Jackie Johnson: The Albatross of Georgia

Chapter 6 of “The Devil Got Appointed in Georgia”

We all know those people who relentlessly end up in situations laden with drama. These people genuinely believe other people bring the turmoil to them. They fail to see they are the common denominator in all these encounters.

That is the story of District Attorney Jackie Johnson. She has been involved in numerous cases that were handled questionably. She recently insisted, in a radio interview, that she remained “intentionally ignorant to the facts of this (Ahmaud Arbery) case.”  She continued on to say (regarding the reporting of her misconduct by various news outlets),  “I think it’s retaliation for me being the whistleblower on their police department,” she said.

Despite Jackie’s protests and renunciations, documentation tells a different tale. The AJC delineated this quite nicely, in their article After Police Chief Indicted, Brunswick DA Recuses Herself from Case.

“Johnson’s office has been caught up in controversy since a video of Arbery’s shooting became public last month, including calls from the public that she be removed. In the Arbery case, Carr asked state and federal investigators to review Johnson’s conduct and the man she helped bring into the case, Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill. Johnson notified Carr she had a conflict after Barnhill had already been actively involved in the case and had made an initial determination that no crime was committed. Carr has been critical of their actions, which violated state guidelines for recusals.

For being over five counties, Camden, Glynn, Wayne, Appling and Jeff Davis, Jackie seems to be involved in a great number of “conflict cases” for her 10 years in the position.  Twenty seven. That doesn’t include the Arbery Case.

Here is a list of all the cases, she’s recused herself from in the last 10 years.

JackieJohnson_ORR_AG_OfcRecusals2

I may be a bit ignorant to legalese but the fact that there is an” Appointee” column certainly appears that Jackie was the appointer. In a press release by Attorney General of Georgia, Chris Carr in relation to the Ahmaud Arbery case, Carr states:

On April 7, 2020, the Office of the Attorney General received a request from the Office of the District Attorney for the Waycross Judicial Circuit to appoint another prosecutor for this case. In that request, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney again did not inform the Office of the Attorney General of his prior involvement in the case before his appointment and specifically described to the Office of the Attorney General the actions that he took “upon taking the case.” In the request of April 7, 2020, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney indicated that he and the Brunswick Circuit District Attorney learned as of “about 3-4 weeks ago,” that his son who is employed as a prosecutor in the Office of the Brunswick Circuit District Attorney had handled a prior prosecution of Mr. Arbery and that one of the defendants in this case had also served as an investigator on the same prosecution. The request of April 7, 2020 did not provide any reason for the delay in contacting the Office of the Attorney General to request appointment of a new prosecutor since the discovery of those facts. Nor did the request of April 7, 2020, reveal that, on April 2, 2020, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney had provided the Glynn County Police Department with a written opinion that no arrests should be made in the case. In that letter, the Waycross District Attorney also confirmed “an initial opinion the day after the shooting” which would have been February 24, 2020. At that time, he had not requested, nor was he appointed by the Office of the Attorney General to this case.

On April 13, 2020, the Office of the Attorney General appointed the District Attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit to this case. On May 5, 2020, the Atlantic Circuit District Attorney requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) conduct an investigation into the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The GBI commenced its investigation on May 6, 2020 and made two arrests on May 7, 2020.

Carr expressly states no one had the authority to “turn over” the case to the Waycross District Attorney other than him. Yet, Jackie did. In the list of recusals above, Jackie seems to have done just that time and time again. So the problem, that appears to me, is this woman has deemed herself above the Attorney General of Georgia & above the laws of state of Georgia. Has she not usurped her authority repeatedly and customarily appointed whomever she wants, whenever she wanted?

Nevertheless, Carr says this is not procedure. This makes those of us watching amused. That’s Jackie’s home run swing. Assign another district attorney and to ride roughshod over the cases she is “recused”. If, not via the direct pressure on the assistant district attorney, then via her staff under them.

A very good example of this is the civil case filed by Debra Gann, the mother of Katie Settles Sasser. Jackie helped author the complaint according to recent email published. In fact, she aligned the civil case to dovetail the witch-hunt she has undertaken on the Glynn County police chief, John Powell. Additionally the case filed against Powell and others, is clearly political retaliation for not covering up Jackie’s culpability in the events that resulted in 3 deaths. All this can be seen in the lack of finger pointing Gann’s 66563813930434564707950990721024attorneys toward Liberty Stewart, who played a role in the outcome of this entire massacre. That lawsuit doesn’t account for the “but for” principle in Jackie bailing out Sasser over the years beginning with the Caroline Smalls shooting. But for, Jackie’s manipulation of the grand jury, firing of prosecutors willing to push the case forward and failure to let people testify who were relevant and should have testified, it is more than arguable that Sasser, Kettles & Hall would be still alive today. But for, Jackie’s machinations, we would not be seeing the ripple effect on this Georgia community. Irrevocably, she has ridden this town into the cesspool of what we are seeing now.  Albatross, indeed.

