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William Phillips

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William Phillips, Knapp Commission Informant, Paroled

Fishkill Correctional Facility
William Phillips, the corrupt cop who testified before the city’s infamous Knapp Commission and later was convicted of murdering a pimp and a prostitute, has been paroled. It was the parole board’s fifth vote on Phillips, who is 77, half-blind, and chronically ill. Now a jailhouse lawyer, Phillips has fought his own case and those of his fellow inmates for over three decades. He appealed his conviction all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost. He later petitioned the state court after the parole board’s repeated refusals. In March 2005, the New York Supreme Court ordered the parole board to reconsider Phillips’s case, calling the denial “arbitrary and capricious.” Today, the board ruled two to one, with a strong dissent from commissioner Lisa Beth Elovich. “Your release at this time would be incompatible with the welfare of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the offense to undermine respect for the law," she said. "You killed two people in cold blood, one of whom was a 19-year-old female. You attempted to kill a third person." Phillips is scheduled to be released from Fishkill Correctional Facility on November 9. In an interview with New York at the prison earlier this year, Phillips maintained his innocence and frustration with the parole process. "I did my time like a man," he said. —Geoffrey Gray