Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Has A Seriously Concerning Record On Criminal Cases

Judge Jackson’s Record As A District Court Judge Shows She Was Frequently Soft On Crime, Even Saying At The Beginning Of The Pandemic That ‘It Would Be ‘Reasonable’ To Release ‘Each And Every’ Person In Washington, D.C. Jails


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “The president promised he would only nominate a judicial activist for this job…. [U]nfortunately, Judge Jackson’s record and testimony suggest she is exactly the kind of liberal activist that he promised. In case after case, when statutory text, standards, or guidelines pointed one way, Judge Jackson set them aside and charted a course to a different outcome…. At her confirmation hearings last month, the Judiciary Committee gave Judge Jackson a chance to clear up this activist track record. But the nominee did not reassure. She repeatedly declined to answer why her discretion slanted so dramatically and consistently in the direction of going soft on crime. She just kept repeating that she had the discretion. Clearly. What Senators wanted to know was why she used it the way she did. Judge Jackson did tip her hand on a few occasions. She acknowledged that her ignoring the guidelines amounted to, quote, ‘making policy determinations.’ Another time she referenced her personal, quote, ‘policy disagreements’ to explain her jurisprudence. Well, if you look at her sentencing transcripts that’s exactly right. Not only did the Judge herself make frequent reference to her ‘policy disagreement’ with the guidelines; but you can see the prosecutors in her courtroom knew they had to acknowledge her bias as well, before arguing that she should finally get tough in their particular case. But always in vain, of course, because she never got tough once in this area. But prosecutors knew what policy bias they were going to get when they showed up in Judge Jackson’s courtroom. Of course this is precisely what we do not want judges doing.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 4/06/2022)

Judge Jackson Released A Man Who Murdered A U.S. Marshal And Gave A Reduced Sentence To Another Who Was Convicted Three Times Of Assaulting A Police Officer

“Early last year, the judge granted a ‘compassionate release’ for LaVance Greene, who was serving a life sentence for fatally shooting a U.S. marshal in 1971 while helping his bank robber half-brother escape custody in Washington. She made the decision over the objections of the U.S. Marshals Service and federal prosecutors. Jackson argued that the 72-year-old Greene, whose release had been rejected several times by the parole board, no longer posed a ‘significant risk of danger,’ even though authorities pointed out that Greene had recently threatened prison staff with a weapon. The judge cited other evidence that Greene was a ‘model prisoner’ who took numerous prison educational classes, including drug abuse and treatment programs. ‘[T]o the extent the Government suggests that some crimes are just too egregious to warrant granting a defendant's request for compassionate release, this Court disagrees,’ Jackson argued in her ruling to put a murderer back on the street.” (RealClearInvestigations, 3/29/2022)

“After [David Jenkins] was convicted for a third time of assaulting a police officer, who was trying to arrest him on a warrant for assault with a deadly weapon, prosecutors requested he be locked up for 30 months. His defense attorney pleaded for 21 months. In her 2015 sentencing, Jackson gave him only 18 months.” (RealClearInvestigations, 3/29/2022)


‘Jackson Under-Sentenced Defendants In Every Single Child Porn Case In Which She Had Discretion To Mete Out Punishment, Court Records Show’

“[A]s a D.C. judge, Jackson under-sentenced defendants in every single child porn case in which she had discretion to mete out punishment, court records show, even though some were caught with thousands of illegal images and videos of minors … She not only departed from federal sentencing guidelines, but in many cases eschewed the recommendations of prosecutors and sometimes even probation departments, leaning instead in favor of the lighter punishments suggested by the … offenders and their lawyers, many of whom worked in the same federal public defender office where she once worked.” (RealClearInvestigations, 3/29/2022)

One Offender Felt Fortunate He Wound Up In Judge Jackson’s Courtroom, Noting He Might Have Otherwise Spent Multiple Years In Prison Instead Of Just Three Months

“Wesley Hawkins … [knew] [Ketanji Brown] Jackson was the judge who had sentenced him for possession of child pornography nine years earlier, when he was a teenager…. Perhaps most surprising, Hawkins said, was that he found himself feeling sympathy for the judge he had once been angry with for sending him to prison. ‘I wasn’t very happy that she gave me three months, though, after reflection when I was in jail, I was hearing from other people who said it was their first time arrested and they got five years, six years. I feel that she chose to take into consideration the fact that I was just getting started [in life] and she knew this was going to hold me back for years to come regardless,’ he said, ‘so she didn’t really want to add on to that.’” (“Wesley Hawkins, Talk Of The Jackson Hearings, Describes Life After Pornography Sentence,” The Washington Post, 3/25/2022)


