Hi, My name is Joseph Cole Jackson and my Dad is Dicky Joe Jackson, a non-violent drug offender serving 3 life sentences. I was born with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome and to pay for my life saving surgeries, my Dad transported Meth for a guy and was eventually busted. You can read his full story here:


We are really excited because he was recently in an ACLU report that was about prisoners serving life sentences that were for non-violent crimes. We are hoping the visibility will help with a possible commutation of his sentence.

My Dad's story is on page 79 at the bottom and his picture/quote is also on page 3.

Here is the report: https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/111213a-lwop-complete-report.pdf

He was also featured in a New York Times and Salon article:



I am more than happy to answer any and all questions that you have. If your questions are overly negative, I will try my best to change your mind :)

EDIT: Wow, didn't realize this many people would be comment so quickly! I am trying my best to keep up and will try to answer everyone's questions. Thanks for commenting!

EDIT 2: Here is a link to the ACLU petition asking for President Obama to review these cases:


EDIT 3: I have been trying to keep up and I realize a lot of people are saying that I am somehow misrepresenting my dad or saying things that are not true and I just wanted to say I am sorry if I mixed anything up and that I am giving you the information that has been giving to me from the court documents and the various other documents that my family has. I will try to post these documents in the coming days to try to clear some stuff up. Here is a (slightly revised and extended) reply I posted to someone concerning the insurance situation and also all of this information is available in the links provided, i was never trying to "hide" anything:

"I am sorry if you feel I have "misrepresented" anything as I have been trying answer all questions accurately and promptly with the information I have. Please reply with what you feel I misrepresented and I can try to answer it directly to you as opposed to you getting information to one question from 5 different comments as I feel like that can lead to things being taken out of context... I won't lie, I was 2 years old when this all went down with the insurance company and I know my mom has a letter from the company somewhere saying that they cancelled our policy. If I can find it I will post it but I can't promise anything because it has been a very long time and my mom doesn't exactly like dredging up stuff from back then. Again my apologies to anyone that thinks I was trying to falsely make my dad out to be someone he isn't. He broke the law, he transported meth, and probably hurt a lot of people indirectly by doing those actions. Was he a meth dealer? No. Did he take some from a shipment and sell it to a childhood friend who was wearing a wire and made up a sob story to get himself out of a sticky situation. Yes. So just to clarify technically yes my dad distributed meth on one occasion that I know of and the only one ever mentioned in all of the court documents we have but it was not an ongoing thing as far as I know or as far as the court was concerned. Just wanted to clarify for people because I know there have been a lot of comments saying that I am lying and honestly if you read some of my posts, you would know I have nothing to hide and I am not making my dad out to be a hero. He did what he thought was right by his family and although a lot of people having varying views on what his actions are to be seen as, I have never said this was a victimless crime or that he didn't deserve some jail time for his actions. I love my father dearly but he did do something horrible in order to save me so he did deserve to be incarcerated, I just don't feel like it should be a life sentence and that 19 years away from society, your family and freedom is sufficient payment for his crimes. -- Thanks for your post." ---- If anyone has any questions that they would really like answered and aren't here just to post rude comments without proper context then please PM me and I will try to answer your questions. Thank you for reading my dad's story and thank you for signing the petition. It means a hell of a lot to me and my family.

Comments: 2097 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

SongOfUpAndDownVotes1736 karma

According to the NY Times article, the prosecutor said:

I saw no indication that Mr. Jackson was violent, that he was any sort of large-scale narcotics trafficker, or that he committed his crimes for any reason other than to get money to care for his gravely ill child.

Have you ever seen any reasoning from the sentencing judge as to why your father got such a harsh penalty when even the prosecutor wasn't pushing it?

Also, this is a very serious topic and I am really appreciative of you sharing. I plan on downvoting every stupid breaking bad joke in this thread.

BadNewsBobby1665 karma

My family and I believe the harsh sentencing was due to both harsh mandatory minimums and the judge that was residing over the case, Judge John H Mcbryde. This man is documented for over-sentencing drug offenses as well as ignoring the defendants circumstance. He was actually disbarred for a year from taking new cases and my father's case was one of the examples used to get him disbarred. Also, thank you for taking the time to comment.

RonPaulConstituENT761 karma

Doesn't your fathers case have grounds for appeal then?

Carotti702 karma

This is what I don't understand.

If a judge was DISBARRED for a year based on evidence from a number of cases; how come these cases' rulings still apply?

Not only was this case probably grounds for appeal in its own right, but this on top?

