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Professor set to go on trial in June

Observer staff report | Friday, April 27, 2012

A Notre Dame criminal law professor will go to trial June 4 on a felony charge of one count of domestic battery.

The case against Stephen Smith has been delayed twice: once in December due to a congested court calendar and a second time in March at the request of Smith, according to court records.

Smith, 44, pled not guilty to the charge in 2011. He appeared in St. Joseph Superior Court Wednesday with his attorney, Dave Newman. During this appearance, Judge Jerome Frese set Smith’s trial date for June 4.

University Spokesman Dennis Brown said Notre Dame would not comment on personal matters, but it “will continue to monitor as the criminal justice system addresses the matter.”

Smith is still teaching at the University, Brown said.

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. Indiana 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.

Smith’s final court appearance has been set for May 21 at 9 a.m. If convicted, Smith could serve up to three years in prison.