Judge Jackson gave minimum sentence even in child sex case involving torture

by WorldTribune Staff, April 3, 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on several occasions disregarded the recommendations of prosecutors and gave the lightest punishment possible to child sex and kiddie porn offenders, a report said.

In eight cases before her, the former D.C. District Court judge and current nominee for the Supreme Court, “heard horrifying details of ‘sadomasochistic’ torture of young kids — including ‘infants and toddlers’ — yet challenged the disturbing evidence presented by prosecutors and disregarded their prison recommendations,” the New York Post reported on April 2.

Jackson even apologized to some of the child-porn defendants for having to follow the statutes, which she called “substantially flawed,” the report noted.

“Over and over, the records reveal, Jackson made excuses for the sex fiends’ criminal behavior and cut them slack in defiance of investigators and prosecutors — and sometimes even probation officers serving her court — who argued for tougher sentences because the cases were particularly egregious or the defendants weren’t remorseful,” Paul Sperry wrote for the Post.

The Senate will vote on her confirmation in the coming week.

The Post detailed some of the cases Jackson, an Obama appointee, tried from 2013 to 2021:

• In 2018, Christopher Michael Downs was busted trading child porn in a private online chat room, “Pedos Only,” including images of adult males raping “a prepubescent female child,” according to court records. He posted 33 graphic photos, including an image of a naked female child as young as 2 years old.

Jackson gave Downs the statutory mandatory-minimum sentence of 60 months, which was short of the nearly six years prosecutors asked for. In addition, Jackson gave Downs credit for time served starting from when he was first incarcerated in October 2018, so technically she gave him only 38 months, or a little over three years. Downs is scheduled for release in December.

• In her April 2021 sentencing of child porn distributor Ryan Manning Cooper, Jackson contradicted the findings of prosecutors, dismissing the crimes they described as “on the more egregious or extreme spectrum” of child porn as not “especially egregious.” Among the more than 600 images prosecutors told the judge Cooper traded were sexually explicit pics depicting bondage of infants and toddlers. Prosecutors also busted him with a video of a “pre-pubescent boy being penetrated anally and orally” by an older male.

“I’m really reluctant to get into the nature of the porn,” Jackson told the court before sentencing Cooper to prison time short of what the prosecution recommended. “I don’t find persuasive the government’s arguments concerning why they think that this is a particularly egregious child pornography offense, which means I struggled to find a good reason to impose a sentence that is more severe in this case.”

• In her 2013 sentencing of Wesley Keith Hawkins, who was busted posting videos on YouTube of boys as young as 11 being raped by men, Jackson gave the young gay black man essentially a slap on the wrist — and then apologized to him for it. Instead of the two years of prison prosecutors asked for, she gave him just three months and sent him to a lower-security facility and even arranged special protections for his safety normally afforded to cops sent to prison.

“I am not persuaded that two years in prison is necessary,” Jackson ruled, arguing that such a sentence does not account for mitigating factors, including “Mr. Hawkin’s … future potential.” Jackson added that “youth and inexperience may have clouded your judgment” and dismissed concerns he was a risk to reoffend. “There’s no reason to believe you are a pedophile or that you pose any risk to children,” Jackson opined. “So It’s not necessary to incapacitate you in order to protect the public.”

In 2019, Hawkins’ probation officer busted him for continuing his child porn obsession. Jackson stepped in and essentially re-sentenced him, this time to six months in a “residential reentry center,” according to her court filing. Asked about Hawkins’ relapse at her Senate hearing, she testified she could not recall the matter. But transcripts show that in her May 2021 sentencing of Adam Chazin, who was busted with 48 files of child porn including images of toddlers, she said “I remember Mr. Hawkin’s case well, even though it was many years ago.” Jackson cited her leniency toward Hawkins while giving Chazin just 28 months in prison (versus the 78 months prosecutors demanded).

Mike Davis, who previously served as chief counsel for nominations to former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, said Jackson is an “activist judge” with extremist views.

“She’s clearly not a mainstream judge. After she heard details of sex torture of young kids, including babies, she nonetheless disregarded the official sentencing guidelines and prosecutors’ recommendations to give rock-bottom sentences in eight of eight cases,” told the Post, adding that she seems “more concerned about the well-being of pedophiles than the safety of your children — and thanks to her, they may be living in your neighborhood right now.”

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