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Jackson addresses Farragut GOP


If Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States, was just plain “Old Hickory,” perhaps his Knox County judicial descendant could aptly be described as “Old Hickory Fists.”

Bill Johns, Farragut Republican Club president, wouldn’t argue.

While introducing Knox County General Sessions Court Judge Andrew Jackson VI as featured speaker during the monthly Farragut Republican Club meeting at Gondolier Restaurant March 8, Johns advised the gathering: “He is a former Marine with a black belt — I reconfirm that so we’ll be on our best behavior.”

Referring to his famous ancestor, Jackson quoted a North Carolina professor as saying his great-great-great grandfather would be “appalled” at the Democratic Party of 2007.

However, Jackson added, “Of course, he would have been appalled at the Republican Party, too.”

About six months into his eight-year term as judge, the former Knox County District Attorney prosecutor said about his campaign, “Thank goodness that’s over, at least for another seven years.”

However, “I’m having a good time, I really enjoy what I’m doing.”

About his new post, “It’s what I thought it would be, but different, too,” Jackson said, adding he’s still getting used to dealing with civil cases after 21 years exclusively adsorbed by criminal matters in the Knox DA’s office.

“Obviously Judge Judy does not run for election,” Jackson said to laughter, adding that unlike his TV judge counterpart, he can’t tell plaintiffs and defendants, “Your stupid, your stupid, you’re stupid — I’m smart.”

Graduating from The University of Tennessee Law School with honors in 1981, three years after earning his bachelor’s degree at UTK, Jackson said it’s frustrating when confronted with defendants who “have the money to buy drugs, but don’t have the money to hire an attorney. For some reason, that upsets me.”

The judge added that most such defendants are able-bodied yet not working, use drugs, drop out of high school, “have gold jewelry on; of course they have their cell phone.

“And most of them come from homes without a father.”

Concerning “most of the crime” in Knox County, “there’s probably just a few hundred people that do it all,” Jackson said, later adding that with serious property crimes, “everyone, almost, is on drugs.”

But Jackson tips his hat to those who must deal with such cases.

“In Knox County, the public defenders are very good,” he said. “Not all the counties in Tennessee are like that. ... Knox County actually has a good public defender system.”

Asked by Johns if Knox County is “seeing an increased in non-U-S citizen crime?” Jackson said yes, adding, “the ones I see are not serious, they’re almost all alcohol-related — drunk

driving.

“When I first came to the D-A’s office twenty some years ago, we might get a Spanish-speaking defendant once every two or three months. Now we need an interpreter every day,” the judge added. “And most of them are not citizens.”

Staying on the subject of illegal aliens, “My benchmark with the presidential race, actually is, ‘are you for or against closing off this steady stream of people crossing the borders?’” Jackson said. “I don’t understand.”

As for professional interaction as a judge, “You can’t pal around with the people you used to pal around with ... perhaps they don’t feel as free to talk about things,” Jackson said. “I pal around with judges a lot ... but I don’t have as much interaction with the attorneys as I used to.

“I really do miss that part of it.”

Jackson closed by thanking Farragut Republicans, 16 strong at this meeting, for their campaign and election support last fall.

He then added to a closing round of laughter, “Seven-and-a-half years is just around the

corner.”

 

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