Teenagers face cocaine charges
November 19, 2002
Two teenagers caught with cocaine in an Aspen High School bathroom last month were formally advised of the charges against them Monday during their first court appearance.
The boys, both 16-year-old sophomores at AHS, also appointed attorneys during their brief, but separate, hearings in Pitkin County District Court.
The boy facing the most serious charges ? possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute ? appeared before Judge J.E. DeVilbiss Monday morning with both parents and his court-appointed attorney, public defender Jim Conway. However, the boy’s hearing was briefly postponed Monday morning by what appeared to be his mother’s sudden panic attack.
The woman, who began crying after learning that reporters were present in DeVilbiss’ chambers, was excused from the hearing to compose herself in a hallway just outside of the judge’s office. However, the woman’s sobbing quickly graduated to a full-fledged panic attack.
An ambulance crew was called to the scene to test the woman’s blood pressure. Once she was deemed healthy by emergency personnel, her son’s hearing was rescheduled for later in the afternoon.
The boy, who has been expelled from AHS for the remainder of the school year, informed DeVilbiss that he intends to continue his education through private tutoring and a mail-order course. The judge approved of the plan.
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“I won’t allow you to go without an education,” DeVilbiss said.
Conway told DeVilbiss that his client will also pursue a substance-abuse evaluation between court appearances. The evaluation is also required by the Aspen School District for students who wish to return to classes after a drug-related expulsion.
DeVilbiss warned the boy against further trouble before his next court appearance, scheduled for Dec. 2.
“Can you stay out of trouble ? don’t get any more attention from police?” he asked.
“Yeah,” the boy answered.
Since the boy has been charged as a juvenile, he will not face felony charges, Conway told reporters after the hearing. He faces up to two years with juvenile corrections due to the charges.
The second boy involved in the Oct. 10 incident was also in court Monday, appearing with both parents and his private counsel, Aspen attorney Margaret Porter. The boy, who has been only temporarily suspended from AHS, has been charged with possession of a controlled substance.
His next court appearance was scheduled for Dec. 16.
The boys were busted in an AHS bathroom last month by AHS assistant principal Tom Dodd, who allegedly found them in possession of an unknown amount of cocaine packaged in “bindles.”