April 4, 2022

USA: Ketanji Brown Jackson CHOSE LENIENCY Even In Baby Sex Torture Cases. She Heard Horrifying Details Of “Sadomasochistic” Torture Of Young Children, Including “Infants And Toddlers”

NY Post
written by Paul Sperry
Saturday April 2, 2022

In the eight child-porn cases that came before her court, former D.C. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson 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 to give the lightest possible punishments in each case, according to transcripts of sentencing hearings obtained by the Post.

In some cases, she even apologized to some of the kiddie-porn perverts for having to follow the statutes, which she called “substantially flawed.”

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.

The fuller record of her orders as a trial judge, detailed here for the first time, undercuts the White House’s and Senate Democrats’ argument that her sentences were within the “normal range” or “mainstream” of child porn cases, as they try to defend the Supreme Court nod against growing allegations she is soft on crime.

Jackson, 51, who tried the cases as an Obama appointee from 2013 to 2021, was nominated earlier this year by President Biden, who pledged during the campaign to put the first “black woman” on the high bench. The Senate will vote on her confirmation next week.

In July 2020, Jackson gave the bare minimum sentence to a defendant convicted of distributing images and videos of infants being sexually abused, and who had boasted of molesting his 13-year-old cousin, even though she knew the defendant refused “to take full responsibility” for his crimes, a transcript reveals. 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. Downs, then 30, told the group, “I once fooled around with my 13-year-old cousin.” He also uploaded a 10-second video of “a prepubescent female lying in a bathtub and with an adult male inserting his penis into her mouth.”

Jackson herself admitted that the felon was at “risk of reoffending,” the transcript further reveals. But she declined to enhance his prison time based on the amount of porn he distributed, arguing such enhancements were “outdated” and “substantially flawed.” She acknowledged the average sentence nationally “for similarly situated defendants” was 81 months, but she gave him the statutory mandatory-minimum sentence of 60 months, which was short of the nearly six years prosecutors asked for. In addition, Jackson gave him 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, in the pen. 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 he 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,” she argued.

Jackson cited “mitigating factors,” including letters family members sent to her describing Cooper as “kind, hard-working, dependable, loving. I have no reason to doubt those representations.” Striking a sympathetic tone, she advised the defendant: “There are going to be a lot of restrictions that the law places on you because you are a convicted sex offender, and you’re going to need the support of these people during this next phase of your life.”

In his and other cases, Jackson cited criticism of federal sentencing guidelines for child porn being “outdated” and “too severe” to justify her downward variances in prison time, arguing such “policy disagreement with the guidelines” has led her to develop “my own analysis of child pornography offenses.” However, experts point out that her objections are a circular argument, because the criticism she cited to back her rulings is the same criticism she herself wrote years earlier as President Obama’s vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

“She served as the tip of the spear in weakening federal sentencing policy for child pornographers as vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, where she ignored the advice of expert witnesses who disputed her theory that child pornographers are somehow not pedophiles,” said Mike Davis, president of the Article III Project, a Washington advocacy group for constitutional judges and the rule of law.

Jackson complained that current sentencing schemes don’t accurately measure the severity of child porn offenses, because computers, the Internet and digital cameras make it “so easy” to collect, store and distribute illegal porn today.

But prosecutors don’t buy it. They say the amount of computer files stored and/or traded is still an aggravating factor that should be considered in sentencing. They say the perps are not passive actors, merely receiving files haphazardly, in spite of the easier means of collecting such filth digitally. In the cases Jackson heard, prosecutors said the defendants were caught actively soliciting child porn, storing it, and sharing it, typically in chatrooms frequented by pedophiles, or posting it on Tumblr and YouTube.

Prosecutors as well as some defense attorneys also argue non-production of child porn is hardly a victimless crime. By collecting and distributing such porn on the Internet, they say defendants are re-victimizing children who were forced to commit unspeakable acts of sexual violence for their viewing pleasure, while creating demand for future sexual exploitation of children.

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 cops sent to prison.

“I am not persuaded that two years in prison is necessary,” she ruled, arguing that such a sentence does not account for mitigating factors, including “Mr. Hawkin’s … future potential.” (Further explaining her decision, she disputed the severity of the evidence investigators presented and suggested the more than 600 images they caught him with “don’t signal an especially heinous or egregious child pornography offense.”)

“This is a truly difficult situation,” she told Hawkins, according to page 46 of the transcript. “I appreciate that your family is in the audience. I feel so sorry for them and for you and for the anguish that this has caused all of you.”

Jackson then expressed sorrow over even the light sentence she handed down. “I also feel terrible about the collateral consequences of this conviction,” she said, explaining that “sex offenders are truly shunned in our society, but I have no control over the collateral consequences.”

