A jury in Dallas County, Texas has found a father not guilty of theft after he took away his daughter’s iPhone 4 as a form of punishment.
In 2013, Ronald Jackson found a text on his then 12-year-old daughter’s iPhone that he found to be inappropriate. He decided to take the phone away but the child’s mother, Michelle Steppe, did not agree with his decision and decided to call the police.
When the police arrived at Jackson’s home to recover the phone, he refused to return it feeling that it was within his rights as a parent to punish his child in this way. Steppe, who’s currently married to a police officer, and Jackson haven’t been a couple for years.
Steppe insisted that the phone in question was her property, and after 3 months passed with Jackson refusing to return it, he got a citation in the mail for theft of property. Jackson hired an attorney after he refused a plea offer in 2014 that would have required him to return the cell.
As a result, a warrant was issued for Jackson’s arrest and he was handcuffed and taken to jail in April 2015.
Fast forward to Tuesday, a jury found Jackson not guilty of a crime after a 2-day trial. The judge ordered the jury’s verdict, believing there was insufficient evidence to prove a theft charge.
While the decision may seem like a win for Jackson, in the end everyone has lost. He told KHOU that he “can’t ever have a relationship” with his daughter or her mother again because of what has happened.
Jackson still has the phone.