Son of arrested Smith County clerk tries to speak during commissioners court meeting

Son of arrested Smith County clerk tries to speak during commissioners court meeting
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 10:37 AM CDT|Updated: May. 2, 2023 at 11:51 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A man verbally sparred with the Smith County judge at Tuesday morning’s commissioners court meeting.

Lance Phillips, son of recently arrested Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips and Pct. 3 Commissioner Terry Phillips, was approved to speak during the public comment portion at the start of the meeting on the topic of county “re-plats.” However, when he began speaking, Lance Phillips immediately moved off-topic.

“This is what can happen to you when you’re driving down Smith County roads. I just want to correct the slander against my family,” Lance Phillips said.

Smith County Judge Neal Franklin interrupted him and instructed him to stay on the topic of re-plats. Lance Phillips argued that what he would be talking about is relevant. Franklin, however, dismissed him and ended the public comment portion of the meeting as no other speakers were scheduled.

Lance Phillips then attempted to speak from the audience but was again silenced by Franklin. He was then asked to step outside by a bailiff and later returned to the courtroom.

Lance Phillips is the brother of Derek Phillips, whose arrest Karen Phillips is accused of interfering with on March 28.

Lance’s father, Pct. 3 Commissioner Terry Philips, said he didn’t know his son was coming to Tuesday’s meeting.

“He’s a grown man,” Terry Phillips said. “40-years-old nearly. And I mean, just like anybody else that’ll speak ... that’s all we allow for, is to speak on an agenda item. And so, if he wants to come back and speak on an agenda item, he can do that.”

“I’m my own human being,” said Lance Phillips. “I’m a grown adult and so I have my own voice. And I speak up when I see things that are wrong.”

And while he acknowledges his son didn’t follow the court’s rules, Commissioner Phillips said he believes people should be able to speak on whatever they want during public comment.

“It’s not just because he’s my son. I would say this for anyone in the public,” he said. “They can come up and sing a song for three minutes. I don’t care. If they want me to listen to them, I’ll listen to them. I think that’s what we’re here for.”

Lance Phillips said if given the chance to speak, he hoped to express his wish to pursue criminal charges against the officers involved in his brother’s arrest and Smith County.

“We’re hoping that these bogus charges are dropped before they ever even get to the grand jury and all of that,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Smith County Clerk arrested, accused of interfering with arrest of son