On November 14, 2016, Herbert Smith was supposed to start a new job in construction after passing a drug test. Instead, a police SWAT team went to his home and took him into custody for a burglary that allegedly took place at the end of September.
Smith became famous last year when a Broward judge sentenced him to 60 years in prison for violating his probation by driving with a suspended license. That sentence was ultimately mitigated to probation and the judge was later voted out of office.
As Smith’s criminal defense attorney, I am proud to announce that he will be home for Thanksgiving!
Due to a lack of evidence, all charges have been dropped by prosecutors and the violation of probation has been dismissed by a judge.
Hopefully Smith will use this experience to positively reinforce the need to live a good life, stay out of trouble, and focus on the things that matter most – work, family, health, and happiness. Prosecutors should also be commended for performing an honest evaluation of the evidence and for doing the right thing under the law.
Why Was Herbert Smith’s Case Dismissed?
According to police, a person or group of people burglarized a home in Parkland late September. The thief or thieves made off with more than $30,000 in jewelry.
When crime scene techs investigated the scene, they lifted a latent palm print from one of the home’s window frames. This print was found to match a person named Deshaun Robinson (pictured to the left) – NOT Herbert Smith.
In fact, there is absolutely no known evidence that links Herbert Smith to this offense. There are no fingerprints, no DNA, no eye witnesses, no surveillance videos… nothing at all.
However, when detectives ultimately caught up with Robinson he not only admitted to the crime, but he also claimed that Herbert Smith had joined him. Robinson claimed he knew Smith from his neighborhood.
Other than Robinson’s uncorroborated claim, there was no other known evidence tying Smith to this burglary. In the absence of evidence, prosecutors did the right thing and declined charges.
However, it should be emphasized that such decisions are never written in stone. In law there is a concept called “prejudice”. This word does not have the same meaning as it does in casual, non-legal conversation. Instead, when a decision is said to be made “with prejudice”, it means it cannot be undone. In this case, the decision to decline charges was without prejudice.
Therefore, if new evidence ever came to light, prosecutors could, in theory, still charge Smith with a crime – but only if there was enough evidence.
Regardless, as things stand right now, the only evidence known to tie Smith to this burglary was the uncorroborated claim of Deshaun Robinson, which is clearly not enough.
It is my sincere hope that Herbert Smith uses this experience as a reminder of how easy it is to get trapped in the criminal justice system and how important it is to do everything a person can to stay out of trouble and remain on the right path.
One thing is for sure – the Smith family is definitely going to have a thankful Thanksgiving!
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