News in Brief
September 30, 2010
ASPEN – A Pitkin County prosecutor is challenging a judge’s recent dismissal of key evidence in the alleged drug dealing case of Devin Schutter.
Chief District Attorney Arnold Mordkin on Tuesday filed a notice of appeal of District Judge James Boyd’s Sept. 20 ruling in which he dismissed allegedly incriminating text messages police read on Schutter’s cell phone – which he left at The Aspen Store – that led to his arrest. The appeal will be reviewed by the Colorado Supreme Court, Mordkin said.
Schutter, 31, of Aspen is charged with two felonies stemming from the February 2008 arrest – possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of more than one gram of cocaine. He also faces two petty offenses – possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana.
Boyd’s ruling means the prosecution cannot use critical pieces of evidence in the case: the allegedly incriminating text messages that led to a warrant to search Schutter’s cell phone for more text messages and his home. At the residence, police say they found multiple bags of cocaine, along with drug scales, paraphernalia and other items. With Boyd’s ruling, that evidence is no longer admissible in court.
Schutter’s next court appearance is set for Nov. 1.
Aside from the February 2008 case, Schutter faces felonies from previous alleged transgressions, ranging from drug possession with intent to distribute to probation and parole violations from earlier cases. He is also accused of distribution of a schedule I controlled substance in Fremont County. That is connected to an alleged prison drug-distribution ring he ran with his brother, Stefan, an inmate at Four Mile Correctional Facility in Canon City.
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BASALT – A combination of high temperatures and low humidity have prompted local firefighting officials to warn Roaring Fork Valley residents and visitors to use extreme caution.
In a statement issued by Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson, the lack of precipitation and weather conditions have made the valley vulnerable to fires.
“That fact, in combination with the amount of cured grasses and dried dead leaves, creates an extreme fire potential in most valley areas. Many trees in the valley have suffered due to a lack of rain and are now extremely flammable as well,” Thompson said.
Campfires and the burning of ditches and slash piles is discouraged, among other suggestions.
“When cooking outdoors, use propane – it is much safer than charcoal. Smoke in safe areas and extinguish cigarettes properly. ATVs, motorcycles and chain saws must have working spark arresters, and never park over tall grass and brush as your vehicle [could] start a fire,” Thompson said.
Additionally, open-burn permits are not being issued by most area fire departments.