Convicted Reverend Wants Record Expunged
MIAMI (CBSMiami/Herald) – The Reverend Gaston Smith was convicted of looting public grant money, but he wants to erase that conviction and his arrest from the public record during a Friday hearing.
In 2010, Smith was convicted by a jury for stealing from a non-profit he founded at the request of former Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, according to the Herald. Spence-Jones later beat a criminal charge related to the same grant money.
But Smith’s lawyer shocked prosecutors last month when they asked a judge to seal and expunge his client’s criminal record. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch granted Smith a “withhold of adjudication,” which means the conviction doesn’t appear on his record right now.
But, according to the Herald, Hirsch at one time represented former Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler, who was also involved at one point in the money trail. Prosecutors said that’s a clear conflict of interest, according to the Herald.
A new judge, Judge Bronwyn Miller, will be hearing the arguments Friday as prosecutors seek to overturn Hirsch’s 2013 ruling and keep Smith’s felony record intact, according to the Herald.
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