldwin said he and the other transients didn’t come to the hospital until they heard one of their homeless friends – the one suffering from hypothermia – yelling for help. They happened to be near the hospital at the time.
“We were snowboarding across the street from the hospital,” he said.
“Where were you snowboarding?” the judge asked.
“Across from the hospital,” Baldwin repeated.
Peterson appeared a bit bewildered by Baldwin’s late-night, outdoor recreational pursuits, but moved onto to deliver his verdict, saying that “the fact was he was asked to leave the property where he wasn’t permitted and he didn’t.”
Before Peterson delivered Baldwin his sentence, city prosecutor Jim True told the judge that Baldwin had not completed 10 hours of community service he was instructed to perform from a previous conviction.
Baldwin said he had completed five of those hours, but has been working hard to earn money so he could “get out of the woods.”
“I’m just trying to get my work done,” Baldwin said. “It’s cold out there.”
Said Peterson: “I understand you want to get out of the woods and am supportive of that, but the worst thing you can do is blow me off. I will tell you I’m not happy you have money for alcohol. … Your drinking at night is not the priority on your list.”
Peterson ordered Baldwin to complete 15 hours of useful public service. He has 45 days from Wednesday to complete it.
Since Baldwin moved to the Aspen area in September, police have cited him at least five times, mostly for alleged alcohol-related transgressions.