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

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.


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.


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!


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.


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!!


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


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.


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