Miss. court won’t hear appeal of ex-attorney convicted of selling drugs to inmate-client

Published 10:41 pm Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Mississippi Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of a former McComb attorney convicted of providing drugs to an incarcerated client to sell in jail so he could pay his legal fees.

John E. Jackson Jr. was convicted in 2004 in Amite County of giving marijuana to then-Lincoln County jail inmate Cedric Watson so his client could fund Jackson’s $5,000 legal fees. Jackson was sentenced to three years under house arrest and fined $25,000. Jackson also was disbarred.

At Jackson’s trial, the prosecution showed the jury a June 3, 2003, videotape of a jail visit between Jackson and Watson, who cooperated with authorities.

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Prosecutors said Watson told authorities that his attorney brought dope and cigarettes to him to sell, and that he made hundreds of dollars, which he then gave to Jackson for legal fees.

Jackson, in his testimony, denied ever bringing drugs into the jail, but he admitted bringing Watson cigarettes. He testified that he did so because inmates could have cigarettes in jail.

The state Court of Appeals upheld Jackson’s conviction in March. The Supreme Court on Thursday declined without comment to hear an appeal.

Jackson had claimed that there was insufficient evidence for his conviction, that the trial judge should have recused himself and, among other things, that his sentence to house arrest and disbarment was cruel and unusual punishment.

The Appeals Court rejected all of those issues.