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Notre Dame law professor acquitted of misdemeanor invasion of privacy charge

| Sunday, May 11, 2014

Notre Dame criminal law professor Stephen Smith was acquitted of a misdemeanor charge of invasion of privacy in St. Joseph Superior Court on Wednesday, according to a report from the South Bend Tribune.


Prosecutors accused Smith of violating a no contact order put into place after the state charged him with felony battery of his wife, but Judge Jenny Manier ruled a jury did not have evidence in order to convict, the Tribune reported.


Court documents alleged that Smith went to his wife’s residence while the protective order was in place, but his attorney, Stan Wruble, said he drove there to pick up his children.


A jury of six heard the case, but Manier granted Wruble’s motion for a direct verdict that found Smith not guilty, the Tribune reported.


On March 21, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that Smith will not face the felony charge of domestic battery because the state failed to compile its case in time. He still faces a misdemeanor count of battery against his son, alleged in the same June 2011 incident, the Tribune reported. He is expected to appear in court for a hearing on that charge later this month.


According to the Tribune report, Smith also faces another pending charge of invasion of privacy allegedly in violation of the same no contact order. In that case, court documents allege that Smith was riding in a car with his wife while the no contact order was in effect, the Tribune report stated.


An Indiana State Police trooper arrested Smith after he pulled the vehicle over and discovered the no contact order. According to court records, the case is scheduled to go to trial in September, even though a judge threw out the traffic stop and evidence stemming from it. The Tribune reported that Manier wrote in March that the trooper did not have “reasonable suspicion to believe the defendant was speeding.” 

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