With Millions at Stake, Exoneree Steven Phillips Arrested in Carrollton For Cocaine Possession

Categories: Crime

steven phillips.jpg
Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Steven Phillips
Steven Phillips, a man who spent 25 years in prison for a string of Dallas rapes he did not commit, was arrested in Carrollton for cocaine possession -- an arrest that could cost him millions.

When reached by phone, Phillips declined to comment. But according to the arrest affidavit obtained by Unfair Park, on August 15, at around 9:48 p.m., Carrollton Police pulled his red Toyota Tundra over for having a cracked taillight. Phillips had had a little to drink, so he let a friend drive him. The friend, it turned out, had a suspended license and two active warrants with the Addison Police.

She was arrested. Phillips blew into a portable breath tester and was found to be below the legal limit. The police ran his drivers' license and requested to search the truck. Phillips consented, and, according to the affidavit, an officer came up with two plastic bags containing four grams of coke in a take-out container.

Possession of cocaine in any amount is a felony. In 2009, Phillips applied for and subsequently received statutory compensation for the years he spent wrongfully imprisoned -- some $4 million, half paid in a lump sum and the other half paid out in an annuity that garners five-percent interest each year until the day he dies. There's a caveat: If he's convicted of a felony, the annuity is gone.

Because he has no legitimate felony convictions on his record, he could potentially received deferred adjudication, a sort of plea deal that would likely include probation, supervision, drug treatment and community service. That way he could avoid a felony conviction and continue receiving monthly checks.

If nothing else, Phillips's current predicament brings into sharp relief issues being argued in his lawsuit against his former attorney, Kevin Glasheen. As we discussed in a recent cover story, Glasheen represented Phillips and a dozen other exonerees, eventually succeeding in petitioning the state legislature to more than triple the amount Texas pays the innocent when the courts get it wrong.

Phillips contests Glasheen's entire bill, which amounts to 25 percent of his whole take, including the annuity, because he claims he wanted to sue the city. Glasheen has said Philips knew about the legislative strategy and ended up filing for the newly increased compensation on his own. Other former clients who are suing Glasheen, including exoneree James Giles, take issue mainly with the percentage of the annuity Glasheen claimed -- an annuity that may very well never be paid. Glasheen has said he was collecting on the present value of the annuity, much like a structured settlement.

But in a structured settlement, that money is guaranteed. Not so here. In Phillips's case, if he's convicted, the annuity -- valued at $2 million -- is gone.

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63 comments
funnyfriend35
funnyfriend35

4 million, I would have awarded him 100 million and wanted a criminal investigation into everyone involved in his incarceration.

Bettyboop4u
Bettyboop4u

TAKE NOTES HERE PEOPLE>>Officer: May I search your vehicle?You: Sir,  I must respectfully decline on the grounds that I believe it will further erode the constitutional rights of Americans, and that the lose of those rights endanger the future of this country.

VIVA AMERICA!

BETTYBOOP4u
BETTYBOOP4u

If he is convicted he should recieve nothing else. That money should go into victims assistance to help the families(kids)whose life are destroyed by drugs. A felon should not get anything from the government as they already owe tax payers for the cost of justice, jail, etc. But then if kids arent involved drugs shouldn't be illegal. These jokers want to killl them selves thats a person choice. Let have at it, BUT if they break other laws robbery, theft, hot checks, rape, murder etc as a result of drug use.... DEATH PENALTY!!!

structured settlement funding
structured settlement funding

Individuals who have settlements are often approached by companies interested in purchasing the settlement or may be curious in case you have intentions to sell the structured settlement in return for a lump sum buyout.

111xyz000
111xyz000

I find it "interesting" that this guy has an article on his plight, and before the month is out he just so happened to be pulled over for a "cracked" taillight and wow, he just so happens to be toting around a bunch of coke. He wasn't even legally drunk. Did he have coke in his system? Bet they didn't do the test for that. The drugs in all likelihood belong to the girl, but still, it's amazing of all the people in DFW, HE JUST SO HAPPENS TO END UP BUSTED. You betcha it's about money and favors. He will lose his annuity and probably go back to prison. 

