SAGUACHE — In December, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld Judge Pattie Swift’s conviction of Robert Gregg Sease for his seventh contempt of court charge involving water violations in Saguache County and Sease will now serve 90 days in Saguache County Jail.
The Valley Courier reported in December that the higher court remanded the matter back to Judge Swift for sentencing but Swift simply enforced the original sentence of 90 days she originally levied in April of 2017. In enforcing the order, Swift said the Saguache County Sheriff may deduct good time for the sentence and consider work release after the first 30 days served.
Sease, who is 76, holds the record in Colorado for contempt of court violations. The Courier reports that the Denver-area businessman, who owns a ranch on Sheep Creek in Saguache County, has repeatedly violated the court’s order not to do anything on the ranch related to water without first seeking permission from the Colorado Division of Water Resources
In October 2013, Judge Swift sentenced Sease to 30 days in jail and ordered $160,320 in fines and fees for contempt of court. His case dates back more than a decade. Cumulatively Sease has been assessed $290,00 in fines and other court-imposed costs. That does not include a federal fine of $100,000, according to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
Without receiving written permission from the water division after being repeatedly warned, Sease had still conducted water-related actions, Judge Swift observed, which resulted in 17 separate violations such as dredging the stream channel and laying pipe, which he has since removed.
Sease has a partner in the ranch, former long-time water commissioner Tim Lovato, currently a Saguache County commissioner, who is overseeing all of the water issues to make sure they are properly conducted.
Sease’s attorneys have long argued he has health and financial issues which prevent him from serving jail time. In the past the court has granted him leeway for these reasons as well as time to complete repairs related to the water violations to his property.
But following the state Supreme Court’s decision, it appears Sease will finally have to face the music.