Author: lawoffice

Not guilty

America’s Most Wanted – and Acquitted! [Tulsa]

Criminal Charge: Child Abuse
Case: State v. Earnest Jackson CF-02-5279
Court: [CF-02-5279, Tulsa County]

Oklahoma State Courts Network
For more details on this case, open the Docket View.


A harbinger of the career to follow, Haslam’s first jury trial was a court appointment to defend a dad featured numerous times on the television show “America’s Most Wanted”.  Compounding this challenge, the prosecutor, Dana Bogie Kuehn, had 75 jury trials under her belt as Chief of the Crimes Against Children Unit, moved on to be Presiding Judge of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, and now sits on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. 

Tulsa County arrested Earnest and Kaia Jackson amid great publicity in their Tulsa home, living with their four kids. The 1988 New Jersey arrest warrants alleged they physically abused a fifth child fifteen years earlier.

After charging both Jacksons with abusing one of the four Tulsa kids, Jonathan, authorities returned them to New Jersey to stand trial on the 1988 charges – where each took a conviction. Thereafter, each 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.

The Tulsa County District Court appointed Haslam to defend Earnest. The State offered Earnest – a 55-year-old man – 35 years to avoid trial. With little to lose, it was easy for Earnest to believe in his young lawyer, plead not guilty and take his story to a jury.  After five days of trial and eight hours of deliberation, his first jury hung up.  A single, brave juror refused to cave during hours of shouting and table pounding that could be heard in the hall outside the jury room.

At the retrial, the State listed DHS caseworker Joyce Porter as a witness.  Despite Haslam having uncovered an in-the-record lie by Ms. Porter in another child abuse trial he second-chaired a year earlier, Porter mounted the stand to testify.  Haslam confronted Porter – sitting 4 feet from the jury box – with this documented lie. In a true Perry Mason Moment, Porter locked up – and the prosecutor left her there, locked up for 60 seconds, silent – until she asked for “a brief recess”.  When Porter returned to the stand, Haslam cemented the impeachment.  This was the beginning of the end of this jury trial.



Civil Rights Action Against Jail Officials [Red River County, TX]

Mr. Cabler was jailed by Red River County [TX] officials who knew he had a history of mental health issues and, importantly, a history of suicide attempts in their jail.  During this pretrial detention, Mr. Cabler told jail staff in writing he would hang himself.  And then, he did it.  He hung himself with his own bedsheet in his jail cell – a jail cell in which he was housed alone with a camera installed where he was monitored 24/7.

Haslam recovered the video from Mr. Cabler’s jail cell depicting his methodical 20 minute preparation to do so.  Yet, the jail monitor failed to intervene.

As if these failures weren’t bad enough, our work also revealed jail staff’s indifference continued even after the loss of Mr. Cabler.  Their annual investigative report by state jail standards revealed even more violations during and after their custody of Mr. Cabler.

Red River County settled for $825,000

Case Dismissed

Misled into Illegal Plea [Dallas]

Criminal Charge: Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Case: State v. Duncan Gordon
Court: [Cause F12-61468][Dallas]
Result: Release from Jail Pending Dismissal on Appeal

Oklahoma State Courts Network
For more details on this case, open the Docket View.

Duncan reached out to Haslam and luminary Texas appellate lawyer Michael Mowla after being sentenced to five years in prison for using…the ground to kill a man who assaulted him in a Dallas gas station lot.  His trial lawyer led him on a years-long road of poor communication ending with incomplete advice about the terms of the five year sentence.  He even waived his right to appeal. He immediately went to jail awaiting transport to prison.

Haslam filed motions and scheduled a hearing to have Duncan released pending the appeal that Mowla would ultimately urge and win.  After hearing Haslam examine the Dallas County Jail Medical Director on certain jail conditions that threatened Duncan’s life and the bail bondsman testify that Duncan’s trial lawyer repeatedly failed to keep Duncan aware of court dates, the trial judge released Duncan from jail while Mowla pursued his successful appeal.  As per usual, that appeal took more than a year to conclude – a year Duncan spent at home rather than in jail.