Chris Bartkowicz declines to plead guilty in marijuana home grow case

Yet another unexpected twist in the case of Highlands Ranch's Chris Bartkowicz, whose home-grown marijuana crop was seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration immediately after he showed it off to Channel 9.

Bartkowicz was expected to reverse his original not guilty plea at a hearing today -- one that his attorney, Joseph Saint-Veltri, tried to delay because he couldn't reach his client. The judge turned down that request, and the hearing went ahead as scheduled -- but with a surprising result.

"Mr. Bartkowicz declined to go forward with the change of plea," Saint-Veltri says.

What happens next?

"The case is now scheduled a couple of weeks out for a status hearing," Saint-Veltri reveals. "Presumably, the government will proceed to indict him, and the status conference will be used for an arraignment and trial-setting purpose."

Saint-Veltri declines to speak further about Bartkowicz's change of heart, but he does confirm that he'll continue to represent him in a case that now seems much further from a resolution than it did at this time yesterday.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts