Libertarian candidate in Texas target of police harassment

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

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 here, here and here.

  1. This is the stuff of corrupt governments in less developed countries. If anyone wants a sneak peek of what rest of our great “civilization” will decade to in the next 10 years, here it is.

  2. Where can we find more info and verification of this story. I couldn’t find anything by googling it. Very disturbing story. Thanks.

  3. If 10% of that is accurate, this is the most blatant police corruption I’ve ever heard of. 6 inches over a stop line is grounds to search the car???

    As for his 16-year-old son (assuming that’s not a typo), 16 is plenty old to know everything and understand the corruption. I’m 17 myself!

  4. Stupid question time. Has the ACLU been called? Has anyone notified the press including magazines such as Mother Jones and the Nation? How about Counterpunch?
    This needs press coverage.

  5. My favorite part:

    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.

  6. Stupid question time. Has the ACLU been called? Has anyone notified the press including magazines such as Mother Jones and the Nation? How about Counterpunch?

    Maybe you should notify them?

  7. This is also nice:

    he has been accused of being a terrorist before because of his collection of antique guns.

  8. What I find fascinating is that he would be called a terrorist due to his antique gun collection – in Texas!? I’ve spent time in jail and know that they can get away with anything in there. No reporting or accountability. Incidents like this are an indication of a failing system of government.

  9. Why hasn’t there been an armed resistance to this treatment? This is the reason we have the second amendment. To stop the government from doing exactly what it is doing now.

  10. Mike we need a press release from the Texas LP to send out. Can we get that?????
    I had already started to up date my media list.

    If so we can go to work.


  11. Guys, on the gun issue, there is a major story that I wrote about on The Ellis County Observer:

    Lt. Clint Tims of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office called Smart up one day (I live 15 minutes from Phil and know him through my articles on him for The Ellis County Press) to ask about buying one of those antique guns; skeptical, Smart wrote up a bill of sale. They were to meet at a local gas station (Phil was not in his trademark SMU CPA-license plated Mustang that night) where Phil drove around the parking lot and spotted an unmarked car with two deputies in it — guys, it was a set up pure and simple.

    I’ve been on the Smart case since he ran for commissioner.

    Speaking of, the Democratic nominee for the same commissioner’s precinct in eastern Ellis County that Smart ran for, is in the same jail right now waiting on an appeal for his conviction to 7 years prison time for altering an inspection sticker. He blew the whistle on corruption in that part of the county as well.

  12. What is his lawyer doing? What about bail?

    Perhaps someone should file a complaint based on official oppression with Ronnie Earle’s office–especially given the fact that a Democratic nominee was given seven years for something as ridiculous as altering an inspection sticker as Joey states.

  13. I actually called the jail to ask about the Smart charges. I talked to Officer Williams who told me that he was arrested on 10/10 and that his fine was $80. I asked if I came and paid the $80 if he would be released. She said that was the fine for running a SS on 10/19 and that he would not be released b/c of the assault w bodily injury charge from 10/09 that he had not seen a judge on. She then noticed that there was a problem w/the dates of the SS charge as he was in jail the day the report said it happened. She said it was likely a booking error and transferred me to Ms. Stinson in the booking dept. Ms. Stinson could not confirm the dates for the assault charge or SS violation, but said that the assault charge was actually a probation violation and a misdemeanor charge, but that he could not be released until seen by a judge. I asked how long that generally takes and reminded her that it has been nearly 3 weeks- she said that it could take a month or more. (cont.)

  14. She said that I could call the court at (she thinks) (972)825-5000. I will call tomorrow.

  15. There is a group of Libertarians and libertarian-leaning Constitutionalists here in Waxahachie wanting to plan/organize a picket outside of the Ellis County jail in support of Phil.

    Since I know the organizer personally, I’ll let you guys in the know when I find out more information…

  16. Anyone who can do down there and help with the protest if they do not let him out today. Phil saw Donna, his girl friend, Saturday, and he is now getting his medication and is feeling better. He met others in the jail who are also being held without being told what charges are filed against them. This is an entirely corrupt group and should be approached with caution. Take tape recorders with you when you intend to have contact, make sure you get all communication on the record. Take notes. We need an exhaustive chronology detailing all contact and actions. Joey and Linda are planning a prayer vigil if Phil is not released today and we can add to that.
    If he is not released he may be endorsed by a local paper from jail anyway.

