Under indictment, court clerk's job could be on shaky ground - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Under indictment, court clerk's job could be on shaky ground

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

(WMC-TV) - Now that Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson finds himself under indictment, his job could be on shaky ground.

Since 1963, Shelby County General Sessions Court has processed 1.5 million cases, so it's only natural to wonder what happens to the court now that its Clerk is under indictment.

Jackson is accused of coercing his underlings to donate and help him raise re-election money.

"A lot of people here know that I am the duly-elected clerk for General Sessions Court Clerk," Jackson said Monday outside 201 Poplar.

Shortly after the indictment came down Monday, Jackson declared his job is in good standing. But the Tennessee Code reveals it's not so cut and dry.

A clerk can "immediately" face suspension upon indictment under Title 18. According to the code, "the court of which the clerk is clerk may suspend the clerk from office and appoint a clerk pro tempore, until a final decision can be had..."

That means Division 10 Judge Chris Turner, who's the administrator of judges, would lead the charge to determine if Jackson stays. Turner is the former Clerk of Court, and lost his seat to Jackson back in 2008.

Tuesday, Action News 5 tried to reach Judge Turner for comment, but he was unavailable.

Jackson has yet to be tried in this case, but if he is found guilty, the Tennessee Code establishes grounds for removal of a General Sessions Court Clerk, "Upon conviction of a misdemeanor in office or of a felony."

Tuesday, most judges were very tight-lipped about this case. It is unclear the exact procedure they will follow to determine Jackson stays or leaves.

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