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

After spending 25 years in prison, I would be skeptical of the people I allow to be in my company. I think there may be more to the story. Did he know the lady he was with, was he leaving a club with a stranger, was the drugs found in the cab...etc. Could it be that he just made a bad choice again. Lots of things to consider when a carollton or any police stops a vehicle and find drugs.

Gavin R. Putland
Gavin R. Putland

The reverse onus of proof in drug-possession cases is incompatible with the rule of law and therefore cannot be recognized by any court anywhere. In other words, it is UNIVERSALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Besides, the economics of the drug trade imply that criminal sanctions are self-defeating unless concentrated on RETAIL SALES. See http://is.gd/oenwod for details.

Guest
Guest

Not specifically related to this case but in terms of exonerees and these monetary settlements they receive:

I think we need to change the law so that any settlement money for years that come during a time when the District Attorney is fighting post-conviction DNA testing should come out of that D.A.'s pocket.

There's a case down there in Williamson County in which the D.A. has been fighting post-conviction DNA testing for six years. The courts finally ordered the testing, and the item comes back pointing to someone else as the perpetrator.

When the guy who was convicted of the crime is eventually freed, he will be eligible for a big settlement from the state, but why should the taxpayers be on the hook for the settlement money during those six years that the D.A. was dragging his feet on DNA testing. The D.A. was the only one standing in the way of finding the right guy during that time (speaking of, how can a guy who claims to be so tough on crime allow a murderer to hang out in California in total freedom for six years and counting?). He should have to pay.

Ed D.
Ed D.

I wonder if the "cocaine" will turn out to be gypsum or some other magic white powder.

Bpinkerton29
Bpinkerton29

Mr. Phillips already has one prior arrest for drugs and signed up for drug rehab. Oh, and his wife just recently got arrested for drugs and concealed weapon. Do they really need to have that money going to local dealers.

Jay
Jay

Stupid is as stupid does. If Phillips needs counsel, perhaps Mr. Glesheen is available.

Blainecowling
Blainecowling

He will be able to take deferred adjudication, if the exonerated felony was his only one. No way he will have to take a conviction on one possession charge, or so I have been told. lol

MattL1
MattL1

Ah yes, the old "broken tail light" traffic stop.  A real classic...

Hopefully he gets to plea down.  4 grams isn't a lot of coke in the grand scheme of things.

bebe
bebe

they arrested the driver, it was his vehicle, he was sober, give him a ticket for the tail light and send him on his way

ThatGuy
ThatGuy

We owe him the money for what we did to him.  This is a totally unrelated incident. Man up, Dallas.  Do the right thing and start a new trend.

JWP's Vault
JWP's Vault

This is what happens when you don't give JWP his 15% equity, he'll get the police to take your annuity away.  

Sittin_here
Sittin_here

I do not agree with his behavior but I don't see how the repayment of his time lost has to do with his future. If someone owes me money and I go to jail on a unrelated issue do they not still owe me money. If its like that all of the money should be a lump sum and  he can put it into his own annuity. I think the caveat is illegal (the state owes the money and can not repay the debt with a hitch) he didn't serve his time with a condition that's why he was paid so his money has no condition he already lost his time in life.

Guest
Guest

for some reason i think it was planted...seriously

LaceyB
LaceyB

I smell a big fat "oops, I shoulda got that fixed".

bb
bb

Choose your designated drivers carefully and never, never, never drive a vehicle with a cracked tail light lens. It is a serious threat to the motoring public. The white light emitted by a cracked tail light lens could burn the retinas of anyone in visual range and cause a tear in the space-time continuum. I am just so proud of the Carrollton PD for stopping this vehicle.