  17. Just heard from Donna and they are not going to release Phil today. They are obviously trying to CTA, bringing in an investigator from Red Oak named Mr. Santos. This makes the prayer vigil even more important. Call your ministers and ask them to put Phil on their prayer list and also to pray for theose who are persecuting him, to bring them to an understanding of their relationship with Christ.

  18. Good luck with this.

    There are so many police state outrages like this.

    They should be a much bigger part of Libertarian campaigns and focus.

    Part of the problem is that most conservatives blindly worship police authority, and Libertarians continue – far past the point of diminishing returns – to court the conservative converts, votes and support.

  19. Thanks for all the support we are getting for Philip. I know it warms his heart. I just talked to Leon Smith at the Iconoclast and they are doing an article on Philip and Leon believes that because of the growing unpopularity to the incumbent, Kip Averitt, it may be possible to elect Philip even while he languishes in jail. The cheapest way to get the word out is through advertisements in local papers. So we need to raise money to put a quick ad in focused on the prime local issue, which is the Trans-Texas Corridor to which Philip is adamantly opposed and which Kip supports like the weasel he is.
    The address to send donations or loans (Philip will most likely insist on repaying these because he has not accepted any donations!) is Real Texans for Smart 4128 Juneberry St., Ft. Worth 76137. Contact me at if you can help! Thanks, Melinda

  20. Update!

    Election Night — Nov. 7 — Downtown Waxahachie — Join independents, Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats and members of the community as we hold a peaceful demonstration and prayer vigil for District 22 State Senate candidate Phil Smart. Ballot boxes won’t be hitting the Elections Dept until 7:30, so activists need to be there early for parking spots. Make banners, signs, etc. Bring candles. Spread the word about this.

    Nov. 7 – Downtown Wax. – Directly across from the Elections Dept on Rogers Street. Plan B is to move to the jail, but most people will be in or near the Elections Dept to wait for the vote results. BTW, I just got 32 pages worth of court docs on Phil, and the state has withdrawn its motion to revoke probation – tons more stuff to come!

  21. Five minutes ago Philip was released from the Ellis County Jail. He is now on his way to a safe haven and a good meal. Tomorrow we will begin the clean up campaign for Ellis County and the other areas of the United States needing similar attentions. Now we can get started with the real battle for freedom.

  22. I’m increasingly disturbed about county government here, even though I love Ellis County! I know that the DA & Waxahachie police have failed to even question a man who tied his wife up to keep her from talking about divorce! Weirder by the month. Paul Richard Strange, Sr.

  23. Thanks Joey for the documents!

    I want to talk to Phil before I really form any solid opinions over what has transpired since September. Here’s what my gut tells me now, after hearing what people closer to Phil have had to say and after looking at what’s on public record.

    This really seems like a lot less than everyone wants to make it out to be. I don’t get the sense that this is a conspiracy to squash opposition to the trans-texas corridor, as Melinda posits, though I do agree with her that getting the word out for Phil is the very best thing we can do right now. There is no democrat opposing Kip, the incumbant opponent.

    There is definitely room for speculation as to wether certain elements of the police department are paying extra close attention to Phil, and that perhaps the DA wants to maintain a good working relationship with the police (what DA doesn’t?) by acting on their recommendations for procecution.

  24. I remember Vic Feazell winning election as District Attorney of Mclennan County [home of GW Bush btw] – while being held in Austin jail under indictment for RICO. It seems that he took his position as “peoples’ attorney” too seriously and held police accountable for heavy handedness with low income suspects. Went to a “meet the candidates” forum before Feazell was jailed and asked some simple questions of his opponent. They wanted my name and address [I was visiting from Oregon and just ignored request]. I guess they were trying to intimidate me. I don’t have heavy artillery at home, drink alcohol less than once/month and have been celibate outside of my marriage. Just two clean cut for police intimidation. But the media are shameless in their protection of police authority figures so they would have no loss of credibility for refusing to cover illegal detention.