‘Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson Doled Out A Lenient Sentence To A Child Rapist For Violating Probation — And He Allegedly Struck Again During The Time When Prosecutors Wanted Him Locked Up’

“Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson doled out a lenient sentence to a child rapist for violating probation — and he allegedly struck again during the time when prosecutors wanted him locked up, The Post has learned. The Biden nominee’s handling of sex offender Leo Weekes’ case emerged in a tranche of court filings and transcripts sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday — just days before the panel is set to vote on whether to report her nomination to the full Senate.” (“Convicted Child Rapist Nabbed For Assault After Lax Sentence From Ketanji Brown Jackson,” New York Post, 4/03/2022)

  • “In 2010, Weekes was convicted in DC Superior Court of raping his 13-year-old niece four years earlier. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail and four years of supervised probation and was required to register as a sex offender for the next decade, according to records obtained by The Post. But instead, Weekes failed to register — lying about his whereabouts by claiming he lived in DC in February 2013 when prosecutors said he was really living with his wife in Temple Hills, Maryland since 2012. He was hauled before Jackson, then a federal judge in DC, on Feb. 19, 2014 for sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to register. Prosecutors asked that Weekes receive a two-year sentence — the low end of the federal guidelines, which ranged up to 30 months — with another five years of supervised release. Weekes’ attorney asked for a maximum sentence of 10 months, plus three years of supervised release. Prosecutor Ari Redbord told Jackson that Weekes had lived ‘an adult life of dishonesty, of fraud, of failing to obey court orders, and that is exactly what he did here,’ according to a transcript of the hearing. Redbord then underscored the seriousness of the rape case, for which Weekes was convicted of simple assault and three misdemeanor counts.” (“Convicted Child Rapist Nabbed For Assault After Lax Sentence From Ketanji Brown Jackson,” New York Post, 4/03/2022)
  • “Jackson, however, appeared unmoved, saying there was ‘no evidence’ Weekes had been intentionally ducking probation officers, though she conceded he had ‘gotten a number of breaks, perhaps undeservedly so’ in the earlier assault case. ‘I do believe that criminal history is having a disproportionate impact on the sentence that the guidelines prescribe in this particular case in light of what you actually did here,’ said Jackson before sentencing Weekes to 12 months, with credit for time served, according to the transcript. He was released five months later, the court documents show.” (“Convicted Child Rapist Nabbed For Assault After Lax Sentence From Ketanji Brown Jackson,” New York Post, 4/03/2022)

“Weekes landed on law enforcement’s radar again in June 2015 — when he would have been in prison had prosecutors gotten their way. According to a DC police report cited by federal prosecutors, Weekes allegedly plied his sister-in-law with liquor while she was babysitting for his wife. He then allegedly started touching her, trying three separate times to pull her leggings down, the report says. On the third occasion, the report alleges, Weekes ‘was able to digitally penetrate her vagina with his fingers and then tried to perform oral sex on her.’ In response, the sister-in-law punched Weekes in the head, stopping the alleged attack.” (“Convicted Child Rapist Nabbed For Assault After Lax Sentence From Ketanji Brown Jackson,” New York Post, 4/03/2022)

  • “Weekes was initially arrested and charged with first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances. However, that charge was dropped after his sister-in-law opted not to cooperate with police or testify before a grand jury. … Prosecutors said Weekes had paid her $2,500 to make the matter go away. He pleaded guilty in DC Superior Court in March 2016 to obstruction of justice and failing to register as a sex offender and was hit with concurrent sentences of five years and six months, respectively.” (“Convicted Child Rapist Nabbed For Assault After Lax Sentence From Ketanji Brown Jackson,” New York Post, 4/03/2022)
  • “Redbord, the prosecutor, couldn’t resist reminding Jackson of her earlier sentence. ‘The Court imposed a 12-month sentence, I think really giving the defendant every benefit of the doubt and every opportunity to complete a period of treatment, supervision, and really kind of have an opportunity to turn his life around… And he failed at every turn to take advantage of that opportunity.’ Earlier in the hearing, Redbord referred to Weekes as ‘the worst defendant that I have ever seen on supervision’ and asked for two years to be tacked on to the end of his DC sentence. Even then, Jackson did not agree, imposing her 24-month sentence to partially overlap with his punishment in connection with the assault on his sister-in-law.” (“Convicted Child Rapist Nabbed For Assault After Lax Sentence From Ketanji Brown Jackson,” New York Post, 4/03/2022)


