Spencer Freeman Smith, 32, a partner at the San Francisco firm of Smith Patten was arrested this week on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and manslaughter in connection with the death and hit-and-run of Bo Hu, 57, of China, who was bicycling along a road when he was hit by a Mercedes-Benz. Police traced pieces of Smith’s brand new 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 to his home.
Since the Mercedes-Benz CLS550 is a new model, it made it easier for the police. Once identifying the parts as belonging to a Mercedes-Benz CLS550, police subpoenaed the names and addressed of everyone who purchased the new vehicle. When they went to Smith’s home, they found matching damage on his vehicle, including “extensive windshield and front-end damage.”
Notably, Smith has two convictions in California for speeding within the past year. The accident occurred about 11:30 p.m.
He was admitted to the bar in 2005. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law and has no record of prior bar actions against him.
This could not be worse for Smith. Hitting a man on the road and then cruising away in your luxury vehicle is not the type of case you want to put in front of a jury. Since there is damage to the window, he cannot plausibly argue that he did not know he hit someone, or at least something, in the dark. The best he can argue is that he thought that he hit an object and kept going, but that is not convincing as a defense in this circumstance. Worse still, judges tend to be far more severe in sentencing with lawyers who are expected to maintain a higher standard of adherence and fealty to the law.
In addition, it would seem likely that the family will sue for wrongful death in tort so that Smith would be facing a two-front legal threat. He could find a new meaning to the Mercedes slogan “the best or nothing.”
Here is his bio:
Spencer F. Smith has earned a reputation for being one of the top young employment litigators in Northern California. Mr. Smith has settled seven figure cases with Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Smith has also reached six figure settlements with Parsons Brinkerhoff, In-In-Out, and other Fortune 500 companies.
Mr. Smith’s practice also includes public sector employment, including the City and County of San Francisco, Contra Costa County, and various municipalities and governmental entities throughout California. Mr. Smith has successfully argued cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Court of Appeals. Mr. Smith has co-counseled with several high profile civil rights firms, serving as adviser and chief strategist in the majority of cases.
Now in his own firm, Mr. Smith continues to vindicate employment rights throughout California. In the past two years Mr. Smith has represented a wide range of clients in many different types of situations: whistle blowing, wage-and-hour law, retaliation, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and gender, disability, race, sexual orientation, and age discrimination.