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Judge Finds Jackson Violated Probation; Another Hearing Set

EL CENTRO — El Centro Mayor Pro Tem Jason Jackson violated the conditions of probation on an animal cruelty conviction by making false statements on a declaration submitted to the court, a judge has found.

The ruling came from Superior Court Judge Christopher Plourd after a brief hearing Feb. 27 in Superior Court Brawley West.

“At the end of the day, the court has ordered a continuance for Mr. Jackson,” said Plourd. “And it has found he did file false declarations.”

Jackson must return to Superior Court Brawley West on April 1 at 8:30 a.m.

Plourd concluded he will ask the county Probation Department to submit a supplemental report and seek its recommendation on further handling of the matter.

Jackson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation in 2017. After a protracted appeal to withdraw his plea failed he appeared in court in November and Plourd ordered him taken into custody to serve a 10-day jail term.

However, in late 2019 the county District Attorney’s Office accused him of violating the terms of his probation that he obey all laws because he failed to reveal in a court declaration that he received two traffic citations earlier in 2019.

Judge Explains Ruling

The Feb. 27 hearing was ordered by Plourd to allow him time to review case precedents that Jackson’s attorney, Robert Espinosa, presented to support Jackson’s contention he did not violate probation.

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Several witnesses testified at an evidentiary hearing on Feb. 11, including two probation officers, Jackson’s former attorney, Raj Singh, and Jackson.

Espinosa cited several cases but the one Plourd focused on was a Supreme Court case, Douglas v. Buder. Plourd explained that case was not a probation concept that was similar to the Jackson case and noted it is indisputable under California law what terms of probation require.

“Obey all laws (federal, state and local as part of probation) is clear,” said Plourd. “Mr. Jackson violated that condition. He had two traffic infractions on two separate dates and he plead guilty. Should the court revoke probation? It’s not typically done for infractions. But the question is whether he filed false declarations as part of testimony given.”

Plourd also agreed with Deputy District Attorney Heather Trapnell, who previously argued that an infraction, misdemeanor or felony are all regarded as crimes.

It was on Oct. 25 when Singh filed a motion to modify probation to dismiss a jail sentence and successfully terminate probation early.

“Because Mr. Jackson has no criminal history prior to the instant case and has not committed any probation violations or criminal offenses since the date of the incident (animal cruelty) early termination of probation is warranted in the instant case,” according to Singh’s declaration to the court seeking to modify Jackson’s probation. But Plourd pointed out it was not the two speeding violations of which Jackson was convicted in June and July 2019 that was getting him into trouble. It is that his declaration (prepared by Singh but signed by Jackson) does constitute a term of probation that he obey all laws.


This story is featured in the Mar 05, 2020 e-Edition.