Manslaughter case against Tri-Valley attorney moves forward

Preliminary hearing waived after more than a year of delays

After more than 18 months of delays and legal wrangling, the manslaughter case against a San Ramon lawyer accused of running down a bicyclist in Dublin is moving ahead.

Spencer Freeman Smith waived a preliminary hearing Thursday in Pleasanton. He's now set to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward later this month.

Smith, 33, was arrested for felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter on May 17, 2012, days after a nighttime crash that killed Bo Hu, 57, a Chinese national who was living in San Ramon at the time.

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

The case against Smith has seen at least six postponements to date. He's also turned down a plea offer, although prosecutors are prohibited from discussing details of the plea deal.

His only appearance in court prior to Thursday was in June, when he entered a not guilty plea, saying nothing but a few whispered words to his attorney.

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

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.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by LMP
a resident of Danville
on Dec 6, 2013 at 7:11 am

Throw the book at this guy. He was probably drunk when it happened, but we will never know since he fled the scene and neglected to help the poor man he hit. Just a bunch of sleezy legal wrangling to date. He belongs in jail. Condolences to the victim's family.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by SL
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 6, 2013 at 9:13 am

People guessing at what happened is why we have a trial system in this country. He is not guilty until a trial occurs and a judge or jury makes that determination from all the facts. It is tragic that someone was killed but there are two facts that are very important: "night-time crash" and "traced parts of the car" . Being an owner of a car involved in an accident does not mean the owner was the driver; Was the bicyclist in the road - in a bike lane- off on the shoulder and have proper lighting on the bike for night vision. Was the bicyclist barely glazed by a car and died from a head injury or 'run over'. These are all missing facts.
Don't be so quick to judge without all the facts of the case.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 6, 2013 at 11:07 am

SL you are a disgrace to Alamo. It's your type that is the cause of all our problems.

I hope the SOB gets locked up for a long time...

Julia Pardini from Alamo..

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by OLD GUY
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm usual you spill bile from your parched lips. You are the real disgrace to Alamo. I have read your posts for a number of months. I have never heard you say something positive. This forum and the population of Alamo would be well served of you stopped postingar

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Carol Mayhew
a resident of Danville
on Dec 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Well well well--seems Old Guy wants to SHUT DOWN discussion and opinion......betting a diversity embracing libTARD with no feelings for the poor victim. I have seen many lawyers in action---disgusting maggots---I have watched the Martinez courts--appalling good old boys clubs---the hell with the LAW.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Sebastian Monroe
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 6, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Yawn yawn. I am wondering if the well worn overused "race card" has been p l a y e d yet?

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Founding Father
a resident of Danville
on Dec 7, 2013 at 7:57 am

The fact that four of six comments here want to lynch this defendant is precisely the reason why we have a presumption of innocence and a court system -- to act as a check on the know-nothing power of mob rule and the torches-and-pitchforks brigade.

Julia is a lunatic fixture around here, but Carol uses this tragedy to spew undifferentiated personal hostility, Sebbie play race card solitaire and LMP wants to convict on no evidence except the unsupported assumption that the defendant was drunk. Fortunately, our system requires requires due process for all -- including you when it's your turn -- and the citizens tasked with passing actual judgment usually take their duties seriously.

A man died here -- I wonder how he'd feel about your using his tragedy as an excuse to vent your basest predilections and prejudices?

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Danville
on Dec 7, 2013 at 9:01 am

Thanks, Founding Father. I frequently have to remind myself that, despite the way they dominate the comments section in the Danville Express, these vapid haters don't represent this community.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Dec 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm

More than likely unintentional accident. Whether driver was attorney, or whatever race he was, doesn' matter. He of course knows the law and what is at stake. What matters is what happened. Being so late at night the visibility was poor on that road and many roads. It is a sad accident for both parties. He is obviously trying to delay the inevitable as he and his attorney proceed thru court system. The courts will decide his fate and he will have to live with it.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 8, 2013 at 9:17 am

Wake up Louise...yes it was an accident...but the low life Mr. Smith said screw it and drove away...I wonder you Louise have any idea why...If you can think Louise really think.

And a message to "Old Guy" On the other hand, what I have to say in response shouldn't be said on the media...but I am sure you can guess what my response would be...You do know when you get OLD your your mind misfires.

Thanks for listening Old Guy and all the other that bile flows over my lips.

Carol Mayhew said it appropriately and correctly.