DoubtingTomas120 karma


According to this article, Judge McBryde was sanctioned by other federal judges, but not disbarred or otherwise removed from the bench. Furthermore, the sanctions were imposed due to violations of judicial ethics, but nowhere does it say that he imposed illegal sentences. Like /u/sirrix said, judges don't have to adhere to the minimum sentence in a given case, and in fact usually have a lot of discretion to tack on years.

Peacefor23 karma


BadNewsBobby55 karma

Sorry, I don't mean to be misleading. I just remember going up to the public archives with my sister to research my dad's case and the person up there said that we couldn't see them because it was being used by some individuals already. My sister found this odd, and I was 7 or 8 so I didn't really know what was going on, and investigated further and found that one of the lawyers that filed the complaint and got Judge Mcbryde suspended was the one that had been looking at the archived case. Later he turned up on the news as being suspended for being unfair in court and I always linked the two together. I apologize if I was misleading in anyway as I was just relaying the information as I saw it and should have done a bit more digging. Thanks for correcting me /u/peacefor

jonsonwhui531 karma

Where was your dad transporting the meth from and where was he bringing it? And how big was he in the trafficking business?

BadNewsBobby631 karma

I'm don't the exact amount he was transporting, although I do know he was never caught with any on his person or in our house. The only thing that was every found was trace amounts at his business but because the case was tried as a conspiracy, he was sentenced according to what others that were tried in the case were caught with. Also, he was going from California to Texas

kreimerd302 karma


BadNewsBobby477 karma

Nope, he never signed a plea. And what kind of plea would result in a life sentence?! lol not trying to be mean, just thought that was amusing :) Kind of like in "The Dark Knight" where they try all the criminals collectively. It's kind of confusing.

kreimerd260 karma

According to your Salon URL

Jackson was arrested for selling half a pound of methamphetamine to an undercover officer. The prosecution offered Jackson a chance to lower his sentence, but he refused to testify against his co-defendants

If he sold it to an undercover cop that's a little different than 'none found on his person, only trace amounts at his business'.

BadNewsBobby517 karma

The person that he sold to was actually one of his friends from childhood. He got back from a trip, all he actually did was transport and was not a meth dealer, this former friend of his asked if he could buy 1/2lb to sell because he was behind on rent etc. My dad is a bit of a softie when it comes to sob stories and is too trusting for his own good and sold to his friend the meth. Then the guy ran to the cops, gave them the info/drugs/wire and got his sentence reduced to 2 years. The "friend" that gave my dad up was originally caught with over a pound. -- I apologize about this as I have emailed the writer of the article but she hasn't got back to me about this discrepancy EDIT: I worded this terribly wrong and have fixed my error.

Vilhu484 karma

Is there anything we can do to change/help the situation?

BadNewsBobby638 karma

Yes, please go here and sign: https://www.aclu.org/life-without-parole?ms=web_acluaction_lwop_131113

Thought I had this in the top.... Will edit and put it there. Thanks for asking!

Dragon_Claw478 karma

Don't have a question. Just want to say that it looks like your Dad truly cared for you. I wish you and your family the best.

BadNewsBobby312 karma

Thank you, it means the world to my family when we hear people say things like this and I really appreciate your comment.

tobeornot0be372 karma

if you knew your dad was going to transport Meth to save your life, would you have let him do it ?

BadNewsBobby740 karma

No. I went through a stage in my youth where I fully understood the implication of what my medical expenses did to my family and I remember wishing I was never born. I have since gotten over this considering it wasn't exactly like I had control over the situation so I learned to live with it but I have to admit it does get me down knowing how much stress and grief I have indirectly put my family through...

JayRizzo03290 karma

First of all, I hope both you and your dad are doing well.

Clearly your dad had no other option. Was it a case of not having insurance, or insurance not willing to pay?

Is he surviving prison ok? Has his sacrifice made things easier/harder for him?

Three life sentences...that's ridiculous. Add in non-violence, and clearly our laws need revision. Have you contacted the ACLU directly, or did they contact you?

BadNewsBobby374 karma

We are both doing well, thank you for asking. We had insurance but they cancelled our plan when we tried to use the insurance to pay for the surgery. --He is surviving prison as good as someone can knowing that they'll never get to be free again. I would say it has made it easier for him knowing that he may have done something awful but that he did it for me helps I think.

Vulturas319 karma


How the holy shit does one cancel your plan when you try to ask the insurance to do what it has to do... ?

