Son of elected Smith County officials arrested for assault of public servant

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The son of the elected Smith County Clerk and a Smith County commissioner was arrested on Tuesday for multiple charges including assault of a public servant.

Lance Phillips, 40, was held in contempt during a commissioner’s court meeting where he had signed up to give public comment on three of the agenda items.

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The items dealt with the consideration of a resolution proclaiming April 2024 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, consideration of a resolution proclaiming this week as National Public Health Week and a report on the status of Smith County Jail operations.

In a video of the meeting, Phillips can be heard starting his public comment by stating he is with God and reciting scripture from Ephesians. Smith County Judge Neal Franklin can be heard shortly after reminding Phillips to speak only on the agenda items.

Phillips is seen in the video requesting seconds added back to his allotted three minutes for public comment, leading to a verbal back-and-forth with Franklin where he later asks Phillips to refer to him as “Judge” during the meeting.

“Ok, you can call me chosen one,” Phillips is heard saying. “If we’re playing pretend.”

Mugshot of Lance Phillips.
Mugshot of Lance Phillips courtesy of the Smith County Jail.

Phillips can be seen leaving the podium followed closely by courtroom officers who put him in custody while Franklin moved to hold Phillips in contempt, and Phillips can be heard shouting that he believes his arrest goes against his first amendment rights.

The motion holds Phillips in contempt with a $25 fine and 24 hours in jail and was passed by the commissioners with Lance Phillips’ father, Terry Phillips, abstaining from the vote.

Lance was booked into the Smith County Jail for contempt, resisting arrest, hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct and assault of a public servant. His bonds total $200,000.

Previously, Phillips has been arrested for similar charges related to events that happened during commissioners court multiple times in the last year. Phillips was last arrested in January for disrupting the commissioners court meeting when he planned to speak on the county’s district attorney’s office operations.

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