"The point here is the charge deals with intentionally procuring false testimony," Kelley said. "That absolutely did not occur, and she had no motive to do it."
Castelle said in court Friday that although Elswick's file on Smith was in disarray when she quit the case, the Public Defender's Office does not have a specific policy about how case files should be organized.
While working on the case, Elswick apparently had been advised by a Texas Ranger that she would need to regularly correspond with Sells, whose interest in the case would be hard to keep if he felt he wasn't getting enough attention, Kelley said.
"What we had here was perhaps a mistake -- certainly not an intentional mistake -- made by, then, a very young lawyer," he said.
Sells had written some sexually explicit things in his letters, Kelley said, but Elswick never responded with anything remotely sexual or "of a romantic nature" in her letters to him.
During his testimony Friday, Smith, who is known for his courtroom outbursts, was articulate at times, but quickly became belligerent with Kelley when the lawyer asked him to identify a letter he supposedly had sent to Elswick after he filed the ethics complaint against her.
In the letter, Smith apologized to Elswick and told her he did not question her character or integrity. The document, however, apparently did not bare his signature and he denied he sent it.
"It could have been one of Ms. [Elswick's] friends in Mount Olive," Smith said "Remember, Ms. [Elswick] has many friends here in Mount Olive, other than myself."
The West Virginia Supreme Court may suspend her law license if the board determines that she committed an ethical error while handling Smith's appeal.
Smith has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding his 1991 conviction.
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.