Democrat Senators: SCOTUS Nominee is in ‘Mainstream’ in Sentencing Child Porn Criminals

By Emily Robertson | March 24, 2022 | 2:55pm EDT
Sen. Richard Blumenthal 9D-Conn.)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

(CNSNews.com) — When asked whether they agreed with Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) point that Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson had imposed very lenient sentences on people possessing child pornography – prison terms far below the federal guidelines -- several Democrat senators said Judge Jackson was in the “mainstream” with her sentencing, while other senators said they did not know enough about the cases in question.

At the Capitol on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked some of the senators, “Sen. Hawley on Monday listed seven child-porn cases in which he thought Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson had given sentences that were too lenient. Do you agree?”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said, “I think these attacks are distorted and distracting. She is in the mainstream of what judges have done in sentencing in similar cases.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said, “I mean, they’ve been found, I mean, baseless by news outlet after news outlet in able of the totality of the number of people -- in fact she’s very much in the mainstream for these sentencing cases, so I just look at the larger data. So, many people have said on the right and the left that these are really baseless charges.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told CNS News, “Look, I think Hawley needs to look at his own judge because I believe Hawley’s judge ruled the same way. His boy, ruled the same way.”

At the Capitol on Monday, the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sen. Josh Hawley referenced the seven cases each that dealt with the distribution or possession of child pornography, along with the requested sentencing for the defendants and the actual sentencing Judge Jackson imposed.

  1. United States v. Hawkins: The defendant distributed multiple images of child pornography, possessed dozens more, including videos. The federal sentencing guidelines were 97-121 months in prison and the prosecutor recommended 24 months. Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant to three months.
  2. United States v Chazin: The defendant possessed 48 files of child pornography. The federal guidelines were 78-97 months in prison and the prosecutor recommended 78-97 months. Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant to 28 months.
  3. United States v. Cooper: The defendant distributed dozens of images of child pornography, and possessed over 600 images. The federal guidelines were 151-188 months in prison and the prosecutor recommended 72 months. Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant to 60 months (the lowest sentence permitted by law).
  4. United States v. Downs: Defendant distributed 33 graphic images and videos of child sexual assault on an anonymous messaging app. The federal guidelines were 70-87 months in prison and prosecutor recommended 70 months. Jackson sentenced the defendant to 60 months (the lowest sentence permitted by law).
  5. United States v. Stewart: The defendant distributed scores of images of children suffering sexual abuse. The federal guidelines were 97-121 months in prison and prosecutor recommended 97 months. Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant to 57 months.
  6. United States v. Sears: The defendant distributed over one hundred videos of child pornography. The federal guidelines were 97-121 months in prison and the prosecutor recommended 97 months. Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant to 71 months.  
  7. United States v. Savage: The defendant was convicted of traveling across state lines to engage in sexual intercourse with a child and also possessed six separate thumb drives of child pornography. Federal guidelines were 46-57 months in prison and the prosecutor recommended 49 months. Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant to 37 months.

“Now those are seven cases that represent, as near as we can tell, all of Judge Jackson’s cases dealing with child pornography from her time on the district court, in which she had some discretion to hand down a sentence,” said Sen. Hawley. “There are some other cases in which the law, she didn’t have any discretion of the law bound on the sentence that she had to give.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) (Getty Images)

 “What concerns me, and I’ve been very candid about this, is that in every case, and each of these seven, Judge Jackson handed down a lenient sentence that was below what the federal guidelines recommended and below what prosecutors requested, and so I think there’s a lot to talk about there and I look forward to talking about it,” he added.

“Now, I will note that some have said the federal sentencing guidelines are too harsh on child sex crimes, especially child pornography,” Sen. Hawley continued. “I’ve heard that argument a lot in recent days. The chairman quotes someone earlier today who takes that point of view. I’ll just be honest; I can’t say that I agree with that.”

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