Notable Jury Trials (Criminal Cases)
The following cases are just some of the jury trials that Zach Smith has done since starting his own law firm. It must be noted that almost all of the cases that he now takes are DUI or DUI Manslaughter cases in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. In the past he did take general criminal cases due to his ability and desire as a trial lawyer. However, his practice today is exclusively devoted to DUI and DUI manslaughter cases.
Jason Nicholson Trial #1 MANSLAUGHTER: JURY VERDICT, NOT GUILTY
Zach Smith represented Jason Nicholson, a former professional boxer/bouncer who was charged in the September 2004 killing of Nelson Scott Bolton. In one of the highest profile criminal trials Tulsa has seen in the last decade, Zach was able to acquit Jason of First Degree Manslaughter. The elected DA, Tim Harris, was the lead Prosecutor for the State of Oklahoma, and Steve Kunzweiler, the Chief of Criminal sat 2nd chair. After a two week trial and lengthy testimony from about 20 witnesses, the jury deliberated for 11 hours before returning a verdict of NOT GUILTY.
After two and a half years, Nicholson finally got his day in court and, thanks to Zach, went home a free man. After the trial, Jason said, “Zach’s the man”. Jason has said several times, “nothing happened with my case for over a year, and Zach Smith got the case and in two and a half months it was over. I’m a free man because of Zach and his amazing ability as a trial lawyer.”
Stephen Porter A&B: JURY VERDICT, NOT GUILTY
Stephen’s ex-wife filed a police report alleging that he assaulted her boyfriend during an argument at her home over child support. Stephen was charged with two counts of assault and battery. Zach Smith set the case for a jury trial. Both the ex-wife and the boyfriend testified that Mr. Porter assaulted and battered them. The jury deliberated for just over an hour and came back with a verdict of NOT GUILTY.
Michael Dax Mondy SHOOTING WITH INTENT TO KILL Amended to Assault
Michael Dax Mondy was charged with Shooting With Intent to Kill after an alleged road rage incident in Tulsa wherein he pulled out a pistol and shot into a woman’s car. The case drew heavy media attention, especially after it was discovered that the bullet struck a baby’s car seat.
Zach Smith was able to work out a deal with the district Attorney’s Office, and the charges were amended to Assault With a Dangerous Weapon a far less-serious offense, and Mondy took a deal: One (1) year in custody, Four (4) years suspended.
Zach Smith’s ability to negotiate cases and trial reputation benefited Mondy in this particular case. Shooting With Intent to Kill carries up to life in prison, but because of the deal that Zach worked out, Mondy only spent about 7 months in custody, and is now back with his family for a regretful mistake.
Wesley Gunnels Trial: JURY VERDICT, NOT GUILTY
Wesley Gunnells was charged with Assault With Intent to Kill for an alleged attack on Patrick Carr. Zach Smith represented him in a jury trial that lasted four days. After deliberating for almost Four (4) hours, the jury found him Not Guilty of Assault With Intent to Kill, and found him Guilty of the lesser offense of Assault With a Dangerous Weapon.
Gunnells has prior felony convictions, and therefore, the minimum sentence of Twenty (20) years was imposed. However, the plea offer from the State originally was Twenty-Five (25) years on Assault With Intent to Kill. The problem for Wesley was that Assault With Intent to Kill is an 85% crime, meaning that he would have to serve at least 85% of the Twenty-Five (25) years before becoming eligible for parole. Assault With a Dangerous Weapon does not have a minimum requirement, and Gunnells would only have to serve about one-third of the Twenty (20) years he got from the jury. The end result was that Zach Smith saved Gunnells about Fourteen (14) years in that case.
Jason Nicholson Trial #2 A&B: JURY VERDICT, NOT GUILTY
Nicholson was charged again by the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office in June of 2008 with two (2) counts of Assault and Battery and one (1) count of Threatening a Violent Act. Due to the history that Nicholson has (See Case #1 above) the District Attorney’s Office wanted him to serve one (1) year in the county jail. However, his case was set for jury trial immediately. Channel 6 ran a one-sided story and claimed to have tried to contact Jason’s lawyer, Zach Smith. They portrayed Nicholson once again as a bad person and bully, and Zach Smith fought for him again. Zach contacted Channel 6 and let them know that Jason was innocent and that their story was premature. After a two day trial and testimony from three (3) eye witnesses, including the victim, the jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY. Zach Smith contacted channel 6 after trial and asked for an opportunity to speak on behalf of Nicholson and was denied the opportunity.
Mr. Caughrean DUI Trial: NOT GUILTY VERDICT
Mr. Caughrean was involved in an accident wherein he hit the back end of a tractor trailer. Once the police arrived, they performed SFST (standardized field sobriety tests) on Mr. Caughrean. They claimed he failed the tests. He also took a blood test that was used against him in the trial. Zach Smith successfully argued against the blood test and received a verdict of NOT GUILTY. Thanks to Zach, Mr. Caughrean didn’t lose his license and doesn’t have a DUI conviction on his record.
D.H. Indecent Exposure Trial: JURY VERDICT, NOT GUILTY
D.H. was accused of indecent exposure at the Big Splash water park in Tulsa. He professed his innocence from the beginning, but two eye witnesses claimed to have seen this. Furthermore, the deputy sheriff that investigated did not listen to D.H.’s version of what happened. Zach Smith tore the witnesses version of what happened apart piece by piece. Zach was able to acquit D.H. After three days of trial, the jury came back in less than 30 minutes with a verdict of NOT GUILTY. Had D.H. been convicted, he would have been required by law to register as a sex offender. Zach Smith saved him in this horrible, embarrassing time.
Kunagi Lowe Murder Trial: JURY VERDICT, NOT GUILTY
Kunagi Lowe was charged with Murder in the First Degree and facing a life sentence in prison with or without the possibility of parole. The State of Oklahoma charged him and James Melton with the stabbing death of his step father. Both of them were said to have “confessed” to the crime, however, James Melton’s confession was the only one on tape. Kunagi repeatedly stated on the video-taped interrogation that he did not do it, but later was said to have admitted to detectives that he did. The State of Oklahoma also had two eye witnesses, in addition to the confessions, stating that both Melton and Lowe stabbed the victim. The trial lasted for 5 days, but late Friday night the jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY. Up until trial, Lowe had spent 16 months in the county jail, and Zach Smith saved him a lifetime behind prison bars.
Visit the Tulsa World for more information on this case.
Marco Carroll Murder Trial: JURY VERDICT, NOT GUILTY
Marco Carroll, along with Joseph Farmer, Ramon McBee and Roy Williams was charged with First Degree Murder in the shooting death of Brian Minter. Zach Smith was appointed by the court to represent Mr. Carroll. The jury trial lasted 5 days. The Jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY for the charge of Murder in the First Degree, which carries a sentence of Life or Life Without Parole in prison. Instead, the jury found Mr. Carroll guilty of the lesser offense of Murder in the Second Degree and sentenced him to 20 years. He was also sentenced to an additional 6 years on the charge of Using a Vehicle to Facilitate the Discharge of a Firearm. Zach Smith saved Mr. Carroll a Life Sentence at minimum. Zach has proven time and again that he is a capable, successful trial lawyer.
Visit the Tulsa World for more information on this case.