During Her Time On The U.S. Sentencing Commission, Judge Jackson Explained Her Preference For Letting Drug Offenders Out Of Prison Earlier, And Then Put That Into Practice As A District Judge With The Case Of A Fentanyl ‘Kingpin’

When She Was Vice Chair Of The U.S. Sentencing Commission, Judge Jackson Said She Saw ‘No Difference’ In Letting Criminals Convicted Of Drug Offenses Out Of Prison Earlier Because ‘They're Going To Recidivate At The Same Rate As If We Released Them Early,’ Despite A U.S. Attorney Explaining That ‘During The … Years They Are In Prison, They Are Not Out Committing New Crimes’

“‘Justice demands this result.’ That’s what Ketanji Brown Jackson said in 2011 after the U.S. Sentencing Commission knocked as much as three years off the prison terms of crack-cocaine convicts. As vice chair of the commission, Jackson believed the nation’s drug laws were overly harsh … ‘[B]y keeping them in longer, it doesn't seem to make a difference with regard to whether or not they recidivate,’ Jackson reasoned in a June 2011 commission hearing in Washington, according to transcripts ... Then-U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose objected: ‘It does protect the safety of the public, though, when they're not present to recidivate.’ Unpersuaded, Jackson countered: ‘But the amount of time in jail doesn't affect that because there's no difference. If we keep them in jail for the extra 36 months, or whatever, they're going to recidivate at the same rate as if we released them early. So I don't see how public protection is being affected one way or the other in that scenario.’ ‘Because during the three years they are in prison, they are not out committing new crimes — that's the difference,’ Rose replied, adding that the department had ‘public safety concerns’ over cutting prison terms for so many felons at once.” (RealClearInvestigations, 3/29/2022)

Sen. Cotton Explained How Judge Jackson Twisted A Statute To Reduce The Sentence Of A Fentanyl ‘Kingpin’

“While sitting on the D.C. bench for eight years, Jackson personally granted a number of dangerous convicts immediate release from prison or reduced their sentences retroactively. In 2020, for example, convicted drug kingpin Keith J. Young asked Jackson for a so-called ‘compassionate release’ from federal prison. In 2017, Young was busted with two bricks of heroin laced with fentanyl and an arsenal of weapons, including guns with multiple extended magazines. A jury found him guilty in 2018 and he was sentenced by Jackson to the mandatory 20 years in prison. In order to grant a compassionate release or reduction, a court must find that the defendant ‘is not a danger to the safety of any other person or to the community.’ Prosecutors advised Jackson that Young still posed a threat. But she nonetheless slashed his term from 20 years to 12 years, while transferring him to a lower-security facility due to ‘medical conditions.’ When originally sentencing him in 2018, Jackson told Young she regretted the mandatory 20-year term she was forced to give him under federal law. She hoped to give him half that time. She told him that she shared his ‘frustration’ with the law, which she found ‘quite frankly, upsetting,’ and apologized for having to follow it. ‘I am sorry, mostly because I believe in second chances and because a person with your characteristics and family support would have had a real shot at turning your life around,’ she told the career criminal, who had a prior cocaine-distribution conviction on his record and had taken videos and selfies posing with his guns and bragging about being a drug ‘kingpin.’ She said she wanted him to be ‘there for your kids.’ In addition to the stiff sentence, prosecutors had also wanted the judge to seize $180,000 from the drug dealer, but Jackson strenuously objected to the forfeiture. She even waived any fines in his case.” (RealClearInvestigations, 3/29/2022)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “Keith Young was a career criminal who had previously been convicted of trafficking cocaine. In 2017, he was running a drug business in his house where his children lived and was found with two one kilogram bricks of heroin worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with a gun, ammunition, thousands of dollars in cash and equipment to cut and package heroin for retail sale. The drug lab also confirmed that there was fentanyl in both bricks of heroin. And in one of the two bricks there was actually more fentanyl than there was heroin. While at the DC jail awaiting trial, Young bragged about his arrest and about how he was a kingpin. ... The prosecutors filed a notice of Young's criminal history which meant he faced a mandatory minimum of 20 years. You did not seem to like that, Judge. In fact, at his sentencing, you said -- this is a quote -- that you shared his frustration that you couldn't give him a lighter sentence. I was shocked to see this in the transcript. I was also shocked that you apologized to this drug kingpin for having to follow the law. You literally said that you didn't think 20 years was fair. This is the quote, ‘And for this I am sorry, mostly because I believe in second chances.’ You apologized to this career criminal, a drug kingpin in his own words. He was not some low level first time drug offender who made a bad -- bad choice.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 3/22/2022)

