Judge denies Logan man’s motion to change felony sex abuse plea

Cody C. Smith, 39, in 1st District Court, March 18, 2014.

LOGAN — A judge has denied a 40-year-old Logan man’s request to change his plea on felony charges of aggravated sex abuse of a child. The ruling for Cody Smith came after a half-day of testimony, Tuesday afternoon in 1st District Court.

Defense attorney, Cara Tangaro, claimed Smith was pressured into taking a plea deal during the second day of his five-day trial back in January. He was also reportedly never told about the stipulations of the agreement, including a recommended prison sentence.

State attorney, Barbara Lachmar, argued that Smith talked with his former attorney at length about the plea deal and was just having second thoughts.

Susanne Gustin represented Smith during the January trial and said the plea deal, offered by prosecutors, had a recommended sentence of two terms of six-years-to-life in prison. She testified that prosecutors were going to pull the deal once Smith’s daughter testified in trial.

“It was my opinion that Smith had a terrible case and should take the deal” said Gustin, who primarily deals with sex abuse and rape cases. “I told him that prosecutors had a whole pile of evidence against him and he could face the maximum charges of 30-years-to-life in prison if found guilty.”

Smith was originally arrested in March 2013, accused of encouraging a teenage girl and her boyfriend to engage in sex while in his home. The girl also said Smith fondled her on multiple occasions.

Prosecutors originally filed 14 charges against Smith including nine counts of rape of a child and object rape, all first-degree felonies, forcible sex abuse and criminal solicitation, both second-degree felonies, and three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, all class B misdemeanors.

During the January trial, Smith told Judge Brian Cannell that he accepted and understood the deal which dropped all the charges except two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony. As part of the agreement, he pleaded no contest, where he neither admitted guilt nor disputed the charges.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Cannell said Smith had failed to prove he didn’t understand the plea when he accepted it and ordered him to remain in jail. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 30.

<hr /> <p style=”text-align: center;”>will@cvradio.com

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