Harris County Criminal District Court-at-Law No. 3 Judge Don Jackson was indicted yesterday on a misdemeanor charge of official oppression. As alleged in the indictment, Jackson made “unwanted sexual advances” toward a woman who was identified by The Houston Chronicle as a DWI defendant in Jackson’s court. Jackson offered to get the woman “a different attorney to get her case dismissed if she would be interested in [Jackson] and enter into a relationship with him that was more than a one-night stand,” the indictment alleges. Jackson did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment; neither did his Houston attorney Clay Rawlings. But Rawlings told the Chronicle that Jackson will plead not guilty. According to a press release from the Office of Court Management for the Harris County Criminal Courts at Law, a copy of Jackson’s indictment is being sent to Seana Willing, executive director of the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct. The commission will decide if suspension is appropriate, and if so, whether it should be with or without pay. The release quotes the Texas Constitution as it relates to judicial discipline: “Any person holding an office specified in this subsection may be suspended from office with or without pay by the Commission immediately on being indicted by a State or Federal grand jury for a felony offense or charged with a misdemeanor involving official misconduct.” Willing did not immediately return a call for comment. Harris County ADA Matthew Peneguy also did not immediately return a telephone call.
-- John Council