Man sentenced to time served in case that highlighted conflict between Douglas County sheriff, DA

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Post updated at 5:05 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3:

A plea deal Thursday resulted in a Lawrence man being convicted of one misdemeanor, seeing three cases dropped and getting out of jail on time served.

Marcus A. Phillips, 32, was initially charged with aggravated intimidation of a witness or victim, a level-6 felony. His case was the latest to call attention to an ongoing dispute between two of the county’s top law enforcement officials, the Douglas County sheriff and the Douglas County district attorney.

The case was still set to proceed to a jury trial next week at the end of court Wednesday, after a judge ruled that prosecutors had not withheld information that should have been turned over to defense attorney Jerry Wells and therefore she would not dismiss the case. (Read more from that hearing at this link.)

But Phillips instead pleaded no contest Thursday to an amended charge of intimidation of a witness as a class B misdemeanor. The person Phillips was charged with intimidating did not object to the plea deal.

Prosecutors dismissed three other pending misdemeanor cases in which Phillips was charged with intimidation of a witness and violation of a protection order, battery, and domestic battery.

Assistant District Attorney Madeline Bjorklun told the judge the state would recommend that Phillips be sentenced to six months in the Douglas County jail, but Phillips had already been in custody for more than six months in connection with his cases, so the sentence would essentially be time served.

Depending on his criminal history, if convicted of the felony as charged, Phillips could have faced a sentence ranging from probation to more than three years in prison.

Given the chance to speak, Phillips told the judge he didn’t have much to say, but he just wanted to thank his attorney.

“He’s done a wonderful job, and I appreciate him for everything,” Phillips said.

Wells said after the hearing that they thought it was a good solution and a reasonable plea, “so we took it.” Phillips was released from custody within an hour, jail records show.

Deputy District Attorney Joshua Seiden said via email Thursday afternoon that “As with the majority of cases, this matter was resolved by way of plea agreement. We have no further comment.”

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

More coverage: Brady/Giglio disclosures

Man sentenced to time served in case that highlighted conflict between Douglas County sheriff, DA

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A plea deal Thursday resulted in a Lawrence man being convicted of one misdemeanor, seeing three cases dropped and getting out of jail on time served.
His case was the latest to call attention to an ongoing dispute between the Douglas County sheriff and district attorney.

Mackenzie Clark/Lawrence Times

Judge: Douglas County DA did not withhold information that should’ve been turned over to defense attorney

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A judge has ruled that prosecutors did not withhold information that should have been turned over to a defense attorney regarding an ex-deputy accused of violating law and policy. This case, the latest to highlight an ongoing conflict between the DA and the sheriff, leaves some questions lingering.

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