Pubdate: Tue, 05 Feb 2013
Source: Aspen Times, The  (CO)
Copyright: 2013 Aspen Times
Author: Rick Carroll, The Aspen Times
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our editors
may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who have not been
convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise public figures or


[name redacted] Pleads Guilty To Reduced Charges

ASPEN - An Aspen man arrested in December on drug-possession and
drunken-driving charges told a judge Monday that he regards the
incident as a "life changing" moment.

[name redacted], 45, also said he plans to stay "clean and sober" and
work on rebuilding the trust he had established as a community
volunteer and teacher at Aspen Middle School.

"I just want to apologize to everybody affected by my poor decisions,"
[name redacted] said.

[name redacted]'s attorney, Lawson Wills, also said the teacher plans
to "negotiate his resignation" from the middle school in the wake of
the arrest. [name redacted], who still has his teaching license for
the state of Colorado, has been serving a paid suspension since his

Both [name redacted]'s and Wills' statements came after [name
redacted] pleaded guilty in Pitkin County District Court to the
reduced charges of cocaine possession and driving while ability
impaired, which are both misdemeanors.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutor Andrea Bryan agreed to drop
two felony counts of unlawful possession of cocaine and introducing
contraband in the second degree. Additionally, she dropped the charge
of driving under the influence.

In turn, Judge Gail Nichols sentenced [name redacted] to concurrent
one-year terms of unsupervised probation. She also suspended a two-day
jail sentence for the drunken-driving charge and ordered [name
redacted] to perform 24 hours of public service.

He also must undergo an alcohol evaluation and adhere to the
suggestions made by the evaluator, the judge said.

Aspen police arrested [name redacted] early the morning of Dec. 8
after an officer clocked him driving his vehicle 49 miles per hour in
a 35-mph zone on Highway 82 near Aspen Country Inn. When he was booked
at Pitkin County Jail on a drunken-driving charge, a subsequent search
revealed two packets in his possession, one of which tested positive
for the presence of cocaine.

But prosecutor Andrea Bryan said she was willing to reduce the charges
because of [name redacted]'s clean record before the arrest, along
with his standing in the community.

"([name redacted]) doesn't have any criminal history whatsoever,"
Bryan told Nicholas, adding that "he has been a very contributing
member to this community, and it's quite unfortunate he finds himself
in these circumstances. He's willing to accept responsibility and put
this behind him."

Wills noted that while [name redacted] "violated the trust" he had
acquired as a teacher, "his offenses were not around children, did not
involve children and had no impact on his work."

"That night (of the arrest)," Wills continued, "he went to a Christmas
party for a teacher and made the mistake of getting around his friends
he knew from years ago and got sucked into a situation he knew he
should not have been in."

[name redacted] said, "I know I can't change the past." But he said he
plans to use the incident as a way to help others and turn it into a
"positive moment."

"This is certainly a very appropriate disposition," the judge said.
"There are no (prior arrests), and you have contributed to this
community. And since the arrest, you have taken the ball and run with
it to address these issues." 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D