TYLER — Joshua Black is no longer Smith County Pct. 2 constable after he was sentenced Friday to six months in jail on a charge of official oppression.

A jury in the 114th District Court also gave Black a $4,000 fine. He was found guilty Thursday.

Judge Austin Reeve Jackson then issued a court order immediately removing Black as constable.

Black was charged in November 2020 with offering to provide a woman with supervised visitation services in exchange for sexual favors. Those offenses occurred around July 31, 2020, according to indictments.

A person convicted of official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor, faces a maximum fine of $4,000 and county jail time of up to one year.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Vance encouraged jurors to choose the maximum punishment of one year in jail.

“For there to be justice … there cannot be a low sentence to those we will hold to a higher standard,” Vance said.

Black has earned every bit of a maximum sentence, Vance said, while strongly discouraging probation.

During the trial, Vance showed a series of text messages he said depicted requests by Black for sex in exchange for payment toward supervised visitation services.

Black operates a company, Supervised Visitation Services of Tyler, dedicated to facilitating visitations for divorced or separated parents. Screenshots presented depicted the use of slang terms and emojis to request sex for visitation payments.

During an interview with a Texas Ranger, Black called the screenshots of texts between him and the woman “embarrassing” joking and flirtatious behavior .

“I’m not that kind of guy. It’s embarrassing. I know it looks like my intent, but it’s not. My intent 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 police officer. She noted Black is proud to be a father as well as a constable.

“Police are sworn to uphold the law, but they’re still human,” she said.

Vance said Black needs to be held accountable for other alleged solicitations of prostitution that other women Black had relationships with testified about. He asked the jury to consider those other acts.

During the sentencing phase, a woman testified Black served as a courtesy officer at an apartment complex where she worked. She said she and Black were initially flirtatious with each other consensually.

She left that job, and Black then was persistently flirtatious while she was married, and she put off his advances, she testified.

The apartment employee testified she eventually couldn’t brush the advances off anymore, including one that mentioned getting sex for money. He was terminated as the courtesy officer after she told the regional manager about the solicitation, she said.

An ex-girlfriend testified Black would send her photos of money in his 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 send her messages after she ended their relationship. He also sent her photos of money in his patrol vehicle.

Boren noted the relationships with the other women were consensual, adult relationships, and the texts shown were selected parts of conversations.

Black’s half-sister, Lindsey Fortner, testified her brother has always been dedicated to his job and a hard worker.

Fortner said Black’s relationship with his daughter is the most important to him.

She testified she was concerned about what would happen to his mental health if he went to jail.

“I would never condone what he did. I also know that we’re human, and we’re sinful. He hurt himself; he didn’t hurt anyone else,” Fortner said.

Paul Black, Joshua Black’s father, testified his son was always “the sweet, funny one.” The elder Black said his son made a huge mistake, but he will still support him.

Black was elected to a four-year term as Pct. 2 constable in November. He was appointed in 2019 to fill the seat vacated by Andy Dunklin, who became the Pct. 2 justice of the peace. Black worked at the constable’s office as a deputy for more than four years, according to the county website.

In addition, Black also is charged with two counts of prostitution as well as another official oppression charge. He is set to go to trial on the first prostitution charge Sept. 27.

The most recent indictments for oppression and prostitution were filed Sept. 9 in connection with a different victim, according to the Smith County District Attorney’s Office. Those offenses occurred around Sept. 25, 2019, judicial records show.

Black also has a $1 million bond for the most recent oppression indictment.

Recommended for You