Arrest affidavits reveal details behind Smith Co. Commissioner’s son’s latest arrest

Lance Phillips, age 40, was booked into the Smith County Jail on Aug. 7. He is charged with...
Lance Phillips, age 40, was booked into the Smith County Jail on Aug. 7. He is charged with three counts of simulating legal process and remains in jail on a $550,000 bond.(Smith County Jail)
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 4:01 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2023 at 7:13 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - On Monday, August 7, Lance Phillips, son of Smith Co. Commissioner Terry Phillips and Smith Co. Clerk Karen Phillips, was booked into jail on three charges of “simulating legal process”, each a Class A Misdemeanor.

KLTV requested the arrest affidavits describing what investigators say lead up to these three charges.

In the affidavits, the detective investigating the case writes that on or around July 27, Lance Phillips delivered what he claimed to be a summons, namely a court subpoena, to: Smith Co. Judge Neal Franklin, Smith Co. Sheriff Larry Smith and Smith Co. Sheriff’s Office Lt. Matthew Lazarine.

In the affidavits, the detective states each of the three men were served with a document that only simulated a summons. The document was missing the signature from the county clerk. Additionally, the affidavits state Lance Phillips broke state law, by issuing subpoenas where he had no authority to do so. The detective states Phillips hired Constable Pct 2. Reserve Deputy Bobby Garmon to serve the papers.

On two of the counts, District Judge Austin Reeve Jackson set Phillips’ bond at $150,000. On the count pertaining to the document delivered to Sheriff Smith, the bond was set to $250,000, the court leaving a hand-written note on the arrest warrant, “the court finds that the defendant’s escalation and type of offense, risk to the public, and prior evading [arrest] necessitates a higher-than-average bond in all three new cases.” The total bond amount: $550,000. Phillips remains in the Smith County Jail.

The summons Phillips’ issued relates to his arrest on a charge of “disrupt meeting or procession” from May 9. Phillips was forcibly removed from a Smith Co. Commissioners meeting, after being found in violation of decorum rules after shouting from the galley during the public comment section of the meeting. He had been attempting to speak regarding the recent arrest of his brother and mother.

Late last month, Phillips was arrested again after authorities say he ran from a Winona courtroom after being found to be in contempt of court. Phillips turned himself in on an evading charge two days later.

According to the affidavit, the simulated summons ordered all three parties to appear before Judge Clay White on August 16, each being commanded to bring different types of evidence to the court.

According to Smith Co. judicial records, a trial on the charge of disrupting a meeting, originally set for Aug. 16, has been cancelled.