News


Trial date set for lawyer charged in Dublin hit-and-run death

Case moves forward after more than a year of delays

Nearly two years after being arrested for running down a bicyclist in Dublin, felony charges are moving forward for a San Ramon attorney.

Spencer Freeman Smith briefly appeared in Hayward Superior Court on Thursday morning, with a new hearing and a trial set for the coming months.

Smith is charged with hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter in the May 17, 2012 death of Bo Hu. Police tracked Smith by tracing wreckage left at the scene to a Mercedes dealership, which led to Smith's 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550, according to court documents.

A disposition hearing -- which could lead to a resolution of the case against the San Francisco-based employment lawyer -- is set for Feb. 20.

Smith's attorney pointed out that his client is also a lawyer and asked that Smith be allowed not to attend that hearing. That brought a sharp response from prosecutor Matthew Gold.

"I don't care who he is, he's like anyone else here," Gold said.

Smith waived a preliminary hearing in December, which allows the case to move forward at a jury trial, set for April 28, unless the matter is resolved at the Feb. 20 hearing.

Hu, 57, a Chinese national who was living in San Ramon at the time, was either walking or riding his bicycle northbound on Dougherty Road near Fall Creek Road at the time of the crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Since Hu's death, Smith has had at least six postponements to the case. His preliminary hearing was repeatedly set and rescheduled. He turned down a plea offer, although prosecutors are prohibited from discussing details of the deal.

He also canceled a Cert hearing, in which a proposed resolution would have been made to a judge, who would have the option of adopting or rejecting it.

His only appearance until Thursday was in June, 2012, when he entered a not guilty plea. He said nothing at that first appearance but a few whispered words to his attorney.

Smith is a partner at the San Francisco firm of Smith Patten. No bar actions related to the case have been taken since the 2012 crash, and he remains free on bond.

Comments

 +   4 people like this
Posted by Melanie
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 17, 2014 at 10:22 am

I don't get it. This man killed another man and then tried to hide the evidence. why is he not in jail like the other kid who killed the woman on foothill? He is clearly a danger to society and if anyone knows better it's him because he's an attorney. they both belong in jail.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by mrsJjhh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Melanie, I think the reason for the lack of timely progress in the case is that the accused an attorney and so he and his lawyer know exactly how to play the system. The longer they succeed in delaying the case, the more likely it is that the public outcry will die down completely and that any legal consequences will be less severe or go away completely.

I'm glad that the case seems to be moving forward at last. And that the prosecutor gave short shrift to the attempt to get Mr. Freeman Smith special consideration because he is an attorney. If he's guilty, he's as much a criminal as the next man. And since an attorney has made a career within the law, it seems to me that the conduct of an attorney should be legally above reproach.

Since the furor in early days, it has been difficult to find reports on the few developments in this case, even though a cyclist was killed and the accused is a San Francisco attorney. So it seems to me an important one. And, as Melanie pointed out, there are some similarities with the Cody Hall case.

A belated thank you, therefore, to the Pleasanton Weekly for this report and for not conveniently ignoring the case, but continuing to follow it.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Hitting an individual with a car and driving off is a cowardly act.

Hopefully the driver will be punished to the full extent of the law.

NO MERCY!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 23, 2014 at 11:29 am

Glenn: Do you have an update on this story. Is a jury trial still set for April 28? Thanks.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

It's good to be a rich, powerful attorney, any bets on this coward getting a slap on the hand, and continue living happily ever after!!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by LAns
a resident of Dublin
on May 6, 2014 at 8:38 pm

I know him well. He has helped lots of people myself included. He is a great family man and attorney who has represented me in the past. Everyone makes mistakes, knowing this guy and who he really is I hope the the punishment doesn't keep him from his family long. With that being said, my heart goes out to the family that lost. Complicated situation. I'm sympathetic for both sides because I know Spencer. If any of you know/knew someone in a similar situation, and a person like I know him to be. It would be a hard scale to weigh on. May God bless the family that lost. May God bless my friend Spence. From the other side of the world. Peace to all


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Does anybody have the case number? The web lookup for the Alameda Courts only works if you have the case number. You can search by name only for civil cases, and this is a criminal case.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2014 at 6:42 pm

What developments have there been in this case since January?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Gman94568
a resident of Dublin
on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Is this still a pending case?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by truth
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm

As a lawyer he must be held to a higher standard and punished accordingly. .could you imagine if a police officer did whst this lawyer did?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Jtjh is a registered user.

Thankfully, it seems that the Spencer Freeman Smith case has not yet "disappeared," even if it has disappeared from the media.


The next court date in the case was posted on another web site. It is scheduled for Tuesday November 25. (ie This week.) According to the person who posted, it is for jury selection.

You can check Alameda County court dates online. According to the online site, the location is Hayward and the time will be 9 a.m.

It is now two years and six months since the cyclist Bo Hu was killed.






 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 23, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Jtjh is a registered user.

For Sam:

I'm not sure whether court case numbers stay the same from the very beginning to the end, regardless of progress. But the online details for the court date indicate that the case number is H55167.

Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Spencer Smith changed his plea to guilty and will be sentenced in February 2015, according to the Pleasanton Patch website lead story.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by PAX
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 25, 2014 at 9:55 pm

He's finally going to see justice. Given his status as an attorney, his attempt to hide his guilt, the countless legal delays, and that he left a man to die alone, I genuinely hope he's given the absolute maximum sentence possible in the worst prison our state has. He, of all people, clearly deserves it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I agree, PAX. But will he? For example, to my astonishment, I read elsewhere that one of the sentencing options for the judge would be probation.


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