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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson stated that the sentences she gave for child pornographer and possessors of child sex abuse images were lesser than the federal guidelines in part because the sheer volume of child sex abuse images, upon the advent of internet porn, was so extensive that sentences based on the number of images a defendant possessed would have been too great.
When asked at the outset of Tuesday’s confirmation hearing about the light sentences she gave to child pornographers, Jackson spoke about the reasons why she did not impose harsher sentences that would have been more in line with federal guidelines.
“As you said, the guideline was based originally on a statutory scheme and directives, specific directives by Congress, at a time in which more serious child pornography offenders were based on the volume, on the number of photographs that they received in the mail. And that made total sense before, when we didn’t have the internet, when we didn’t have distribution,” Jackson said.
“But the way that the guideline is now structured is leading to extreme disparities in the system because it’s so easy for people to get volumes of this material now, by computers. So it’s not doing the work of differentiating who is more a serious offender in the way that it used to. So the commission has taken that into account, and perhaps even more importantly courts are adjusting their sentences in order to account for the changed circumstances,” she went on.
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