Latest News – February 22
7th DUI Conviction Brings 60 Days for Leadville Crash
Publisher’s Note: The following report of the February 21 proceedings and sentencing was released by Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District Attorney, including Leadville and Lake County.
Ashby Capito, 37, of Avon, Colo., was sentenced yesterday by Judge Jonathan Shamis, Lake County District Court, to sixty days in jail with work release, for felony driving under the influence of alcohol, after being previously convicted of six prior driving related alcohol offenses since 1997. Prosecutor Johnny Lombardi asked the court to impose a sentence of six years in prison. The defendant faced a maximum sentence of twelve years, as an “aggravated” offender because at the time of her felony driving under the influence offense, she was on court supervision for a 2013 drug distribution conviction.
“If this defendant had two prior convictions, a misdemeanor, she would have received a minimum of sixty-days jail,” commented Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District Attorney. “The sentence imposed of sixty days for six priors is logically irreconcilable with the felony she was convicted of. The danger to public safety danger is perpetuated by an act of judicial leniency which screams for a fix.”
Instead of sentencing to prison, the Court suspended Department of Corrections terms and placed defendant on four years of probation, including a condition that she complete a sobriety court program. If the defendant successfully completes probation she will serve no more time than the minimum term imposed under Colorado law for persons with only two prior convictions, despite her six priors, and if granted work release she will spend less time than that mandated for third time offenders.
Persons convicted of misdemeanor DUI with two prior convictions are ineligible for work release if given the minimum sixty-day sentence, making it possible that this defendant will serve less time even though she was convicted of a more serious crime because of her priors, an inequity that is getting attention during this year’s legislative session. The inequity could have been avoided through this courts exercise of discretion.
On July 5, 2016 defendant Capito was found to be intoxicated by Adderall and with a blood alcohol level more than two times the legal limit at .20, when she careened off Highway 24 in Leadville. The Jeep Cherokee she was driving collided into a home occupied by a local family, breaking an adjacent temporary structure and damaging the mobile home’s walls. A nearby church also had ten feet of fencing destroyed. The speeding Jeep Cherokee, estimated to be traveling 55 mph in a 35-mph zone, slid backwards 417 feet, longer than a football field, before coming to a stop. The path of the vehicle took started when it struck the church fence, then a metal pole, then the temporary structure and then into the occupied mobile home.
“Under consideration by the Colorado legislature are new laws which will bring sensible sentencing for felony DUI’s,” stated DA Brown. “The result in this case is not sensible at all. I look forward to supporting legislation which creates a comprehensive structure where people who repeatedly violate DUI laws face increasing, not decreasing, punishment.”