Smith County constable sent to jail, removed from office
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A former Smith County constable will serve jail time after being convicted of abusing his position of power. A jury gave a sentence of six months of jail time to former Smith County Pct. 2 Constable Joshua Black on Friday. Smith County Judge Austin Reeve Jackson also officially removed Black from his elected position as constable.
Black also has an added charge of official oppression related to a second alleged victim. The judge set a $1 million bond on that in order to protect the victims. If this charge has not been resolved by the time the six-month jail sentence is up, Black will either have to pay the bond or remain incarcerated.
Black was convicted Thursday on a charge of official oppression. State of Texas prosecutors successfully made the case that Black had used his position and power in an attempt to solicit sex from a woman who employed his services as a visitation supervisor.
During Friday’s session, the defense and prosecution aimed to provide even more details about Black, his behavior and who others see him as.
The prosecution called multiple witnesses, several of whom had extramarital affairs with Black while he provided his supervision services. According to testimony and evidence, Black on multiple occasions would offer the women money in exchange for sex and even had sex with at least one of the women at the Pct. 2 office. At one point in 2020, Black’s wife discovered Black and one of the women discussing their affair at the Pct. 2 office.
Some of the women would testify that they felt intimidated by Black’s advances and wanted to call the authorities “but Josh is the authorities.” According to testimony, Black would on multiple occasions call the women by their first name but give them his last name as he felt ownership over them.
The defense’s closing arguments focused on “what kind of person he actually is,” calling to the stand Black’s father and sister. The defense described Black as someone who is “dedicated to his job” and “a hard worker.” They noted Black has an 11-year-old daughter who “is his world” and urged the jury to take into consideration what kind of effect a jail sentence would have on her. Black’s sister said jail time would have a negative effect on Black’s daughter’s mental health as well as her social standing because “kids are mean.”
Additionally, the defense stated that a jail sentence would be dangerous for Black as law enforcement officers are often targeted by other prisoners.
In closing arguments, the prosecution urged the jury to hand a sentence “to send a message that you can’t use your badge to prey on others” and that “there cannot be a low sentence for someone we hold to a higher standard.” The prosecution also countered arguments that Black cares about his work as law enforcement by reminding the jury he sent one of the women a photograph of himself in his uniform with his genitals exposed because “that is how much he cares about his badge.”
The defense, however, made a plea for leniency because Black has already felt the consequences of his actions due to being removed from office, being stripped of his position as a law enforcement officer, the loss of his business and the fracturing of his family. The defense also stated that all of the text messages seen are just a portion of a larger picture and that “we don’t have the complete dialogue.” The defense urged the jury to “assess your punishment on Josh Black the human,” describing him as someone with roots in the community who has a family and is not a violent threat.
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