By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – A fired Lewis County Jail guard was given a 90-day jail sentence today following a plea deal in which local prosecutors agreed not to file any charges of assault that could have occurred during his time as a corrections officer.
Trevor S. Smith was terminated last summer for mistreatment of two inmates, conduct his superiors wrote “shocks the conscience and could be viewed as violating basic civil rights possessed by all human beings regardless of status.”
Smith was arrested about two weeks later at his home in Chehalis for something unrelated however, for allegedly snooping into secure jail computer records. Computer trespass is a class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Smith was hired at the sheriff’s office in 2004 and promoted to jail sergeant in 2011. The inmate issues were investigated internally.
His June 27, 2014 termination letter and related documents show Smith was disciplined for directing that an inmate be kept in a restraint chair for approximately twelve hours without food, water or restroom breaks.
Also, after Smith directed the discharge of pepper spray into the closed cell of an inmate with mental health issues, the inmate was not offered a wet towel, a shower or any decontamination for more than five hours; the cell had no running water, according to the sheriff’s office.
Mark McClain is a former Lewis County deputy prosecutor who was elected in November as Pacific County prosecutor, and returned today for Smith’s hearing.
As part of the deal, prosecutors dropped two of the five counts of computer trespass, McClain said.
McClain said the sheriff was involved in the resolution of the case, and went along with it, acknowledging “the good things Mr. Smith did for the sheriff’s office.”
McClain and Defense attorney Shane O’Rourke said the state agreed not to pursue any collateral investigations as part of the plea agreement.
McClain asked the judge to lock Smith up for 90 days.
O’Rourke recommended his client be allowed to serve his time on electronic home monitoring.
O’Rourke said Smith qualified for several reasons. He’s working, for UPS; he’s going to school, getting an online MBA; and has partial custody of his children.
O’Rourke said his client doesn’t believe there was excessive force even in the civil context or the context of his profession.
As to the reason prosecutors would agree to not pursue criminal charge:
“if I was going to speculate, it would be because it doesn’t amount to criminal assault,” O’Rourke said.
Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt ordered Smith to begin 90 days on home monitoring by Feb. 17.
Smith declined a request by a reporter for comment after the hearing.
For background, read:
• “Lewis County Jail sergeant let go for mistreating inmates, then arrested for computer snooping at work ” from Wednesday July 16, 2014, here
• “Sheriff’s Office: Fired corrections officer allowed inmates to suffer” from Friday July 18, 2014, here