Machiavelli said, “A prince will never lack for legitimate excuses to explain away his breaches of faith. Modern history will furnish innumerable examples of this behavior, showing how the man succeeded best who knew best how to play the fox. But it is a necessary part of this nature that you must conceal it carefully; you must be a great liar and hypocrite. Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.”

 

U N T O U C H A B L E

CHAPTER 3 OF THE DEVIL WAS APPOINTED IN GEORGIA

Robert “Cory” Sasser’s law enforcement career was marred by repetitive  behavioral and procedural transgressions. Quite obviously, he was an albatross around the Glynn County Police Department’s neck.  His extensive Internal Affairs cases tell a story of a man who had serious problems with authority, and a brazen & corrosive contempt for the rules. His increasing disregard for all people & things is shamefully apparent to everyone around this man. Intelligent professionals, who were around him day to day, should have seen Sasser for what he was, a train wreck waiting to happen.

Here is a brief summary of Sasser’s documented discipline issues & indiscretions (2001-2011):

2001-2011

Note, there is a huge gap from 2005-2011; there is no hint of the Caroline Smalls shooting in 2010 nor is there a mention of another dubitable shooting of a drug dealer in 2005. In this shooting, again, he shot the suspect through the windshield.  Perplexingly, he was cleared for both shootings; however, the departmental policies and procedures that were no doubt violated, are absent in this laundry list of Sasser’s misbehavior. Another exclusion is an incident in January, 2011.  Sasser arrogantly flaunted the fact he was “untouchable” to his colleagues.

Pages from sasser 11 discipline

Understanding Sasser’s history of perpetual and escalating misdeeds, a practiced legal professional had the duty to weigh the second shooting in 2010 (a shooting that was nothing less than first degree murder) heavily. D.A. Jackie Johnson made the purposeful, informed choice to disregard Sasser’s pattern of escalating misbehavior. She willfully undermined the prosecution of Sasser and in that act, she diverged from the position of D.A., electing, instead, to become Sasser’s voluntary co-conspirator in any and all crimes he, later, committed .  And as to be expected, Sasser and Jackie’s stories marched into historical notoriety.

In May of 2018, after Sasser and his wife, Katie, separate. Predictably, he began terrorizing her. This is body cam footage from an incidence on the 13th of May, 2018:

 

Sasser is not arrested during this incidence. Anyone else would have been arrested, without question, on the spot. On Monday,  the 15th, when Chief Powell finds out about this event, he lost his cool. Based on Sasser’s “untouchable” standing with the D.A., Powell requested the elected Solicitor General, who, in Georgia, reviews & prosecutes criminal cases, and the Chief Judge Magistrate, to review the evidence for potential criminal charges. This was not protocol but Chief Powell believed his office would be seen as bias and the D.A., who works hand in hand with judges, may subvert the case and criminal charges. The Solicitor General, believed to be a lesser biased politician, and Chief Judge Magistrate reviewed the case and the body cam footage. Both agreed that despite the responding officers’ belief that there was no probable cause for arrest, the Solicitor General and Chief Magistrate found probable cause did exist for Sasser’s arrest that night. Their decision was that only misdemeanor charges of simple battery and criminal trespass provided that probable cause. An IA was initiated on Sasser and was put on admin leave without pay until the IA was concluded. The officers on the scene of this domestic violence event were later disciplined by Chief Powell for their failure to take the appropriate action the night of the incident. Their relationship with Sasser recklessly tainted their judgment.

On the following Thursday, May 17th, Sasser turned himself in. Enigmatically, before anyone knew he had turned himself in, he was released on bond. Sheriff Neal Jump facilitated his bond and ensured Sasser received an expedited first appearance, outside of normal court scheduling. Jump also gained an extraordinarily fastidious release for Sasser on domestic violence charges. Sasser, literally, bonded out within the hour after his arrest. Here are the documents from this arrest, including the bond :

Pages from Sasser documents_1530295710271_12291498_ver1.0_Page_1Pages from Sasser documents_1530295710271_12291498_ver1.0_Page_2Pages from Sasser documents_1530295710271_12291498_ver1.0_Page_3Pages from Sasser documents_1530295710271_12291498_ver1.0_Page_4Pages from Sasser documents_1530295710271_12291498_ver1.0_Page_5Pages from Sasser documents_1530295710271_12291498_ver1.0_Page_6

A victim advocate contacted Katie Sasser to tell her of her husband’s arrest and immediate release. The victim advocate was concerned about Cory’s welfare, believing him to be suicidal. It isn’t clear that this advocate feared for Katie Sasser’s well being. By all accounts, it was suggested Cory Sasser was the focus of concern, rather than his wife. This was uncustomary all the way around. Sasser’s history was indicative of someone who would re-offend in this situation. Domestic violence cases have such a high predictability of ending with murder or suicide. That is the reason risk assessment measures by trained officers on the scene and the legal system are educated on perils and statistical consequences involved in domestic violence cases; it is they that dictate the level of precautions to be taken.

Despite the cumulative training, all the professionals involved had (you guessed it), this was not the end of the story.

Continue reading U N T O U C H A B L E