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Legally Speaking: Joey Jackson Counts Among Countries top Legal Minds

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A nationally-recognized criminal defense attorney, Jackson has gained notoriety as perhaps the most respected legal analyst on television where he provides insight on legal matters for HLN and CNN.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Upon receiving the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession’s Award for Global Leadership two years ago during a celebration of the history of Black Lawyers, acclaimed attorney Vernon E. Jordan Jr. spoke fervently about how he once sat in a courtroom and watched in awe of other legal giants.

Robert Carter, Julius Coleman and Thurgood Marshall were among the names Jordan rattled off. Some would argue that the list could have also included 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 insight on legal matters for HLN and CNN.

It’s a career that almost didn’t happen because Jackson told NNPA Newswire that he had little desire to become an attorney and even less interest in television. “My mom insisted I go to college and really guided me in that direction … thank goodness,” he said. “Once there, I learned a whole lot about myself and my tolerance for work and how to be disciplined enough to complete a task.”

He graduated Hofstra Law School in 1995 and worked for the New York State Assembly Speaker as a legislative analyst, the New York State Education Department and Congressman Charles B. Rangel’s office in Washington.

Later, he taught business and Civil Rights Law at Monroe College.

At Watford Jackson, where his focus is two federal districts and the Supreme Court, Jackson works on cases that include the criminal defense, regulatory enforcement, government investigations, labor union arbitration and complex litigation practice areas.

“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 gave a profound nod to the late Johnnie Cochran, the famed lawyer who successfully defended O.J. Simpson during “The Trial of the Century.”

“[Cochran] died about 13 years ago, yet his name comes up in legal circles regularly as a person who stood for justice, would go to the end of the earth for his clients, and never took no for an answer,” Jackson said of Cochran.

“In his eyes, no case was impossible to win – and that’s how he lived and the example he set. ‘Look for the opportunities and the possibilities,’” he said, adding, “Let’s face it, O.J. was guilty.”

As well-liked and respected as he is on television, Jackson said becoming a legal analyst happened by accident. “I received a phone call from the Fox News Channel out of the blue about 10 years ago. They were looking for someone to comment on a criminal case,” Jackson recalled.

“I had no clue what they were talking about or asking of me since I was not connected to the case. I nearly talked my way out of a television career by asking them why someone unconnected to the case would speak about it.”

Jackson continued:

“The caller explained that they customarily have legal panels and debates about cases and that they researched my background and thought I would be a good candidate.”

Jackson provided commentary for Fox News for nearly 5 years, without compensation but other networks realized his talent and wealth of knowledge. Jackson was offered a contract with Court TV’s “In Session,” which eventually led to a deal with HLN and later CNN where he’s often called upon for celebrity cases.

“If reality TV teaches us anything, it is that people love soap operas. People enjoy learning that celebrities are as imperfect as the rest of us are,” Jackson said.

“They enjoy even more knowing that the long arm of justice can wrap its arms around even those we believe to be so larger as to be larger than life itself.

“We think of celebrities as being rich people with perfect lives, who are untouchable. Following their cases shows us that this is far from true.”

Jackson continued:

“And let’s not forget that sometimes the magnitude of the crime itself makes the person a celebrity – Jodi Arias, Casie Anthony, George Zimmerman.

“We can relate to the stories and drama that unfolds as we all weigh in as jurors, putting in our 3 cents and expressing our point of view.”

Once a prosecutor, Jackson said as a defense attorney he prepares his clients by “being the agent of reality.”

“I am a cheerleader, a booster, a supporter, and a soldier – but I am also a realist, and always try to be straightforward with a client regarding their chances or prevailing,” he said.

In describing some of his tougher cases, Jackson recalled that, as a prosecutor, he was once put in charge of prosecuting a football player who had just signed a multi-million dollar deal and was in New York celebrating at the China Club.

“He ended up beating up the victim pretty bad 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 an experienced veteran from a major firm, who belittled me, shamed me, and tried to get into my head at every turn. I wasn’t being unreasonable, just thought he had to be held accountable. We went to trial and he was convicted,” Jackson said.

As a defense attorney, Jackson described one oddly adjudicated case where his client was being prosecuted in two jurisdictions for various crimes, including attempted murder.

“The prosecutor reached a global plea deal, meaning they got approval from the other county to resolve his case with a plea in the jurisdiction we were in. It was a sweet deal.  Five years to cover three violent felony cases (the others were armed robbery with violent assault).

