Exoneree's Ex-Wife Takes Him to Court For a Piece of the Millions He Got From the State

Categories: Legal Battles

steven phillips.jpg
Steven Phillips spent 25 years in prison as an innocent man for a string of rapes he didn't commit. He was exonerated in 2008 based on DNA evidence. He has always said life is much more complicated outside prison walls. Better, sure, but complicated. Add around $4 million dollars in tax-free compensation from the state for his wrongful imprisonment, and he wound up a free man with a fresh start -- and a couple of heretofore unknown and completely novel legal troubles.

Seems like no sooner had he he settled with his former attorney after a prolonged and acrimonious fight over legal bills than he was due back in court again. This week, ex-wife Traci Tucker will ask a jury for a portion of Phillips's millions. It's what legal experts call a "case of first impression." There is exactly zero case law regarding what, if anything, a former spouse is owed if an innocent man gets convicted and the state compensates him handsomely for his troubles. The two were married for 10 years, almost all of it during his imprisonment. Phillips says he didn't see much of his wife after the first three years on the inside. They divorced in 1991. "She's been with a guy for 20, 25 years," Phillips tells Unfair Park. "They're married and have a child now. She didn't do that time. She didn't visit me down in prison or take care of me."

Tucker, on the other hand, said in an affidavit that Phillips became "bitter," confessed "bizarre and disgusting things" about his troubled sexual history as a Peeping Tom and serial genital exposer, and finally pushed her away completely. It was Phillips, she says, who asked for the divorce.

The couple has a child together -- a son, born the year after Phillips went to jail. Tucker has since been compensated under the Tim Cole Act for the unpaid child support.

An email from a spokesperson for Houston attorney Jerry Patchen, who is representing Tucker, says Phillips's compensation amounts, in part, to lost wages, which Tucker would have been entitled to under a divorce settlement as "community property."

Phillips's attorney, Tom McKenzie, says there is no language in the Tim Cole Act indicating that the compensation is for lost wages -- it's more like "winning the lottery 20 years after a divorce." Besides, he points out, Phillips was a roofer before he went to prison and the compensation provides $160,000 a year for each year of wrongful imprisonment, split into a lump sum and an annuity.

"The overall issue," McKenzie says, "is when people come into money, everybody comes out of the walls."

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honesty
honesty

I hope she wins she had to deal with the embarrasment thinking her husband at the time did what he did, so what she stopped seeing him in prison like she said he wanted the divorce check the court records to see who filed first....she is entitled to 50% thank you Texas....

umirin
umirin

Are you a fucking retard? He didn't do it, you dumb son of a bitch.

Dif
Dif

You hope she wins? He didn't DO anything. He was exonerated because he was wrongly imprisoned. She didn't do the time in prison.

What kind of freak are you?

joewest666
joewest666

I am thinking of a word....rhymes with hunt....

Jeff
Jeff

This is almost as bad as the UK surrogate mother who denied the adoptive parents the child, then suing them for child support after winning her court case to keep her child......painful, just painful. What the hell happened to common sense?

Reconstructivists
Reconstructivists

How dare any of you judge this women? This story is a half truth at best. Yes she got child support from the state, but it was at the states rate and was only for 8 years. She raised this child his entire life and that has been well over 18 years. This child has grown up to be decent person who has fought for our country and his father can not take any of the credit for it. This article also does not mention that Mr. Phillips was once let out on parole during his sentence only to be rearrested for parole violations, because he got caught peeping and during the 8 months he was out on parole he never once even saw his son. Another thing that should be said is this women DID come to see him every month for the 10 years they were married and she also continued along with her family to put money on his account well after they were divorced. She stood by him through it all, raised their child as good as she could alone, and was even there to help him after he was exonerated. Mr. Phillips could of stepped up and been there for his son when he got out, he could of helped him get on his feet after he returned from fighting for this country, but instead Mr. Phillips has chosen not to be responsible for anything. What should be obvious to all of you is that Mr. Phillips does not believe in taking care of his responsibilities. He refused to pay his debt to Mr. Glasheen after he also took care of Mr. Phillips when he had nothing and no one else.Mr. Phillips has not done jack for his son or any of his other children if you were to ask them. He has 3 and the other 2 he had way before he went to prison and he did not pay child support to them before then either. Is it really right that a man who has millions should just dump them on the state? Shouldn't he at least try and pay part of his obligations to them and the mothers who raised them. If he would of done the right thing for his children then this situation would not be happening. Mrs. Tucker has not been married for 25 years 2001-2011=10 years. Mr. Phillips would clearly rather spend his money on his drugs and partying then his children and the people who loved him. He had plenty of time to do the right thing before it got to this point.

