Smith to face grand jury

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 5, 2007

A grand jury hearing is likely the next step for Terrence Smith a former Demopolis police officer who was charged for inappropriate actions with a minor.

Smith is facing three charges of rape II, which is a sexual interaction with a minor between the ages of 13 and 16 by an adult.

Griggers said rape II, a class B felony, can carry a sentence of two to 20 years of prison time. He said the worst-case scenario for a person convicted with three counts of a class B felony would be for the judge to stack the sentencing for 60 consecutive years, though in most cases judges call for them to run simultaneously.

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Griggers said the particulars of the case will not be open to the public at this time to insure the fairness of Smith’s trial, which is still in the preliminary stages. The Times has been unable to reach Smith at this time for comment on his case.

Smith was arrested by the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department Dec. 19 for three charges and relieved of duty from the Demopolis Police Department on Dec. 20, after and internal investigation.

Demopolis Public Safety Director Jeff Manuel said that a compliant was first sent to his office about the alleged actions of Smith. He said he sent the criminal investigation of office, while he started his own internal investigation into possible violations of departmental procedures associated with the complaint.

Manuel said that the department began is internal investigation to resolve the issue for the police department separately for the criminal findings and in a more timely manner. He said that the investigation found that he had violated policy and procedure and the department removed Smith from the force based on their findings.

Griggers said in most criminal proceedings the cases are resolved by plea-bargaining.

Griggers said when he is asked to plea bargain a case he must first consult with the victim and the victim’s family to get their opinion on the matter. Then he must find out what he thinks about the situation be fore moving forward.

Griggers said the trial would move forward Feb. 5 unless Smith’s attorney is able to get on the list set up for preliminary hearings next week or able to pursued the judge to hold another set of preliminary hearings prior to the grand jury term. He said both scenarios are unlikely, but if a preliminary hearing is granted it could move the case back to the next grand jury term in June.