Judge Donald Jackson’s conviction gives new meaning to the words pro bono. Earlier this month, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals Affirmed the judgment from 2009 finding Jackson guilty of Official Oppression. Jackson was found guilty in 2009 for official oppression after soliciting “free” legal help to a woman in return for sex. Jackson was ordered to serve a 30 day jail sentence beginning April 15, 2012 and will subsequently serve two years probation. Throughout the appeal, Jackson was suspended without pay, from acting as the Judge of County Criminal Court Number 3 of Harris County, Texas.
28-year-old Arian Venegas was hesitant about going forward after Jackson offered her legal help in exchange for sex. According to Venegas, he invited her to dinner and she obliged thinking that he had good intentions and genuinely wanted to help. However, the form of payment he was willing to work for in exchange for help with a DWI charge was more than Venegas bargained for.
She was shocked when he offered to help her in exchange for sex, and to add insult to injury Jackson confided in Venegas that he was tired of giving favors for one night stands.
Judge Jackson must have felt that all these women were taking advantage of him and using him for his power. The most compelling reason behind Venegas’ decision to testify was the knowledge that she was almost certainly not the first person Jackson had tried to bully into bed in exchange for legal help, nor would she be the last.
Venegas admitted that her DWI offense was wrong, and that she deserved every bit of punishment that she was sentenced. She is currently serving out her probation sentence in Harris County. Her bravery in coming forward has no doubt spared other women of the same condescending solicitation that Jackson was convicted for.
On March 22, 2012, The Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction from the 351st District Court of Harris County.
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