If you want to know the truth about Mr. Phillips and part of what he put this women through read his chapter in the book Sex Addiction In The Church, then maybe you will stop seeing Mr. Phillips as the poor victim he tries to make himself out to be. CREEP is more like it.

Enj616
Enj616

Everything you just said is irrelevant...youropinion of him is irrelevant. Creep, or no creep, he was exonerated-- hence heshouldn't have been on parole in the first place. 

 

Secondly, his inability to provide child supportis the state’s fault, not his. If she wants money for the pain and struggle shewas dealt as a single mother she should sue the state.   

 

Now, I understand the experience was certainlydifficult for the e-wife as well, but as I stated above, isn’t the stateresponsible for that. You negating that this man is a victim is ridiculous. Humanbeings are multifaceted. We have many dimensions. You can be a victim, andstill be a creep. The two don't cancel each other out. 

Ohplease
Ohplease

Which, of course, entitles his wife to millions of dollars.

Please.

Reconstructivists
Reconstructivists

I am not his EX WIFE and am thankful for that. I am not even a woman. I am not saying his wife is entitled to millions and she is not even asking for millions. She was only asking for what is fair for their child and for what she endured. Remember he could of just done the right thing from the beginning but HE CHOSE NOT TO. His child can't sue him for what he lost.

Krazie715
Krazie715

The only scum here is the wife and you, for actually thinking she deserves anything.

Reconstructivists
Reconstructivists

Why hate me? I can't help that he is a scum bag. Do you not believe that he should be held responsible for anything?

Reconstructivists
Reconstructivists

No, he did NOT pay the child support. The state paid it for him. HE HAS NOT PAID anything. The state only paid $11,000 for 18 years. Get serious anyone who has children knows it cost more than that.

JimmyCap
JimmyCap

So the ex-wife can sue him for what he lost?  Doesn't make sense.  You forget that he was exonerated of his crime.  He didn't do anything wrong and paid the child support.  You mention that the amount he paid was at "the state rate".  Is there another child support rate that we are unaware of?  Maybe a "hey I just got $4 million dollars so come get some" rate?

Ohplease
Ohplease

Sorry.  My bad.

EX!-wife...

Sennacherib15
Sennacherib15

Feed her to the fish, and make sure you wash the wood chipper when your done.

Truthjustice
Truthjustice

These women always feel entitled to a man's money.

Michaelsteane
Michaelsteane

Any women asking why men do not want to commit should stop and reflect at this moment.

GAA
GAA

American greed at it's finest. 

hdmi
hdmi

 He was unfairly imprisoned, she wasn't.

  If she suffered from the ill actions of the state, then she should petition them directly. It would be absurd for him to pay her and then go back to the state for the second lawsuit to indicate he had more costs than was originally anticipated.

  Why didn't she speak up during his lawsuit and present herself as a plaintiff too?

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

That's true. She should direct it at the state. So, if she moves forwards and for some reason is able to get momentum, it will open a can of  worms for others associated with exonerees. The young children are typically affected the most when these people are falsely incarcerated. This case is just pure greed of an ex trying to get it from the person who did the time.

Randell
Randell

She shouldn't get a single red cent and should pay for all the legal bills that are bound to pile up.

ZongVoo
ZongVoo

Hope that money grubbing wench gets NOTHING.www.Total-Privacy [dot] US

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Give a bitch a dollar, she will ask for 2 more.  I dont care what she would have gotten if he wasnt in prison.  He lived the horror of the state pen, not her so the judge better do the right thing. 

vinny
vinny

The older I get, the less I like women.  If I could go gay, I so would.

