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Attorney: Jacobson is being tried in the media

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

A District Court Judge released Snowmass Village Town Councilman Chris Jacobson on his own recognizance Thursday after he was arraigned on a felony charge for destroying jail property after his drunken driving arrest late last month.

Jacobson, 50, did not speak in court.

Afterward, his attorney accused the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office of trying the case in the media because it released a video of Jacobson’s jail antics.

“I’m more than not thrilled about (the video release),” said Arnold Mordkin. “It’s an ethical violation and a legal violation. It’s not a public record. It’s just not the way this community does things.”

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo disagreed.

“It is a public record,” he said. “Just like a police report, we have an obligation to give it to (the media). We believe in transparency.”

The media scrutiny focused on Jacobson is because he is an elected official, DiSalvo said.

“We are held to a higher standard, and that’s just something you sign up for when you get elected,” he said.

The video, released Wednesday, shows Jacobson tearing off pieces of the rubber wall in the cell where he was being held, peeing on the floor, repeatedly banging on the cell windows and kicking the cell door. The video contains no audio.

Jacobson was initially pulled over for weaving on Brush Creek Road in Snowmass Village by a village police officer a little after midnight on June 26. After determining that Jacobson was a local politician, the officer called in a deputy from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office to handle Jacobson’s sobriety tests.

Other details of Jacobson’s arrest and subsequent incarceration surfaced in the arrest warrant affidavit filed Thursday in support of the felony criminal mischief charge for the jail damage.

For example, on the way to jail, Jacobson repeatedly called District Judge Gail Nichols “a f—ing c— “and, in fact, began singing the curses so many times the deputy lost count, according to the arrest warrant affidavit on the felony charged filed Thursday.

Nichols, who presided over Jacobson’s recent divorce, has recused herself from Jacobson’s felony case.

After Jacobson was placed in the jail’s isolation cell, he “started continuously flushing the toilet,” in a possible effort to flood the cell with water, the affidavit states. Deputies asked Jacobson to stop, but he wouldn’t so they cut off water to the cell.

“After this Jacobson got increasingly agitated while in the cell …” according to the affidavit, which is when he began damaging the cell.

A supervisor at the Pitkin County Facilities Operations Department said the cost to repair the damage is $14,572, according to the affidavit.

Deputy District Attorney Andrea Bryan asked that Jacobson be released on a $2,500 bond because of his high level of intoxication and because he has a previous DUI from 1985 in New York. But citing Jacobson’s recent divorce, Mordkin said his client’s “economic situation is tenuous.”

District Judge Denise Lynch granted Mordkin’s request to release the councilman on a personal recognizance bond. Conditions of his release, including no driving and having his sobriety monitored, will remain the same.

Bryan said she will dismiss Jacobson’s DUI from Pitkin County Court and join it with the felony case in District Court. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 3.

jauslander@aspentimes.com


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