Shelby County Court Clerk Otis Jackson was arraigned in criminal court Thursday morning. Jackson waived his appearance but his defense attorneys entered a not guilty plea in his absence. They also asked that a special judge take the case.
"All of the judges in Shelby County knew Otis Jackson and have known him for a long time," said attorney, Bill Massey.
Massey says now, with a request for a special judge entered, it's possible someone outside the county will be assigned Jackson's criminal case. He says it's the best way to avoid a conflict.
Jackson, who's facing four counts of official misconduct, is currently suspended from office.
"This is the first time he's been charged with any type of offense at all and so he's very hurt by it and taken by surprise," Massey said.
Prosecutors say Jackson made county employees fundraise for his re-election campaign during work hours. He was indicted in July. Then, earlier this month, a panel of General Sessions judges suspended Jackson for 60 days with pay.
"They took action without judges being present, without him having any of the basic due process rights."
Jackson's civil attorney, Jay Bailey, says the lawsuit they've filed to reverse the suspension and reinstate Jackson will be heard in Chancery Court on August 25th.
"We believe the General Sessions judges acted inappropriately. We cannot understand legally, or rationally, why they would not give Mr. Jackson notice and give him an opportunity to be heard like any other citizen would want," said Bailey.
In the meantime, Ed Stanton, Jr. has been picked to act as court clerk.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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