Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans are demanding answers from Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), on a case in which she sentenced a man to just three months in jail. jail for watching child pornography.
During his confirmation hearing, a number of GOP senators mentioned the 2013 case of then 18-year-old Wesley Hawkins, who was sentenced to three months in prison by Jackson for having child pornography depicting prepubescent boys engaging in sexual acts in her possession. .
The prosecution had requested a two-year sentence.
Jackson, as Washington Post confirmed this week, ordered Hawkins in 2019 to complete his custodial terms at a halfway house. The order came after Hawkins continued “to search for sexually arousing, non-pornographic material and images of males between the ages of 13 and 16,” according to the probation officer’s motion filed at the time.
Now, Sense. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) say they want details on Jackson’s case :
In accordance with necessary measures to protect the privacy of victims and other innocent third parties, please immediately provide the Committee with a copy of the probation petition to which you referred in this April 2019 order, and an explanation of what Hawkins did in 2019 which earned him twice as much time [Bureau of Prisons] detention as your original three-month sentence. [Emphasis added]
If discussing these details requires confidentiality, please contact the Committee to schedule an in camera briefing on the subject.. Also, please confirm if computer surveillance software was ever required before 2019 as part of your original sentence in the Hawkins case. [Emphasis added]
Jackson, during his hearings before the committee, did not seem to agree with his history of sentencing criminals to prison terms less than those recommended by the Sentencing Commission.
For example, when Hawley asked her if she regretted sentencing Hawkins to just three months in prison, she replied that her only “regret is that during a hearing on my qualifications to be a Supreme Court judge, we spent a lot of time focusing on this small subset of my sentences and tried to explain.