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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Re-sentencing of sexual offender shaves 12 1/2 years off original sentence

A 36-year-old Fort Smith man who was originally sentenced to fifteen years in prison on March 5, 2021 on a Sexual Assault in the Second Degree conviction on a plea deal was returned to Sebastian Cunty Circuit Court this week after the state set aside that original sentencing order and ordered a resentencing.

Thomas W. Philips, who was originally arrested on a Rape<14 Years of Age charge which was later reduced to Sexual Assault in the Second Degree, indicating the victim was a minor. At that time, Phiilips was sentenced to fifteen years in the Cummins Unit of the ADC after years of committing felonies for years and catching numerous breaks along the way.

Incredibly, in the resentencing on Wednesday, that fifteen-year sentence was reduced to just 30 months.

There is no indication on the record as to why the original sentence was dismissed, but the ruling seemingly follows a series of nonsensical rulings when it comes to Phillips. From 2003 to 2017, he was arrested six separate times for felonies ranging from Possession of Controlled Substances and Paraphernalia to Breaking and Entering and Burglary, with only one significant prison stay during that time.

A 2003 possession case was not prosecuted and a Breaking and Entering Charge the following year resulted in a 60-month suspended imposition of sentence. He finally caught a 48-month term three years later for B&E, only to be back out of jail to be charged with Burglary and sent away for another 36 months in 2007.

He may have done 72-month ssome prison time before his next appearance on the court dockets in 2015 with another guilty plea on a breaking and entering drew him 48 months. He was in and out in less than two years before being arrested on a paraphernalia charge in 2017 that saw him draw another 72-month suspended imposition of sentence.

The crime he was resentenced on Wednesday occurred in 2021 and was in conjunction with a protective order filed by his then-wife involving three juveniles.

His original parole eligible date, which was set for 2035, will have to be reset once he is back in the ADC system.

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