Shaggy
Shaggy

The older I get, the more I like my cat!

Rosin
Rosin

Rape laws need to be changed. False Accusers should be jailed for the same length as what the accused would have gotten and investigators,D.A.,prosecutors should be jailed for wrongful imprisonment(not just rape cases).

Sgt_jake
Sgt_jake

You're confusing "False Accusation" with "Getting the wrong guy". False Accusation is where no rape occurred, or they had sex with consent and then she changes her mind and accuses him of rape.

What happened here is that they got the wrong guy, but the crimes HAD occurred. And to be fair, the guy is a peeping tom with an admitted sex addiction. He fit the profile of a rapist and apparently his alibi's didn't hold up. He looked like the right guy (for a /string/ of rapes) so the prosecutor went after him. DNA evidence freed him.

Point being, the law is fine. Police work needs to get better (and it has).

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

may I suggest the cops investigate Gordon Keith then?

james
james

only rape laws? why ain't lyin' scumbags thay destroy a humans life wrongly given their victims punishment? all them people sent away wrongly under who's watch? ever' official scum that participates in somethin' like that needs to pay the same price as their victims. trashin' someones life thru lies and known bad evidence is a BAD CRIME. wrongful per/prosecution  under color of law.

Lee
Lee

No. No. No. No. No. Victim blaming is not the route to go. 

jp
jp

But to an extent is has to be right? Falsely accusing someone of rape can smash their world and social image to the point where it becomes almost impossible to rebuild. So I think while it may not have to be the same charge, there should definitely be a punishment for doing so.

Lee
Lee

Like could you imagine a cop saying to a young girl, "OK, now we think we've caught the guy.  You need to testify on what happened that night.  But, if you're wrong, you'll probably get 20 to life. Deal?"

Lee
Lee

^what she said

Lee
Lee

If only there was a way to compensate someone wrongly convicted of rape and incarcerated.

Sam
Sam

Wow, quite an imagination you have there. "your comment that its ok for rape victims to pin it on anyone besides the actual perpatrator" - he didn't say anything of the sort. I believe he's referring to the fact that it is already extremely difficult for rape victims to come forward, be believed, make it to court, work up the courage to testify about something so intimate and personal in front of a room of strangers - do we really need to be making that any more difficult by threatening them with jail in case they make a mistake?

Freedomfighter
Freedomfighter

how would you feel if it were you who was wrongly convicted?? How dare you insinuate ts ok to rob one innocent person of their life to compensate a wrong put on another. Yes I absolutly blame the girl, can you imagine having a wife, child, and having it all snatched away for something you did not do. The wife asking for money is rediculous, your comment that its ok for rape victims to pin it on anyone besides the actual perpatrator makes me livid. I can only hope it happens to you or someone you know oneday

james
james

ya don't wanna prosecute a victim. but ya don't want some scumbag in their ear sayin' if ya ain't sure he's gonna git away with it an' ya gotta burn somebody even if its wrong an' we gotta keep our conviction rates high to git votes an' promotions....our fuckin' laws say better to let the guilty go than to burn the innocent. we don't need to make ourselves safe that way.

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

I'll join the chorus. May the powers that be smack her case down from a barrel of flour to a biscuit. 

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

I hope that jury will see her for what she is.She got back child support what else could she want and then to talk about his sex problem.

trudat
trudat

...any "fair" court should rule in favor of Phillips...

John Solis
John Solis

Did you actually use "fair" and "court" in the same sentence?

just sayin'
just sayin'

Jeez, that guy has had to fend off more attempted ass fuckings since he got out than he did while he was in.

lemonaioli
lemonaioli

She gave up on him a generation ago. Didn't visit, didn't care, shouldn't get squat. Greedy indeed!

kimbev69
kimbev69

If u ask me he was railroaded by the cops or prosecuter, eye witness especially the victim can be wrong sometimes but the pressure on her or him to help put the guy away must be intense

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