BadNewsBobby499 karma

You have to be very clever. The month that we tried to use the insurance they said they were going to help pay. We had the insurance on an auto-draft from the family account and my mom and dad budgeted for this every month and we didn't have a lot of money left over. The policy my family had taken out had fine print saying that if they ever missed a payment, that the insurance company had the right to revoke the insurance. So the next month came around and the tripled the premium without notification and cancelled our insurance.

need_my_amphetamines216 karma

Would you have done the same for your father if the situation was reversed?

BadNewsBobby382 karma

Absolutely. My family is really close knit and I would venture to say that if it was anyone in my family was in a life or death situation that any one of us would sacrifice anything in order to save them. That's just how we are.

coffeeINJECTION173 karma

Though it is a non-violent crime and it was done to help save your life, do you feel that some penalty must be paid for your father's actions? I mean not 3 life sentences but maybe 10 years?

BadNewsBobby393 karma

Yes. Otherwise people would falsely claim to be doing illegal things for similar reasons then get off with nothing. I feel like 5 years would have been sufficient. Or even 10. He is currently serving his 19th year which is far too long for the offense he committed.

CapAnson163 karma

Well what is your health situation now? Did you get the surgery?

BadNewsBobby396 karma

Haha, yeah the true irony of the story is that despite my dad's sacrifice, the surgery only "partially" worked. After it failed initially they wanted to do the same surgery again for another $250,000 but my mother claims to have been spoken to by God and that he told her to decline the surgery. The doctors actually tried to get the state to take me away from her but luckily that didn't happen and 5 years later when I was 7, I had a spleenectomy? (is this a word?) and it more or less made my situation manageable. We later found out that if I would have had the second Bone Marrow transplant that I would have most likely died and they even apologized to my mom for trying to take me away for child "negligence". I still have to take a ton of pills daily and have an extremely weak immune system but other than that, I live a relatively normal life.

TJBAM110 karma

How often do yall talk? Is his jailhouse close to you? I didn't take time to read all the details.

BadNewsBobby253 karma

Unfortunately he is currently in Arkansas (We live in Texas) and before that he was in Florida. This is actually against BOP policy to move someone this far from their homestate but our complaints to the BOP have fallen on deaf ears. I talk to him probably twice a week and they just installed an email system in his current prison so I also message him often.

askmeforgayporn100 karma

That's amazing. Do you ever regret your father doing this? How's he doing now?

BadNewsBobby156 karma

I regret him doing this not for the reason he did it but because I feel like my family may have been better off without me. He is doing well, or as well as he can be doing I suppose.

ExplosiveFlame92 karma

How much was the surgery? Sorry if this is an obvious question, but I'm used to the NHS which provides free healthcare, so having to resort to such measures to pay for a surgery appears to be shocking! Thanks for your time.

BadNewsBobby114 karma

$250,000 for bone-marrow transplant

designher54 karma

How long was your father a drug trafficker and what sentence would you consider fair?

BadNewsBobby107 karma

5-10 years IMO would have been sufficient. This would've meant him missing 2 of his children's graduation and the birth of 2 of his grand children.

killer031141 karma

Did your dad consider Medicaid or a charity hospital system to have the surgery done?

BadNewsBobby77 karma

We tried several different ways to raise the money: fundraiser, contacting celebrities, contacting charities, St. Judes, etc. but in the end it wasn't enough. I would also like to say that although St. Judes rejected me I feel like it was the most logical thing to do at the time and think they are a great organization. At the time my disease wasn't that well documented and they didn't want to waste valuable resources on surgery that wasn't going to guarantee me survival or even the possibility for survival. Better to save ten lives for sure then use that money to give one kid a CHANCE of survival.

czarofbizare40 karma

Heard of the story. This is compltetly absurd. If anybody talks bad about your dad they are a coward and woukd not take a bullet for there son. I hope your dad gets out he deserves it. In a society where chivalry is dead your dad was your knight in shinning armour. I would have done the samething I hope that judge, jury, and prosecuters family is never in danger. If so there family can write themselves off. I am fighting for your dad and others like him. Much love

BadNewsBobby36 karma

Thank you. You truly have made my day infinitely better because of you comment.

crrc35 karma

Ask the president for a pardon

BadNewsBobby75 karma

It would be a commutation of his sentence, not a pardon. And he has submitted a request for commutation but was denied last year. He is resubmitting it this year and we have are fingers crossed.

dolladolla_bill_yall25 karma

Hey Cole.

I'm still expecting you to come up with that badass engine that runs on water.

