Ex-judge Jovanovich pleads guilty to misdemeanor
Local lawyer and former Garfield County Judge Jason Jovanovich will face no fines or jail time after pleading guilty to violation of a protection order.
As a class two misdemeanor, the charge could have carried three to 12 months in jail and a fine of $250-$1,000. Instead, Jovanovich will serve one year of probation with a renewed protection order. Although he will be required to notify the American Bar Association of his plea, the penalties are under deferred judgement, and will not be reflected on his record if he successfully completes probation.
Jovanovich, 45, of Glenwood Springs, was accused of using a prepaid cell phone to contact his ex-girlfriend in California, whom he was restrained against contacting by a no-fault protection order from November 2013.
Charges of stalking and harassment were dropped as part of a deal struck by the district attorney’s office and Jovanovich’s private attorney, Tom Silverman.
Appearing on Wednesday before Ninth Judicial District Judge John F. Neiley, both parties characterized the resolution as “appropriate.”
Silverman described the incident as, “the most mitigated violation of a restraining order I can think of in 30 years of practicing law.”
“The contact was to profess his love for her, and his wish that they get back together. It was not of a threatening nature, but it was repeated,” he said.
District Attorney Sherry Caloia didn’t entirely agree with that assessment.
“It was clear from my review of the file that she was justifiably afraid for a number of reasons,” she said. “He says that she was volatile towards him; she says that he was volatile towards her.”
Caloia, who asked for but did not receive a drug and alcohol evaluation and a fine as part of the sentencing, said the victim was “somewhat hesitant” about the disposition but ultimately understood.
Neiley approved the agreement and included 24 hours of useful public service and a relevant mental health evaluation. He also addressed the defendant directly:
“Mr. Jovanovich, you’re a lawyer and former judge, and as you know, you’re held to a higher standard.”
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A fire in a building at Willits Town Center Thursday night forced Roaring Fork Fire Rescue to prepare for the worst because of residences on the upper two stories. Fortunately the fire was confined to an HVAC unit on the roof.