Miss. Supreme Court disbars lawyer convicted of selling drugs to inmate-client

Published 4:55 pm Friday, February 8, 2008

The Mississippi Supreme Court has formally disbarred a McComb attorney convicted of providing drugs to an incarcerated client who needed to raise money to pay his legal fees.

Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear any appeal from John E. Jackson Jr.

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

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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.

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.

According to the court record, Jackson 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 Mississippi Bar asked the Supreme Court to disbar Jackson.

The court, in an order signed Thursday by Justice Jess H. Dickinson, said Jackson did not deny he had been convicted of a felony. The court gave Jackson 30 days to notify his clients and the courts that he had been disbarred and would be closing down his law practice.