El Centro Councilman Jason Jackson temporarily avoids jail time

El Centro councilman and former mayor Jason Jackson. File photo.

EL CENTRO — Imperial County Superior Court Judge Christopher Plourd granted El Centro councilman and former mayor Jason Jackson a stay Thursday on his 10-day jail sentence because of an upcoming appeal concerning the cruelty to an animal ruling.

Jackson’s defense attorney, Tom Storey, asked for a stay of the whole sentence until the decision on the appeal was heard. Storey argued that parts of the sentence were unconstitutional. Jackson did not appear in court Thursday.

Jackson’s sentence is a formal probation, which includes being searched at any time, relinquishing his abused horse, losing the ability to own any animal for five years, court-ordered counseling for animal abuse, court fines with a maximum of $1,000, and ten days in the Imperial County Jail. Jackson’s probation began the day of sentencing on August 17.

Judge Plourd said the entire formal probation would be enforced, with the exception of the ten-day jail sentence. The judge extended the stay for 90 days on the jail time until the appeal could be heard.

“California law states that it is my discretion to stay any or part of a sentence while an appeal is in process, whether the appeal is frivolous or not,” said Plourd. “I will stay the ten-day jail sentence until the appeal is heard for 90 days. The rest of the formal probation will continue to be enforced.”

“This appeal does seem frivolous,” continued Plourd. “Jackson pled guilty to a felony count of cruelty to an animal and at sentencing, the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor. I don’t want this case to get lost in the system. The appeal seems like a way to avoid jail time.”

Jackson has secured a different attorney for the appeal, according to Storey. Storey is Jackson’s second attorney for this case. Ryan Childers was Jackson’s original attorney.