On April 26, 2014, the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys honored Phil with their “Rodney Thaxton Against All Odds Award“. In 2011 Phil undertook the defense of Dennis Escobar in a re-trial of a murder case. Dennis Escobar had been sentenced to death in 1992, but the Florida Supreme Court reversed his conviction.
The re-trial began in early 2013 and lasted over two months. The jury could not reach a decision, however, their division was 8-4 for not guilty. Based on the new problems with the evidence in the case, the prosecutor’s office waived the death penalty against Dennis Escobar’s brother-Douglas and decided to settle the case against Dennis Escobar with a plea to the amount of time Dennis Escobar had already served in Florida.