Darren Smith’s bond reinstated after alleged violation

Former Ferris hockey player released from jail after two weeks

Darren Smith, former goalkeeper for the Ferris ice hockey team, was released from jail Monday, Oct. 22, after being arrested Oct. 9 for allegedly violating his bond conditions.

Smith was originally arrested July 12 for three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, and according to Mecosta County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Amy Clapp, the charges have remained the same. When Smith posted his bail, there were several conditions for being let out on bond, including not leaving the state, not using alcohol or illegal controlled substances, and no contact with the victim, her residence or place of work, according to court documents.

The alleged incident happened off-campus during the late-evening, early-morning hours of July 7-8. The victim’s name is being kept anonymous in the interest of protecting her privacy, but she is currently a student at Ferris.

“He of course has, in most situations, a right to bond,” Clapp said. “We don’t necessarily want defendants to stay in jail, especially in a case like this. It’s going to be a long time until we get to trial, so he has an interest in being out of jail, coupled with the interest of society to protect victims, to protect society against individuals who are facing a charge like this. This is multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree that he’s been charged with.”

From 4:12 a.m. to 4:19 a.m. Oct. 7, Smith’s GPS tether, which he was required to wear as part of his bond, recorded him going on the road outside of the victim’s apartment complex, and thus into the exclusion zone of the victim. The Community Corrections Program Tether Violation document stated that Smith was instructed not to go within 400 feet of the vic- tim’s address as part of his tether rules, which he signed.

However, the Renewed Emergency Motion for Release and Reinstatement of Bond led by the defense claims that Smith was never given written documentation of the exclusion zone and where it specifically extended. Smith did not initial the section of his bond conditions stating that he was aware of the boundaries of the exclusion zone.

The Motion for Release also showed maps of the exclusion zone set by the Community Corrections office, and the center of the circle was the clubhouse of the apartment complex, not the victim’s apartment building. According to the map showing Smith’s tether activity, Smith did not enter within 500 feet of the victim’s building, the defense stated in the motion.

The court posted a bench warrant for Smith’s arrest and he was taken into custody Oct. 9 until the case was handled in the 49th Circuit Court by Hon. Scott Hill-Kennedy Monday, Oct. 22.

The prosecution asked that the bail be raised, stating the original bond amount was too low based on the charges. The defense countered by stating Smith did not in- tend to violate the bond conditions and asked that the original bond be reinstated.

The final ruling was made to reinstate the original bond with the amendment that Smith is not to be on or around the road leading to the victim’s apartment complex, as Hill-Kennedy believed the offense to be more of an oversight rather than intentional.

“Fourteen days in jail were a strong and appropriate reminder to Mr. Smith,” Hill-Kennedy said. “We protect people until we find there is no longer a reason to.”

The pre-trial date is set for Nov. 5 and future trial dates will be set as needed. Clapp said she does not expect to get a date before March 2019.

Smith is not on the roster for the Ferris ice hockey team and, according to Clapp, is not currently enrolled at Ferris as a student.