EL CENTRO — After exhausting all appeals, El Centro City Council Member Jason Jackson was led from a Brawley courtroom Nov. 19 to serve a 10-day county jail sentence for his 2017 guilty plea on one count of animal cruelty, a county prosecutor said.
Jackson and his attorney, Raj Singh, appeared before Superior Court Judge Christopher Plourd to review the status of Jackson’s stayed jail sentence. Singh made a motion to terminate Jackson’s probation early and vacate the 10-day jail sentence.
Plourd denied the motion and remanded Jackson into custody to serve out the sentence Plourd had originally imposed in August 2017, Imperial County Deputy District Attorney Heather Trapnell said.
“We’re happy that he is going to serve the sentence the judge gave him for his crime … Now he has to serve his sentence, and that’s appropriate,” Trapnell said.
Singh was not immediately available for comment later on Nov. 19 when his office was contacted by this newspaper.
Jackson’s custody apparently puts to end an ordeal that began in February 2016 when felony animal-cruelty charges were filed against him for allegedly failing to properly care for a horse he owned. The horse did not die.
Jackson agreed to plead guilty to one charge of felony animal cruelty in July 2017 after being given assurances by Plourd that the case would later be downgraded to misdemeanor animal cruelty. The charge was reduced in August 2017, yet the court still imposed a 10-day jail sentence that prompted Jackson to request to withdraw his guilty plea, according to published reports.
When Plourd denied the request, it set off a lengthy appeals process by Jackson and his second attorney, Singh, that took Jackson’s case all the way to the California Supreme Court.
Jackson exhausted his legal options in late September when the state Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld Plourd’s 2017 decision to deny Jackson’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea, according to published reports.
Jackson owns a local security firm. He was elected to the council in 2011 and 2015.
Jackson is not alone among local politicians facing misdemeanor criminal charges. His colleague, El Centro Mayor Edgard Garcia, is facing trial on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. Calexico City Council Member Rosie Fernandez faces charges of driving under the influence and property-damage hit and run in two separate collisions.
This story is featured in the Nov 21, 2019 e-Edition.