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Professor charged with felony

Observer Staff Report | Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Notre Dame criminal law professor faces a felony charge for domestic battery and will appear in court Jan. 3 for trial.

Stephen Smith, 43, pled not guilty to the charge in June. A judge set the date for his trial during a hearing Tuesday in St. Joseph County Superior Court.

University Spokesman Dennis Brown said Notre Dame would not comment on personal matters.

Smith is still employed by the University, Brown said, and he is teaching classes this semester.

Police responded to a report of domestic violence at Smith’s south side home June 25, according to court documents.

Smith allegedly became upset with his wife after an evening out with friends. His wife told police he yelled at her, knocked her to the ground and kicked her.

Court documents state that the couple’s 23-year-old son heard the argument and confronted Smith. The two struggled before the son took his mother and brother to a neighbor’s house.

The son told police his 10-year-old brother was present when Smith struck his wife.

Police arrested Smith at the scene, and he posted $1,000 bond June 30. Court documents state the judge ordered Smith to have no contact with his wife as a condition of his bond.

Domestic battery is a Class D felony. Ind-iana state law requires a felony charge for domestic battery if the act is committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old.

If convicted, Smith could serve up to three years in prison.

His next hearing is set for Dec. 15.