She offered 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.”

Only, Hawkins proved her wrong in 2019 when his probation officer busted him continuing his child porn obsession. Jackson had to step in and essentially resentence 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).

A more serious example of recidivism involved another case Jackson heard with a compassionate ear. In 2015, Neil Alexander Stewart, 31, was caught with hundreds of child sex images and videos. He confided to an undercover officer posing as a fellow child predator that he was interested in “willing” children between the ages “5-11” and sought to meet at the D.C. zoo with the agent’s fictional 9-year-old daughter.

In one text cited by prosecutors, Stewart advised the undercover officer how to groom a child to have sexual intercourse, which they could later videotape: “The trick is starting with really small toys and gradually moving up until something is the same size. And vibration.”

In her 2017 sentencing, Jackson gave Stewart 57 months in jail — well short of the 97 months prosecutors had asked for. The judge set aside prosecutors’ warnings that Stewart was a risk for “hands-on” sexual abuse of children and posed a “continuing” threat to the community. At her Senate confirmation hearing, Jackson was asked if she was aware that Stewart had allegedly reoffended.

“Would it surprise you to learn that Mr. Stewart is a recidivist?” asked Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican. “He [has] warrants issued again for his arrest, just three years after your sentencing.”

Shrugged Jackson: “You know, Senator, there is data in the Sentencing Commission and elsewhere that indicates that there are serious recidivism issues. And so among the various people that I’ve sentenced, I’m not surprised that there are people who reoffend, and it is a terrible thing that happens in our system.”

Mike Davis, who previously served as chief counsel for nominations to former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), 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,” he said, 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.”

Joe Biden's son Beau Biden protected a wealthy pedophile who raped his daughter from age 3 to 5 and began raping his infant son at age 19 months. Beau Biden died at age 46 in 2015. (emphasis mine)
Delaware Online
Beau Biden defends handling of du Pont heir sex case
written by Cris Barrish, The News Journal
April 3, 2014

The child sexual abuse case against a du Pont family heir who raped his young daughter was weak, and prosecutors offered an appropriate plea bargain that spared him prison while convicting him of a felony sex crime, Attorney General Beau Biden said Thursday.

"This was not a strong case, and a loss at trial was a distinct possibility," Biden wrote in a letter submitted to The News Journal.

Biden also defended Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden, who noted in her sentencing order that the wealthy father "will not fare well" in prison. Biden said the judge "exercised sound discretion based solely on the merits of the case before her" and doesn't allow a defendant's "wealth or social status" to influence her decisions.

Richards, who turned 48 Thursday, is the great-grandson of du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont and the son of Robert H. Richards III, a retired partner in the Richards Layton & Finger law firm. His case gained publicity last month when his ex-wife, Tracy, filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the rape of his daughter from ages 3 to 5, and accusing him of admitting to sexually abusing his toddler son.

The lawsuit states the admissions about his son came while he was on probation and were included in reports submitted to the judge. Police investigated claims about the boy in 2010 and did not file charges, but said the investigation is reopened in the wake of the allegations in the lawsuit.

Biden's office initially indicted Richards on two counts of second-degree rape, charges that carried a minimum 20 years in prison. The indictment said the abuse started when his daughter was about 3½ and ended less than a couple of months before she turned 5.

The girl was the "only eyewitness" besides Richards, who did not agree to be interviewed by police, Biden wrote. There was no "medical or forensic" evidence, Biden wrote, to corroborate the child's account to the Children's Advocacy Center at Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children in Rockland, which has experts who interview children in abuse cases.

"The defendant did not make a statement to police, although he made an ambiguous apology to the victim's mother. A conviction would have required 12 jurors to find unanimously, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the crime had occurred," Biden wrote.

Richards' daughter gave consistent accounts about his abuse, according to the arrest warrant filed by New Castle County police Detective JoAnna Burton.

First, she told her grandmother, who reported to the state's Division of Family Services hotline that the girl, in graphic terms, said her father digitally penetrated her, the warrant said. Her grandmother, Donna Burg, told police she took the girl into the bathroom and asked where he touched her. The grandmother said the girl repeated her claim, and said "daddy said it was our little secret," and later said, "I don't want my daddy touching me anymore," the warrant said.

The arrest warrant also stated that Richard's wife told the officer she confronted her husband, whom she was still married to at the time. He said the penetration of his daughter "was an accident and he would never do it again," the warrant said.

At the Children's Advocacy Center, the girl told the child specialist who interviewed her that her father was "never going to come back home' because, again in graphic terms, her father digitally penetrated her two times, the warrant said. She told the interviewer that she told her father it hurt and he apologized, the warrant said.

