Libertarian candidate for Texas State Senate district 22, Philip Smart, appears to be the victim of an overzealous, and seemingly corrupt, local thug establishment in Ellis County. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster recently sent us an email describing the situation:
Philip Smart is a CPA who, along with running as a Libertarian candidate twice in the last two years has been asking questions of local officials and carrying out his own investigation of local corruption. He probably should have made sure in advance that he had a support network but he is something of a loner although he has been working and supporting issues for a number of years now. He most probably did not realize how vulnerable he might be when he became a target himself.
Today he has been in jail in Ellis County, Texas for three weeks. He is being denied access to essential medications and yesterday the system nearly killed him. His mother received an emergency call for the list of prescriptions he has not had for three weeks because the same system refused them to him. Now is condition seems to be stabilizing.
His incarceration is illegal now and has been on every occasion in the past. His home has been ransacked, he has been accused of being a terrorist before because of his collection of antique guns. It is possible that those in power in Ellis County will attempt to use the cancellation of Habeas Corpus to justify holding him without due process now and previously making this case a test for whether or not Americans still have the protection of the 4th Amendment.
Here are a few facts.
Phil Smart is a Certified Public Accountant who runs his own business in a small town in Texas in the Dallas area. He runs his business out of his home, which is out in the country, allowing him the freedom he wants to indulge in his hobbies. In his hours away from the computer and pencil and paper Phil likes to restore old cars, his pride and joy is a Capri from the 60s but he also is proud of owning one of only seven Edsels still in existence.
Phil Smart loves animals and has for years rescued abandoned dogs and cats, feeding them himself and finding loving homes for them.
Smart graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with degrees in business and psychology, going on to get another degree that allowed him to practice his profession. Phil is a quiet kind of guy except when he attends debates and forums. He started getting interested in politics several years ago and then two years ago decided to run for County Commissioner as a Libertarian to better carry the message.
He was arrested three weeks before that election and not released until after the vote was in. This election season Phil is running for State Senate, again as a Libertarian. The timing for his arrest is similar this time, a strange and unaccountable coincidence.
His interest in politics caused Phil to ask questions for those in charge of the local government. His background in accounting enabled him to see things that are inconvenient for the powers that be. The pattern of harassment is an attempt by those in power in Ellis County, Texas, to protect themselves from exposure. Speaking up upsets the local establishment. Along with asking questions at forums Phil posts signs and bumper stickers declaring his love for freedom and belief in Libertarianism. This tendency to ask questions of persons in positions of authority is, according to his girl friend, Donna Watson, the reason Philip Smart has been arrested six times in the last two years. Donna is a financial counselor at an Oncology facility in a town nearby and fully supports Phil’s efforts.
On the first occasion Philip was upset that his bank would not give him cash for a CD he was cashing in to pay for an antique car. All the rest of the times the cause of his trips to the local jail have been traffic issues. On one of these occasions a female officer stopped him on his motorcycle, demanding his license. She then searched his motorcycle over his objections, also neglecting to note this on her report. But the motorcycle bears her fingerprints.
They are resorting to this level of harassment because Philip does nothing illegal personally.
On this last occasion Philip was stopped for bringing his car to a stop six inches over the line at the stop sign. The arresting officer, a Sargent Rogers, then insisted on searching Smart’s car, finding the daytimer that holds his medications. Since he had failed to carry these in the bottles that had the prescriptions included he was arrested. The next day Donna offered to bring down the prescriptions. She was told not to bother. Ms. Watson was told by Lisa Moon, the officer staffing the desk, that it is illegal to carry prescription drugs unless they are in bottles that have the prescribing physician, the pharmacy, and the name of the patient. Since nearly all of us do this as a matter of routine this is also a wake up call for how vulnerable me may well be as individuals.
Philip Smart has been incarcerated in the Ellis County Correctional Facility located at Wayne McCollum Detention Center, 300 South Jackson, Waxahachie, Texas 75165. He has no blanket and so at nights he is cold. While you would think that given his good character and the nature of the charges he would be placed with other nonviolent offenders. But instead he is incarcerated with hardened criminals. On the first of these occasions he was placed in solitary confinement, lights on 24 hours a day for two weeks.
Phil Smart lives on a cul de sac street. Last year his beloved dog, Puppy, a Shelty-mix, turned up dead on his lawn, the victim of a hit and run. The neighbors were shocked and believe that Puppy’s death was caused by Smart’s political activism, the activism that so upsets the powers that be in Ellis County. Philip is well liked by his neighbors and has lived in the same place for 20 years.
Now Philip Smart is suffering from the lack of the prescription drugs he needs to survive. His mother, Jesse Smart works at Sak’s; His father, Dr. Don Smart, is an Ophthalmologist. No one knows what to tell Phil’s 16 year old son, who is asking what happened to his Dad. His family is bewildered because they are ordinary people who believe that government intends to do the right thing. They are only slowly understanding that those in government use that structure and power to advance their own agenda.
Far from being a threat to society Phil attends a tiny local church when he does not attend his girl friend’s church. Professionally, Philip refuses to charge more that $100.00 an hour for his professional services and often works for free for people who need help and cannot afford to pay.
Certainly Phil did not expect that running for office as a Libertarian would prove to be so hazardous to his health. But Donna received a call from a consulting psychiatrist who was allowed to view Philip Smart remotely from his office in Gainesville, Florida. The doctor is worried. Philip Smart’s physical condition is deteriorating rapidly and he is shaky and disoriented from cold and the lack of his prescriptions.
Evidently Texas has different rules than other places in America ““ or, as some have come to fear, is Texas and Homeland Security about to declare Mr. Philip Smart, a quiet CPA, a threat to National Security? If that is the case and with Habeas Corpus extinguished Philip Smart may be up for an extended vacation in one of the Homeland Prison Facilities in Texas that are even less attractive that the Ellis County Jail.
In America today there are evidently no rules we recognize. A group of us are starting a Committee in Defense of the Constitution, and that site will be up soon. Until then contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is the address of the jail where Phil is being held. As Libertarians we need to make sure Philip Smart knows we support him and that we will help him use this train of events to educate Americans as to the danger we all face.
Write to tell Philip you support him!
Philip Smart Cell Block S-C
Wayne McCollum Detention Center
300 South Jackson
Waxahachie, Texas 75165
Telephone: (972) 825-4901
Fax: (972) 825-4941
Melinda has a slightly different version on her website.
Additional background on Philip Smart can be found, and .