Jack­son to ap­peal court rul­ing

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY JULIO MORALES Staff Writer

EL CEN­TRO — El Cen­tro Coun­cil­man Ja­son Jack­son will con­tinue to re­main out of cus­tody pend­ing an ap­peal of a county Su­pe­rior Court judge’s rul­ing Tues­day deny­ing Jack­son’s re­quest to chal­lenge the va­lid­ity of his pre­vi­ous guilty plea to one felony count of an­i­mal cru­elty. The pend­ing ap­peal seeks to have the Fourth District Court of Ap­peals grant a writ of man­date forc­ing the county Su­pe­rior Court to is­sue a cer­tifi­cate of prob­a­ble cause that a lo­cal judge de­nied on Tues­day, said de­fense at­tor­ney Raj Singh.

“Mr. Jack­son wants to with­draw his plea, he wants fight the case on the mer­its and he wants to prove that he’s not guilty of what he’s been ac­cused of,” Singh said fol­low­ing Tues­day’s hear­ing.

Singh had re­cently filed the re­quest for a cer­tifi­cate of prob­a­ble cause in re­sponse to county Su­pe­rior Court Judge Christo­pher J. Plourd’s rul­ing on Jan. 29 deny­ing Jack­son’s mo­tion to with­draw his prior guilty plea.

A cer­tifi­cate of prob­a­ble cause re­quires court ap­proval when­ever a de­fen­dant wishes to chal­lenge the va­lid­ity of a guilty plea based on rea­son­able con­sti­tu­tional, ju­ris­dic­tional or other grounds.

In his rul­ing Tues­day, Plourd had in­di­cated that pre­vi­ous tes­ti­mony and ev­i­dence had per­suaded him that Jack­son’s re­quest for a cer­tifi­cate of prob­a­ble cause was not war­ranted.

The pend­ing ap­peal is but the lat­est in a string of le­gal ac­tions that Jack­son has taken fol­low­ing his sen­tenc­ing on Aug. 17 in con­nec­tion to the an­i­mal cru­elty charge, which was ul­ti­mately re­duced to a mis­de­meanor.

Fol­low­ing his sen­tenc­ing, which in­cluded a 10day jail sen­tence, Jack­son had filed a no­tice of ap­peal with the ap­pel­late court chal­leng­ing his con­vic­tion. That ap­peal was even­tu­ally with­drawn Jan. 24 in or­der for Jack­son to at­tempt to with­draw his guilty plea.

The de­ci­sion to at­tempt to with­draw his prior guilty plea was the re­sult of Jack­son re­port­edly hav­ing been mis­ad­vised by his for­mer coun­sel about the po­ten­tial ram­i­fi­ca­tions of his con­vic­tion, Singh said.

“Be­cause of that he ended up tak­ing a plea that he wouldn’t have taken if he knew all the con­se­quences that would’ve flown from it,” Singh said.

In his rul­ing Tues­day, much like his pre­vi­ous rul­ing deny­ing Jack­son’s mo­tion to with­draw his guilty plea, Plourd had in­di­cated that Jack­son’s ar­gu­ments for seek­ing a cer­tifi­cate of prob­a­ble cause failed to reach the le­gal thresh­old nec­es­sary to grant it.

Specif­i­cally, Plourd in­di­cated that Jack­son’s prior tes­ti­mony ran counter to tes­ti­mony pro­vided by his for­mer coun­sel as well as pre­vi­ous court pro­ceed­ings where the con­se­quences of his con­vic­tion were dis­cussed openly.

“The court found that Jack­son’s tes­ti­mony was not persuasive and in many in­stances clearly in­cor­rect,” Plourd stated in his six-page writ­ten de­ci­sion.

Jack­son is due back in court in El Cen­tro on Feb. 28 for a sta­tus up­date re­gard­ing his ap­peal.

“If you want a fur­ther stay you’ll have to get it from the court of ap­peals,” Plourd said.

El Cen­tro Coun­cil­man Ja­son Jack­son (left) lis­tens to de­fense at­tor­ney Raj Singh an­swer ques­tions on Tues­day out­side of the Su­pe­rior Court in El Cen­tro fol­low­ing a mo­tion hear­ing. JULIO MORALES PHOTO

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