Athens man learns about his presidential pardon after call from CBS46 News

CBS46 sits down to talk with Dexter Eugene Jackson about his presidential pardon
CBS46 sits down to talk with Dexter Eugene Jackson about his presidential pardon(CBS46/WGCL)
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 11:24 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - An Athens man, convicted in 2002 for using his business to facilitate the distribution of marijuana, is among the three people granted a presidential pardon. Except he didn’t even know until CBS46 called.

“Are you Dexter Eugene Jackson?” CBS46 Reporter Crystal Bui asked Tuesday morning.

“Yes,” he answered.

“Were you convicted in 2002?” Bui asked.

“Yes,” Jackson said.

Once his identity was confirmed, Bui asked Jackson for comment on his presidential pardon. Except Jackson was in disbelief and said this was the first he heard of it.

He turned his car around, and went home to log onto a video call with CBS46 News. Jackson was still in shock, but said his wife checked on Google, and found him on list of people who were pardoned, recently released by the White House.

“But when you gave specific information, I was like, ‘Well, I better listen to what she has to say.’ And not too many people have a middle name like mine. There are a lot of Dexter Jacksons. But I haven’t seen any Dexter Eugene Jacksons. So I kind of knew,” he said.

Jackson and his wife began crying as phone calls started coming in from friends and family who saw the news. His phone hasn’t stopped ringing from loved-ones congratulating him on a moment that feels like redemption.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Jackson said. “I’ve been praying for this day every day since the sentence. I never gave up. I just kept praying. And I knew it was coming one day. And when I got the phone call from you, I was driving into my office, and I had to pull over, just super excited for my family whose has been supporting me, friends, business partners, every body who believed in me, so it’s a great moment. "

Jackson said he had been applying for clemency for years, even under the Obama administration, but his case was listed as pending. He never got an answer, until now.

“I think I’m going to cancel all my plans today until I get the phone call [from the White House],” Jackson said.

Jackson’s message to others is to be careful of the company they keep.

“That was my mistake: young, running a business, being friends with the wrong people. And now I take that to motivate younger people. I always tell them, ‘You’re only as good as the company you keep,’” Jackson said.

He said he was friends with the wrong people.

“I admitted my faults and my shortcomings, and I think that is the key. You have to admit that you did wrong,” Jackson said.

Following his arrest, Jackson pled guilty and upon his release, converted his business into a cell-phone repair service that hired local high school students through a program that seeks to provide young adults with work experience.

Jackson also helps build and renovate homes in communities that lack affordable housing.

He thanked the Biden administration saying removing the felony conviction from his record will make a big difference in how he can contribute to the community, and it will provide him access to more resources with a clean slate.

“My grandbaby, I’m sure I’m going to go get him this evening, and my son. We’ll probably go out and have a nice steak dinner or something tonight,” Jackson said.

In a statement released online, the White House acknowledged Jackson was not personally involved in trafficking marijuana, but allowed marijuana distributors to use his pool hall to facilitate drug transactions.

Along with the pardons, President Biden also commuted the sentences of 75 others for nonviolent, drug-related convictions.