Quanis Phillips gets 11-month sentence
RICHMOND, Va. -- A co-defendant in the Michael Vick dogfighting case on Monday was sent back to prison for 11 months for violating terms of his supervised release, including talking to the NFL star at a Virginia Beach nightclub last summer and then lying to his probation officer about it.
U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson told Quanis Phillips he had "failed miserably" during the past year, citing a list of transgressions: failing to report run-ins with police, failing a drug test, refusing to attend a mandatory mental health appointment and being convicted of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.
Phillips admitted all the violations, including his contact with Vick at the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback's birthday bash. Hudson noted that the terms of Phillips' probation prohibited him from having any contact with his co-defendants in the dogfighting case.
"He was at an event he was not supposed to attend," Hudson told Phillips' attorney, federal public defender Valencia Roberts, who urged the judge to sentence Phillips at the middle of the guideline range of five to 11 months.
Federal prosecutor Michael Gill sought the maximum under the guidelines, noting that Phillips not only contacted Vick but also lied about it when questioned by his probation officer. Phillips was shot in the leg outside the event, and he failed to report being questioned by police about that and other run-ins, according to the probation officer. Nobody was charged in the shooting, which occurred after Vick left the party.
Roberts said Phillips didn't understand that he needed to report his contact with police the night of the shooting because "it was in the context of him being a victim of crime." She also said Phillips skipped the mental health appointment because he is a private man and "he didn't believe he had a mental health problem."
She acknowledged that his recent positive test for marijuana was a setback.
In 2007, Phillips was sentenced to 21 months in prison and three years of probation for his role in the Vick dogfighting case.
Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison and three years of probation. He served 18 months in a federal penitentiary and two months on home confinement before resuming his NFL career.
He had a Pro Bowl season for the Eagles after taking over as the starting quarterback last fall.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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