Judge upholds Aspen grand jury indictment
July 13, 2010
ASPEN – A judge ruled Monday there was enough probable cause for a grand jury to indict an Aspen man last year on sexual assault charges.
Judge James Boyd’s order came after Stephen McCrohan, in November, filed a motion challenging the indictment, arguing he has no way of knowing whether the grand jury was tainted or if members were selected prejudicially because it’s a secret proceeding.
“Applying the standards of probable cause I don’t think there is anything inappropriate,” he said.
Frutin, 23, buried his face in his hands when Boyd delivered his ruling.
Frutin has been incarcerated in the Pitkin County jail since March 2009. He is charged with sexual assault of a victim under the age of 15 and the transfer or dispensing of marijuana to a person under 15. He also is accused of a second sexual assault count and unlawful distribution of psilocybin mushrooms. The alleged incidents happened in November 2007.
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McCrohan also had argued that prosecutor Arnold Mordkin, during the grand jury hearings, gave his opinions in front of the panel while seeking probable cause to indict Frutin.
Boyd said that Mordkin’s conduct did not compromise the case.
“The legal standard is if the prosecution’s conduct compromises the grand jury to cause a presumption of prejudice,” Boyd said, adding that while he did not approve of Mordkin’s comments to the grand jury, they did not rise to the level of dismissing the case.
An arraignment hearing is set for Aug. 2.
The grand jury is apparently the same one that has convened to hear evidence regarding the November 2008 carbon monoxide poisoning deaths of a Denver family of four. Citing confidentiality rules, Mordkin has declined to say what, if any, progress has been made in the carbon monoxide hearings.