COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A prominent Columbus criminal defense attorney who was once a prosecutor has been selected by Gov. Brian Kemp to fill the vacant Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s job.
Stacey Jackson, 47, has been tabbed to replace Mark Jones, who is currently serving a prison sentence after a November public corruption conviction.
Kemp’s office confirmed the choice to News 3 late Monday evening. It is not clear yet when Jackson will assume his new duties. He is currently representing Tommie Mullins Jr., in the 2018 murder of rapper Branden Denson. The case is being prosecuted by Acting DA Sheneka Terry, who also sought the permanent job. She notified her staff via e-mail on Friday she did not get the job.
Any case Jackson is currently involved in will have to have to go to an outside attorney, a process that is commonly referred to as conflict council.
Jackson has been in private practice since 2008. Working as a partner at Hagler, Jackson and Walters, Jackson has become one of the region’s top criminal defense attorneys.
Prior to that he spent almost eight years as a prosecutor in the Chattahoochee Circuit District Attorney’s Office.
Jackson will serve out the remainder of Jones’ term. The office will be on the ballot in 2024. Jackson said he plans to seek election at that time.
Jackson will try to bring stability to an office that has been in flux for nearly two years.
In May 2020, Jones ran a non-conventional campaign centered on social media and defeated three-term incumbent Julia Slater. One of Jones’ campaign platforms was to tackle the backlog of cases that had accumulated in the office.
Jones’ first move was to fire most of the senior prosecutors in the office.
But he ran into legal issues of his almost immediately. Jones fell under a GBI investigation in the early months of his tenure. That investigation heated up when a Columbus Police Department bodycam video surfaced showing an apparently intoxicated Jones asking a detective to lie under oath so that a manslaughter charge could be upgraded to the more serious charge of murder.
Jones was removed from office in November after he pleaded guilty to four counts of public corruption as a jury was deliberating his fate.
Terry, Jones’ top assistant, has been serving as acting district attorney since October when Kemp suspended Jones following a September indictment.
Terry applied to replace Jones and was interviewed by the governor last month.
On the defense side, Jackson has won a number of high-profile cases, but perhaps none more high profile than the 2014 cold-case acquittal of Jackson’s client Kareem Lane. He was acquitted of the 1992 murder of Jim Burns, then the superintendent of Muscogee County schools.
Jackson is a native of Harris County, who attended college at Albany State University and earned his law degree at the University of Dayton.
Pete Temesgen has been appointed by Governor Brian P. Kemp to serve on the State Court of Muscogee County. Temesgen has previously been an assistant district attorney in Columbus and a law clerk to the Honorable Benjamin Richardson and Honorable John Allen.