Judge indicted for official oppression

August 27, 2009 9:11:42 PM PDT
A local criminal court judge is off the bench, indicted and accused of official oppression. If he's convicted down the road, Judge Donald Jackson could find himself in jail. [READ IT: Read the full indictment]

The judge was indicted by a Harris County grand jury. It is a misdemeanor charge of official oppression and we've learned more about the allegations who come from a defendant who was in his court room.

The indictment says the incident occurred on February 19 of this year while the judge was serving the County Criminal Court #3.

Court papers say Judge Jackson subjected the woman to sexual harassment, alleging he made "unwelcome sexual advances, " a "request for sexual favors," and "verbal conduct of a sexual nature."

Eyewitness News has been following the investigation and weeks before the indictment was even handed down, Judge Jackson was already defending himself against the allegations. In a one-on-one interview with Eyewitness News reporter Miya Shay, Judge Jackson denied that he had an improper relationship with a female DWI defendant.

"I have not touched, had any contact with, and the only thing i have done is speak to this defendant that they are concerned about," said Judge Jackson at the time.

The documents go on to say there were even terms attached to the advances, saying the judge was, "offering to get the complainant a different attorney to get her case dismissed if she would be interested in the defendant and enter into a relationship with him that was more than a one-night stand."

Judge Jackson denied the allegations.

"I have no blemishes on my record and this is the first time someone has ever made an allegation against me. I have great respect for the system and i will try to guard that respect with great care," he said.

While the case runs its course, an administrative judge must now find a temporary replacement for County Criminal Court #3, the county commissioner's court could also be asked to step in.

"They would come to commissioner's court as a vacancy then the commissioner's court would have the ability to appoint a new judge," said Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack.

That person would serve until the next election in 2010, but the judge has not resigned or retired and says he has served the court well for 17 years.

"I have no intentions of harming the criminal justice system in Harris County, or the judiciary, or the Republican Party," said Judge Jackson.

The attorney for the woman making the accusations says she has no comment for the media. Jude Jackson's attorney says he'll respond to the allegations in court. If convicted on the charge, the judge could face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Judge Jackson was appointed by the commissioner's court as presiding judge of County Criminal Court # 3 in August 1992. He was later elected to the bench in November 1993. His cases involve serious misdemeanors relating to DWI, domestic violence and theft.

In recent months, though, the judge has indicated he's considered retirement, something he told us as recently as a few weeks ago.

"I've been thinking about retiring ever since I went through my treatment a couple of years ago," Judge Jackson told Miya Shay. "My health has declined since then, and I just haven't been myself."

Judge Jackson's attorney Clay Rawlins confirms the indictment was filed in a court of law. He says his position will be filed there too.

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