Jean Val Jean
Jean Val Jean

This is where you pay whatever you need for a good lawyer, and plea, plea, plea to anything below a felony.

james
james

time served?

scottindallas
scottindallas

it sure seems cruel and unusual punishment that possession of a small amount of cocaine is a felony.  That said, Mr. Phillips should have refused to allow a search of the vehicle.  Further, the Supremes have said that there is no cause to search a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation.  If he's not drunk, what was the need to search?  When do our cops comport with the rulings of the Supremes?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

While the driver was arrested, the car wasn't to be seized and hence, after searching Phillips presented no threat to police.  The case above was unanimous, and one would think police policy would comport to unanimous SC rulings. 

Just a thought
Just a thought

I think that A. if he agreed to a breath alizer you know the test that everybody sas to refuse, maybe he didnt cause he did what was wright, in my mind letting a person you didnt know very well frive instead of taken a chance of hurting someone behind the wheel is the right thing to do like taking the test cause he had nothing to hide as he proved and allowing the search cause he was didnt have drugs and had nothing to hide as he thought and the girl he let drive notice she was not charged with dwi so maybe he choose a good driver i mean asking some adult if they have a valid DL is not a normal screeneing question for a sober driver it is assumed. He tried to do what was rite by not driving even though not drunk just trying to be safe. As far as the drugs well it sounds like he wasnt the owner of them as was unaware of them or would have had he hide them if you know what i mean or something i think it also mentions he was drug tested and had none in his system. You know Feds are funded by Congress when they siez things they dont see that money directly but State level that is how they get much of there funding why do you think there are ticket quotas and why do you think they have parking ticket squads they need moeny and siezing $2million thats not bad. I think he should fight it there was no prob cause since he wasnt even driving and had no past with drugs he should look into a motion to supress, maybe a change of venue since the state is bias and has a huge monetary gain in the stakes. The man from my research was not gang related in prision and infact a writer and if he had the wrong women in his car its a bad choice for a man in his 50s but then again he was robbed of middle age and the time to gain some of that wiseness besides maybe he has clouded judgement when it comes to women since he hasnt has the life lessons of being punished by them and there drama the last 25 years like we have.. Good luck

Blainecowling
Blainecowling

It is either that or the old reliable no license plate light that seems to working a few minutes later. Hurst loves that one. lol

Rob Kuelbs
Rob Kuelbs

I wish I could like this fifteen more times.

Guest
Guest

Dont you think it is odd that they put this felony stipulation on the money, mind you he was proven completely innocent so why put it in

Guest
Guest

Yeah, it seems like there shouldn't be conditions, but I assume that was a compromise required to get the law passed.

just sayin'
just sayin'

I think kimbev69 is a dope. For some reason I think she was planted here....seriously.

Soriddosuneku45
Soriddosuneku45

Yes, we know you think that. You posted it several times already. Thank you. Retarded conspiracy theory has been noted. Consider us informed.

scottindallas
scottindallas

it's not out of the question, though even I'm not as cynical as you are.

On a lighter note, "69" huh?

Blainecowling
Blainecowling

Yeah. You are right on. Also, I know many who have been killed and maimed by drivers without license plate lights, as well. 

Guest
Guest

what if he didn't have drugs and they planted it..

Paul
Paul

The problem with searches of automobiles is that if you decline the search, the police can search anyway.  The Supremes ruled back in the 30's that due to the possibility of flight, the policeman is not required to obtain a search warrant, of course this was back in the days before two way radios.

Face it, if you are asked for consent to search, your car will be searched whether you give that consent or not.

The other legal theory is that in the case of the driver being under the influence, there is a reasonable suspicion that there may be other drugs present.

Note that the car was pulled over for having a cracked taillight lense.  This one, the failure to signal a lane change or turn, and, weaving within your lane are all probable causes for the coppers to pull you over.

One time I was pulled over for speeding.  The copper asked for my consent to a vehicle search.  I asked him if I really had a choice.  He said no.  I said why bother to ask?  He laughed and said OK go on and slow down.