In my closing remarks allow to say Mr. Smith is scum and all others like him that would leave an accident site that was involved ii is also scum.

Julia Pardini from Alamo...Stay warm if you can...these past few days have been seriously rough on the many homeless folks.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Rita Samuelson
a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2013 at 7:07 am

"SL" seems to forget that George Zimmerman was convicted and hung by the mainstream media who also INVENTED the moniker "white Hispanic" to gin up the low information ppl. I do believe this lawyer/suspect played his itty bitty race card to deflect from the facts coming out. Pray buddy, I'm not on your jury.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I'm always surprised at the number of people who can't seem to have a reasonable discussion without throwing in the name-calling and personal invective. "Libtard?" Really? I don't see anyone who disagrees with you, Carol Mayhew, calling you "Carol-tard" or "Mayhew-tard." It seems pretty juvenile to me, Carol.

Perhaps the name-calling is simply an indication of the weakness of their arguments.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Moral Turp
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 14, 2014 at 10:34 am

This guy Smith is very arrogant and a crook. Why would you hide your car in the garage knowing you had hit something or someone. The fatal hit & run was on the news for several days every day. Yet, you did not come forward. The cops had to find you. If he had stopped and rendered aid, maybe Mr. Hu would be here today. I see no reasonable defense. He should fry and pay the Hu family for their loss.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by John
a resident of San Ramon
on May 30, 2014 at 9:51 am

I do beleive someone is innocent until proven guilty but if this assumed lawyer is innocent then why is he not facing the court system after 2 years of delay. I feel I am an impartial citizen and would love to sit in on this case once it gets moving along. Would sure like to see the defense side if thus hit and run, being the defendant was driving on this road the night of the accident, aware he hit something,has a history of drunk driving,failure to stop at scene of crime,hid his car in his garage,etc. The odds do stack up against the defendant but just because he is a lawyer doesn't exempt him from fa cin the court system.
I am not a racist but feel we have another O.J. Simpson begging for sympathy....shame,shame,shame

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Well, he passed on the plea deal so if he is (found) guilty, that's going to cost him. He will get his day in court after far, far too many delays, but I'm going with Moral Turp here - his actions do not reflect innocence. And I suspect some comments here might bend a bit differently if the victim was a child. The reason most hit & runners leave the scene is because they are under the influence. Sober or not, it is the action of a coward.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Mrs JJJ
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2014 at 3:28 pm

>> He will get his day in court after far, far too many delays. <<

Do you think so? The second anniversary of the night Bo Hu was killed has now come and gone. Yet I can find not one media report of any progress of the case since January.

I know that the wheels of justice sometimes move exceedingly slowly, but is the snail-like pace of this case not rather unusual?

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jun 2, 2014 at 11:14 am

Getting him arraigned is not a trial, and I agree that two years is a ridiculously long time, but at least it's a step in the right direction. You know if this was some low-income person working a blue collar job he would have been in jail ages ago.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by MrsJJJ
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

If some sort of out-of-court settlement/agreement, other than a plea bargain, is reached in a criminal case, so that it does not go to trial, is the outcome still a matter of public record? Or can it somehow be suppressed by those who have money, influence, etc?

 +   3 people like this
Posted by sr resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 21, 2014 at 2:44 am

Yes an accident like others pointed out-- but his actions following the accident is what makes him despicable and worthy of a life behind bars. Smith's windshield was SMASHED - and police found hair and blood from the victim in the cracks of his windshield. Smith drove home with a bashed in windshield, and hid his car in his garage, and used his other car while trying to figure out what to do. Police used parts of smith's car to find him- and when they showed up to question him he blurted out "I was in an accident a couple of days ago". This isn't a "oh maybe I hit something I'm not sure oh well" kind of case. This is a man's body smashing his windshield- right in front of his face. He knows what he did and he tried to hide it and he's been caught. What's even more deplorable is our justice system in this case- how has the state bar not even added disciplinary action to his bar status? He should absolutely be disbarred, he is supposed to uphold the justice system but instead he uses it to duck the law like a coward. Yeah, he hasn't had his trial yet, but this is definitely more of a sentencing case than a guilt case.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Moral Turpitude
a resident of Blackhawk
on Nov 9, 2014 at 8:14 pm

This Attorney, Smith,
is a con man who rips off allege victims of employment discrimination. He is truly a scumbag. So whatever he says, please, please, take it as a half grain of salt.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Blackhawk
on Nov 14, 2014 at 6:24 am

Throw the book at him, lock him up and throw away the key.

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