Freed from Prison & Awarded $4M, Exonerated Man Fights $1M Legal Bill
Posted Sep 23, 2009 10:37 AM CST
By Martha Neil
Freed from a Texas prison and awarded $4 million in compensation after DNA evidence showed that he didn't commit the sexual assaults for which he served 24 years, 51-year-old Steven Phillips is now fighting his $1 million legal bill.
His new legal counsel is asking a state-court judge in Dallas to declare his contingency fee representation agreement with his former attorney, Kevin Glasheen, "unconscionable and thus unenforceable," reports the Star-Telegram. It calls for Glasheen to be paid 25 percent of the compensation Phillips gets from the state.
Glasheen, who says he will sue Phillips to collect his fee, contends that he and his firm worked hard to increase payments for nearly a dozen exonerees by steering a bill through the legislature that increased their annual compensation for each year they were incarcerated from $50,000 to $80,000.
"Our law firm has spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work for this client," he tells the newspaper. "Steven Phillips would have recovered $1.25 million and he will now recover more that $4 million. We took a tremendous amount of effort and a tremendous amount of money getting this done."
Attorney Randy Turner, who now represents Phillips, counters that his client could have collected more than $1 million simply by filling out a one-page form and sending it to the state comptroller's office.