Former judge faces felony menacing charge
Ryan Summerlin July 5, 2012
Local attorney and former judge Jeff Ryan is facing a felony charge after a couple claimed he pulled a knife on them while they were walking home in Breckenridge June 29.
Ryan, who told police he had drawn his keys, not a knife, in self-defense, was arrested for felony menacing, according to an arrest affidavit.
He had a knife in his shirt pocket when police arrived, the report states.
Ryan, 60, denies the accusations against him and said the couple were the aggressors in the incident.
“It doesn’t take a lot of guts for a 20-year-old kid to come storming across the street after a 60-year-old man,” Ryan told the Summit Daily. “They were drunk on their butts and I just asked them to shut up. I’m innocent of all charges and I will cheerfully face them in court.”
The couple was reportedly walking home along South Ridge Street in Breckenridge at approximately 1 a.m. last weekend when they passed Ryan’s office, where he was sitting outside.
Ryan yelled at the couple for being too loud, and when they brushed him off, he allegedly began yelling that they had “no respect” and approached them, pulling out a knife with a 3-inch blade, according to the couple’s statements in the affidavit.
The man told police he thought Ryan was going to stab him, and the woman stepped between the two because she “thought he would be less likely to stab a girl,” the affidavit stated.
The couple’s roommate reportedly saw the exchange from the nearby apartment unit and went outside before the woman called the police.
Ryan told authorities the couple was approaching him at a fast pace after he yelled at them to quiet down. He said he “‘pulled his keys’ in self defense,” the affidavit stated.
Ryan was taken to the Summit County Jail, where he blew a .111 breath alcohol content. The legal limit to drive a vehicle is .08.
The felony menacing charge carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Ryan is a former deputy district attorney and Summit County judge. He is now a family and criminal-defense attorney practicing in Breckenridge.
Ryan recently wrote a guest column in the Summit Daily News criticizing the practices of the current District Attorney, Mark Hurlbert. It appeared the same day he was arrested.
Though Ryan said the arresting officers with the Breckenridge Police Department were respectful and professional, he said he expects Hurlbert to recuse himself from prosecuting the case due to the opinion piece.