Attorney charged in hit-and-run death refuses plea offer | July 26, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 26, 2013

Attorney charged in hit-and-run death refuses plea offer

Judge will weigh in on plea deal in year-old manslaughter case

by Glenn Wohltmann

A San Ramon attorney charged with running down and killing a man in Dublin is apparently not happy with a plea deal being offered by prosecutors.

Spencer Freeman Smith was due to have a preliminary hearing on charges of felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter on Monday. Instead, he is asking for a judge to get involved in plea bargain negotiations with the hope of getting a better deal.

Prosecutor Rebecca Warren said she's prohibited from discussing what deal was offered; Smith's attorney, Dionne Choice, would not comment.

Smith's case has been stalled for more than a year. He was arrested May 17, 2012, in a nighttime crash that killed Bo Hu, 57, also of San Ramon.

Hu was either walking his bike or riding northbound on Dougherty Road near Fall Creek Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Smith was charged after police in Dublin traced parts from his black 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 found at the scene through the dealership.

"Our officers responded and they collected three vehicle parts that were left at the scene," said Dublin police Lt. Herb Walters at the time. "Each part has a serial number on it. They found that it belonged to a Mercedes."

Witnesses contacted police while they were waiting for a court order requiring the dealership to give them information to track the parts.

A search warrant at Smith's home showed the car, with extensive front end and windshield damage. Walters said the damage matched the parts recovered at the scene.

Since his arrest, the case has been postponed at least six times. His sole appearance so far has been to enter a not guilty plea, where he said nothing but a few whispered words to his attorney at his appearance last June.

A special attorney was appointed by the court to examine items seized in the police investigation that Smith claimed he needed for clients.

Smith, who lives in San Ramon, remains free on bail. He is a partner at the San Francisco firm of Smith Patten, where he practices employment law.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 28 in Hayward, where a judge will weigh in on the plea deal.


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