The Conviction of Garrett Smith: Evidence logged before crime occurred
On June 3, 2013, John Garrett Smith was arrested and booked into the Clark County, WA Jail. He was charged and later convicted of Attempted Murder II following a bench trial held on December 1 - 3, 2014 before Judge Robert A. Lewis.
A key piece of evidence used to convict Mr. Smith was a voicemail on his iPhone. The recording of the incident was taken when Mr. Smith was attempting to locate his iPhone by calling it from his landline. The State alleged the audio depicts Mr. Smith’s attempt to murder his wife.
On June 2, 2013, the iPhone that captured this voicemail was logged into evidence at 10:31:52 PM, 38 minutes prior to the alleged assault. The recording was made at 11:10 PM, after the iPhone had been logged into evidence by the Vancouver Police Department.
The evidence log regarding the Chain of Custody Report identifies the iPhone as item 1455-002, and does not identify how the evidence got into custody before this crime was committed.
Mr. Smith has been in jail since June 3, 2013 and proclaims his innocence.
In a published opinion, the Washington Court of Appeals, Division II overturned Mr. Smith’s conviction in a unanimous decision. However, Clark County has appealed the decision to the Washington Supreme Court, and Mr. Smith remains incarcerated at Stafford Creek Correctional Facility in Aberdeen, WA.
Detective Sandra Aldridge, a key witness for the prosecution, was recalled to the witness stand seven times during Smith’s trial. She was the lead detective on the case, and has been employed at the Vancouver Police Department since 2005.
Prior to her employment, Sandra Aldridge was a police officer in Bibb County, GA for the Macon Police Department. In May of 2000, Aldridge was named in an officer involved shooting. She shot Patrick Long, a 21-year-old unarmed African American male; once in the back of the head, and once in the back. The Macon PD Internal Affairs investigation determined the shooting of Patrick Long to be a justifiable homicide.
Sandra Aldridge left the Macon Police Department in 2005 and joined the Vancouver Police Department. Currently, Detective Aldridge is under investigation by the Vancouver Police Department for incidents unrelated to Mr. Smith’s case. Since April 2014, Aldridge has been named in 15 internal affairs investigations.
Since December 2015, Detective Sandra Aldridge has been named in three federal lawsuits for civil rights violations.