It’s been a long time coming, but The Supreme Court of Louisiana has given former state Senator Charles D. Jones permission to practice law again.
Jones lost his license to practice law in 2010 after being convicted of one count of tax evasion and two felony counts of making and submitting a false tax return.
Jones’ conviction was what many people in the Black community believed was a political railroad job to strip him of his power as one of the state’s most powerful black legislators.
Federal Judge Robbie James gave Jones the lowest possible sentence in the case and almost apologized for the sentence he imposed which was 27 months in prison and restitution of $305,174.05 in fines to the Internal Revenue Service.
Judge James again, gave Jones the lowest possible sentence, giving him 50 years to repay the debt.
Jones was the architect of dozens of pieces of legislation across the state that helped get black judges elected across the state and he pushed aggressively for prison reform.
As head of the Legislative Black Caucus, Jones became one of the most powerful black men in the state.
Jones was prosecuted for attempting to avoid payroll taxes by paying his bills, including his debts to the Internal Revenue Service with money orders and cashier’s checks instead of putting his money in banks.
Despite having paid over $600,000 in taxes the government accused him of trying to avoid paying taxes because of his habit of using money orders. The government claimed he underreported his income, which he denied.
His habit of using money orders was deemed suspicious and resulted in his conviction. Federal Judge James reluctantly imposed the sentences giving a long list of Jones’ accomplishments, contributions to the state and humanitarianism before he acted.
A jury believed the government.
After his conviction, it was learned that both Jones’ prosecuting attorney and the FBI agent investigating his case had an ongoing secret love affair and colluded to convict Jones. They were both disciplined by the Justice Department, but his conviction stood.
He filed a request for readmission to the bar in September 2016. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel took no position on the request. The matter was heard before a hearing committee.
During the hearing, evidence and testimony showed that Jones is paying $500 a month toward his restitution total, $1,578 to the IRS and $1,080 a month to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
The hearing committee recommended that he be readmitted to the bar without conditions.
The Supreme Court determined that he can be readmitted, subject to a three-year probationary period. The period will start when Jones and the ODC create a formal plan.
Since his release from prison, Jones has announced his calling into the gospel ministry, wrote a book on prayer and is serving as the assistant minister of the Lone Wa Worship Center.
Jones’ reinstatement is subject to a three-year probationary period.