United States District Judge Susie Morgan’s law clerk charged with attempted rape and solicitation of sex from a child

The arrest of Thomas J. Jackson IV aka T. Haller Jackson IV on charges of attempted rape and computer-aided solicitation of a minor (an 11 year old boy) has electrified the legal community in New Orleans due to inherent implications of having a predatory pedophile pass Federal background checks and the like. I’ve received a boatload of tips and done some of my own internet sleuthing and I think I can add some additional color and explain to the many non lawyerly types that read us the reasons the legal community is electrified.

First in the interest of fair journalism I must disclose that Jackson was the law clerk for Judge Morgan when Daniel Abel’s first SLAPP suit was filed in US District Court in New Orleans against myself and Anne Marie Vandenweghe. That suit was voluntarily dismissed on May 14, 2013 by Abel one day before a hearing to strike his suit under Louisiana’s anti SLAPP law.

Next up is the fact set as reported by both The Advocate and the Times Picayune. First this snippet from Juliet Linderman’s piece:

According to a police report, Jackson made contact in December with a man through GRINDR, a gay social networking smartphone application, and offered him $500 for a sexual encounter with a boy younger than 11. The other GRINDR user, whose name is not listed in the court records, sent screenshots of the conversation to the FBI.

In the following weeks, a federal agent identified in court documents as M. Allison assumed the online alias of Jackson’s GRINDR correspondent and on Dec. 30 struck up a conversation, telling Jackson that he’d found a 10-year-old boy. “Hook it up!! :)” Jackson replied.

And we have this from John Simerman at the Advocate:

When he arrived in a black Chevy Tahoe at the appointed house, he asked first to hear the boy’s voice over the phone, the report said.

“Hello,” NOPD detective Christopher Harris responded in a high-pitched tone. Jackson then allegedly left the vehicle and called inside.

“I am literally standing right out front. Can you crack the door so I can see you?” he said just before his arrest, the report said.

If this fact set as alleged in the police report is accurate Mr. Jackson has major legal problems in his future. Of course New Orleans being New Orleans, Criminal Court Judge Marullo and DA Cannizzaro also used the opportunity to further their long running feud. Somewhere in that feud or some other sort of behind the scenes back channel activity is why this story hit the media a couple of days after Jackson’s arrest.

Juliet Linderman points out that Jackson was a star student at Tulane University School of law and was the Editor of the Tulane Law Review and of Law and Sexuality, a review of gay, lesbian and transgender legal issues. Sources that declined to be named due to fear of retaliation have indicated to slabbed that Mr. Jackson was openly gay which is no surprise as New Orleans is a very tolerant locale for most all alternative lifestyles except for maybe one as legendary former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards explained long ago:

The only way I can lose is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.

This brings me to the fact that sometime between his time lighting the Tulane Community on fire obtaining a PHD in Infectious Disease Epidemiology with emphasis on the HIV virus while maintaining a full course load in law school and editing the Law Review and Law and Sexuality Jackson changed up his moniker because at Tulane he was known as T. Haller Jackson IV, wunderkind from Shreveport Louisiana that had previously taught psychology at Xavier University.

In 2008 published reports indicate Mr. Jackson clerked for Judge Jacques Wiener Jr. at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals with plans in 2009 to clerk for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.  He would later be cosignatory of a letter of recommendation to the United States Senate on behalf of Paul J. Watford, then a nominee for a spot on the Ninth Circuit.  Judge Kozinski is no slouch for selecting his clerks as the “former clerks” recommendation letter includes luminaries such as UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh.

It is at this point that I know many of the nonlawyers that read Slabbed are wondering why I’m emphasizing the law clerk part but therein lies why the legal community here is electrified. Paul Campos at Alternet explains:

Traditionally, the most prestigious job a law school graduate can get straight out of school is a federal judicial clerkship. Holders of these one-year positions are usually much sought-after by big law firms and other desirable employers, and the competition among law students for federal clerkships is ferocious.

Even at elite law schools, only students at or near the top of class have a reasonable shot at a federal clerkship. In addition, now many young lawyers with sterling resumes have begun applying for clerkships. The result is that any federal judge will be deluged with hundreds of highly qualified candidates for an open position.

