High-powered attorney Pamela Mackey made her first formal appearance Monday as counsel for an Aspen Music Festival & School teacher accused of baiting a teenage male student with sex and alcohol.
Mackey's first move in Pitkin County District Court was to waive John Nauman's right to a preliminary hearing, which would have allowed Judge James Boyd to decide whether there is probable cause pertaining to the concert pianist's alleged crimes to hold a trial. While the hearing did not get under way until about 45 minutes after it was scheduled, Nauman's hearing Monday lasted only a couple of minutes.
Prosecutors and Mackey indicated that they are working strongly on a plea bargain that could prevent the case from going to trial. An arraignment is scheduled for March 7.
Mackey, best known for her successful work in co-defending NBA star Kobe Bryant in a sexual-assault case in Eagle County, is replacing Aspen attorney Lauren Wolpin and Woody Creek attorney John Van Ness, both of whom had represented Nauman, 42, until recently. Mackey also represented retired Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy in a domestic violence case in which charges were dismissed. In Aspen, she most recently defended a local deputy accused of assault.
Nauman is charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old male piano student who was attending the Aspen Music School last summer. He also is accused of attempted sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Nauman is free on a $5,000 bond and has been living with his parents in Maryland. Nauman's family and friends surrounded him and offered support at the hearing.
In other court news:
-- A second lawyer from the Denver law firm Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman P.C. was in Pitkin County District Court on Monday.
Saskia A. Jordan represented Charles Nitze, who pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal trespass as part of a plea agreement with the district attorney.
Nitze, 20, is a University of Denver student who broke into the home of an Aspen Valley Hospital board chairman John Sarpa and stole batches of prescription pills last December. He had no prior record and is earns good grades at DU, prosecutors told the court. Then he addressed the judge.
"I want to apologize formally to the Sarpa family ... and ... to the Aspen community because I've lost their trust," said Nitze, adding that he intends on earning the community's trust back. "I was at the scene of the crime. I was the perpetrator."
He received a two-year deferred sentence, must continue counseling that he already initiated on his own, abstain from alcohol and drugs, pay approximately $625 in restitution, send an apology letter to the Sarpa family, and agree to random urine analyses. Judge Boyd warned him about the trappings of drugs and alcohol on college campuses, which could make Nitze's need to stay sober especially difficult. The judge also told Nitze he was lucky no one was harmed when he illegally entered the Sarpa home, which was occupied at the time.
-- An Aspen man convicted of assaulting a police officer will be allowed to be transported from the Colorado Department of Corrections to the less-strict community corrections after his attorney, Van Ness, requested a sentence reconsideration.
A jury convicted Thomas Frampton in April of second-degree assault on a police officer with provocation, and later received the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 months in the Department of Corrections for the July 2003 episode at his then home on East Durant Avenue. The judge also sentenced Frampton to 60 days for the misdemeanor counts of harassment, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment.
Garfield County officials will supervise Frampton's incarceration in community corrections. The judge denied a request that Frampton be granted work release, saying it wasn't appropriate "given the danger of the offense" committed.
-- The case involving an Aspen High School student accused of vehicular homicide after crashing a Mercedes-Benz on Independence Pass was granted another continuance.
Flanked by his parents, Aspen attorney Katharine Sullivan and Fredric Winocur of Denver-based Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert LLP, Hite was told he wouldn't have to return to court until March 7 so that his defense team could examine an aerial photograph of the crash scene that is considered a key piece of evidence.
Defense attorneys didn't receive the evidence until recently.
Prosecutor Gail Nichols said the delays in the court process are upsetting the parents of 17-year-old Alex Terral. The Aspen youth was a member of Aspen High School's varsity basketball team and a National Merit Scholar.
Attorneys for Hite also said they may request a jury trial, rather than a trial overseen by a judge. Motions for that request are due Feb. 23.
Attorney for both sides indicated that plea-agreement negotiations are under way and the discussions were described as "fruitful."
-- Two teenagers suspected of trying to kill a 16-year-old California girl on Independence Pass last autumn appeared together in Pitkin County District Court for the second time Monday.
Nichols filed two motions: the first is to consolidate the two defendants court proceedings since they are alleged to have committed the same series of acts in the same offense. The second to add two more counts against them that exacerbate the previous charges of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault. The new counts are called "crimes of violence subject to mandatory sentences."
Aspen resident Jaime Castro, 17, was represented by the public defender. Arnold Mordkin represented California resident Cynthia Romero, 16. Due to the brutal nature of their alleged crimes, the defendants are being tried as adults.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 8.
-- Rifle resident Angel Montanez-Marioni, 20, who is accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl from Carbondale, was ordered to appear in court March 21.
Marioni is free on a $15,000 bond. He faces a charge of sexual assault on a child, which is a fourth-degree felony that carries a penalty of two to eight years in prison and $2,000 to $500,000 in fines.
Colorado law defines sexual assault on a child as the act of sex with anyone under the age of 15 years by a person who is at least four years older.