By Stacy M. Brown, correspondent Newswire NNPA
After receiving the Harvard Law School Center on the award of the legal profession for Global Leadership two years ago during a celebration of the history of black lawyers, the acclaimed attorney Vernon E. Jordan Jr. spoke with fervor of how one he sat in the courtroom of other legal giants.
Robert Carter, Julius Coleman and Thurgood Marshall were among the names that Jordan highlighted. Some might argue that the list could also include Joey Jackson, of Watford Jackson, PLLC in New York.
A nationally recognized criminal defense attorney, Jackson has gained notoriety as perhaps the most respected legal analyst on television, where he provides insights into legal matters for HLN and CNN.
It's a career that almost did not happen because Jackson told the NNPA Newswire that he had little desire to become a lawyer and even less interested in television. "My mother insisted on going to college and she really guided me in that direction … thank goodness," he said. "Once there, I learned a lot about myself and my tolerance for work and how to be disciplined enough to complete a task."
He graduated from the Hofstra Law School in 1995 and worked for the speaker of the New York State Assembly as a legislative analyst, the New York State Department of Education and a member of the Charles B. Rangel Congress in Washington.
Subsequently, he taught commercial law and civil law at Monroe College.
At Watford Jackson, where he focuses on two federal districts and the Supreme Court, Jackson works on cases that include criminal defense, law enforcement, government investigations, labor arbitration, and areas of controversial practice. .
"What inspires me is the ability to make a difference in people's lives," Jackson said. "Winning a case often gives someone a new life because it protects their freedom and gives them a more favorable view of the justice system."
He beckoned to the late Johnnie Cochran, the famous lawyer who successfully defended O.J. Simpson during "The Trial of the Century".
"[Cochran] he died about 13 years ago, yet his name appears regularly in legal circles as a person who fights for justice, would go to the end of the earth for his clients, and he never accepted an answer, "said Jackson of Cochran .
"In his eyes, no case was impossible to win – and that's how he lived and the example he set." He looks for opportunities and possibilities, "he said, adding," Let's face it. , OJ was guilty. "
As well-liked and respected as he is on television, Jackson said that becoming a legal analyst happened by chance. "I received a call from the unexpected Fox News channel about 10 years ago, they were looking for someone to comment on a criminal case," Jackson recalled.
"I had no idea what they were talking about or asking me why I was not connected to the case, I almost talked about my release from a television career by asking them why someone who was not connected to the case talked about it."
"The caller explained that they usually have legal panels and case debates and they have studied my background and I thought I would be a good candidate."
Jackson provided comments for Fox News for almost 5 years, without compensation, but other networks have realized his talent and his wealth of knowledge. Jackson was offered a contract with Court TV's "In Session", which eventually led to an agreement with HLN and later CNN, where it is often called for celebrity cases.
"If reality TV teaches us anything, it's that people love soap operas." People like to learn that celebrities are as imperfect as the rest of us, "Jackson said.
"They have even more fun knowing that the long arm of justice can wrap their arms even in those we believe are so much bigger that they are bigger than life itself.
"We think of celebrities as wealthy people with perfect lives that are untouchable, and following their cases shows us that this is all but true."
"And let's not forget that sometimes the entity of the crime itself makes the person a celebrity – Jodi Arias, Casie Anthony, George Zimmerman.
"We are able to relate to the stories and the drama that develops while we all evaluate as jurors, inserting our 3 cents and expressing our point of view".
Once a prosecutor, Jackson said as a defense attorney who prepares his clients "to be the agent of reality".
"I am a cheerleader, a lure, a supporter and a soldier – but I am also a realist, and I always try to be direct with a client regarding his chances or prevalence," he said.
In describing some of his more severe cases, Jackson recalled that as a prosecutor he had once been charged with prosecuting a footballer who had just signed a multimillion-dollar deal and was in New York to celebrate at the China Club.
"Eventually he hit the victim pretty badly because the victim was trying to talk to his girlfriend, I could not downgrade the charges because the victim was hospitalized and beaten pretty badly," Jackson said.
"His defense attorney was a veteran expert in a large company, which detracted from me, made me ashamed and tried to put me in my head at all times, I was not unreasonable, I just thought he had to be held responsible. and he was convicted, "Jackson said.
As a defense attorney, Jackson described a strangely judged case where his client had been tried in two jurisdictions for various crimes, including attempted murder.
"The prosecutor has reached a global plea agreement, which means they have obtained approval from the other county to settle his case with a request in the jurisdiction we were in. It was a good deal. to cover three cases of violent crime (the others were an armed robbery with a violent assault).
"My client could not make up his mind whether he wanted to go to court or get the deal, I begged him to accept the deal, but he said he was not sure, I'm very sensitive to a client who does not want a deal agreement because I never want to give the impression that I'm forcing him to do it.
"I asked the judge more time and the judge gave my client until after the lunch break to take the deal or go to trial.I spent the whole lunch talking with my client and his family .
"Finally he said it made sense and would accept the agreement.
"When we returned after lunch, the prosecutor doubled the offer and said he wanted ten years unless my client talked about his associates.
"A two-hour lunch would cost my client another 5 years.They took the deal.The judge rebuked the prosecutor for being so disgraceful, but it was useless.My client still had 10 years (he had 25 years) … I felt unhappy. "
With greater awareness of sexual harassment and assault, Jackson applauded the #MeToo movement, but he also offered caution. "The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are important to allow women to express themselves without shame or fear of reprisals," he said. "It's time for women to be able to tell their stories – without being denigrated, misunderstood, ridiculed and belittled, so compliments to the movement".
"Having said that, it is perfectly appropriate to challenge the evidence, scrupulously examine each situation and evaluate each case on a case-by-case basis," Jackson said. "This is our judicial system, and will continue to be so."
Jackson called it a privilege to work in law and educate viewers.
"My regret is that I can not help everyone who achieves it, but we do our best to provide all possible assistance," he said.
To this end, Jackson named three of those he called the most important things he wanted everyone to know about him.
"I try to face life with optimism and energy seeing the good on the bad, that I try to treat all people with dignity and respect, regardless of their position, and that I try to wake up every day and leave no stone unturned trying to make an impact on everything I do, "Jackson said.