MEMPHIS, TN - Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson is fighting his suspension.
The General Sessions judges suspended Jackson, with pay, for 60 days. It goes into effect Friday, August 5, 2011.
Jackson was indicted in July on official misconduct charges.
His lawyer, Jay Bailey, said his client is fighting the charges because they are unfair. Bailey said the judges used an old, rarely used statute to suspend the clerk, and they had no authority to do so.
“He is an elected clerk, being unseated. He has had no hearing, there is no record of the meeting, there was no court reporter, nothing,” said Bailey. “He feels he was not offered due process. He was not given the opportunity to be heard, and so we are going to challenge it.”
The county attorney handling the case said the suspension was allowed.
“I think there is a statute that gives the judges the right to do what they did, and it is pretty clear,” said Asst. Shelby County Attorney Mark Allen.
Jackson was in court August 4th, 2011, asking the judge to stop his suspension from going into effect. The judge did not rule. There will be a full court hearing August 25th.
Jackson was indicted after his employees said they were being forced to raise money for his re-election campaign. Sometimes, fundraising happened on the clock.
After court, Jackson said he was disapointed, but not surprised, he was suspended.
“I am a little confused. I am in a situation I am not proud of, and one I feel in the end I will be vindicated of,” said Jackson.
Bailey said Jackson will not step down from his position because he feels stepping down would be an admission of guilt.
“He firmly denies he has violated the law,” said Bailey.