Judge to mull special prosecutor in Hecht case

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

While a district court judge denied a motion to appoint a special prosecutor in the domestic-violence case against a prominent Aspen developer, a Pitkin County Court judge will allow lawyers to argue the question at a hearing later this month.

District Judge Denise Lynch on Wednesday denied a petition filed by the alleged victim in the domestic-violence case against Nikos Hecht to appoint the special prosecutor and compel District Attorney Sherry Caloia to come to court and explain why she hasn’t filed felony charges against Hecht.

A similar petition is still pending in Pitkin County Court, where Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely on Wednesday denied a motion filed by Caloia to dismiss the petition. On Thursday, Fernandez-Ely scheduled a Feb. 24 hearing to allow lawyers for the alleged victim and Caloia to argue about the appointment of a special prosecutor in the case.

Hecht is currently charged with assault, harassment and menacing — all misdemeanors — in connection with an incident that occurred at his home in late July between him and his former girlfriend. Those charges are pending, though prosecutors have acknowledged offering a plea deal in the case.

David Bovino, attorney for the alleged victim in the case, has argued in court filings that Caloia hasn’t filed felony charges against Hecht because she’s biased in favor of a prominent Aspen family. He said the felony charges are applicable in the case because of the level of violence involved.

Bovino also has claimed that, contrary to evidence, Caloia hasn’t properly investigated Hecht for contacting the alleged victim in violation of his bond conditions.

Lynch denied the alleged victim’s petition in district court because the District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case, according to Lynch’s order. Because there is no “refusal to prosecute,” Lynch said Caloia did not have to appear before the court.

Lynch also said she had no authority to order Caloia to investigate the case. The only related remedy would come into play if the district attorney declined to criminally charge someone, not if the district attorney refuses to investigate criminal allegations, according to Lynch’s order.

Finally, Lynch denied the request for a special prosecutor because she declined to order a prosecution of the felony charges, the order states.

Hecht also has chimed in on the petitions, saying that Bovino and the victim are only interested in fleecing Hecht for millions of dollars.