According to the lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, Richards said during a polygraph taken while on probation that he abused his daughter at least four times. The lawsuit also said the girl told her pediatrician about his father's penetration of her.

Instead of taking the case to trial, though, Biden's office offered Richards a plea to fourth-degree rape, which carries no mandatory prison time and has a range of zero to 30 months under state sentencing guidelines. Biden noted the guidelines are zero to 22 months for defendants who accept responsibility.

Richards' defense attorney at the time, Eugene J. Maurer Jr., recently called the offer "more than reasonable."

"In recognition of the weakness of the case, the assigned prosecutor offered a plea and sentence recommendation that guaranteed the defendant would be required to register as a sex offender, participate in court-ordered sex offender rehabilitation therapy and to have no contact with the victim and any other child under the age of 16," Biden wrote. "A loss at trial would have rendered any of these restrictions impossible."

The perils of a trial in child rape cases involving very young children can be prohibitive, Biden wrote, noting that such victims often provide differing accounts of the abuse and are "on the cusp of being capable of relating an event in detail. The younger the child, the less detailed the account is going to be."

Without physical evidence, "The sum total of the evidence is often the word of the child against the word of the alleged perpetrator." The child "must testify in a sterile courtroom in a room full of strangers."

Biden added that before a child can even testify, a judge must deem them competent and decide they know "the difference between right and wrong." Children who clear that threshold then face "the additional trauma by having to recount the abuse in front of the very person who committed it" usually several months to a year after the crime.

Jurden's sentence of eight years in prison, suspended for eight years of probation plus treatment and no contact with children under 16 "was made after careful deliberation with due regard of all the circumstances," Biden wrote.

A du Pont family heir who pleaded guilty nearly six years ago to raping his 3-year-old daughter was never put behind bars because a Delaware judge ruled he "would not fare well" in prison, court records show.

Robert H. Richards IV — scion of the family who built the chemical empire and kin to the co-founders of a prestigious law firm, Richards Layton & Finger — was given eight years probation and was ordered to seek treatment after being convicted of fourth-degree rape in 2008, the records show.

Richards, 47 — whose great-grandfather is du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont — has never been criminally charged for crimes against his son.

Richards used "his family's wealth and position in the community" to hire an expensive defense team and denied the charges, according to the lawsuit obtained by the News Journal.

But after failing a polygraph test, he admitted to abusing the little girl. Richards allegedly told investigators "he was ill and that he needed medical treatment," the lawsuit said.

Richards pleaded guilty in 2008 to fourth-degree rape — a deal that helped him dodge any jail time.

The lawsuit claims that while taking another lie detector test in 2010, Richards allegedly told the examiner he began to sexually abuse his son in 2005when the boy was 19 months old.

The father allegedly confessed that he "was very concerned something happened with his son, but that he has repressed the memories," according to the lawsuit.

Saying the abuse was "similar to what happened with his daughter," Richards allegedly "promised that whatever I did to my son, I will never do it again," the lawsuit said.

Brendan J. O'Neill, a Delaware public defender, told the Detroit Free Press that the ruling may prompt the public to be skeptical of "how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system."

But he defended the judge's decision, saying sometimes people need help more than they deserve to be punished.
These people care more about the abuser than the abused child. (emphasis mine)
"It's an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well," he told the paper. "Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn't proven to be true in most circumstances." (๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ˜ง emphasis mine)

ABA Journal
written by Debra Cassens Weiss
April 1, 2014

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden defended the state’s handling of the case in a letter to the Delaware News Journal, the newspaper reported on Thursday. “This was not a strong case, and a loss at trial was a distinct possibility,” Biden wrote. Biden said there was no medical or forensic evidence and the only eyewitness was the 4-year-old victim.

Biden also praised Judge Jurden as “an oustanding jurist” who acted on the merits of Richards’ case. “She carefully considers the salient factors in all criminal cases without any regard for wealth or social status,” Biden wrote. In the Richards case, she took into account mitigating factors, including the fact that the defendant had already entered treatment and accepted responsibility.

Richards is supported by a trust fund, the story says. He owns a spacious mansion in Greenville and another home in an exclusive neighborhood.

Jurden did not respond to the News Journal’s request for comment. Several lawyers contacted by the newspaper criticized the sentence. But lawyer Joseph Hurley thought the sentence was justified. “Sex offenders are the lowest of the low in prison,” he said. “He’s a rich, white boy who is a wuss and a child perv. The prison can’t protect them, and Jan Jurden knows that reality. She is right on.”  (๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ˜ง emphasis mine)

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