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Man might address criminal defense while in psychiatric facility

Police believe that they have correctly identified a man responsible for a snowboarder's serious fall from a chairlift. Prior to his arrest, the defendant had spent weeks in a Colorado psychiatric hospital. Although it is not yet clear if he has any criminal defense strategies in mind, he is possibly being transported to an out-of-state psychiatric treatment facility.

The 31-year-old defendant allegedly pushed the snowboarder off of the chairlift after he realized that he was being laughed at. The snowboarder was not injured in the fall because of the deep snow pocket that he landed in, and he failed to report the incident to anyone until several hours later. The chairlift operator and a third male who was also on the lift with them did not report anything, although the other man later said that he had interacted with the defendant on more than one occasion and found him to be acting strangely.

Police eventually identified the man via security videos and charged him with reckless endangerment and felony assault. At last update, both the defendant's father and uncle were planning to post his $10,000 bond and then transport him to Tennessee where a residential psychiatric facility was ready to admit him. It is believed that he will need approximately four months of treatment at the facility before he will become eligible for a year of supported treatment. As part of the agreement to release him on bond, his father and uncle were ordered to remain with him at all times.

Criminal defense strategies for the mentally ill are not always straightforward and can take considerable time and planning. However, no matter the mental state of any defendant in Colorado, the rights, innocence and humanity of each person must be upheld to the letter of the law. Without a successful argument by a prosecutor proving that every aspect of a charge is true, a defendant cannot be found guilty.

Source: greeleytribune.com, "Aspen chairlift pusher identified, arrested", Jason Auslander, Feb. 12, 2016

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