December 2, 2006
ON MAGISTRATE JUDGE “COACH” JACKSON
This past Monday, the I-Team on Fox 5 Atlanta ran a two
part series on Jasper’s Magistrate Judge. If
you missed the program, you can view it on
the internet at www.myfoxatlanta.com.
Go to the I-Team at the bottom of the page, then click on
Part I and Part II of “Jasper County Judge.”
II of this program Former Gov. Roy Barnes, the legislator
that helped write the updated Magistrate Law in 1983, was
interviewed. The Jasper County
chief magistrate says state law allows him to be a full
time judge and a part time lawyer at the same time. Former
Governor Roy Barnes says he can't imagine anyone would interpret
the law that way. Judge Jackson said during the interview
he didn’t see an ethical problem. Others
on the program did. Mr. Barnes said Judge Jackson was “stretching”
the law. “If being a full time Judge, he was required to
work 40 hours, when would Mr. Jackson have time to go to
court? Court is not open at night.” That has been the TWG
question for several years now.
Of 32 full time
Magistrates in Georgia that are lawyers, 25 do not practice
law on the side because they considered it a conflict. Again,
Coach Judge Jackson doesn’t see it as a problem. He said
in the interview that he didn’t see anything wrong with
trying to make more money. But what
does Jasper County pay him for? 100% of all bad checks,
65% of all arrest warrants, 54% of all search warrants,
and 41% of all bond hearings were signed by Deputy Magistrate
Angela Nelson, not the Judge. The Monticello
News reported that there was ONE warrant over the Thanksgiving
holiday written; according to Fox 5 there have only been
8 written after hours the entire year.
JQC (Judicial Qualification Commission) oversees Judges
and their practices. Based on many calls
the TWG has received since the I-Team investigation, Judge
Jackson’s actions in the courtroom may have him being investigated.
Several people have already indicated they will be writing
JQC about their courtroom experiences.
past week the Jasper County Magistrate showed his disdain
for the people. After the I-Team investigation laid out
the facts that our Magistrate does little Magistrate work
and far from 40 hours a week, Coach
Judge Jackson continued his usual weekly schedule of lawyering
and coaching. As reported by citizens that have seen
Coach Judge Jackson, here are some of his “activities” this
Monday 11/27--left the Courthouse at approx. 2:30pm to go
to the school and then left for a school in Monroe where
he spent the rest of the afternoon coaching a Basketball
Tuesday 11/28--left courthouse at approx 1:45pm to go to
coach Basketball practice. It was also reported he was seen
that morning on his way toward Milledgeville by a citizen
that had seen the clip the night before. They were more
than happy to call and report seeing him.
Wednesday 11/29--was seen coming from Turtle Cove and turning
onto Hwy 212 toward Monticello at 8:55AM. The Clerk of Court
says the offices are open at 8AM.
Thursday 11/30—at approximately 3:00PM Coach Judge Jackson
went out the back of the courthouse, got in his truck and
left. He ended up in Forsyth to coach a basketball game.
Friday 12/1--at 2:25pm, Coach Judge Jackson could not be
found at the courthouse.
time has come to do something. The Judge
showed everyone on the TV presentation that he was going
to do whatever he pleased. It
is now up to the Commissioners to put a stop to all this.
People are angry and have talked constantly
about the arrogance shown by the Judge.
Bernard stated in his article that citizens talk about problems
but never have solutions. Here are some solutions that can
make this problem go away:
the job part time, which it is and
has been. The Judge SAYS he is full time but hasn’t been
able to verify he works 40 hours a week. This job has
always been a part time job, but because of the abuse
going on it seems our county will have to make it “officially”
part time. This may have to be done by local legislation.
Rep. Jim Cole and Sen. Johnny Grant should be contacted
so this can be done during the next General Assembly.
the unreasonable $20,000 supplement
that the last Board of Commissioners gave him. Judge Jackson
is also receiving a 5% “term” supplement for a full 4-year
term he did not serve.
him verify his hours starting now.
If he doesn’t work 40 hours, he shouldn’t be paid 40 hours.
The laws states you are full time IF YOU WORK 40 hours.
This job has always been a part time job.
All of Jasper
County will be watching how this is handled. There
can be action taken. It will be up to
our Commissioners to do something. We
urge citizens to contact the BOC and tell them how you feel
about the situation. All
BOC members names, numbers, and email addresses can be found
on the Jasper County Commissioners page.
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
as to where and how their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and
laws being discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending,
and lower property taxes.