Smith County constable to receive full pay while in prison

Smith County constable to receive full pay while in prison

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A Smith County constable headed to federal prison has been granted the right to carry firearms while on supervised release so he can continue in his elected capacity, according to a federal judge's order.

The ruling indicates that unless Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson resigns, he will likely remain in his elected position until his current term ends in December 2020. That also means Jackson will draw the pay and benefits associated with his position in the county despite being incarcerated, and spending six months of his elected term behind bars in a federal prison.

"There is separation of powers built into our legal framework in Texas so that one elected official cannot use a criminal process to overturn the will of the people against another elected official," State Rep. Matt Schaefer said.

This means in part that the Smith County Commissioners cannot take action to remove Jackson from office because he is an elected official. Also, since the charges Jackson pleaded guilty to are misdemeanors, not felonies, he is not up for automatic removal from his position.

"In most cases in Texas, it requires a very narrow set of circumstances for an elected official to be removed from office," Schaefer said, and misdemeanor charges are not necessarily one of them.

Jackson is expected to begin serving a 6-month sentence in a Seagoville federal prison before October ends. He will be on supervised release for one year following his release.

Jackson has been in office since 1999, and was last elected in 2016, when he ran unopposed. When asked for comment Tuesday, he declined.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.