Parole violation nets man 71 days |

Parole violation nets man 71 days

John Colson

A man “in need of a major wake-up call,” in the words of a local prosecutor, narrowly escaped a prison term Monday.

Jose Camara admitted that he had violated the conditions of his probation from a drug conviction earlier this year, and prosecutor Lawson Wills recommended that Camara be sent to prison for two years.

“This is a man in need of a major wake-up call,” Wills said.

But the judge instead sent him to the Pitkin County Jail for 71 days and ordered him to begin taking an anti-booze drug that will make him sick if he drinks.

Camara, 28, pleaded guilty to possession of more than a gram of cocaine earlier this year and was sentenced to probation by Judge J.E. DeVilbiss. The sentence included orders to not use drugs or alcohol.

But according to Wills, Camara got in trouble even before being sentenced on the drug charge. He accused Camara of testing positive for cocaine during his pre-sentence evaluation, which is conducted by the local probation department before the judge imposes sentences.

In addition, Wills said Camara once showed up drunk at a drug and alcohol therapy session, and that his blood alcohol level registered 0.231, four times the legal driving limit, when he appeared for a meeting with the probation department.

Wills said Camara was arrested at the Roaring Fork Tavern in Aspen in the case that led to the most recent charge of probation violation.

Citing a letter from a counselor at the Hispanic Counseling Service organization, DeVilbiss declared in court that Camara has “severe alcohol dependency.”

The letter, from counselor Jose Manuelo, suggested that the drug Antabuse, which renders one violently ill if he or she takes a drink while on the regimen, would not work in Camara’s case.

Manuelo, according to DeVilbiss, suggested that a prison term might be the only thing that “may get his [Camara’s] attention.”

But Camara’s defense attorney, Jeff Wertz, argued that his client has been drug and alcohol free for some time and is trying to straighten his life out. He said that Camara has won the support of his boss, Tom Elder of the Red Onion, and that his recent urinalysis tests have come back negative for drugs and alcohol.

“I hope that somehow … you find the strength and resources to avoid alcohol and drugs,” DeVilbiss said as he sentenced Camara.

The judge formally resentenced Camara to 90 days in jail. But he had already served 19 days while awaiting trial and will actually spend 71 days in the county lockup.

The judge initially said Camara could serve his time as a work-release prisoner. But because Camara allegedly tested positive for cocaine when he was booked into the jail, his work-release privileges were canceled.

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