“My client could not make up his mind as to whether he wanted to go to trial or take the deal. I implored him to take the deal, but he said he wasn’t sure.  I am very sensitive to a client who doesn’t want a deal because I never want to give the impression that I am forcing him to do so.

“I asked the judge for more time and the judge gave my client until after the lunch recess to take the deal or go to trial. I spent the entire lunch speaking with my client and his family.

“He finally said it made sense and he would take the deal.

“When we came back after lunch, the prosecutor doubled the offer and said he wanted ten years unless my client told on his associates.

“A two-hour lunch would cost my client 5 more years. He took the deal. The judge scolded the prosecutor for being so dishonorable but it was to no avail. My client got the 10 years anyway (he was facing 25)… I felt miserable.”

With heightened awareness of sexual harassment and assaults, Jackson applauded the #MeToo movement, but also offered caution. “The #MeToo movement and #TimesUp are important in allowing women to express themselves without shame or fear of reprisals,” he said. “It’s high-time that women are able to tell their stories – without being denigrated, disbelieved, ridiculed and belittled, so kudos to the movement.”

“That said, it’s perfectly appropriate to challenge evidence, scrutinize every situation thoroughly, and evaluate every case on a case-by-case basis,” Jackson said. “That’s what our judicial system is all about, and will continue to be about.”

Jackson called it a privilege to work in law and to educate television viewers.

“My regret is that I cannot help everyone who reaches out, but we do the best to provide as much assistance as we can,” he said.

To that end, Jackson named three of what he called the most important things he’d want everyone to know about him.

“That I try to face life with optimism and energy by seeing the good over the bad; that I try to treat all people with dignity and respect no matter their station; and that I try to wake up every day, and leave no stone unturned in trying to make an impact in whatever I do,” Jackson said.

Advice

Buying a Home May Not Be as Out of Reach as You Think, Even in This Market

While existing home sales have fallen month-over-month since the beginning of the year, prices hit a record high above $400,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, as low levels of housing inventory and supply chain constraints have created an affordability squeeze for homebuyers. Mortgage rates have nearly doubled in the last six months — from 3% in 2021 to close to 6% in 2022 — making it increasingly challenging for many Americans to purchase a home, especially for those with limited income.

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While existing home sales have fallen month-over-month since the beginning of the year, prices hit a record high above $400,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors
While existing home sales have fallen month-over-month since the beginning of the year, prices hit a record high above $400,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Here’s How You Can Achieve Homeownership

Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will make in your lifetime. Pressure is mounting for those looking to buy right now, with home prices fluctuating and mortgage rates at their highest levels in over a decade.

While existing home sales have fallen month-over-month since the beginning of the year, prices hit a record high above $400,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, as low levels of housing inventory and supply chain constraints have created an affordability squeeze for homebuyers. Mortgage rates have nearly doubled in the last six months — from 3% in 2021 to close to 6% in 2022 — making it increasingly challenging for many Americans to purchase a home, especially for those with limited income.

So, how do you know when you’re ready to buy a home? More importantly, how much home can you afford? We sat down with Denise Richardson, community home lending advisor at Chase, to answer those questions and discuss what the current state of the market means for you and your family’s home buying dreams.

Q: What are the main factors mortgage lenders look at when evaluating an application?

Richardson:

When it comes to homeownership, your credit score and debt-to-income ratio are major factors in the application process.

Your credit score is set based upon how you’ve used — or not used — credit in the past. Using credit responsibly, such as paying bills on time and having a low utilization rate will result in a higher score. Higher credit scores can help you qualify for the lowest interest rates. A score at 700 or above is generally considered good.

Additionally, lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio. This is a simple equation of how much debt you have relative to how much money you make. Borrowers with a higher debt-to-income ratio are considered more risky while a lower debt-to-income ratio may allow you to qualify for the best rates on your home loan.

Q: What are some tips for improving your credit score?

Richardson: There are a number of things you can do to improve your credit score, starting with reviewing your credit reports to understand what might be working against you. You can also pay down your revolving credit and dispute any inaccuracies.

Additionally, there are services like Chase Credit Journey to help monitor and improve your credit score. Credit Journey monitors all your accounts and alerts you to changes in your credit report that may impact your score. You’ll get an alert any time Chase sees new activity, including charges, account openings and credit inquiries. Chase will also notify you if there are changes in your credit usage, credit limits or balances. You don’t have to be a Chase customer to take advantage of Credit Journey.

Q: What are some factors that can affect the cost of a mortgage?

