Supreme Court: Hawley spars with Jackson over child sex predator’s sentence: ‘Is he the victim here?’
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Republican Sen. Josh Hawley sparred with Biden Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday as he continued his public questioning of Jackson’s record as it relates to sentencing decisions for child pornography convictions.
At one point in the hearing, Hawley brought up a case where an 18-year-old was sentenced to three months in prison for possessing a large quantity of child pornography and read Jackson’s comments from the sentencing where she expressed sympathy for the defendant and his family.
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) meets U.S. Supreme Court nominee and federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, in his office at the United States Capitol building in Washington, U.S., March 9, 2022.
“This is something I really need your help understanding,” Hawley said as he read Jackson’s words consoling the family of the defendant and saying she feels “sorry for the anguish this has caused” them. Jackson stated that she believes that sex offenders are “truly ignored” in our society.
” I’m trying to figure out Judge, is he the victim or are the victims? Hawley asked.
“Senator, again, don’t have the entire record,” Jackson responded. “I recall that in that particular case, it was unusual for the reasons I mentioned. In that case, I recall that the defense counsel was advocating for probation. He argued that we had a young man who just graduated high school. He presented all his diplomas, certificates, and other evidence and argued that the defendant had entered this case in a manner that was inconsistent with other cases I had seen. “
Senator Josh Hawley (Republican-MO) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
(Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS)
Jackson continued, “Part of what a judge is doing as required by Congress is thinking about this case, thinking about unwarranted sentencing disparities. It’s in the statute. This may have been the subject of other cases or decisions that a judge might have made. Although I don’t recall the details of this particular case, I do remember it being unusual. “
Hawley, seemingly not satisfied with Jackson’s response, said that he is questioning her discretion and again referenced Jackson’s own words from the sentencing.
“To me to take a guy who’s 18 years old, who has what the government says is an extremely large collection of prepubescent pornography, eight-year-olds, 10-year-olds, 11-year-olds, we’re talking about, I mean, gobs of hours of time here that he has,” Hawley said. He said, “And you tell him, well it was just one collection.” He was only viewing it, and they were, in essence, his peers. You tell him that he isn’t a pedophile. I don’t understand how you know this. It’s not clear why this is relevant to the guidelines. It could be. You insist that he is not a pedophile. You apologize for him. He suffered. Then you give him three months. A liberal prosecutor, however, is asking for two years. “
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Hawley has publicly focused on Jackson’s sentencing record including in a lengthy Twitter thread last week when he pointed out several examples where Jackson issued a child pornography conviction sentence that was less stringent than sentencing guidelines and the requests of prosecutors.
“Judge Jackson is known for letting child porno offenders get away with their crimes both as a judge as well as as a policymaker.” The Missouri Republican tweeted. She has been advocating it since law school. This goes beyond “soft on crime.” I worry that it is a record that could endanger our children. “
The White House has dismissed Hawley’s criticisms as a “smear” to “discredit her work” that is “not borne in fact. “
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