Law Schools brag about the percentage of their law school graduates that nab these coveted positions as this press release from U Cal Irvine School of Law indicates:

Nearly 36 percent of UC Irvine School of Law’s first graduating class have received coveted judicial clerkships, putting the Law School among the most elite in the country in percentage of clerkships.

Twenty students – or 35.7 percent – of the 56-member inaugural Class of 2012 have obtained federal or state judicial clerkships throughout the country as of Nov. 30.

While 2012 statistics from other law schools are not yet available for comparison, UC Irvine’s clerkship percentage tops that of all other law schools last year. In 2011, 35.1 percent of Yale’s graduating class had clerkships, 25 percent of Stanford’s, and 20.8 percent of Harvard’s, according to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association.

The PR continues:

Law clerks conduct research in cases before the court and help judges write decisions. Their input is often sought on cases, so their potential power is enormous – especially for individuals typically in their mid-20s.

The competition to fill such positions is fierce not only for students but also for judges themselves, who’ve been known to jump the gun on the suggested hiring timeline in order to secure the best students. In addition, top law firms pay big premiums to attract former clerks.

There is no doubt that Mr. Jackson qualified as one of the very best and brightest as his academic record at Tulane was stellar.  What is unusual is the career arc is to clerk for a year and then cash in.  This is not to say that judicial law clerking is not a noble profession in and of itself and there are some lawyers that spend large portions of their career clerking for a particular judge.  Jackson clerked for at least 4 including 2 spots at different appellate circuits.  After being a clerk at that level, moving down to the district courts was a bit of a head scratcher for a lawyer electrified by this news that requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.

None of this is to say that Judge Helen “Ginger” Berrigan would stare a gift horse in the mouth when Mr. Jackson returned to New Orleans sometime after his stint with Chief Judge Kozinski at the Ninth Circuit.  For whatever reason he did not last with Judge Berrigan and he ended up in Judge Morgan’s chambers and this is where the social connections become clearer.

According to Wikipedia Judge Morgan spent 24 years at the Shreveport firm of Wiener, Weiss and Madison.  Mr. Jackson’s father is T. Haller Jackson III over at Bradley Murchison Kelly & Shea in Shreveport.  Certainly Jackson III knew Morgan professionally and as small a world as the legal profession is likely socially as well.

In comments to Juliet Linderman’s story Muspench explains:

Assuming the allegations are correct, it does seem odd that such a significant aberration would pass unnoticed. That sort of obsession usually announces itself…..

One such manifestation is a special interest group dedicated to legalizing same sex relationships between men and young boys. This organization which promotes male pedophilla should not be confused with the LGBT movement though at times such confusion manifested itself as the LGBT movement came of age according to the Wiki entry linked in the preceding sentence.  One of the manifestations of Jackon’s unshareable need was certainly found in his participation as editor of Law and Sexuality. His undisputed extremely high level of intelligence certainly aided him in covering his tracks but his career arc as a Federal law clerk infers another tale as another commenter to Linderman’s story inferred.

Slabbed will be following this case.

5 thoughts on “United States District Judge Susie Morgan’s law clerk charged with attempted rape and solicitation of sex from a child”

  1. Holy Betting Odds Batman,

    You being a pretty good mathematician who almost became a theoretical physicist maybe you can shed some light on the general odds that your SLAPP suit would be assigned to a federal court with an openly gay and super intelligent law clerk ( to do medical and law school simultaneously).

    With such super luck like that I’d be buying a few hundred Lotto cards.

  2. The career paths taken by Law Clerks to Federal Judges depend on the individual. For instance, Veronica “Ronnie” Wicker was Federal Judge Lansing Mitchell’s Law CLerk for many years, a position she parlayed into a Federal Magistrate’s position. From there, she was nominated to be a Federal Judge, was confirmed by Congress, and enjoyed a stellar career as an Eastern District Federal Judge prior to her untimely death. Mr. Jackson’s Father’s current firm, Bradley, Murchison, Kelly & Shea, was formed post-KATRINA, primarily by former Lemle & Kelleher partners. I practiced law Admiralty and Maritime law with Lemle & Kelleher for over 35 years, pre-KATRINA. At least one of the Bradley, Murchison, Kelly & Shea partners is openly “GAY”. Mr. Shea is a CRIMINAL, who was directly involved (as a co-conspirator) in my abduction, brutalization, torture and false imprisonment by GOONS employed by the State of Louisiana, post-KATRINA. Unfortunately, Shea has not yet gotten what is coming to him. And there is another SHOCKING SCANDAL from the Eastern District, which involves a “black robe” and his law Clerk, which has not yet been made public, but will be, soon. Stay tuned. Ashton O’Dwyer.

