CHILD ABUSE

Not guilty

Criminal Charge: Child Abuse
Case: State v. Earnest Jackson CF-02-5279
Court: [CF-02-5279, Tulsa County]
Result:
Not Guilty

Oklahoma State Courts Network
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Summary:

Featured numerous times on the television show “America’s Most Wanted”, Earnest and Kaia Jackson were arrested amid great publicity in October 2002 in their Tulsa home living with their four kids. They were arrested on 1988 New Jersey warrants – as described in the America’s Most Wanted episodes – for physically abusing a fifth child fifteen years earlier.

After charging both Jacksons with abusing one of the four Tulsa kids, Jonathan, Tulsa County returned them to New Jersey to stand trial on the 1988 charges. Both took convictions in NJ and both were returned to Tulsa to stand trial on the new Oklahoma charges involving Jonathan. In September 2002, a Tulsa County jury sentenced Kaia to thirty-five years in the Oklahoma penitentiary, to be served AFTER she discharged her New Jersey sentence.

Haslam was appointed by the Tulsa court to represent Earnest in his February 2003 trial. The State offered Earnest – a 55 year old man – 35 years to avoid trial. Earnest chose to fight the charge. His first jury hung up after 8 hours of deliberation.

It became clear at the 2003 trial that a great deal of evidence had not been disclosed by the State. After many motions and hearings – including a motion to disqualify the prosecutor for attempting to improperly influence Jonathan’s testimony on the eve of the retrial – the defense uncovered numerous statements by Jonathan insisting that Earnest had NEVER abused him. These statements were used at the retrial.

After seven days of retrial, THE JURY NEEDED ONLY 45 MINUTES TO RETURN A VERDICT OF NOT GUILTY. Earnest has returned to New Jersey, where he is completing his 12 year sentence.