In Teton County District Court on Tuesday morning, Casey Hardison pleaded no contest to two felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance.
Hardison, who has been an active participant in his defense, wanted to resolve his case in trial court so he can focus on constitutional arguments at the Wyoming Supreme Court level. The well-known chemist and anthropologist has been in custody since July awaiting trial on five felony charges of delivery of marijuana and aggravated assault.
Senior Assistant Public Defender Elisabeth Trefonas and Fremont County Public Defender Bailey Lazzari have been representing Hardison in the case. Trefonas said in a previous hearing that the state had yet to provide any evidence for the aggravated assault charges against her client.
Agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation said Hardison tried to run them over with his car during a botched undercover drug raid in Jackson in 2018. Hardison said he thought he was being jumped and took off in self-defense. He also has argued he didn’t almost run anyone over.
Hardison had been living in California for the last few years but was arrested over the summer and brought back to Teton County to face the charges related to the 2018 undercover attempted bust.
The other three charges were dropped in the plea agreement.
“This serves the interest of the public and is supported by facts,” Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Carly Anderson said in court. “It is a way to resolve this case in the benefit of the state, obtain a conviction and resolve it outside of a jury trial.”
Judge Timothy Day lowered Hardison’s bond to $25,000.
“He has big incentives to be law abiding and stay within the jurisdiction of the court,” Day said in court.
Hardison says the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional and “an assault on his due process and equal protection rights” protected by the Wyoming Constitution because the legislation doesn’t apply to use of spirits, wine, malt beverages or tobacco.