Lake County Council Member Jamal Washington was convicted of misdemeanor battery and interference with a crime. “I am going to continue to do whatever I can to expose your dirtiness” Jamal Washington stated after the verdict.
November 14, 2018-Lake County Council Member Jamal Washington was acquitted of all felony charges moments ago. Washington was found guilty of battery, a class B misdemeanor, and interference with a crime, a class A misdemeanor, after a two day jury trial. Jurors deliberated for over 3 hours after hearing evidence. Washington had been charged with felony confinement which carried a sentence of up to 16 years in prison. Prosecutors alleged that Washington held down his cousin, Kamaria Buckley, held her by the throat, and threatened her with a sledge hammer in December, 2017. Buckley later recanted much of the statement but Washington stated that Merrillville Police admitted at trial that they did not inform the Judge of that recusal when obtaining a search warrant for his residence. Washington faces up to one year in the Lake County Jail based on the conviction.
Under Indiana Code, battery is defined as “touch[ing] another person in a rude, angry or insolent manner.” The offense is a class A misdemeanor if it results in bodily injury. Prosecutors had charged both the class A misdemeanor and class B misdemeanor but the jury rejected the class A misdemeanor charge, apparently finding that there was no bodily injury to Ms. Buckley. The most serious charge, criminal confinement as a level 3 felony, had previously been dismissed by the special prosecutor in October of this year. Washington was acquitted of intimidation as a level 5 felony as well as confinement and intimidation, both level 6 felonies.
Washington quickly took to social media via his popular “The Real Deal in Da Region” page to point out that a Merrillville detective testified, under oath, that Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter directed police to charge Washington. Carter later recused himself from the investigation, stating that he could not be involved because Washington had authority over the budget for the office of the Lake County Prosecutor. Carter did not discuss potential conflict based on political issues. The Gazette reported exclusively at the time that Carter cancelled a scheduled 2:00 p.m. meeting on the date that charges were filed.
Washington was represented by attorney Darnail Lyles and credited Lyles for his dedication to the case in obtaining the acquittal.