Miami Pastor Who Looted Public Funds Regains Status As Convicted Felon

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Liberty City minister convicted of using public grant money for personal pleasure, including fun in Las Vegas, has rolled snake eyes in his bid to have his record erased.

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. The funds were to be used for revitalization projects in Smith’s poor neighborhood.

Spence-Jones later beat a criminal charge related to the same grant money.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch withheld adjucation against Smith, effectively nullifying his conviction.

On Tuesday, however, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Bronwyn Miller ruled that the previous ruling was and error and reinstated Smith’s status as a convicted felon.

“This court is bound to faithfully follow and apply the binding rule of law,” said Miller.

Miller said ruled that while Smith has rehabilitated himself, Hirsch had no jurisdiction to grant withhold after jury conviction.



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