Guest
Guest

Nothing in that decision prevents the police from asking to search.  It only applies if they don't ask or if the driver refuses. 

Guest
Guest

It's part of the state law that applies to all exonerees who take the state settlement.

Guest
Guest

Im 42 count the yrs lol and its been my screen name for like ... Well since my first computer

John
John

Yeah, they just happened to have two bags of coke in their patrol vehicle and just happened to pull over his vehicle of all people, so they could frame him for no reason. 

Seriously, some of the conspiracy "theories" in this topic are hilariously dumb.

Paul
Paul

PS:  Note that the Supremes said that a traffic citation alone does not give the right to search the vehicle.  However, once you are stopped everything in the vehicle is subject to the plain sight rule.  So if alcohol is smelled that does give the police the right to administer a field sobriety test and if you fail, which you will, then they can search your car.

scottindallas
scottindallas

You should be proud we have "gotcha" policing.  I think we have real police issues in this city, playing "gotcha" is a waste of resources.  The US has more people in jail, in real numbers than China--that means China has 1/5 the prison pop of the US on a per capita basis.  No other country comes close.  I'd like to see budgets responsibly cut, that means fewer police railroading people who are no threat to public safety and reducing our prison population. 

Guest
Guest

So his "buddy" calls him up and they go out for a few.  His "buddy" goes to the john at the bar, sneaks out and cracks the taillight and then comes back in and says he has a stomach ache.  He says have a few more, Ill tough it out.  They leave and his "buddy" says "i'll drive"...  right past a predetermined point.  He plants the drugs and gives probable cause for the stop in return he gets some cash from someone.  Who that is is up to you to find out.  Im sure him not getting the money is in someones best interest.  Not as tough as you would think to set someone up.

Guest
Guest

2 million is a damn good motive to "keep an eye out for thidms particular guy" he wasnt even drunk so why search the vehicle and if it was his coke why would he say yes to a search? And u say im the idiot?

Blainecowling
Blainecowling

Some (most) conspiracy theories are ridiculous. However, embarrassment may cause a bunch of "bad-asses" in blue unis to hate a guy. Just saying.

Guest
Guest

And if they don't smell alcohol, and even if they tell another officer "I don't smell any alcohol, but I'm going to pull him out anyway" and that statement gets recorded on the officer's dashcam tape, they can still search and claim, under oath, that they did smell alcohol. And nothing will happen to the officer even if the tape contradicting his sworn statements are introduced as evidence.

So, you can even be really, really stupid (by letting yourself be recorded saying you don't smell any alcohol but you're going to go ahead and violate the driver's rights anyway) and still manufacture probable cause.

If you're really stupid like that, you might not have the case hold up in court, but you, as the corrupt police officer, won't see any fallout from your criminal activity and will get to continue to be a cop (and will presumably learn from the mistake and, in the future, not let yourself be recorded telling another officer that you're about to violate someone's civil rights).

scottindallas
scottindallas

except, in this case the car wasn't to be impounded--which is a major justification for the search.  Further, Mr Phillips was searched (for sobriety, for which he was cleared)  There was no mention of an open container, nor would we imagine that cocaine in a cup is in plain sight.  So, while there are some points in your favor, they don't follow the usual justifications. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

I've refused the search, only to have cops laugh and search anyway.  I've seen cops lie frequently, just to grease the wheels of justice, I suppose.  But the fact remains our "rights" are a joke to cops, and there is no economic way to sue the police to protect those endangered rights.  It's really sad to see you and others so dismissive of our Constitutional rights.

Guest
Guest

How is this "gotcha" policing or "railroading"? 

Police:  "Hey, I'm a cop, see my shinny badge.  You got any drugs in your car?"  Answer: "No."  Police:  "Mind if I look?"  Answer:  "No, go ahead an look."  Police:  "What's this I found?"  Answer:  "Drugs." 

You might reasonably have a problem with america's drug laws, and you might generally distrust the police, but I don't think the police did anything wrong here.   

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