Legal problems mount for jailed Aspen senior
ASPEN – An Aspen woman faces a felony stalking charge and a misdemeanor count of false reporting in the wake of a series of episodes at Aspen Country Inn.
Jan Hamilton, 68, was advised of the charges Wednesday in Pitkin County District Court. Hamilton was jailed Tuesday night after Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely determined she had violated the terms of a protection order filed by one of her Aspen Country Inn neighbors.
The judge also ruled that Hamilton can no longer reside at the senior housing complex, and told Hamilton that she can only return to her residence to pick up her belongings. Hamilton also must be accompanied by a law-enforcement agent when she does, the judge ordered.
During Wednesday’s advisement, Hamilton said several times she was innocent. Other times, she buried her face in her hands and sobbed.
“I can’t believe this is America and this is happening to me,” Hamilton said. “I’m innocent.”
Hamilton is involved in a combination of 35 lawsuits and restraining orders in Pitkin County. The Aspen Times incorrectly reported Wednesday that she is a party in several restraining orders involving tenants at Aspen Country Inn. The correct figure is one, which was filed by Joanna Green.
That’s the same restraining order that Fernandez-Ely determined Hamilton violated. The stalking charge stems from that, while the false reporting concerns Hamilton allegedly contacting Aspen police with invalid complaints about other tenants’ behavior at Aspen Country Inn.
“There’s a pattern of harassment that I believe is a credible threat to Ms. Green’s life and sanity,” the judge told Hamilton.
The judge also noted that she agreed with Tuesday’s testimony from Vince Savage, a local psychologist and director of Valley Information and Assistance, who said Hamilton is competent.
“I think you are very competent, you are very bright, and you understand the consequences of your actions,” Fernandez-Ely said.
Previously, Hamilton had been scheduled to stand a two-day jury trial, starting Thursday, in Pitkin County Court. At stake was Hamilton’s residency at Aspen Country Inn, after the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, which governs the affordable housing complex, filed eviction papers against her.
That trial has been put on hold, after the judge’s ruling that Hamilton cannot go there. However, Hamilton told the court she wishes to proceed with the trial in the future.
“I want to maintain my status of being able to have employee housing in Pitkin County,” Hamilton said, adding that she wants to work with the housing authority to find a new residence.
Hamilton, who is divorced, has alleged that she is being discriminated against because she is a lesbian and that there is a smear campaign against her.
Tom Smith, the housing authority’s attorney, said it will be difficult for Hamilton to find deed-restricted housing in Pitkin County, given her pattern of difficulties.
On several occasions Hamilton was told to stop interrupting others who were talking. At one time Hamilton, who is from Texas and has a Ph.D. in nutrition, said: “I want to be a valuable citizen in this community.”
Fernandez-Ely reduced Hamilton’s bond from $5,000 to $1,000. As of 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, Hamilton remained incarcerated at the Pitkin County jail. Hamilton faces one to four years in the Department of Corrections if convicted of the felony stalking charge.
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