Fugitive ex-soccer coach Justin Smith taken back to Montgomery County Jail

Soccer coach convicted of sex crimes seeks to suppress cellphone images

Justin K. Smith’s attorney told a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge that he would be filing a motion to suppress the search of Smith’s cellphone. Judge Mary Katherine Huffman scheduled the hearing for Feb. 20.

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Photos and videos on the phone led to 28 counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, six counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor and three counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material.

Smith, 42, also faces single counts of failure to appear, obstructing official business, theft and vandalism related to his cutting his electronic monitoring device after testifying in his trial last year.

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Smith fled to Florida, where he was turned in by a woman he met on an online dating app. Smith, who is married with children, was sentenced Jan. 2 to 12 years in prison by then-Judge Erik Blaine.

During Smith’s sentencing, the victim’s mother said she later found a cellphone in her daughter’s possession that had come from Smith via his daughter. She said police were then notified and that Smith tried to get a second phone to the victim.

Defense attorney Adam Arnold sought — and failed — to have Ohio’s Supreme Court disqualify Blaine from sentencing Smith. Arnold filed a notice of appeal to the Second District Court of Appeals.

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In the denial of the affidavit of disqualification, the court said Arnold said Blaine used the case “for political gain and publicity.”

Arnold argued that Blaine’s refusal to continue the sentencing — set one day before the judge’s last day in office — means Blaine “intends to render as harsh a sentence as possible in order to raise his political profile.”

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Smith testified in his own defense Oct. 31 then failed to return from a lunch break. Smith cut off his ankle monitor and fled first to Kentucky and was arrested Dec. 14 in Florida after a nationwide search.