Otis Jackson indicted by grand jury - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Otis Jackson indicted by grand jury

Otis Jackson (Source: Shelby-Sheriff.org) Otis Jackson (Source: Shelby-Sheriff.org)

(WMC-TV) - A court clerk in Memphis has been arrested after being charged with official misconduct, accused of requiring employees to contribute or solicit funds for his political races.

Shelby County Jail records show Otis Jackson was booked Monday morning after a grand jury returned a four-count indictment against him. Jackson is the Shelby County General Sessions Court clerk.

"It's been an experience for me, one I've never encountered before, but you know it's one that I have to go through," Jackson said as he left 201 Poplar.

Using a rare legal tactic called a "presentment," a grand jury charged Jackson on four counts of Official Misconduct, stemming from a county attorney's administrative investigation into a November 4th 2010 staff meeting during business hours on the 8th floor of 201 Poplar, at which Jackson is accused of demanding employees raise $51,000 in contributions for his 2012 re-election campaign.

"Public officials need to be held to the same standard as regular citizens," said Vince Higgins, spokesperson for the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office. "We're all held to an account. And each of us will be held to an account."

Prosecutors said a six-month investigation preceded the indictment. If convicted, he faces up to nine years in prison and a fine up to $12,000.

While fighting the charges, Jackson will keep his job, and the General Sessions Court Clerk's Office remains under his direction.

"A lot of people here know that I am the duly-elected clerk for General Sessions Court Clerk, and I was voted in to serve the citizens of Shelby County, and I'm gonna continue to do that to the best of my ability," he said.

You may recall an Action News 5 investigation involving Jackson. It too centered around questionable fundraising practices.

Jackson was allowing General Sessions employees to buy days off in exchange for a donation to charity.

While questionable, that practice was legal under Shelby County's time off policy.

After Action News 5's investigation, County Commissioners voted to ban the day-off exchange program.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.


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