SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Smith County Constable Henry Jackson was sentenced Tuesday in federal court after he pleaded guilty in May to four counts of willfully failing to pay federal income tax.
Jackson will serve the four counts concurrently, for a total of six months. He will self surrender to officials in the next 45 days. The judge granted this window, in part, because he has two grandchildren being born in the next month.
He was sentenced in U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell's courtroom. According to information presented in court, Jackson, who has served as an elected constable since 1999, received income from 2010-2013 that required him to file federal income tax returns for those years. Jackson failed to file those returns and owed more than $160,000 in taxes.
Jackson was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $157,489, according to U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.
Jackson was joined by family and friends in the courtroom during sentencing. During an opening statement to Judge Mitchell, Jackson's attorney asked for three months confinement. He cited numerous health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure and a past triple bypass, saying that it would cost the government less in medical expenses for him to serve more of his time on probation than in prison.
"He has made every effort to compensate for his wrongs," attorney Michael Heiskell said.
Jackson himself added that he would take whatever sentencing positively.
On Monday, Tyler City Councilman Darryl Bowdre, Orenthia Delois Mason, staff members of Jackson's Precinct One office, Kevin Hampton and others wrote about Jackson's character while pleading for mercy at sentencing. VaLita Waits, a Tyler attorney, wrote asking the court to limit the sentencing to probation only.
However on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney arguing the case recommended the court issue a six month sentence, saying that this "illustrates how no person is above the law, not even someone with 40 years of law enforcement experience."
A hold placed on Jackson's peace officer licenses by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement remains in place, pending an investigation.
TCOLE says it will receive the final court documents soon. Their board will make the final decision, and if he vacates his seat as Constable it will be up to the Smith County Commissioners Court to appoint a replacement.
"At this time, under state law, the Smith County Commissioners Court has no authority to take any action to discipline or remove Constable Henry Jackson, since he is an independently elected official," the county said in a statement Tuesday.
Jackson was last elected in November 2016, when he ran unopposed. His current term ends December 2020.
Jackson's attorney asked that Jackson be incarcerated in the Federal Corrections Institute in Seagoville, just southeast of Dallas. The location has not been officially decided yet.
He will be subject to one year of supervised release on each count when he finishes his term and his attorney says they do not plan to appeal the decision.
Jackson's attorney also said that he will not resign his position as constable. "The offense is a misdemeanor offense, not a felony," he said, "and he will continue in his duties and still be effective in performing same."
He added that the constable continues to "garner the respect and admiration he has had in the past."