  • SEN. COTTON: “After Young's sentence, Congress passed something called the First Step Act, which reduced sentences for serious drug traffickers with lengthy criminal records. During the pandemic lots of criminals like Keith Young tried to twist the First Step Act's compassionate release provision, which was intended for terminally ill elderly inmates to get early release and blame it on COVID. … You said in the resentencing that quote, ‘Congress did not make their changes under the First Step Act retroactive.’ That if they had, then you could have given him a reduced sentence. But then you said no matter what the law says, and this is a quote, Judge, ‘The court feels as though in this moment per Mr. Young's compassionate release motion the court is being called upon to evaluate the length of his sentence under the revised section of the law in the First Step Act. And so it is almost as if I am sentencing him today.’ ‘And if I were to do so, he would face a sentence that would be well below the 240 months that Mr. Young received. And so for that reason I will grant Mr. Young's motion.’ Judge Jackson before you granted this fentanyl kingpin's motion to reduce his sentence did you contact any of the victims from his case?” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 3/22/2022)


At The Beginning Of The Pandemic, Judge Jackson Said ‘It Would Be “Reasonable” To Release “Each And Every” Person In District Of Columbia Jails, And She Went On To Grant COVID-Related Releases To Defendants And Inmates Implicated In Serious Crimes’

“Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said in the early days of the pandemic it would be ‘reasonable’ to release ‘each and every’ person in District of Columbia jails, and she went on to grant COVID-related releases to defendants and inmates implicated in serious crimes. In the early days of the pandemic, Judge Jackson made a passionate appeal on behalf of inmates in Washington, D.C., jails and said pandemic conditions could justify releasing them. ‘The obvious increased risk of harm that the COVID-19 pandemic poses to individuals who have been detained in the District’s correctional facilities reasonably suggests that each and every criminal defendant who is currently in D.C. DOC custody—and who thus cannot take independent measures to control their own hygiene and distance themselves from others—should be released,’ she wrote. She went on to urge Congress to take action to help.” (“Ketanji Brown Jackson Wanted to Empty Jails at Start of Pandemic,” Washington Free Beacon, 4/04/2022)

  • “[I]n April 2020 Jackson wrote a memo opinion addressing Sean Ray Higgins and other D.C. criminal defendants who asked for early release to home confinement due to the COVID outbreak. Higgins had pleaded guilty to a large heroin trafficking conspiracy involving high-powered weapons and was awaiting sentencing while in jail. Jackson said it was a ‘close call’ to ever detain him in the first place. She revealed that she regretted that she couldn’t release him, along with ‘each and every’ other inmate in district custody. She lamented that her hands were tied by the bureaucracy. ‘The obvious increased risk of harm that the COVID-19 pandemic poses to individuals who have been detained in the District's correctional facilities reasonably suggests that each and every criminal defendant who is currently in D.C. DOC [Department of Corrections] custody—and who thus cannot take independent measures to control their own hygiene and distance themselves from others—should be released,’ Jackson said. ‘But the unfortunate current state of affairs is that the judiciary is limited in the steps that it can take to respond to the legitimate and pressing COVID-19-related concerns.’ At the time, the D.C. Department of Corrections housed more than 1,560 inmates.” (RealClearInvestigations, 3/29/2022)

Jackson Sprung Several Inmates From Jail Due To COVID [Risks] Despite Serious Underlying Offenses’ Including Bank Robberies And Fentanyl Distribution

