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?

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

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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.

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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.

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StephenSmith.jpg

Stephen Smith

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  • Anonymous

    Just because he’s black doesn’t mean we should hold him accountable to Whitey’s laws.

    Sharia for Muslims, Afria for Africans. When blacks are acting typical toward other blacks, we should stand back and let nature take its course. Our laws are written in the White language and therefore shouldn’t apply when neither party is White.

    Let Africans live like they are in Africa. Fine with us. Whatever they can do to distinguish themselves as being as separate and different in tendency and behavior from Whites, all the better.

    Ebonics? For it! Afro nappy head? For it! Gang banging? For it! Rap lyrics? For it! Saggy pants? For it!

  • Anonymous

    Hmmmm, I wonder if his wife is white. Anybody know?

  • Who Run Bartertown?

    The Notre Dame of folklore has been dead for decades. Even trendy-left Father Hesburgh has publicly worried: this formerly reliable defender of Western values will soon become “not Catholic enough”.

  • Free State Paul

    Owning guns is worse than beating your wife?

  • sbuffalonative

    Professor Smith doesn’t fit the profile of the typical defendant in a domestic violence case.

    I take it Mr. Lat hasn’t read The Color of Crime.

  • MAJ

    There it is – the 21st century, multi-cultural version of “The Fighting Irish.”

  • Race Realist

    Ummm has everyone forgotten the case of black Columbia architecture professor Lionel McIntyre punching a white women in the face over an argument over “white privilege.” http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/item_JmsXQ3NzaAt8uG6uUySGTN

    Many of the victims of black male crime are indeed white women.

  • shaunantijihad

    MAJ wrote, “There it is – the 21st century, multi-cultural version of “The Fighting Irish.””

    Except the “fighting Irish” were men who had fisticuffs with other… grown men – not women and children.

  • GreatNorthWoods

    This particular story doesn’t establish a link between race and violence. Domestic violence is common among whites also and occasionally those of prominence. Okay,- maybe it’s worse with the blacks, but still.

    Better take the man’s safe while we’re at it. If the police don’t find a firearm, I’m sure his cash or other valuable will suffice. And then they just might put the burden of proof on him because he’s going to want it back, possibly creating an asset forfeiture case. What good is a safe if robbers or the police can cart it away. As far as guns are concerned. . .hideyourguns.com

    GNW

  • The Bobster

    #9, maybe???!!! Do you even have a doubt about it?

    http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/abuse/a/blacer030917.htm

    A longitudinal study in the September 2003 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that black and Hispanic couples are two to three times more likely to report male-to-female and female-to-male partner violence than white couples, even after statistically controlling for socio-demographic and psychosocial variables, including alcohol consumption.

  • Tom UK

    Tempted as I am to recite the racial violence rates that we all know by now, it seems this is a pretty standard domestic- if any of us were to live with anybody else for a long period of time, there’s a non-zero possibility of a physical altercation breaking out, whether one partner’s fault or the other.

    Obviously, I don’t know the facts of the matter and if he initiated the violence (especially considering his massive size and strength advantage) he should face the music, but many states have “mandatory arrest” laws that typically work to clap the man in irons without regard to the facts of the matter.

    Also, the man’s possession of firearms is really of no more consequence than his possession of a toaster or a car.

  • Fr. John

    Unless the wife has complained, and there is no death, I don’t see why there is such a ruckus. It is not ‘nice’ to have marital disputes, and why a 23-y.o. son is stil living at home is something one should question anyway….

    But the desire on the part of the statist ‘family haters’ have USED domestic violence as a tool to get INTO our homes, confiscate OUR belongings, and LIE that it is all about ‘safety.’

    It is Draconian, it is evil, and it is anti-marriage, anti-family (read about those cases where children are ripped from their parent’s arms, for merely ‘disagreeing’ about the state’s vision of ‘life’!)

    What bothers me MORE about this case, is that this man is Black. How can he be a Catholic? What IS ND, if not that?

  • Anonymous

    Notre Dame? Wasn’t that the place where there was a huge (nationally-covered) protest against the President of United States and his address to the students at Commencement?

    Why no conservative outcry against Smith’s continued teaching schedule and his damaging effect on students?

  • Josh Harlan

    I’ve noted a fact about blacks which I call the “switch” theory. Even the mildest sophisticated black still has this switch insice him that will flip on the primitive interior if he is suddenly offended or “dissed.” This guy went a long time but when he was pushed too far, the jungle came calling.