Lipsey attorneys dispute cocaine charge
Editor’s note: The charges discussed in this article were resolved with Joseph Lipsey IV pleading guilty in May 2020 to misdemeanor reckless endangerment and drug possession, and with Joseph Lipsey III and Shira Lipsey pleading guilty in July 2021 to one misdemeanor count each of providing alcohol to minors.
Lawyers for an Aspen family charged with giving cocaine to a minor said Monday that evidence gathered against their client does not support the most serious charge filed against them.
“Five attorneys did a deep dive into the evidence and found no evidence of (distribution of cocaine to a minor),” said Richard Cummins, one of the lawyers for Joseph Lipsey III.
Yale Galanter, Lipsey’s other attorney, said the discovery materials indicate that prosecutor Don Nottingham needs to re-interview two witnesses in the case. Nottingham declined to comment after court Monday.
Lipsey, 56, along with his wife, Shira Lipsey, 44, and their son Joseph Lipsey IV, 19, are facing a total of 41 charges related to parties thrown at their Aspen Highlands home in which minors where allegedly allowed to consume alcohol and drugs.
The most serious charge filed against both parents is distribution of cocaine to a minor, which carries a minimum sentence of eight years in prison and a maximum of 32 years upon conviction. Their son faces the same charge, though because he was less than two years older than the minor allegedly offered cocaine Jan. 3 at the Lipsey home, the penalties if he’s convicted are not as severe.
The parents also are charged with 11 felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and three misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors.
In addition to the cocaine distribution charge, the younger Lipsey faces one count of distribution of MDMA, felony contributing to the delinquency of a minor and several misdemeanors.
The charges are based, in part, on Snapchat videos taken by a minor allegedly given cocaine by the Lipseys, as well as a minor witness who allegedly saw the other minor snort the cocaine, according to court documents.
Besides the disagreement over the cocaine distribution charge, Galanter said relations with the District Attorney’s Office are cooperative and going smoothly.
The case is next scheduled to be heard July 15.