  3. Question: When an individual files a federal suit it should be randomly assigned unless the same parties are actively involved in another federal suit presided over by a judge in the same District Court. Had or has Federal Judge Sue Morgan presided over any previous federal suits involving the parties of the subsequent Slabbed SLAPP suit that was dismissed. Or was it randomly assigned?

    Inquiring minds would like to know.

    1. My understanding is the cases are divvied up based upon a standing order. In the MSSD where there are just a few judges in Gulfport, the majority of the civil cases are allocated to a specific judge with other judges getting lesser percentages. That does not mean that all cases involving a certain party are assigned to a certain judge and to the extent the process is followed it results in what is I would described as a weighted random assignment. I imagine there is a similar mechanism in the LAED.

      On a professional level I do not think a Judge’s sexual orientation makes him or her inherently biased one way or the other. The better question and I think the one you are asking and that I have been asked many times over the past few days is whether Judge Morgan having an alleged predatory pedophile masquerading as a gay man on her staff impacted her handling of the case I had before her. To the extent I have had that question asked of me multiple times since Friday indicates that:

      1. People are paying attention.
      2. There is speculation that it did in fact impact the case I had before Judge Morgan.

      To understand why people are engaging in that speculation is gonna require another post and I have the beginnings of one in drafts.

  4. To: LOCK: Yours is a very “difficult” question to answer. I aver that any “rule of random allotment” (and the exceptions thereto) in the Eastern District of Louisiana is “shrouded in secrecy” for a reason: namely to create fertile ground for COLLUSION by Judges and others. There is NOTHING in the Local Rules about how cases are to be allotted. If one asks Court Personnel, they will tell you that “We randomly allot civil cases”, which is done electronically today, although information about the new case, gleaned from the “Civil Cover Sheet”, is “inputted” to the computer before “random allotment” takes place. How that information might “trigger” some other computer program is unknown. I am awaiting a call from the Chief Deputy Clerk in order to determine where, if anywhere, is “random allotment” made a WRITTEN rule and, if so, what are the WRITTEN EXCEPTIONS to the rule. I cannot find any such written rule, or exceptions, anywhere in any Court Publication. And let me tell you why I am skeptical: In over 35 years of practicing law in Federal Court in New Orleans I had my doubts about how certain cases were allotted, several times. Polite, professional inquiries were always met with “The case was randomly allotted”. However, Local Rule 3.1 contains some “red flags” insofar as “related cases” are concerned. Rule 3.1 requires Counsel to file a list at the time of filing a new Complaint, identifying any already pending actions that comprise “all or a material part of the subject matter or operative facts” of a case already pending in another Section of Court. The Rule then requires that the newly-filed action must be transferred to the Section with the lowest docket number, and here’s an EXCEPTION: “unless the two judges involved determine that some other procedure is in the best interest of justice”. Lawyers and clients don’t get any input. The possibilities for COLLUSION are patently obvious. And collusion occurs in practice, too, the most obvious examples being (1) transfer of cases to newly appointed Federal Judges by already-sitting Judges who just want to clear their dockets, or get rid of troublesome cases, which may or may not involve troublesome lawyers (there is nothing “random” about such transfers); and (2) what happened in the KATRINA cases, when the Court apparently met En Banc and allowed Duval-Daley-Fayard to “GRAB” everything: tort, ie. levee breaches, insurance, MRGO, Broussard Flood, Road Home, etc. There was nothing “random” about any of those allottments (the sole exception being the allotment of “Maureen O’Dwyer versus The United States of America”, Civil Action Number 05-4181, to Duval). No one KNOWS what the Judges talk about in their dining quarters, or when they converse with each other (and others) in person or over their “private telephone lines”. We are not “flies on the wall” and never will be. No Court employee who values “job security” is ever going to divulge what orders they received from one or more Judges, after being told “You cannot repeat this to anyone”. So the process remains largely “shrouded in secrecy” for more than one reason. I’ve done my best to “answer” your question. I wish I could be more unequivocal. Ashton O’Dwyer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *