A man facing child sexual abuse felonies had his motions to dismiss the case denied during an oral arguments hearing on Thursday.
Cody C. Smith, 45, was charged in 2017 with five counts of first-degree aggravated sexual abuse of child. He was sentenced in 2015 to serve 10 years to life in prison after pleading no contest to two first-degree counts aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
Since then, Smith has elected to represent himself in the case and has filed several motions with the 1st District Court, including two motions to dismiss the case: one motion argues his constitutional right to a speedy trial has been violated and another argues exculpatory evidence had been withheld by prosecutors and law enforcement.
Judge Thomas Willmore did partially grant a motion from the state to allow for certain evidence in Smith’s prior case to be used in his pending case. Willmore ruled the state may admit limited evidence to show “propensity,” but not to prejudice the jury.
During the hearing on Thursday, Smith argued via video conference from the Beaver County Jail that prosecutors had violated his right to a speedy trial by way of several continuances. According to Smith’s Motion, he has suffered “oppressive” pretrial incarceration, has never asked the court for a continuance and believes the case should be dismissed.
Smith also argued video evidence of the alleged victim exonerating Smith had been withheld. Smith told the court when he requested the evidence, eventually provided to Smith on a DVD, it was encrypted and not viewable. He also stated certain police reports contained exculpatory evidence in both cases.
“Obviously, the state was trying to withhold it or hide it,” Smith told the court.
Cache County prosecutor Spencer Walsh argued continuances are appropriate when crucial witnesses are unavailable for court proceedings. Walsh also stated two judges in the case had recused themselves to avoid conflicts of interest, which also caused delays. Additionally, since the COVID-19 pandemic, all jury trials and in-person hearings have been postponed.
Judge Thomas Willmore dismissed both motions, stating Smith waived his right to a speedy trial after his preliminary hearing in 2019 and had also stipulated to and requested several continuances as reflected in court records. Willmore said that evidence provided by prosecutors does need to be viewable, but evidence had been provided and Smith had complicated the proceedings by making “totally unrelated statements at all hearings.”
Prosecutors “have given you everything you need,” Willmore said to Smith. “You’ve made it difficult.”
In multiple prior court proceedings, Smith has read lengthy prewritten statements. During a hearing in July, Smith read a statement declaring Willmore held securities for Smith and appointed him as a “trustee.” The “duly elected” Willmore shot down the appointment and asked for further clarification, to which Smith declined. Smith repeatedly told the court he was “not authorized” to answer questions.
“I am not your trustee,” Willmore said. “All you’ve done is string together a bunch of legal terms.”
During Thursday’s hearing, Smith began making a statement regarding admiralty courts and maritime law. Willmore swiftly admonished Smith, reminding him of the scope of Thursday’s hearing.
“If you’re going to go off on a tangent, I’m going to mute you,” Willmore said during the hearing over video conference. “I’ve told you that.”
Smith stated on Thursday that 14 of his motions filed with the court had been ignored by prosecutors. Walsh said Smith had failed to follow proper procedures and stated many of the motions were “very confusing.”
“It doesn’t feel like he knows what he’s talking about,” Walsh said. “At some point, it starts to look like he is playing games with the court.”
Smith was set to appear for a status hearing regarding a future trial date on Jan. 11.