Richardson: There are several factors to consider when reviewing mortgage options including loan term, interest rate and loan type. Potential homebuyers should contact a home lending professional to understand and review the options available to them.

For example, there are two basic types of mortgage interest rates: fixed and adjustable. While adjustable rates are initially low, they can change over the course of a loan, so your mortgage payments may fluctuate. Loan term indicates how long you have to pay off the loan. Many homebuyers tend to opt for a 15-year or 30-year mortgage, though other terms are available. A longer loan term generally means you’ll have lower monthly payments, but you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. A shorter loan term may come with higher monthly payments, but you’ll likely pay much less in interest over time.

Q: What are the costs of homeownership beyond the monthly mortgage payment?

Richardson: People often think of the down payment and monthly mortgage — but buying and owning a home carries additional costs. Closing costs, for example, can amount to up to 3% or more of the final purchase price. Other factors that could add on to your monthly payments are property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and homeowner’s association (HOA) fees. To get an idea of what this may look like for you, use an affordability calculator.

While there is no way for a buyer to completely avoid paying these fees, there are ways to save on them. Some banks offer financial assistance for homebuyers. As an example, Chase’s Homebuyer Grant offers up to $5,000 that can be used toward a down payment or closing costs in eligible neighborhoods across the country. There may also be homeowners’ or down payment assistance offered in your city or state. Contact a home lending advisor to learn about resources you may be eligible for.

For a deeper dive into this topic, our Beginner to Buyer podcast — episode three, “How Much Can I Afford?” is a great resource for prospective homebuyers to get answers to all their homebuying questions.

Learn more about the homebuying process, here.

Sponsored content from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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Activism

Tiny Homes Offer Hope for Holidays and Beyond

We are accepting applications for volunteers and accepting donations that we can use to build Tiny Homes. You might have things in your house or garage you haven’t used or extra construction tools, a bag of stud nails, used doors, windows, roofing materials, lumber, metal, hardwood flooring, sheetrock tape, paints, and anything that we can recycle to build and add to our Tiny Homes. 

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As chief operations officer for The Tiny Homes Project, I join Lackey in expressing gratitude for the support that the Oakland Post, as our media partner, has helped us with in gathering community and faith-based leaders to help solve our increasing homeless problem in the Bay Area. We can no longer ignore homelessness in Oakland, which has now reached a humanitarian crisis.
As chief operations officer for The Tiny Homes Project, I join Lackey in expressing gratitude for the support that the Oakland Post, as our media partner, has helped us with in gathering community and faith-based leaders to help solve our increasing homeless problem in the Bay Area. We can no longer ignore homelessness in Oakland, which has now reached a humanitarian crisis.

By Dr. Maritony A. Yamot and Rev. Ken Lackey

The holidays are the season when we stop and begin to think, “How can I give back this year and what are some different ways to help out?”

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help out during the holidays that don’t cost a thing. The Tiny Homes Project — with Rev. Ken Lackey of the Center for the Perfect Marriage Church at 6101 International Blvd. — needs to increase its capacity and we wanted to remind our community that everybody matters to God.

As chief operations officer for The Tiny Homes Project, I join Lackey in expressing gratitude for the support that the Oakland Post, as our media partner, has helped us with in gathering community and faith-based leaders to help solve our increasing homeless problem in the Bay Area. We can no longer ignore homelessness in Oakland, which has now reached a humanitarian crisis.

We want to launch an intensive month-long generosity campaign to help the increasing homeless issues in our neighborhoods by adding to the number of tiny homes that we have already built at various private locations in Oakland.

We invite you to join us as we partner with some of Oakland’s fabulous nonprofit organizations to meet critical needs in our communities.

Whether through donation or action, there are plenty of opportunities to give.

We are accepting applications for volunteers and accepting donations that we can use to build Tiny Homes. You might have things in your house or garage you haven’t used or extra construction tools, a bag of stud nails, used doors, windows, roofing materials, lumber, metal, hardwood flooring, sheetrock tape, paints, and anything that we can recycle to build and add to our Tiny Homes.

We are also looking for vehicle donations of trailers or any truck for hauling material and picking up volunteers and homeless people that are helping to build Tiny Homes. We build our homes with primarily donated and surplus materials, allowing us to cut costs and provide a pleasant home for under $40,000.

Each and every person who wants to help out and eradicate the homeless problem in the City of Oakland can donate funds for us to build a Tiny Home. If donors want to give money to the ministry, we will build a tiny home and name it after them. Know that your donations will be able to take a whole family off the street during this cold season.

