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Charges dropped against man spared 60-year prison sentence

Attorney says charges against Herbert Smith dropped because of lack of evidence

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Few will have more to be thankful about on Thanksgiving than Herbert Smith.

"I know he's ecstatic, that's for sure," Smith's attorney, Brian Silber, said Wednesday. "The family is very happy."

They're happy because burglary, grand theft and probation violation charges against the 24-year-old man have been dropped.

Smith no longer faces the possible reinstatement of a 60-year prison sentence that garnered national attention last year.

"This is a case that just didn't have the evidence, so they let it go," Silber said.

Silber said the charges were dropped because prosecutors had only the word of a co-defendant to back up the charges.

Then-Broward County Judge Matthew Destry gave Smith a second chance last year after an outcry from the public about his decision to sentence Smith to 60 years in prison for a violation of probation charge stemming from driving without a license.

Upon his release, Smith, who admitted he lived a life of crime, got a job.

"I'm living a regular life like everyone else," Smith told Local 10 News in a March 2016 interview.

He lost that job more recently and had just about to start a new job in construction when he was arrested last week for allegedly burglarizing a home in Parkland. The case brought by the Broward Sheriff’s Office was based solely on the word of his co-defendant, 18-year-old Deshaun Robinson.

"There’s no evidence," said Silber. "They don’t have fingerprints, there’s no DNA, no video. In this case they just didn’t have it and I commend [prosecutors] for doing the right thing."

But even as he goes free, Smith remains on probation with the 60-year-sentence hanging over his head should he fall into trouble again.

"Remember he’s in his early 20s, I’m hooping he’ll grow out of this phase of his of life," said Silber, "[and] succeed to be a mature adult that has a job a career a family and has those things we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving."