For esteemed Special Judge, Walter Kurtz of Nashville it had to have been one of the most confounding criminal court hearings he's ever presided over.
First he didn't have a lawyer and then he didn't have a defendant.
And eventually a defiant former Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk, Otis Jackson, did make his way to the courtroom. But, from the moment of his entry the tenor of what was scheduled to be a 30-minute hearing quickly turned toward the bizarre. But, before we get into the weirdness here's a refresher course on the particulars. In charges that first arose in 2010, Jackson is accused of misconduct in office by allegedly pressuring his staff to contribute and collect money for his 2012 re-election campaign. In maintaining his innocence, Jackson had the options of going to trial or accepting an Attorney General's offer of diversion which does not require a finding of guilt. One year of staying clean...record expunged. Go to trial and risk years of imprisonment if convicted. His choice. Now, let's return to "bizzaro world."
Jackson chose trial.
But, as a standard part of jurisprudence Judge Kurtz wanted Jackson to confirm it was his decision by taking an oath. As they used to say in the entertainment world..."you ain't seen nothing, yet."
After being asked to raise his right hand, Jackson wouldn't raise his hand. Then stated he didn't think he should be there and didn't agree with the proceedings.
Eventually he reluctantly raised his hand. Promising to "do his best."
"In 30 years and six months, you're the only person I ever run across that refused to be sworn in court. Which is I find kind of odd," Judge Kurtz said.
After the hearing, a tight-jawed Jackson departed without speaking to reporters. It was left to Massey to answer the burning question of why his client's behavior was so...bizarre.
"Probably because he's never been in a proceeding like this before. This is all new to him. I think he was just skeptical. I don't know," Massey said.
"I don't know"... might have been the most insightful answer of the entire hearing.