No Charges Filed in Hit and Run Case; Arraignment Delayed Until June

Spencer Freeman Smith, the San Ramon lawyer arrested in connection with last week's hit-and-run, made his first court appearance on Tuesday.

Spencer Freeman Smith has plenty of experience inside a courtroom but not in the role he played on Tuesday — defendant.

The San Ramon lawyer, who was in connection with the fatal hit-and-run on Dougherty Road in Dublin, appeared in court for the first time Tuesday morning.

Wearing a navy suit, Smith stood in front of the judge at the  in Pleasanton for about a minute, but didn't say anything except for a few whispered words to his lawyer.

Charges weren't filed and no plea was entered, with the arraignment hearing being pushed back until June 27. Smith is currently out on bail.

"Police are still investigating the case and no charges have been filed yet," Teresa Drenick of the Alameda District Attorney's Office said.

Smith is being represented by Bill Gagen, a long-time Bay Area trial attorney. Gagen's biography page on his firm's website quotes a 2003 San Francisco Chronicle article that says, "If you get in trouble with the law in Contra Costa, who do you call? Those in the know say it’s Bill Gagen."

"I think there are two issues in this case," Gagen told reporters after the hearing.

"First, how did the accident happen? What was someone doing in the middle of a busy intersection at 11:30 at night? Would any driver expect someone to be there?"

"Second, what did my client know and when did he know it?"

Gagen said Smith feels terrible and is devastated about the death of Bo Hu, the man killed in the hit-and-run last Tuesday. Citing attorney-client privilege, Gagen said he could not comment on why Smith didn't stop after the collision or why he didn't alert police immediately.

On Monday, a private funeral for Hu was held at  in Dubin.

Truth13 May 23, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Wow, where in the elements of hit & run does the accidents circumstances matter?? Leaving the scene and not immediately reporting seem to be what is required. Fact, Mr. Smith changed his routine behavior and attempted to hide his vehicle. He never attempted to contact authorities and only after police served a search warrant did some or the truth become available. You killed a man Mr. Smith and you keep hiding. This time through your attorney. God has no attorney's when your judgment time arrives. All you had to do was stop and report your mistake.
DanvilleSince83 May 23, 2012 at 09:24 PM
If there was one thing I learned while growing up in Danville for 25 years it was the simple fact that if you have money you can get away with almost anything. I know a few people who have committed despicable felonies only to lawyer up and walk away with minor misdemeanors. No doubt Mr. Smith has deep pockets and Mr. Gaden has successfully defended the rich for decades. Unfortunately we'll probably only see Mr. Smith take a plea, spend a few days in jail, then have to do community service. The fact of the matter is that the rich are above the law because they afford great lawyers.
Darius J May 24, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Good points DanvilleSince83 - at this point, the facts don't look good for Mr. Smith, Esq. but it sounds like he has money to afford a good lawyer. Even if Smith pleads out to a minor penalty, it won't be good publicity for his law practice and if he is convicted, hopefully the State Bar will also take appropriate action to publicly suspend or reprimand him.
Granny J May 24, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Ever hear of innocent until proven guilty? You're trying this case in the media, and not looking at the glaring fact: ACCIDENT. Give it a rest until the investigation is over and the trial has begun. Then add in your layman's law lips. Haven't we learned enough with the Zimmerman case about circumstantial evidence and how things can go awry?
Tom L. May 25, 2012 at 09:12 PM
To Granny J - Innocent until proven guilty is a very misunderstood concept. It applies to the trial, not the charge. In this case, I believe not even this man's attorney is denying that he struck the victim and killed him. So, the question remains - why did he leave the scene? I am a lawyer, by the way, not a layman. If he had stopped and immediately contacted police, the circumstances of the accident would be extremely relevant, They still are, with respect to the criminality of the accident, but leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in and of itself. There is no legal or moral excuse for what this attorney did. Save your indignation for someone who deserves it.


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