Lawyer: My client ‘needs to get help’
A woman with a long history of disputes with her neighbors who was thrown in jail for contempt of court Tuesday needs to realize that her problems stem from her own behavior, her lawyer said in court Wednesday.
Rachel Polver, 39, has a skewed perception of herself that leaves her unable to comprehend her own culpability in the volatile situations she gets into, said Richard Nedlin, her attorney
“Rachel, you’re here because of you (and) no one else,” Nedlin said. “You look in the mirror and what you see is not what others see. It is a problem when you don’t think anything is wrong with you.”
In November, Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely sentenced Polver to 60 days in jail — though she suspended 57 of them — and a year of unsupervised probation after Polver pleaded guilty to harassing a former tenant. At the time, Fernandez-Ely reiterated her wish for Polver to undergo a psychological evaluation and said she would make her serve the entire 60 days if she didn’t.
Polver “felt insulted” by the psychological exam request, Nedlin said in November.
Polver eventually did get the psychological exam and appeared in court Tuesday so Fernandez-Ely could discuss the results with her and possibly impose treatment or other remedies. During that hearing, Nedlin told the judge that he advised his client to be quiet, but she insisted on addressing the court, said prosecutor Emily Nation.
When Polver began to speak, she was clearly angry and “went on a rant about everything about the case,” Nation said.
“At one point, her and the judge started going at each other,” Nation said. “The judge said, ‘You need to be quiet.’”
However, Polver disregarded that order, she said. Finally, Fernandez-Ely said that if Polver spoke one more word, she’d be held in contempt and taken to jail. Polver kept talking and Fernandez-Ely threw her in jail for the night, Nation said.
Nedlin said Wednesday that he previously served five years as a prosecutor and never saw Fernandez-Ely hold anyone in contempt of court. He said he understood why the judge did so Tuesday, characterizing his client’s behavior as disrespectful.
He said he hoped the contempt charge would allow Polver to hit “rock bottom” and begin to realize that while others around her may be crazy, she’s the only one who continually ends up in court and jail.
“It’s not everyone else,” Nedlin said. “It’s only you. Something needs to be done. She needs to get help.”
Nedlin, who said Polver is a good person with a good heart, suggested she move away from the Independence Place housing complex, where many of her court-related disputes originate.
Fernandez-Ely said Polver’s behavior Tuesday is indicative of the type of situation her neighbors continually complain about.
“I saw the behavior others are alleging,” the judge said. “I witness it whenever (Nedlin) allows her to speak.”
When that happens, Polver becomes disrespectful and disruptive and “everything becomes grandiose (and) narcissistic,” Fernandez-Ely said.
Polver’s psychological evaluation recommended therapy, Fernandez-Ely said, though the recommendation is “useless because she’s not willing to address it.”
In November, Fernandez-Ely said she’d dealt with six other cases involving Polver, her neighbors and acquaintances and protection orders for harassing behavior.
At the time, the judge characterized Polver’s behavior as “repetitive and stalking in nature,” and said the cases involving her demonstrate “a pattern of believing she’s the victim when she’s not.”
Polver did not speak in court Wednesday.
However, she called an Aspen Times reporter later insisting that her neighbors were to blame for her problems and that she wouldn’t move away from her home in Aspen.
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