Love, Maggie

BadNewsBobby21 karma

God I miss you guys. Hope all is well. -- And no worries, I will get it running and get you that Mitsubishi Evo in burnt orange. Don't think I forgot :)

SwitcherooF22 karma

I'm apologising on behalf of all those who will undoubtedly make a Breaking Bad reference.

I'm apologising on behalf of all those who make it so that your father was pushed to criminality in order to pay for your surgeries.

I'm so sorry that this had to happen to you and your family.

Thank you for having the courage to come here and answer Reddit's questions.

I saw that you said "I regret him doing this not for the reason he did it but because I feel like my family may have been better off without me." I truly believe that your family can only have been enriched by your existence.

I hope this goes well for you, my most sincere compliments to your father. What he did, while illegal, is commendable.

I hope the surgeries went well.

My best regards to you, your father and your family.

BadNewsBobby17 karma

Thank you, but no need to apologize. I appreciate your kindness though :)

Echoeesv20 karma

Just wondering what illness you had for the surgery to save you life?

BadNewsBobby31 karma

Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome. Pretty rare but thankfully a lot more understood now than it was back when I was diagnosed.

Helwig_Goeschner19 karma

How old are you?

BadNewsBobby31 karma


patanwilson17 karma

Did the transporting of meth actually pay for the surgeries? or was he busted before that could happen?

EDIT: It's a shitty situation for everybody...

BadNewsBobby30 karma

Yes, the money he made was used for the surgery.

DrWatson16411 karma

I had to write a paper on Wiskott-Aldrich last month for uni, did you get the op? How did it go?

BadNewsBobby17 karma

I did get the operation and they told my family it was only partially successful. I am not a doctor so I don't know the details of how it partially worked but I do know that they wanted to do an additional bonemarrow transplant but we opted out of it. I later got a splenectomy later when I was 7

NickDerpkins8 karma

This is so deep that I want to ask questions like "do you approve" or "would you do it for your kids?" But I can already tell the answer is yes (who wouldn't do anything for their kids?). I don't have time to read trough the articles right now (about to head out) so I guess all I really want to know is how did the rest of your family respond? Obviously their opinion isn't as important as yours or his on the matter, but did they approve? Especially your mothers side of the family I'm curious about. Also I typed this on mobile so excuse any awful grammar.

BadNewsBobby11 karma

They were all very supportive of my family and me and even wrote letters to the judge asking for leniency since his sole purpose for doing those actions (transporting meth) was in order to raise money for my surgery.

WardAllTheLanes8 karma

All these people are speaking off ill of what your father has done to save your life I'm terribly sorry. And thank you for taking the time for answering questions.

What was the kind of drug education you had in your household? As many teenagers end up experimenting at one point or another. Did your father ever try and shelter you to an extent that seemed odd? Were you ever caught indulging in substances? Just curious because I can imagine your dad must have known first hand the dangers of drug abuse and in his position I would probably do anything to keep my kids away from that world.

Thanks for the AMA!

BadNewsBobby13 karma

Unfortunately I have never known my father outside of prison since I was so young when he went in but when I went to see him he would always say "If you mess with drugs your gonna end up in here beside me. Drugs only lead to destruction." I remember at the time I thought that would be awesome because I would get to see him more but as I grew up I realized the wisdom in his words. Growing up with my mom it was absolute 0 tolerance for drugs, alcohol and tobacco. I won't lie and say I am some perfect kid who never tried stuff, I drank in high school on a few occasions at parties though admittedly I was usually the DD.

BlackCaaaaat7 karma

ā€œIā€™m no angel,ā€ he tells me. But, he wrote, ā€œI have never harmed a soul."

This isn't quite true, do you think your Dad has regrets about the indirect harm caused by meth? (I'm not trying to be an asshole, I'm genuinely curious). As a mother, I do understand why he did it, but if it was me, I'd still feel bad about the consequences of my actions in the lives of others.

You shouldn't feel bad about it, though. Your Dad made this decision, one that you didn't ask for, not did you ask for this illness. And I'm sure that your Dad would not want you to feel this way.

And yes, his sentence was absolutely ridiculous. It does highlight the personal sacrifice he made, and a part of me admires that.

EDIT: To understand where I'm coming from, I have seen first-hand how drugs have fucked up the lives of people I love. And the drug dealers I do know/have known (four of them) are all fucking scumbags. I don't have a problem with people who disagree with my view, but here's the background so that you all don't go ahead and make assumptions about me. For the record: I lean towards the argument of legalising drugs so that the use of drugs can be regulated. Impure drugs mixed with dangerous things pose a serious problem.

