Friday April 24, 2020

Roger Smith was recently the subject of a Netflix documentary series entitled “The Innocence Files.” Episode 9 focused on a case handled by Roger in Macomb County Circuit Court. He represented the Clinton Township Police Department and one of its officers in the first DNA based criminal conviction reversal case in the State of Michigan. The plaintiff had been convicted of a brutal rape, exhausted all of his appeals, state and federal, and after spending ten years in prison was freed when the then Cooley Law School (now Western Michigan University) Innocence Project clinic caused the plaintiff’s still remaining biological evidence associated with the crime to be subjected to DNA analysis which ended up exonerating him.

Roger ended up taking numerous depositions (many of which were video-taped and cleverly utilized by the production crew to recreate the then remote criminal trial circumstances) before his Motion For Summary Disposition was denied at the trial court . He appealed based upon the application of Qualified Immunity and the case resolved under the auspices of the 6th Circuit Mediation Office during a session in Cincinnati, Ohio.

About a year ago, Roger was interviewed in our office by a production crew in anticipation of the Netflix documentary. In viewing Episode 9, Roger reports that there were many fascinating aspects of the case which were not featured in the program but overall the segment was a reasonably fair portrayal.

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