Attorney who had pled in death of cyclist withdraws his plea

Judge recuses himself in case

A San Francisco attorney who had pleaded no contest in a hit-and-run collision that killed a bicyclist in Dublin three years ago has withdrawn his plea after the judge who was scheduled to sentence him recused himself in the case.

San Ramon resident Spencer Smith, 35, pleaded no contest on Nov. 25 to felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for striking and killing 57-year-old Bo Hu, who was visiting from China, in a collision on Dougherty and Fall Creek roads in Dublin on May 15, 2012.

Smith was arrested two days later after Dublin police identified him as the owner of a recently purchased black 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 connected with the collision.

Dublin police said Smith's car suffered extensive windshield and front-end damage and was missing parts that were recovered at the scene of the collision.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy, who accepted Smith's pleas, was scheduled to sentence him on Friday but he said he realized that there would be a potential problem if he were to sentence Smith because of relationships he has with people who wrote letters supporting Smith.

Based on Smith's pleas, he could have been placed on probation or sent to state prison for up to four years.

After Murphy recused himself, Smith's attorney, Dionne Choyce, then asked to withdraw Smith's pleas, noting that Smith has the right to be sentenced by the same judge that took the pleas.

Murphy said the case will now revert back to the pre-trial state, with Smith's previous not-guilty pleas restored.

Smith's case will come before a different judge on April 10. New court dates will be set at that time and Smith won't be required to be present for that hearing.

At future hearings, Smith will have the option of re-entering no-contest pleas or going to trial.

— Bay City News Service

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1 person likes this
Posted by Opus the Poet
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2015 at 8:34 pm

This just screams "We got caught" doing a sweet sentence deal for the perp (time served or probation).

3 people like this
Posted by They have a rep for a reason
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Mar 29, 2015 at 8:08 pm

It's either "we got caught" or it's slimy lawyers and legal maneuvering at play. This guy killed someone's father/grandfather, fled the scene (likely because he was DUI) and tried to get his car repaired under the radar. That shows a lack of remorse that is nothing short of pathetic. Smith just wants to save his a$$ and it appears his cronies writing letters are in lock step with him. Disgusting use of loop holes in the legal system in such a self-serving way. Throw this loser in prison where he belongs!!!

But what I don't understand is where all of the Cody Hall haters are hiding. That kid and his parents were stupid and entitled, but he at least stood up and faced his accusers like man.

Like this comment
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 30, 2015 at 8:26 am

@They have: "But what I don't understand is where all of the Cody Hall haters are hiding. That kid and his parents were stupid and entitled, but he at least stood up and faced his accusers like man."

Well, to be more accurate, his lawyer stood up and faced his accusers like a man.

7 people like this
Posted by olfthfl
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 30, 2015 at 11:05 am

This is an outrage. No wonder people have lost all respect for the justice system.

4 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 4, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Jtjh is a registered user.

An outrage indeed. It's astonishing that the man can have the gall to plead guilty, then enter a plea of NOT guilty and expect anyone to believe him.

Next month it will be THREE YEARS since cyclist Bo Hu was run down and killed, yet his grieving family have yet to see the lawyer charged with his crime even go to trial, still less see justice done.

Three whole years.

I, too, cannot but compare this case to that of Cody Hall. Coincidentally, Kevin Murphy is the Alameda County Superior Court judge who sentenced Cody Hall. An earlier poster wondered why the judge was unable to recuse himself until the very day planned for the sentencing in this case. Perhaps this happens a lot - I don't know. But the effect of this late recusal was that Spencer Freeman Smith gained yet more time and even created the opportunity for him to change his plea to not guilty. What a mess.

Spencer Freeman Smith (or the less distinctive Spencer Smith, as it seems he now conveniently calls himself) is an attorney. And in my view, this case smacks of the legal fraternity circling the wagons and playing the system for all it is worth. The longer the case drags on, the more likely it is that the public and the media will forget about it. And, in my opinion, the more likely it is that the apparently already ridiculous maximum penalty for this appalling crime will quietly go away. I really hope that I'm wrong - on both counts. I want to have faith in the justice system, but I'm finding it more and more difficult to do so.

Like this comment
Posted by Gman94568
a resident of Dublin
on Jul 5, 2015 at 8:40 pm

So when is the next hearing scheduled? It is hard to believe this guy is still practicing law.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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