BadNewsBobby33 karma

Yes, he is very remorseful for the way he went about raising the money. Since he has been in prison he has taken several drug awareness classes and now knows just how deeply drugs can affect peoples lives and how far the ripple effects go. I personally don't think he was in a right state of mind when he made the decision to do this for me but I think he was so panicked to get the money, he made a bad choice.

AbusiveProstate5 karma

This is an amazing story that you can't just judge at face value. Your dads only concern was you, not the junkies who ended up with the drugs. Some might say that it's still inexcusable because he may have ruined many lives, but I disagree. Family is a bond that you hold tighter than anything else in life.

I can 100% understand why your dad would do that, and I can honestly say that my father would do the same. It's a cruel world out there, and there's nothing wrong with valuing family over strangers. I hope both you and you're dad are as okay as possible.

Did you ever hold any ill feelings towards your dad? Like after he was caught, were you ever angry with what he did to help you? Do you still look at him the same way? And, do what do you believe would have been a fair sentence for him to receive, if any?

Thank you for doing this AMA.

BadNewsBobby9 karma

Yes, there have been times I am extremely angry for him not being here. For him not being able to take care of my mother and not being there for my brother and sister. I remember when I used to talk him about this and ask him how could he do this he would always respond, "When you have children, you'll understand. You're a lot smarter than me so I doubt you'll ever end up in a situation like this but you'll know what it means to love something more than anything in this world" I don't have children but I do have a niece and nephew that me and my brother are very close to and I think I know what he was getting at.

plastination_station5 karma

Do you feel any moral conflict about how your dad transporting METH and ruining potentially thousands of lives was necessary to save just to save your one life?

BadNewsBobby23 karma

I do. I often feel like it may have been better if I hadn't been born. And I have read a lot of comments saying that my father deserves what he got and the only response I have is that I do agree he should have been punished but that I feel like his sentence wasn't very just seeing as the people who were actually caught dealing in the case were out in 3-4 years because they pinned everything on my Dad, uncle and another man in the case. My uncle has previously never been in trouble and also received a life sentence. And when I say never, I mean before this trial his worst offense against the United States was speeding down a backroad.

Divotus2 karma

If your Dad had the connections to transport that much meth for your life saving surgery, its a pretty good indicator that he was already into some shady shit. He would probably be in some form of correctional institution, regardless of your sickness.

BadNewsBobby19 karma

Not really, we live in Wise county Texas which is one of the largest meth producing counties in the USA. When I was going to high school it was common to see trailer houses burnt to the ground from failed meth labs. Meth is huge here although I never really understood why.

sgtstandby1 karma

I want to thank you for doing this ama. But curious question, is your favorite breakfast food pancakes?

BadNewsBobby1 karma

Yes lol How'd you know?!!?!?

jroades26-1 karma

Wow, the brigade of downvotes has arrived for anyone pointing out OPs dad harmed a lot of people, and that the drug trade has a huge negative effect on a lot of people. OP obviously hasn't acknowledged that based on his answers. But all punishments for drug crimes are bad, always! Fuck the stupidity in this thread.

BadNewsBobby6 karma

I clearly acknowledged this (as did my Dad if you bothered to read the articles) but if you don't have the time to read through the thread why bother posting in the first place?

joshbeast-8 karma

Are you american? Doesn't Obamacare provide for your surgeries?

BadNewsBobby6 karma

lol, This happened in the early 1990's so unfortunately we did not have free healthcare back then although I'm not sure if this would be covered under the current laws or not. Would be interesting to look in to...

Morthane-11 karma


BadNewsBobby4 karma

No not at all. I actually thoroughly enjoyed that show but there are WAY to many things differently. My Dad TRANSPORTED meth, he didn't create it nor did he deal it. Either way, incredible show.

Aleksander73-16 karma

Holy fucking shit. There is so much shit that doesn't add up. I feel bad for you with your disease but this is BULLFUCKINGSHIT. Your dad is a fucking criminal and is making up a sob story. Don't believe this shit people.

*Did anybody read the fucking article? He was arrested more than once before for selling/transporting drugs. This was before OP was even born.

BadNewsBobby13 karma

Wow, that was really uncalled for. I have always been a gamer and thought I had tough skin but this was pretty hurtful. Instead of actually asking questions to fill these holes you fell like you are sensing in the story, you just go out and say something like this. Makes me sad...