Michigan Innocence Clinic client Richard Phillips granted bond, released from custody after 46 years

U-M Law

Michigan Innocence Clinic client Richard Phillips was released from the Wayne County Jail's William Dickerson Detention Facility in Hamtramck after being granted a $5,000 recognizance bond by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Cox on December 12. Phillips will be required to be on a GPS tether.

Phillips was convicted, along with co-defendant Richard Palombo, of conspiracy to commit murder and the first-degree premeditated murder of Gregory Harris in 1971, on the basis of testimony of the victim’s brother-in-law, Fred Mitchell. On October 25, 1972, Phillips was sentenced to concurrent terms of life in prison without parole for these convictions. During a parole board hearing in 2010, the co-defendant admitted that he and Mitchell killed Harris, and that he didn’t even know Phillips at the time of the murder. Phillips’s conviction was thrown out in August of this year and he was granted a new trial. Phillips, now 71, had been incarcerated for 46 years.

The Michigan Innocence Clinic began working on Phillips’s case in 2014. Gabi Silver of Detroit is now serving as lead trial counsel in the case. A retrial is scheduled for February 2018.

The University of Michigan Law School's Michigan Innocence Clinic, established in 2009, works to free those who have been wrongly convicted and focuses on cases where there is no DNA to test. Seventeen clients have been freed to date by the Clinic's efforts. Fourteen clients have been fully exonerated.

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