Disciplining a child is part of being a parent. From 'time outs' to being grounded to losing privileges, parents use a variety of methods to make sure their youngsters grow up to be responsible and productive members of society. One such punishment was used by a father from Texas and in an unusual turn of events, it landed him in some legal hot water.
In September 2013, Ronald Jackson's daughter was visiting him at his home. Jackson and his ex-partner, Michelle Steppe, shared custody of their then 12-year old daughter. His daughter was not a fan of her father's new family and texted a friend as such. Jackson saw the text and took his daughter's phone away for being rude. When Jackson refused to give the phone back, things began to escalate.
His daughter went to a friend's house and contacted her mother, who sent police to Jackson's home, where they attempted to get Jackson to return the phone. Steppe said that she didn't have a problem with Jackson confiscating the phone, but she did think he should return the phone to Steppe after his visit with his daughter was over. Steppe had purchased the phone for her daughter, but Jackson was paying for the girl's cellular service.
Steppe then sent a demand letter requesting the return of the iPhone. A few months later, Jackson received a class C misdemeanor citation for petty theft in the mail. The city attorney offered Jackson a plea deal if he would return the phone, but Jackson refused. The charge was later upped to a class B misdemeanor and moved from city court to county court "due to the lack of cooperation by the defendant during court," according to court documents. Jackson was arrested for the new charge.
In January of 2016, two and a half years later, the case finally reached a resolution. A Dallas County Criminal Court judge ordered the jury to find Jackson not guilty, citing a lack of evidence. Jackson's relationship with his daughter is now ruined, the girl's mother says. The daughter even asked Jackson to relinquish his parental rights.
Though it is questionable whether or not Jackson should have been arrested and charged at all, anytime you are facing criminal charges, it is important to take them seriously. Even something like petty theft can have serious consequences for your future. For example, in Washington, petty theft can result in a sentence of one year in county jail, a fine up to $5,000, or both. In addition, that charge can remain on your record for life and make finding a job or apartment more difficult. If you have been charged with a theft crime, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi.