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Criminal Information Filed Against Phillip Robinson Winkfield

November 10, 2008

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein filed a criminal information* on Nov. 7 charging 21-year-old Morgan State University student Phillip Robinson Winkfield with possession with intent to distribute heroin. Winkfield’s mother is Washington, D.C., federal magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson, whose 20-year career behind the bench has brought numerous luminaries before her as defendants, from drug lords and an NBA star to high-level White House officials and a former D.C. mayor (“Just Family,” Mobtown Beat, May 15).

Baltimore police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided Winkfield’s Dutch Village apartment on April 25 and seized a cache of contraband, including five loaded guns, large quantities of cocaine and heroin, a bulletproof vest, $8,000 cash, and about seven pounds of marijuana (“Redeye Special,” Mobtown Beat, April 28). He was held without bail and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office filed narcotics and firearms charges. (A recording of the April 28 bail review hearing obtained by City Paper can be heard here.)

Prior to his arrest, Winkfield had lived for 18 years with his mother, federal magistrate Judge Robinson, in her home in upper northwest Washington. Robinson and Winkfield’s father, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs attorney John C. Winkfield, divorced in 1992. Winkfield is a 2005 graduate of Washington’s exclusive Maret School, and attended the University of Delaware in 2005 and 2006 before coming to Morgan as a legacy student; his mother graduated from there in 1975.

Now that he has been charged in federal court, Winkfield’s state court charges will likely be dismissed. According to U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Marcia Murphy, if Winkfield is convicted he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison. No court date has been set. Winkfield has two prior criminal convictions, both in 2007 in Virginia, for possessing a weapon and drug paraphernalia.

* On friday Nov. 7 we reported that U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein filed a criminal complaint against Phillip Robinson Winkfield, the son of D.C. federal magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson, when in fact the U.S. Attorney filed a criminal information against Winkfield. When a criminal information is filed, the defendant has waived indictment. In a criminal complaint, the indictment is not waived and the government must either present its evidence at a preliminary hearing or to the grand jury prior to the preliminary hearing.

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