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Jury acquits Jackson of perjury charge

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By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

HERTFORD — Hertford Mayor Pro Tem Quentin Jackson was found not guilty of perjury Tuesday by a 12-member Superior Court jury.

The jury spent just under an hour to reach the unanimous verdict clearing Jackson on charges that he perjured himself during a previous district court appearance when he claimed he was not on probation, although he was at the time.

Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons and defense attorney Michael Sanders both told the jury that there were five things the state had to prove in order to find Jackson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. One was that the false statement was material to the original trial and the other was that Jackson had to have lied willfully.

Jackson was seated at the defense table and when verdict was read, he dropped his head down into his arms and stayed that way for about a minute. Jackson quickly left the courthouse. Contacted after leaving court, Jackson would not comment.

Jackson took the stand in his own defense Tuesday morning and testified that he believed the statement to be true when he told a district court judge in February of last year that he was no longer on probation.

He was charged with perjury in connection with an earlier trial statement to District Court Judge Edgar Barnes on Feb. 14, 2018, that he was no longer on probation. In that trial Jackson was charged with displaying fictitious tags on his vehicle and resisting an officer.

Jackson said he had hired local attorney Johnnie Finch to petition for termination of his probation in Superior Court in Feb. 7, 2018, and he believed Finch had cleared the matter up on that date.

“I thought it was taken care of,” Jackson said Tuesday in answer to a question from his defense counsel, Michael Sanders.

Sanders asked Jackson if he knows now that no order taking him off unsupervised probation had been signed on Feb. 7, 2019.

Jackson confirmed that he does know that now.

During cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Holley Metzger, Jackson repeated his assertion that he thought his probation had been terminated on Feb. 7, 2018 – a week before his trial on the fictitious tags and a resisting an officer charge.

“I firmly believed that (probation) was terminated on the 7th,” Jackson said.

“But your lawyer never told you that it was terminated?” Metzger asked.

Jackson acknowledged that his lawyer had not told him that.

When Sanders asked Jackson if he knew his statement was incorrect when he made the statement on Feb. 14, 2018, Jackson said he did not.

“Did you intend to mislead the court in any way?” Sanders asked.

Jackson said he did not.

In her closing arguments, Metzger argued that Jackson lied “to make himself look better. He was intent on deceiving the judge.”

She said telling a lie was material to the case because it goes to Jackson’s credibility as a witness.

“Everything that comes out of his mouth speaks to his credibility,” Metzger said.

Sanders argued that Jackson made a mistake, and that mistakes happen in courtrooms every week.

“He made a mistake and he acknowledged he made a mistake,” Sanders said.

Earlier in the day Metzger called Perquimans Deputy Kendall Harrell to the stand, and he testified that on Feb. 14, 2018, he served Jackson with a notice of probation violation. When Jackson was stopped with the cardboard license tag, Jackson had a pistol in the car, a violation of even unsupervised probation. He was not charged with that in the 2018 trial.

Harrell was not able to recall the exact time of day he had served Jackson with the paperwork.