Kremmling’s Robert Mark Smith receives 2-year jail sentence

Robert Mark Smith, center, of Kremmling and his legal team step out of the Byron White U.S. Courthouse in Denver after winning nearly $800,000 in damages in the case against the town of Kremmling and its police.
File photo

Kremmling resident Robert Mark Smith was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in jail for a 2017 assault and menacing case to which he had previously pleaded no contest.

Grand County Court Judge Nicholas Catanzarite, who in mid-November found Smith in violation of his probation related to the 2017 case, issued the sentence after nearly three hours of court proceedings that included seven individuals speaking in support of Smith. Catanzarite’s sentence of Smith included the option of serving his time in county jail or in a mental health facility, an action recommended by the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Catanzarite informed Smith that he would be given “day-for-day” credit on his two-year sentence for every day he spends in an inpatient mental health facility. Smith was also given credit for the 76 days he has already served in custody.

Over the course of Wednesday’s proceedings, a number of people spoke on behalf of Smith, asking the court to grant Smith, a Vietnam veteran who saw extensive combat, leniency. Smith’s platoon leader from Vietnam, himself a retired judge, spoke on Smith’s behalf as did Smith’s brother, one of his employees, his attorney from his civil suit against Kremmling and a former prosecutor with Grand County’s District Attorney’s Office.

Much of the commentary from Smith’s supporters delved into the years-long dispute between Smith and the town of Kremmling. That dispute eventually led to a civil suit for excessive force filed by Smith against the town and its police department. Smith won that lawsuit in October 2017, less than a month before the assault and menacing incident occurred that led to his no contest plea.

For his part, Smith struck a decidedly defiant tone when he addressed the court Wednesday afternoon before his sentence was issued.

Smith began by directing his comments at Catanzarite, saying that the judge had made several comments that were “not exactly correct.”

He asserted that two of his previous lawyers in his probation revocation case attempted to coerce him into signing a plea agreement. He went on to accuse District Court Judge Mary Hoak of corruption and lying. Smith claimed that former Kremmling Police Chief Scott Spade and Officer Todd Wilson were prolific liars and that there was a broad campaign of lies against him in the town of Kremmling.

“I can say this to the court in all honesty: there are no holes in my shield of character,” Smith said. “There is nothing wrong with my honor.”

During the sentencing phase of the proceedings, Catanzarite castigated Smith for his obstinacy, which he highlighted as a major factor in Smith’s legal plight.

“It still baffles me that you would not comply with this (probation),” Catanzarite told Smith. “Many people spoke today about your obstinance. When people feel they are right they are obstinate. But all it took was for you to comply with this for a period of time.

“I think probation gave you every opportunity. You still couldn’t comply. So here we are and you have been revoked. Your conviction has been entered. You do have one (a conviction) now because of your obstinance.”

Smith, who has been in custody since Oct. 5 when he was arrested for probation violation, was remanded back to the Grand County Jail after his sentence was handed down.

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