Sally Smith, Prisoner of War No. 229578

Abused woman finds life in prison better than on outside

Court keeps critical evidence from jury


Sally Smith was born in Madison Heights, Michigan, a Detroit suburb, on December 10, 1956. She is serving a sentence of life in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver over 650 grams of cocaine.

Trial and sentencing took place in January, 1993 in the Oakland County Circuit Court before Judge Frederick Balkwill. A defense of duress was rejected by the jury. Duress is a legal defense that if a person is forced into committing a crime by threat of death or great bodily harm, the person is not guilty. Duress is usually recognized as being a defense to all crimes except murder.

Sally Smith
12 year old attracted older man
Viciously beaten for years
Now serving life in prison
For 17 years, Sally was the girlfriend of Robert Darcy. The nature of that relationship is explored below. What the law cares about is activities relating to cocaine. Testimony at trial was that from the period in the indictment, from 1985 to 1989, Robert Darcy was often seen selling and possessing cocaine. Jack Metcalf testified to seeing kilos of cocaine and large amounts of money in the trunk of Darcy's car.

Of critical importance to the prosecution is that Metcalf testified that Darcy allowed her to use as much cocaine as she wanted. Metcalf and another Darcy associate, Avery Lane, testified to Darcy allowing his friends and Sally to use as much cocaine as they wanted.

Metcalf testified that in the 1970's, Sally had called him and asked him where was Darcy's money. Metcalf had owed from $1200 to $1500 (he could not remember) for one ounce of cocaine.

Testimony at trial was that Robert Darcy, Robert Jessman, and Sally Smith were seen at a motel in Chesterfield Township, Michigan, on December 21, 1989. A police raid found $577,000 in cash, Jessman, and Darcy. Sally Smith was not there.

Sally was arrested in February, 1990, and both she and Darcy were held without bond. But in June 1991, still untried, the court let them out on bond, and they ran away, until being caught in June, 1992.

Sally first met the 22 year old Darcy when she was 12, and he quickly got her on cocaine. She was his full time girlfriend by age 16. Within 3 months, she was also his full-time punching bag.

Sally worked part-time as a waitress, but often missed work due to injuries. She kept Darcy's home and children in Troy. Metcalf testified that Darcy kept his family apart from his drug business. While Darcy accumulated over $1,000,000 in cash, several automobiles, and part ownership of a bar, Sally acquired a used 1983 Buick and scar tissue over her entire body.

Metcalf described a pattern of Darcy treating Sally "like a dog." He described Darcy's horrible temper, and the violent beatings he would regularly inflict on her. He also described similar beatings given by Darcy to Darcy's ex-wife.

Lane testified to owing money to Darcy, and having Darcy threaten violence against his daughter. He saw Darcy beat Sally Smith numerous times, seeing her bleeding, with black eyes, and other injuries.

Shawn Darcy, daughter of Robert, testified on a separate record to a long pattern of abuse of Smith by Darcy. [A separate record is when the jury is not allowed to hear the testimony, but a court reporter does record it.] She saw Darcy beat Sally until she was bloody, including one time when she was so badly hurt she had to stay in a walk-in closet for 2 weeks. When Sally fell on the ground, he would kick her. Beatings would go on 5 to 7 days a week.

Shawn saw Darcy pistol-whip her, beat her with a pool stick, punch her, kick her, and pull her hair. Darcy would hit her with frying pans and baseball bats. He stabbed her with a knife several times. Sally was hospitalized several times with life-threatening injuries.

Also of interest, and not heard by the jury, was the campaign of psychological terror by Robert Darcy against Sally Smith. Darcy would not stop at just calling her stupid. After particularly vicious beatings, he would stand her in front of a mirror and make her look at herself while he called her a pig and that she was useless and no good. He threatened to kill her, and to kill her family members. He would make Sally stay in the closet when his family members visited.

Sally Smith
Forced on hands and knees to eat dog food
Never allowed to have money
Clothing hides her extensive scars
Darcy would not allow her to keep money, except as he gave for a specific errand. He would force her to account for every penny, showing receipts and the change after returning from the grocery store. If the change was not perfect, she would receive a severe beating. He would dump food and garbage on her, and force her on her hands and knees to eat dog food.

Judge Balkwill refused to let the jury hear any of Shawn's testimony, because the indictment only charged beginning in January, 1985, and Shawn's testimony only described the first 10 years of the Smith-Darcy relationship. He did not think that the decade of physical and psychological torment described until 1983 had any bearing on the control Darcy had over her in 1985. Even the fact that she was not allowed to have money was not viewed as relevant to Darcy's level of control over her.

The prosecutor, having gained the right to exclude evidence of Darcy's violence putting Sally Smith in the hospital, had the nerve to tell the jury that they heard "no evidence" that any of the "so-called" abuse had ever put her in the hospital.

In the cruelty that stands for justice in late 20th Century America, an Oakland County jury convicted Sally Smith of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Deliver Over 650 Grams of Cocaine, and an Oakland County Judge sentenced her to stay in prison for the rest of her life.

Ironically, Sally Smith has never felt better. While dozens of scars remain on her body, the physical wounds have healed. She has her appetite back. She can sleep at night. Even the psychological terrors are beginning to lose their hold. Although many people would feel fear at sleeping in a prison, to Sally it is the safest place she has known in decades.

It just hurts her to know that some people think she is so evil that she must spend the rest of her life in prison. Sally, the victim of countless assaults, says she has hurt nobody, at least not willingly, and does not understand why she can never be free again.


Read about Sally's prison friend Mindy Brass.
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