By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau
SACRAMENTO – Defendant Andre Lamont Smith – accused of planting a scissors in the face of his wife – scored a free jail haircut last week to look good for his upcoming hearing leading to his trial for felony spousal abuse and witness tampering.
But Smith was left with nowhere to go – but home – after those charges were dismissed late Thursday. The trial was set to begin this week.
“The prosecution had major witness credibility problems,” said defense attorney Claire White, who seems to have a knack of winning what seem to be impossible cases, including a not guilty verdict in the case of an activist who threw a pie, and admitted he did it, in the face of former Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson.
In Smith’s case, “A trial would be a waste of taxpayer resources,” said White at Smith’s preliminary trial earlier in January, noting that “There was not enough to hold Andre.”
The alleged victim, his wife, swore on the stand that Smith didn’t do it. And even bailed him out of jail.
During evasive and confusing preliminary hearing testimony in early January, the alleged victim refused to say if Smith stabbed her with a scissors in the face, as police had sworn she told them.
But despite that, Sacramento County Superior Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard found – despite the refusal of the only witness to name Smith as the attacker – to bind Smith over to face felony spousal abuse and witness tampering charges.
“The (victim) is clearly trying to shield the defendant, but there is more than enough evidence to find the defendant guilty of all charges,” said Gilliard, calling the spouse’s testimony “unbelievable” and “one of the worst recanters” she had ever seen in decades on the bench.
“I believe what she told officers. I believe she is scared to tell the truth,” said Gilliard.
But, on the stand at the preliminary trial in early January, Mikaila (Smith) repeatedly said she could not remember statements made to police in the days following her October stabbing, in effect recanting those statements that landed Andre Smith in jail on $550,000 bail.
Officers, though, said they found the “hysterical” Mikaila stabbed in the face with “blood all over the ground” and inside her apartment in October.
Officers claimed Mikaila at first said the attacker was her “ex-boyfriend” and “James” (a boyfriend). But after further questioning in the hospital officers she said the assailant was really her husband Andre Smith.
But Mikaila changed that later, and made that clear while on the stand.
“No, he wasn’t there. I don’t recall seeing him,” said Mikaila, in reference to that night when people, including her boyfriend “James” and a cousin, were at her apartment. Under questioning by defense attorney White, she admitted she had “physical confrontations” with them in the past, not just Andre.
“We were just hanging out, having shots, drinking and stuff. I can’t remember going to the hospital. I can’t remember much,” insisted Mikaila, denying her husband was anywhere around the party.
Police reports indicated she said she was afraid to testify because of “retaliation” by Smith. But Mikaila now can’t remember saying that.
When asked by the deputy district attorney about why she agreed with the police reports when interviewed later, Mikaila said, “I just went along with it…I was on pain medication.”
In fact, Mikaila bailed out her husband, (Andre), and she said she went to his hearing Dec. 4 to support him, and clear up any miscommunication with prosecutors that would get charges dismissed against Andre.
But that didn’t work out either.
When Mikaila saw Andre with his new girlfriend, sparks reportedly flew and the “mystery” girlfriend and Mikaila were kicked out of the courtroom after screaming at each other. Mikaila was handcuffed after being tackled by deputies as she chased the girlfriend down the street in front of the courthouse.
“When I saw my husband with another woman at court, I was mad,” said Mikaila, confirming she was offended and “disrespected” because the man she got out of jail by paying bail had the nerve to show up in court with a girlfriend.
She also wanted Andre’s bail increased – he had been free on the $550,000 bail arranged for by Mikaila, After the Dec. 4 incident, Andre was taken into custody on $2.75 million bail. He remained in jail until the case was dismissed last week.
At the preliminary trial in early January, White also managed to get Mikaila to admit that the “couple” of shots she had the night of face stabbing was really two half-cups of whiskey – as much as 12-16 ounces.
“But I’m cool today. I’m telling the truth,” said Mikaila.