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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Smith fined $1K for missing court date

Associated Press

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith was fined $1,000 by a New Jersey judge for failing to show up at a court hearing last month on charges stemming from a 2007 traffic accident that resulted in the death of a passenger in Smith's vehicle.

One of Smith's lawyers, Greg G. Mordas, also was fined $1,000 because he told Smith he did not have to attend the Jan. 13 hearing. Smith was in Denver that day, playing for the Nuggets.

Municipal Court Judge Debra J. Gelson imposed the fines Tuesday and ordered Smith to return for another pretrial hearing on March 17.

Smith, a former star at Lakewood High School and St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, is facing five traffic charges: improper passing, failure to stop, speeding, reckless driving and failure to wear a seat belt.

The June 9, 2007 accident occurred when Smith, at the wheel of a GMC Yukon, allegedly drove around a stopped car and through a stop sign, colliding with a car in an intersection in Millstone Township. His passenger, Andre Bell, 21, of East Orange, suffered severe head injuries and died two days later.

A Monmouth County grand jury last year declined to indict Smith on a charge of vehicular homicide, and the case was sent to municipal court for adjudication of the traffic charges.