Update: Aspen Cop Kicker Landin Smith Pleads Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity
Update: In May, we reported about Aspen's Landin Smith, who's been arrested multiple times over a series of years for kicking police officers; our previous coverage has been incorporated in this post.
Smith has now responded to his latest pair of cop-kicking charges with pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity — a legal gambit that seems to be on the cusp of becoming a trend in the moneyed enclave of Aspen thanks to its successful application earlier this summer in the bizarre case of snowboarder chairlift-pusher Thomas Proesel.
In December of that year, the Times reported about Smith being sentenced to four years in prison for an incident the previous August in Koch Lumber Park.
Smith had allegedly been drinking, something that violated his bond in another case. But when two cops tried to take him into custody, he kicked up a helluva fuss.
As evidence, note that one of the officers suffered three broken bones.
In the end, a 2015 Times piece reveals, Smith served three of his four years before being set loose in December 2012.
But freedom apparently chafed at him, because about a month after his release, Smith kicked another cop.
He was arrested on suspicion of felony assault on a police officer. However, he pleaded the beef down to attempted assault on a first responder, a misdemeanor — albeit one that still earned him another six-month jolt in jail.
Cut to February 2015, when Smith reacted to a sergeant's attempt to take him to detox in a different way — by punching the man in the face, among other things.
Hence another charge of assaulting a police officer, for which he spent most of 2015 in jail due to his inability to post bail. He finally scraped together the funds in December, but hours after hitting the streets, the Times notes, cops discovered that he'd violated his bond by hitting the sauce again — and Smith responded by yelling, threatening and, yes, kicking the officers dealing with him.
Back to jail he went — and in February of this year, he pleaded guilty to two counts of felony assault. But before the case could get through the system, Smith fired his public defender — and in May, his new lawyer announced that his client might withdraw his guilty pleas.
Withdraw them he did. Yesterday, Smith entered his insanity pleas, which he explained to the judge using the third person: "Our mental state is definitely impaired."
Pitkin County Sheriff's Office
The insanity plea is generally deployed only for the most serious crimes — but earlier this year, as we've reported, Proesel successfully used it after his arrest for allegedly pushing snowboarder Seth Beckton off a chairlift at Aspen Highlands ski area, causing him to fall twenty feet or more.
In March, two months after the incident, Proesel's first attorney — Pamela Mackey, who defended basketball star Kobe Bryant following a 2003 sexual-assault allegation in Colorado — announced her intention of using the insanity plea in the case.
Aspen District Judge Chris Seldin subsequently ordered Proesel to undergo examination by a state psychiatrist. Citing the report that resulted, Seldin said during a May hearing that "it's clear...Mr. Proesel was, at the time of the incident, experiencing a mental state that rendered him incapable of forming the culpable mental state." Hence he was transported not to jail, but to the the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo for treatment.
Seldin is the judge in Smith's case, too, and after accepting the not-guilty pleas, he ruled that the accused will undergo a sanity evaluation at the Pueblo facility.
If examiners find that Smith wasn't responsible for his actions, either, the insanity plea's popularity in Aspen could go through the roof. Here's a look at Smith's latest booking photo.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.