Former MPD officer requests shortened sentence in manslaughter conviction

Former MPD officer requests shortened sentence in manslaughter conviction
Aaron Cody Smith was immediately taken into custody Friday after being convicted of manslaughter in the death of Gregory Gunn. (Source: Dale County Sheriff's Office)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The defense attorney for former Montgomery Police Officer Cody Smith is asking the judge to consider an abbreviated sentence.

Smith was sentenced in January to serve 14 years after being convicted of manslaughter for the on-duty shooting death of Gregory Gunn in 2016.

The motion asks the judge to modify Smith’s time in prison to a three-year split sentence. A split sentence is served day-for-day and is not subject to parole. A defendant only serves the full sentence if they violate the terms of their release. If granted, Smith’s sentence would be three years, split to serve 14 years.

In the same motion, Smith’s attorney, Dwight “Tray” Richardson, III, argues it would be especially dangerous for Smith to serve time in the Alabama Department of Corrections given his law enforcement background. Richardson cited the Department of Justice report on Alabama’s male prisons which stated the prisons failed to protect inmates from prisoner-on-prisoner violence and sexual abuse.

“The Defendant asserts that sentencing him to imprisonment in unconstitutional conditions would be an especially egregious violation of his constitutional rights under the 8th and 14th amendments respectfully," the motion stated.

Instead, Richardson asks that the judge allows Smith to serve his time in the Dale County Jail where he’s been since his conviction in November.

“Three years in the Dale County Jail would serve the dual purpose of punishment to Mr. Smith, avoid placing Mr. Smith in unconstitutional conditions, ensure Mr. Smith’s safety,” the motion added.

Richardson also filed a notice of appeal and a motion for an appeal bond, something the state strongly objects. District Attorney Daryl Bailey’s office filed its objection before the defense motion was submitted.

Smith’s prior legal counsel, attorneys Roianne Connor and Mickey McDermott, who represented Smith from the day he was charged until conviction filed motions to withdraw from the case after Smith was sentenced.

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