President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s academic writings and sentencing record reveal a history of lenient punishments for sex offenders, including individuals convicted on child pornography charges.
An article authored by Judge Jackson for the Harvard Law Review from May 7th, 1996 – “Prevention versus Punishment: Toward a Principled Distinction in the Restraint of Released Sex Offenders” – reveals Jackson questioning the necessity of registering sex offenders.
“Community notification subjects ex-convicts to stigmatization and ostracism, and puts them at the mercy of a public that is outraged by sex crimes,” she explained.
Judge Jackson also claimed public policy was guided by a “climate of fear, hatred, and revenge associated with the release of convicted sex criminals”:
In the current climate of fear, hatred, and revenge associated with the release of convicted sex criminals, courts must be especially attentive to legislative enactments that “use[ ] public health and safety rhetoric to justify procedures that are, in essence, punishment and detention.”
Judge Jackson later served as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission for cases related to child pornography. She “advocated for drastic change in how the law treats sex offenders by eliminating the existing mandatory minimum sentences for child porn,” explained the Missouri Senator.
The Supreme Court nominee repeatedly attempted to draw distinctions between the motivations behind individuals who come to possess or consume child pornography.
“Does anybody who is new in the child pornography community come in at the socialization level?” she inquired before asking about “people who are loners and find status in their participation in the community”:
So the people who are in this for either the collection, or the people who are loners and find status in their participation in the community, but would be categorized as nonsexually motivated, how many are we talking about?
Judge Jackson’s repeated attempts to distinguish between types of child pornography offenders culminated in her asking, “whether you could say that there is a… less-serious child pornography offender who is engaging in the type of conduct in the group experience level because their motivation is the challenge, or to use the technology?”
Jackson exercised a similarly lenient approach to sentencing child pornography offenders in practice, with Senator Hawley explaining how she has “deviated from the federal sentencing guidelines in favor of child porn offenders” in “every single child porn case for which we can find records.”
Cases include United States v. Stewart, where the criminal possessed thousands of images of child pornography and sought to travel across state lines to abuse a nine-year-old girl. Guidelines called for a sentence of 97 to 121 months, but Judge Jackson sentenced the criminal to just 57 months.
Similarly, in United States v. Cooper, in which the criminal had over 600 images and videos containing child pornography, the recommended sentence was 151 to 188 months, but Judge Jackson settled on 60 months. This amounts to the lowest possible sentence allowed by law.
In United States v. Chazin, the offender had 48 files of child porn, resulting in a recommended sentence of 78 to 97 months despite Judge Jackson opting for 28 months.
In United States v. Downs, an individual sharing several images via an anonymous instant messaging app, including an image of a child under the age of five, should have received a sentence between 70 to 87 months. Judge Jackson, however, settled on the lowest sentence allowed by law: 60 months.
In United States v. Sears, the sex offender distributed more than 102 child porn videos and lewd pictures of his 10-year-old daughter, which should have resulted in a 97 to a 121-month prison sentence. Judge Jackson gave him 71 months.
In United States v. Savage, a sex offender who traveled intending to engage in illicit sexual conduct and transported child porn should have received a sentence of 46 to 57 months. Judge Jackson, however, opted for 37 months.
If confirmed, Judge Jackson would replace Justice Stephen Breyer.
The news of Jackson’s leniency in an uncomfortable arena for the Democratic Party comes as Hunter Biden’s laptop re-emerges, alongside excerpts from Biden daughter Ashley’s diary which claims the President took “probably not appropriate” showers with her.