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Felon Convicted of Threatening Alameda County Superior Court Judge

Jamal Austin, 59, was convicted of threatening Judge Jacob Blea III, who presides at the Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice in Pleasanton, in a motion written by Austin in March of 2013

By Bay City News—

A five-time felon was convicted on Friday of threatening a public official for threatening to kill a judge who was handling his civil case.
 
An Alameda County jury deliberated for two days before delivering its verdict against 59-year-old Jamal Austin for his threat against Superior Court Judge Jacob Blea III, 62, made in a motion he filed in March 2013.

[Related article: Prosecutor Says Felon Who Threatened Pleasanton Judge Should…]
 
Prosecutor Neil Layton told jurors in his closing argument on Wednesday that although Austin's threat was written, not verbal, it appeared to be serious because it was the strongest and most specific of many threats he had made against Blea over the course of many months.
 
Layton said Austin wrote in his motion that Blea should be "removed or killed" and that it was the judge's "last chance to redeem yourself." Layton said Austin's motion came during his long-running appeal of another judge's decision to dismiss a lawsuit that Austin had filed against Emeryville police and Highland Hospital in Oakland.

The lawsuit alleged that excessive force had been used against him when he was arrested for an incident in 2009. Austin acted as his own attorney during his appeal and is acting as his own attorney in his criminal case as well.
 
According to Layton, Austin told Blea, who headed the Alameda County Superior Court's appellate division, "If you refuse to do the act now necessary to ensure the integrity of the judiciary is upheld don't blame anyone but yourself." Layton also said that in one motion Austin was "referencing public killings" such as the murder of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey in 2007 when Bailey was working on an investigative article about financial problems of the Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland.
 
The prosecutor told jurors that Blea reasonably feared for his safety because Austin was out of custody at the time even though he has a long criminal record that began when he was convicted of pimping in 1979.
 
Austin also has two forgery convictions as well as convictions for possession of a controlled substance and second-degree commercial robbery. Austin, who's also known as Thomas Robinson, was arrested after he filed his motion in March 2013 and has been in custody since then.
 
According to Layton, Blea testified during the trial that he feared for his life and took security precautions such as having police patrol the area around his house and installing a direct radio line to his local police department.
 
Austin admitted in his closing argument that, "I might have been wrong for my words" and some of the things he wrote were "totally wrong and unacceptable." But Austin said, "I'm not guilty" and he never thought anybody would believe that he seriously intended to kill Judge Blea.
 
Austin said he was only trying to draw attention to his case and send a message to Blea that if he didn't get his way in the appellate court he planned to "go public and talk to people like Louis Farrakhan, Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton."
 
Austin faces up to three years in state prison for his conviction for threatening a public official. His sentencing date will be set on Monday. Austin used a wheelchair when he appeared in court during his trial. But Layton said he wasn't aware of Austin suffering any injuries and he hadn't used a wheelchair before his trial started.
 
Blea was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Pete Wilson in November 1997.
Chris Heston April 07, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Sentence the max possible for this piece of trash career criminal.
South Side Livermore April 07, 2014 at 11:45 AM
GOOD! Let the scum rot in jail. that's where he belongs. Judge Blea is a fair and reasonable Judge who does great work for our community. Let that dirtbag call other evil in to speak for him and we will again all see him as the voluntary failure his is..
karth turnage April 07, 2014 at 07:48 PM
Jake is a fair and honest man.I know he takes these traits to the bench when he makes decisions.
Jim McSharry April 13, 2014 at 04:53 AM
He took his chances trying to get the court to take their responsibility seriously. Unfortunately they turned on him, just as I would expect. It's been a long time since anything but the very worst police misconduct is even given a second glance. They all rally around each other and try to gloss over their everyday brutality and corruption. I have taken a decision to the appellate and the three of them could not have cared less about the misjudgment of the officer, and worse, improper court procedure. So my experience tells me in spite of his priors, he had justification for suing the police, and probably the hospital as well. But our courts judge by where they think you stand in society, not by merits of any particular case facts. It's a sad time in America.
Desert Rat April 13, 2014 at 03:31 PM
So that justifies death threats to the judges? That is even more sad if you think so.

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