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Judge Jackson convicted

You may recall the case of Harris County Criminal Court-at-Law Judge Don Jackson, who was indicted in August on a misdemeanor charge of official oppression, after being accused of offering a DWI defendant a chance to get out of her charge in return for sexual favors. Today he was convicted of that charge.

The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Earlier Friday, defense attorneys for Jackson told the jury they were ashamed of the veteran jurist’s behavior in meeting with a drunken driving defendant, but that it was not illegal.

“Shame on him. Shame on you, Judge Jackson,” Dan Cogdell said while pointing at his client during closing arguments. “What he did was wrong, but what my friend and professional colleague did not do was commit a crime.”

Cogdell and Lewis Dickson have argued that Ariana Venegas, 28, manipulated Jackson to get a better court-appointed lawyer to get her DWI case dismissed.

“They keep trying to blame the victim,” Harris County Assistant District Attorney Lance Long said in his closing. “They grilled her for hours and hours about her DWI and her Facebook photos. I hope you were offended.”

Included in the evidence was a photo of Venegas from the popular social network Web site that showed her posing for an informal picture in khaki shorts and a white tanktop.

I did not follow this trial, but apparently there was a bit of controversy kicked up when it was reported that ADA Long had signed a petition for an opponent to Jackson in the upcoming Republican primary. I tend to agree with Murray Newman that such a thing isn’t really a big deal, though as Mark Bennett notes, the situation could and probably should have been avoided. Anyway, having noted this case at the beginning, I thought it was worth mentioning at the conclusion.

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  1. […] County Criminal Court At Law Judge Donald Jackson, who was recently convicted of misdemeanor official oppression, has resigned his bench, effective Thursday. Given his conviction, I’d say this counts as no […]