TYLER – Joshua Black is no longer Smith County Pct. 2 constable after being sentenced Friday to six months in prison for official oppression.
A jury at the 114th District Court also fined Black $ 4,000. He was found guilty on Thursday.
Judge Austin Reeve Jackson then issued a court order immediately removing Black as a police officer.
Black was charged in November 2020 with offering to provide a woman with supervised visitation services in exchange for sexual favors. These offenses occurred around July 31, 2020, according to the indictments.
A person convicted of official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor, faces a maximum fine of $ 4,000 and a maximum jail term of one year.
Assistant District Attorney Richard Vance urged jurors to choose the maximum sentence of one year in prison.
“For there to be justice… there cannot be a light sentence for those we will impose at a higher level,” Vance said.
Black deserved every bit of a maximum sentence, Vance said, while strongly discouraging probation.
During the trial, Vance was shown a series of text messages that he said represented sexual demands from Black in exchange for payment for supervised visitation services.
Black operates a company, Supervised Visitation Services of Tyler, dedicated to facilitating visits for divorced or separated parents. The screenshots shown showed the use of slang terms and emojis to request sex for payment for visits.
During an interview with a Texas Ranger, Black called the screenshots of texts between him and the woman “embarrassing” as a joke and flirtatious behavior.
“I’m not that kind of guy. It’s embarassing. I know this sounds like my intention, but it isn’t. My intention was not to do what it looks like, ”Black said in the interview with the Texas Ranger.
Defense attorney Mishae Boren asked jurors to recognize Black as a human who makes mistakes, not just a cop. She noted that Black is proud to be both a father and a police officer.
“The police have sworn to uphold the law, but they are still human,” she said.
Vance said Black must be held responsible for other alleged solicitations of prostitution that other black women have had relationships with. He asked the jury to consider these other acts.
During the sentencing phase, a woman testified that Black served as a courtesy agent at an apartment complex where she worked. She said that she and Black initially flirted with each other in a consensual manner.
She quit that job, and Black then persistently flirted while she was married, and she repelled his advances, she said.
The apartment worker said she was ultimately unable to push back on the advances, including one that mentioned having sex for money. He was fired as a courtesy agent after she informed the regional director of the solicitation, she said.
An ex-girlfriend testified that Black would send her photos of money in her patrol car while mentioning sexual requests. She downloaded the messages from her phone and emailed them to the district attorney’s office.
Another woman who had a relationship with Black said he continued to text her after they ended their relationship. He also sent him photos of money in his patrol vehicle.
Boren noted that relationships with the other women were consensual, adult relationships, and that the texts shown were selected parts of conversations.
Black’s half-sister Lindsey Fortner testified that her brother was always dedicated to his job and worked hard.
Fortner has said that Black’s relationship with his daughter is most important to him.
She testified that she worried about what would happen to his mental health if he went to jail.
“I will never endorse what he did. I also know that we are human and that we are sinners. He hurt himself; he didn’t hurt anyone else, ”Fortner said.
Paul Black, Joshua Black’s father, testified that his son was always “the nice and the funny”. The elder Black has said his son made a huge mistake, but he will always support him.
Black was elected to a four-year term as a PCT. 2 gendarme in November. He was appointed in 2019 to fill the seat vacated by Andy Dunklin, now the Pct. 2 justice of the peace. Black worked in the constable’s office as an assistant for more than four years, according to the county’s website.
In addition, Black is also charged with two counts of prostitution as well as another charge of official oppression. He is due to be tried on the first prostitution charge on September 27.
The most recent oppression and prostitution indictments were filed on September 9 in connection with another victim, according to the Smith County District Attorney’s Office. These offenses occurred around September 25, 2019, according to court records.
Black also has $ 1 million bail for the latest oppression indictment.