February 14, 2012

SandBox Comments: Aspen Daily News "Defense attorney likely to pounce on police mistake in drug bust case"

It's an unfortunate choice of wording in the headline. 

How about:  "Local man has charge dismissed because he didn't commit the crime they said he did" ?  What does the defense attorney have to do with the charge being dismissed? 

If the resulting charges elsewhere have merit, he will stand trial without the 'pounce' from a defender.  Hopefully, he will have all of his constitutional rights to full defense upheld as is rightful given his status as an American citizen.

Thank you goes out to the Aspen Police Dept. for their honesty.  You are appreciated and you are applauded for stepping up.

Maybe all the shouting out that locals have been doing for the past 5 to 6 years,  that they have serious concerns that our cops are being turned more into agents for prosecutors than doing their sworn duty to serve and protect the citizenry is really being listened to.

Thank you also goes out to Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin and Chief Public Defender Tina Fang for swiftly going to the heart of the matter instead of dragging any issues out into the public arena at ultimately taxpayer expense.  Maybe there will be some long-term positive changes that really will come out of the current election cycle here in 9th Judicial.  You are both appreciated. 

Chad Abraham:
"...Fang argued for Simmons’ bond to be reduced to $10,000. Simmons, in previous criminal cases he has faced, has never failed to appear for a court hearing, she said.

“He is a long-term resident of the valley and is the sole caretaker of his mother,” who has medical issues, Fang said. “He’s a very instrumental part of her life.”

She also said he is not a risk to flee the area ahead of a possible trial, as “he has no contacts anywhere else, [and] there’s simply nowhere else for him to go,” Fang said.

Mordkin objected to any reduction in bond. Simmons, facing mandatory prison time if he’s convicted, is an “enormous flight risk,” Mordkin said.

“The bail [amount] was appropriate when we set it, and we believe that it’s appropriate now,” he said.

Nichols, who is familiar with Simmons from a previous case, said she believes that he does care for his mother. She also noted that his work history shows he is responsible and will likely show up for court dates.

She kept his bond at $50,000 but set its terms as “cash surety” instead of cash only, making it easier for Simmons to get the help of a bondsman to get out of jail.

Simmons’ next court date is March 5.

Mordkin declined to discuss the police department’s mistake in the tampering case, saying it will come out in expected pretrial motion hearings.

At least one of those hearings will likely involve a motion by Fang to suppress evidence found as a result of the tampering warrant.

Mordkin also declined to say whether officers were apologetic when they told him Friday about the misidentification.

“They did the right thing,” he said. “I think they should be applauded....”
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