Posted on September 19, 2011

Notre Dame Criminal Law Professor Accused of. . . Crime

David Lat, Above the Law, September 15, 2011

Perhaps this is part of some elaborate research project into the workings of the criminal justice system. Professor Stephen F. Smith, who teaches criminal law and criminal procedure at Notre Dame Law School, stands accused of a serious crime.

According to the South Bend Tribune, Professor Smith faces one count of domestic battery, a class D felony. He’s accused of striking and kicking his wife at their home, in an incident that allegedly took place back in June.

Professor Smith doesn’t fit the profile of the typical defendant in a domestic violence case. How many DV defendants have clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court? How many have graduated from Dartmouth College, where Smith served as a trustee, and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he once taught?


Legal pedigrees don’t get much better than this. {snip}


Prosecutors allege that Smith became angry with his wife after they had been out with friends on June 24. Smith allegedly tried to punch her in the face in their upstairs bedroom but she dodged his fist and it grazed her cheek.

He then allegedly knocked her to the ground and kicked her.

Smith’s 23-year-old son heard the argument and confronted Smith, and the pair began struggling down the steps onto the main floor, according to court documents.

This must have been quite the scene. One ND law student describes Professor Smith as “a huge, imposing guy,” estimating his height at 6’7″–not a guy you want to mess with.


These allegations are both terrible and tawdry. And wait, they get worse:

Police confiscated two rifles and a shotgun from the house, as well as a safe that may have contained additional weapons, according to court documents.