July 12, 2018 Podcast Update: John Garrett Smith
State v. John Garrett Smith
Clark County Superior Court #13-1-01035-6
Prior to trial:
· Garrett Smith requested withdrawal of his counsel (Josephine Townsend) four weeks before a bench trial due to statements she made to prosecution implying Smith’s guilt, refusal to speak with him about the upcoming trial, and unwillingness to include critical evidence and call key witnesses for Smith’s defense.
· Representing himself with less than three weeks remaining before his Dec. 1, 2014 trial, Garrett Smith received discovery from the Prosecutor’s Office on 20 CDs and a 2GB flash drive in his jail cell with no device by which to review the evidence. When Smith asked for a CD player, he was denied by the judge. Because he had no access to discovery, Smith was pressured to rehire Townsend days before trial.
Important note: The two manila envelopes of digital discovery delivered to Garrett Smith while he was Pro Se was not retrieved after trial, and remained in Smith’s personal belongings at the jail. After Smith’s transfer to prison, friends arranged to pick up his belongings for storage. While organizing the materials from Garrett’s jail cell, the envelopes labeled “Garrett Smith – Discovery” containing over 10 GB of unredacted discovery was found. Much of the fraud that was insidious throughout the litigation of Smith’s case is verified through these digital files.
Defense Attorney, Josephine Townsend:
· At trial, Townsend declined to make an opening argument; she reserved the right to make one later, but did not.
· Townsend failed to state or employ a defense strategy.
· Prosecution took 2 ½ days to present their case, defense concluded in a couple of hours.
· Townsend had significant exculpatory evidence in her possession (some of which was unknown to the defendant) that she failed to present during trial.
· Much of the evidence known to defendant at time of trial disputing the state’s case was included on evidence list, but not presented during trial.
· Medical reports (in record but not presented at trial) written by 7 key MD witnesses verified that extent of injury claimed by prosecution was false.
· These 7 MD witnesses, who were on the State’s subpoena list for an entire year, did not appear or testify at trial. [Public records disclosure from the Prosecutor’s Office following conviction show no verification subpoenas were sent to these MDs. No records provide explanation for the absence of these key witnesses.]
· Questions about the authenticity of photos and the voicemail recording used to convict Smith were brought to the attention of Townsend and the Prosecutor’s office leading up to and during trial. No authenticity verification was requested or done by Townsend.
Lead Detective Sandra Aldridge:
· Aldridge questioned Smith in an unwitnessed, non-recorded interrogation at Clark County jail within hours of arrest.
· Defendant, who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, asked for an attorney twice during this interrogation (verified in record).
· Aldridge claimed during her testimony that Smith confessed during this 15 minute interrogation.
· Aldridge falsely testified that she was “Cellebrite certified”; later public records disclosure verified there was no such certification on file with VPD.
· Aldridge took Smith’s iPhone out of the evidence unit, downloaded sensitive digital evidence including voicemail used to convict Smith using Cellebrite forensic software.
· Aldridge admits on record to having problems with the extraction from the iPhone.
· Aldridge made more than one CD copy of the voicemail recording. The one used in court was made less than a week prior to trial (according to her own testimony), and was not logged into the evidence unit.
· According to the chain of custody report, a CD made earlier in the case that was labeled for trial remained logged into the evidence unit during trial.
· Aldridge kept Smith’s iPhone in her personal possession (according to chain of custody) from July of 2013 – current
· A forensic analysis of the voicemail recording used at trial was completed in 2017. Results determined that the audio was an edited compilation of multiple clips spliced together.
· There have been at least 4 variations of transcripts to the voicemail recording entered into court record by attorney Townsend and prosecutors.
· Not one of those transcripts includes the statement “I think she stopped breathing” that was printed in the Columbian newspaper article dated March 18, 2014, published 10 months after the incident, but 8 months before trial.
· Multiple individuals had heard at least two distinctly different versions of the voicemail prior to trial (prompting the request to authenticate the recording. Those witness claims were ignored by defense and prosecution during trial).
· The fabrication of voicemail claim with newly obtained forensic analysis was reviewed by the WA Supreme Court during discretionary review of Privacy Act issue (#93923-3). As it was not properly before the court, Smith was directed by WSC to file a PRP.
· Detective Aldridge sat at the prosecution table throughout the three-day trial and was called back to the stand 7 times (more than any other witness for the defense or prosecution) to rehabilitate botched testimony by State’s witnesses and to bolster the prosecution’s case. Aldridge was listed on official court documents as “Party to the case” along with defense attorney, defendant and prosecutor.
Omitted/suppressed evidence and other potential issues:
· WA State Patrol DNA results exclude the victim’s blood from being on the clothes, shoes or person of Garrett Smith (these reports were hidden from defendant and only discovered post-conviction)
· No evidence was collected or analyzed from alleged crime scene
· Smith’s iPhone and landline records including GPS data were not included in trial evidence, and reveal a variety of issues that directly refute the State’s theory of events on June 2, 2013.
· Police photos of Smith’s hands hours after the incident show no blood and no injury in contrast to the claim that he delivered a “punching bag style beating” to his wife’s face and head. Attorney Townsend stated to family and friends of Garrett Smith that she would not use the photos at trial because Smith’s hands presented as “covered with blood and injured from the beating.” The police report written the night of the incident matches the actual police photos (obtained post-conviction through public records disclosure), and correctly describe Smith’s hands with no injury, and free of blood.
Note: Garrett Smith knew that the claims made by his attorney about blood and injury on his hands in police photos was untrue. This is one of the many reasons he felt the need to request withdrawal of attorney Townsend 4 weeks prior to trial and proceed Pro Se.