In addition, we are open to getting a sponsor or sponsors for an entire Tiny Homes Community Park and we have a separate location that will be designated for homeless veterans, the elderly, single mothers or single fathers, and any individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, such as those living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, places not meant for habitation, or sleeping on our streets.

Please spread the word and contact us about any way you can help our Tiny Homes Community Project with Rev. Ken Lackey.

There are three ways to contact us

  1. By Phone/toll-free number: 1-833-233-8900 ext. 1
  2. By Email: TinyHomesC@gmail.com
  3. By Appointment/Donation Drop off location at the All About Grits Restaurant at 6101 International Blvd., Oakland, CA

Or you can attend our next two major events:

  1. Tiny Homes Fundraising Event on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. Place to be announced.
  2. Tiny Homes Community Building Workshop with the help of our community and local partners in the Bay Area. Date and place to be announced.

Contact us for more details of these two events or any ways you can help in this season.

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Activism

Faith Baptist Church Becomes Oakland’s First Official Resiliency Hub

Faith Baptist Church was the recipient of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Legacy Award. Faith was chosen out of a pool of dozens of applicants for the award. The key differentiator was the Solar Battery Storage project. With that, Faith Baptist has the ability to totally exit the PG&E grid and generate 100% energy from its solar panels. That makes Faith Baptist a potential energy distributor.

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As members of the community that comprise Faith Baptist Church look on, California Interfaith Power and Light Executive Director Susan Stephenson, left (in white jacket), hands scissors to the eldest member of Faith Baptist for the ribbon cutting on Nov. 14 while Pastor Curtis Robinson stands just behind him. Also pictured are District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb (white hair, white shirt) and to his right (multi-colored top) is Shayna Hirschfield-Gold, Oakland’s Climate Program manager. Photo courtesy of Faith Baptist Church and California Interfaith Power and Light.
As members of the community that comprise Faith Baptist Church look on, California Interfaith Power and Light Executive Director Susan Stephenson, left (in white jacket), hands scissors to the eldest member of Faith Baptist for the ribbon cutting on Nov. 14 while Pastor Curtis Robinson stands just behind him. Also pictured are District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb (white hair, white shirt) and to his right (multi-colored top) is Shayna Hirschfield-Gold, Oakland’s Climate Program manager. Photo courtesy of Faith Baptist Church and California Interfaith Power and Light.

By Curtis O. Robinson, Sr., M.A., Harvard University fellow, ’19, Senior Pastor, Faith Baptist Church

So, when I say that Faith Baptist is Oakland’s first Resiliency Hub, the first question that many people ask is, “what is a resiliency hub?”

In an article from the Christian Science Monitor entitled “Resilience hubs: A new approach to crisis response,” the author writes, “Things that shock a community have to do with climate, but more urgently they have to do with systemic inequities.”

He was referring to police shootings, civic unrest, the growth of homeless encampments and more. The resiliency hub approach to these inequities uses a respected local organization, such as a church or community center, and bolsters it to help neighborhoods prepare for crises — hurricanes, heat waves, pandemics or unrest — and to respond and recover from them.

When Faith was approached with the idea of solar panels for its rooftop as a source of heat, the decision was relatively a no-brainer.

As a House of Worship, there is a collective emphasis on the workings of God in the universe. The first job that God gave humanity was to tend the Garden. When it comes to environmental justice, our goal then is to take care of this place called planet Earth.

The world is now in an environmental tailspin. However, with technology that teaches us how to create sustainable outcomes, sprinkled with common sense, we can achieve an environmental balance that can create safe spaces environmentally for our children and for our future.

Faith Baptist Church was the recipient of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Legacy Award. Faith was chosen out of a pool of dozens of applicants for the award. The key differentiator was the Solar Battery Storage project.

With that, Faith Baptist has the ability to totally exit the PG&E grid and generate 100% energy from its solar panels. That makes Faith Baptist a potential energy distributor.

With the help of California Interfaith Power and Light and energy experts from the U.S. Green Building Council, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 14.

Joining us, among others, were Susan Stephenson, executive director of California Interfaith Power and Light, Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb of District 1, Shayna Hirschfield- Gold, Oakland’s Climate Program manager and members of Faith Baptist and the Pentecostal community that shares our space and Green Building volunteers.

We bask in the glory of energy independence, because we now tap into clean energy from above and not dirty energy from below.

Publisher’s note: Rev Curtis Robinson also is a columnist for the God on Wall Street column for the Post News Group.

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