By RALPH BARTHOLDT
A 21-year-old Montana man who was sentenced in November in Coeur d’Alene to as many as five years in prison for selling drugs is back in familiar territory.
Skylar R. Smith, who was sentenced Nov. 19, was serving two to five years in Orofino when he was called back to Coeur d’Alene this week to be resentenced.
His attorney, Jay Logsdon of the Kootenai County public defender’s office, said Smith wasn’t given a chance to address the court, to express remorse or provide an explanation that might be considered by a judge.
Defendants have a right to provide allocution statements to ensure that their side of the story, or their thoughts, are heard by the court.
Logsdon said his client wasn’t given the chance at allocution, which is a legal right for defendants in Idaho.
Smith was transported from Orofino to the Kootenai County jail last week and will be resentenced by District Judge John Mitchell at 10:30 a.m. today in First District Court.
Smith was arrested two years ago with a half-pound of cocaine, marijuana and a handgun while heading east on Interstate 90 near Rose Lake.
At his November sentencing, Smith answered questions from the judge, Logsdon said, but Smith was not allowed to provide a personal statement to the court.
“In this matter, the Court asked Mr. Smith a series of questions, but did not provide him a chance to speak on his own behalf,” Logsdon wrote in his motion for resentencing. “It seems only fair to permit the defendant a new sentencing.”
District Judge Lansing Haynes, who sentenced Smith, agreed with Logsdon and apologized for the mistake. He recused himself for the second sentencing, which is expected to take 10 minutes this morning.
“This is a huge oversight,” Haynes said. “This is embarrassing to the court. No disrespect was intended.”
Smith was driving a white 2012 Ford Taurus east over Fourth of July Pass when he was stopped by county deputies. A sheriff’s K9 alerted on the car, and deputies uncovered a half pound of marijuana in addition to more than a half pound of cocaine in the Taurus, as well as a Ruger .22-caliber pistol and $660 in cash.
Logsdon asked Mitchell to allow his client to be in civilian clothing for sentencing, but Mitchell denied the request.