Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings live updates: Jackson defends child porn sentencing record

By | March 22, 2022

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., spent his entire 30 minutes of questioning to again accuse Jackson of giving short sentences to child porn offenders, saying he questioned her judgment. Hawley brought up a specific case involving an 18-year-old defendant who Jackson sentenced to three months in federal prison. The government had requested 24 months in prison.

“I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it,” Hawley said. “We’re talking about 8-year-olds, 9-year-olds, 11-year-olds, and 12-year-olds [as victims], He’s [the defendant] got images that added up to over 600 images, gobs of video footage … If it’s not heinous or egregious, how would you describe it?”

Jackson responded, “The evidence that you are pointing to … is heinous. It is egregious. What a judge has to do is determine how to sentence the defendants proportionately, consistent with the elements that the statutes include with the requirements that Congress has set forward. Unwarranted sentencing disparities is something that the Sentencing Commission has been focused on for a long time in regard to child pornography offenses.”

“All of the offenses are horrible. All of the offenses are egregious,” she continued. “But the guidelines — as you pointed out — are being departed from even with respect to the government’s recommendation. The government in this case and in others has asked for a sentence that is substantially less than the guideline penalty. And so what I was discussing that phenomenon, that the guidelines in this area are not doing the work of differentiating defendants as the government itself indicated in this very case. take these cases very seriously.”

But she added: “It’s not just about how much time a person spends in prison — it’s about understanding the harm of this behavior. It’s about all of the other kinds of restraints that sex offenders are ordered, rightly, to live under at the end of the day. The sentences in these cases include not only prison time, but restraints on computer use, sometimes for decades. has required — which is a sentence that’s sufficient but not greater than necessary to promote the purposes of punishment.”

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