Since my recent column about well-known Phoenix mitigation specialist "Jameson Johnson," aka, Jimmy Carroll Johnson, and his criminal record for armed robbery, a lot of folks have rushed to Johnson's defense, arguing that his wrongdoing was all in the past, and since he had been doing good deeds locally, we should all look the other way.
However, other than an e-mail to me telling me that the story was "a smear campaign fomented by law enforcement," Johnson's dropped off the grid, even removing his Facebook page altogether, apparently.
Johnson's convictions were made public in an order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake. Wake had initially asked Johnson for an explanation of his record in a sealed letter. This, after Johnson was discovered by U.S. Marshals in the backseat of a car transporting vitamin kingpin Don Lapre, then on the lam after not showing up for a federal court date.
Wake didn't hear back from Johnson, so he barred Johnson from the case he had been involved with, and posted documents relating to Johnson's convictions in Nevada and Oregon.
On September 7, the court received a letter from Johnson with some attachments. But instead of coming clean to the judge, he flipped him a metaphorical bird. Wake quoted the following from Johnson's letter:
Even if the allegations before the court were accepted as true, it would be obvious that after the alleged criminal sanctions, I have lead the life consistent with the sentencing goals of any court. No hint of criminal activity has been alleged since the early 1990s.
As Your Honor is aware, the Criminal Justice Act contains no criteria whatsoever for selection of non-lawyer appointees. While a recent order has been issued requiring licenses for court appointees, none exists for mitigation specialists in Arizona. Mitigation merely serves to facilitate witness testimony to tell the Court in a coherent fashion. I do not provide opinions or offer testimony. Nothing in the recent order or in the Criminal Justice Act itself precludes a convicted felon from an appointment.
I neither confirm nor deny the veracity of the representations made against me at this time. As I have stated, I am actively seeking witnesses and documentation that may enlighten the court. I have certainly never represented to anyone, that I am a convicted felon. I continue to seek records and witnesses that will fully inform the Court in this matter.
It is my sincere hope that this Court will reconsider its decision...At the very least, the August 22 order should be sealed nunc pro tunc... to prevent prejudice...to all criminal defendants in the Arizona District Court.
So Johnson neither confirms nor denies the "allegations." Thing is, they aren't allegations, unless you buy the tall tale Johnson has told some to the effect that his criminal record was due to the kind of Jason Bourne-type undercover work he'd done for a federal agency back in the day.
That's only one in a long line of whoppers Johnson's apparently told folks. He's depicted himself as an ex-cop to myself and others, and even gone so far as to tell long-winded "cop stories" about his escapades in blue.
Then there's his military record. On his now-deleted Facebook page, Johnson stated that he had served in the U.S. Navy from January 1987 to September 1998.
But this conflicts with his record in the state penal systems of Nevada and Oregon. In the former, he cooled his heels from May 18, 1993, to August 29, 1996. In the latter, from October 11, 1996 to July 11, 1997. Also, he was on probation 'til July 22, 1999.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Support Our Journalism
I'm still waiting for the U.S. Navy to get back to me on any details regarding Johnson's service. I believe he may have served, but he could not have done so during the period he claimed, as he was in prison during much of that time.
Why didn't Johnson just take ownership of his past? That is not entirely clear. Indeed, as he mentions in his letter to Wake, a felon can do the kind of work he was doing.
Could it be that every lie Johnson told begat another lie, forcing him down a path that he could not extricate himself from, as to do so would mean revealing his true self?
Or is there something more to Johnson's story that I am as yet unaware of?