Court denies new trial for Phillips

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By Susan Sharp

Denny Phillips will not be getting a new trial.
This ruling came after a number of legal questions were posed at a Tuesday morning hearing.
During the session of criminal court, public defender Charles Herman, Phillips’ attorney, attempted to argue that because his client didn’t intend to force himself on the victim in the case then the conviction of solicitation of a minor wasn’t valid. Citing that the elements of rape included force, threat, coercion or acting without someone’s consent, Herman said his client’s crimes didn’t fit that bill.
“It was clear the defendant wasn’t soliciting any kind of sexual conduct he would not have engaged in without consent,” Herman said attempting to make his case for the lesser charge of aggravated solicitation of a minor.
“There was nothing at all to show this was anything (that) was wanted,” said Scarlet Ellis, assistant district attorney general. She countered that Phillips’ attempt to solicit sex from a minor would have resulted in rape had he carried it out.
“I will admit my ignorance. I don’t know how you solicit rape,” Herman said. However, Ellis countered that by saying when the victim rebuffed Phillips he offered the juvenile money. The encounter only stopped because the boy fled and told authorities, she said.
Clarifying the points being made, Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton asked Herman if the crime had been completed, in the attorney's opinion, would it have amounted to statutory rape? Herman said yes.
“I understand both arguments and they are compelling,” the judge said adding he would review the facts in chambers.
After his review of the case, Sexton ruled the evidence presented at trial was ample enough “to support the verdict returned.”
Phillips’ remains free on bail.