Sydney Spies pleads not guilty to obstruction

Former Durango student facing a year in jail for scuffle with police

Sydney Spies Enlarge photo

Sydney Spies

A former Durango High School student who made international headlines for submitting a racy yearbook photo pleaded not guilty to obstructing a police officer Tuesday in La Plata County Court.

The case of Sydney Spies, 18, runs parallel with her mother’s case – Denise “Miki” Spies – who is charged with resisting arrest and obstructing government operations, both misdemeanors.

Both were arrested early Aug. 13 after police responded to a house party with “numerous” underage partygoers in the 1100 block of Oak Drive in northeast Durango.

Sydney Spies is scheduled for a one-day trial Jan. 24. If convicted, she could be sentenced to one year in jail for obstructing a police officer.

It is possible she will strike a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office before going to trial.

Spies, who now lives in California, did not have to appear at Tuesday’s hearing. Her Durango defense lawyer, Richard Jaye, entered the not-guilty plea on her behalf.

When police arrived at the Spies’ home in August, several people in attendance jumped a fence and fled on foot, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police said there was a keg of beer and bottles of liquor on a patio area.

Miki Spies, who owns the house, was inside at the time. She refused to give her name, identification or date of birth when police asked.

Police attempted to detain her for questioning, but she ran into the house and slammed the front door.

Police chased her into the house, down a hallway and into a bedroom, where she again attempted to slam the door on an officer, according to an arrest affidavit.

During the encounter, Sydney Spies was accused of attempting to block a police officer from entering the house, and she later attempted to jump out of the police car, according to arrest reports.

Miki Spies was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a felony, but the charge was dropped, said District Attorney Todd Risberg.

“I think they (police) were so busy dealing with the defendants (Miki and Sydney Spies) they didn’t identify or apprehend any of the underage people,” Risberg said.

If convicted, Miki Spies could be sentenced to up to one year in jail for resisting arrest and up to six months in jail for obstructing government operations.

Sydney Spies gained international attention early this year for protesting the omission of a photo she submitted of herself wearing a short yellow skirt with a black shawl that exposed her shoulders and midsection for the Durango High School yearbook. Student editors deemed it too racy.

Multiple news agencies picked up the story, including the “Today Show,” which flew her and her mother to New York City to appear on the show.

A few months later, Sydney Spies announced she landed a small role in a SyFy channel movie called “American Horror House,” which aired Saturday night.

Spies’ character, Missy, dies within the first half hour by being thrown down a flight of stairs by a zombie-like Brownie.

The movie is scheduled to air again Nov. 10.

shane@durangoherald.com

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