'Two and a Half Men' star leaves locals with five-figure bill

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenAugust 3, 2010
It may appear to some that Charlie Sheen practically got off scot free Monday after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault, but, by all accounts, local taxpayers did not.
Sheen and his entourage head to court Monday.
Troy Hooper

The extra manpower required for Sheen's courtroom appearances cost somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000, according to Joe Bauer, the patrol director for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, which oversaw the incident command procedures for the courthouse during Sheen's court proceedings. Bauer said the estimate includes overtime costs and other security expenses absorbed by both the Aspen Police Department and the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office during Sheen's three appearances.

“We had nine deputies assigned to Mr. Sheen yesterday,” Bauer said, “and Aspen police had six.”

Security costs, however, went down for every Sheen hearing, he said.

“When we started this we were really geared up for the paparazzi. We didn't know what to expect,” Bauer said. “We were preparing for the worst but as each appearance transpired we realized that major disruptions weren't going to happen. Everyone was pretty well-behaved.”

There were other Sheen hearings scheduled in which the actor either wasn't required to appear or the hearings were postponed. Those instances, Bauer said, did not cost either department anything extra.

There are no more court appearances scheduled for Sheen, after he reached a plea deal with the district attorney's office and agreed to an immediate sentencing from Judge James Boyd, who, in accepting the terms of the plea deal, ordered Sheen to spend 30 days in Promises Treatment Center, 36 hours of domestic violence counseling, three months of unsupervised probation and $198.50 in fees.

Courthouse sources say the district attorney's office is willing to accept Sheen's stay at Promises earlier this year as credit toward the sentence, as well as the 36 hours of counseling he already underwent.

“The sentence will be administered and executed at Promises and the Promises administrators have the authority to give Charlie credit for time already served, or they can shorten his sentence, lengthen it or interpret the order however they choose,” Sheen's attorney, Yale Galanter, said in an interview.

Work on the next season of “Two and a Half Men” begins this week, Galanter said, and Sheen's sentence is not expected to interfere with shooting. The new season premieres Sept. 20.

If Sheen is given credit for time already served, as some insiders expect, the main conditions of yesterday's sentence left remaining for the “Two and a Half Men” star will be three months of unsupervised probation.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented Sheen's ex-girlfriend Brittany Ashland in a 1990s domestic dispute, called it “an extremely laughable and unacceptable light sentence. … Mr. Sheen was originally charged with a felony in this case. If convicted he could have been sentenced to substantial time in prison. In his sentence (Monday) he was given the biggest break that he has ever had. The only thing missing from his sentence is the red carpet as he goes on probation with adoring fans and applause.”

The attorneys in the case, however, have said that because the 1990s incident with Ashland was wiped from the actor's record, the Aspen incident was considered the first and only blemish on Sheen's criminal record. Most first-time offenders don't end up with a jail sentence, they have argued.

A court clerk said Tuesday afternoon that Sheen hadn't yet paid the $198.50 due in court fees.

Taxpayers, meanwhile, have already paid for most of the security required for Sheen's hearings.

But Galanter said the best paid actor on TV won't be helping pick up that bill.
Sheen waives to fans outside the courthouse.
Troy Hooper

“All of the hearings that Charlie was ordered to appear for we offered to waive his presence or appear by phone,” Galanter said. “They really didn't need to see Charlie at all of the status conferences. I think there was a feeling from the courts, to their credit, that they didn't want to treat Charlie different than any other defendant. The problem of course is Charlie is different than any other defendant because of the extra security required. But, hey, I live here and pay taxes here. And I knew this would be a burden on the taxpayers here, which is why, in part, we tried to limit the number of times he came to court.”

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