“Jackson sprung several inmates from jail due to COVID despite serious underlying offenses. One such defendant was Devon Dabney, who was arrested for distribution of fentanyl in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 28, 2020. Dabney was allegedly part of a drug ring based in an area of Washington, D.C., that authorities were surveilling and pursuing. At least one fentanyl overdose was connected to the ring. Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous opioid that is often fatal above the very smallest doses. There were 56,516 overdose deaths reported in the United States in 2020, primarily the result of fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dabney asked Jackson to release him on March 27, 2020, because of the pandemic. Dabney provided medical records showing he had asthma. The jail infirmary issued him an inhaler for the condition, but they had trouble keeping it full. Jackson granted Dabney’s request in an April 13 ruling and released him to home detention, citing his condition as well as the fact that Dabney had been a secondary target in the investigation. An associate was the primary target. Despite his stated fear of contracting COVID, Dabney then asked Jackson to relax the conditions of his house arrest and replace it with a nightly curfew of 10 p.m. Jackson granted that request on Aug, 4, 2020.” (“Ketanji Brown Jackson Wanted to Empty Jails at Start of Pandemic,” Washington Free Beacon, 4/04/2022)

  • “Prosecutors believed Dabney was a flight risk and emphasized he had a pending firearms charge at the time of his arrest for fentanyl distribution. The weight of evidence against Dabney was overwhelming. Two undercover police officers were prepared to testify that he sold almost $500 worth of fentanyl to them, with audio and video of the transaction captured by hidden camera. Given the evidence, and the fact he was facing upwards of a decade in prison, prosecutors believed Dabney was at higher risk of becoming a fugitive.” (“Ketanji Brown Jackson Wanted to Empty Jails at Start of Pandemic,” Washington Free Beacon, 4/04/2022)
  • “At the time of his arrest—which took place during a traffic stop shortly after the alleged sale to undercover officers—Dabney was on release from a Washington, D.C., case in which he was charged with carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device. And when he was arrested on the fentanyl charge, police found a handgun at his feet. He was also carrying two cell phones and $700 in cash. ‘The defendant has now been arrested twice for serious charges—weapons and narcotics related—both within a fairly short time period and one while he was under pretrial supervision by another court,’ prosecutors wrote.” (“Ketanji Brown Jackson Wanted to Empty Jails at Start of Pandemic,” Washington Free Beacon, 4/04/2022)

“In another case, Judge Jackson granted early release to a defendant, D’Angelo Dunlap, who pled guilty to robbing two banks and who had three years yet to serve on his prison sentence when Jackson sent him home. Dunlap robbed two Washington-area banks, one in 2015 and another in 2017, to fund his addiction to heroin. He pled guilty to both crimes and Jackson sentenced him to just under five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He was incarcerated at a medium-security federal prison in Pennsylvania. Almost two years into his sentence, Dunlap requested ‘compassionate release,’ claiming he was at heightened risk of a serious COVID infection due to obesity and comorbidities like heart disease.” (“Ketanji Brown Jackson Wanted to Empty Jails at Start of Pandemic,” Washington Free Beacon, 4/04/2022)

  • “Prosecutors strongly opposed his request, and suggested his request was based on misrepresentations. In court papers, they said Dunlap’s height was ‘mistakenly listed’ as 5’5” on some forms, when his actual height is 5’9” according to intake photos and other records. Correctly accounting for his height indicates he was not obese. Similarly, prosecutors said his medical records showed his cardiac health was sound overall. Authorities also warned he was a danger to the community, citing a Bureau of Prisons assessment that he was a ‘medium risk’ of recidivism and the need to complete a more extensive drug treatment program.” (“Ketanji Brown Jackson Wanted to Empty Jails at Start of Pandemic,” Washington Free Beacon, 4/04/2022)


Judge Jackson Invalidated An Executive Order On Deportation Of Illegal Immigrants, A Ruling That Was Reversed By The D.C. Circuit Court Of Appeals Because ‘Federal Law Gives The President The “Sole And Unreviewable Discretion”’ In That Process

“At issue was a 2019 ruling in which Judge Jackson temporarily blocked the Trump administration from expanding a policy known as expedited removal that allows the government to quickly deport immigrants who crossed the border illegally without involving immigration courts. Previously, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had authorized expedited removal only for those who were found near the border and had been in the country for no longer than 14 days. The Trump administration issued an executive order expanding the policy to those who had been in the country for up to two years. Granting a nationwide preliminary injunction, Judge Jackson determined that the agency had arbitrarily expanded the fast-track process without adhering to rule-making procedures enacted by Congress that require the agency to study the impact of the policy. A three-judge D.C. Circuit panel strongly disagreed and reversed her the next year. The panel, composed of two Democratic appointed judges and one Republican, said federal law gives the president the ‘sole and unreviewable discretion’ to shorten and speed up the deportation process and that Judge Jackson was wrong to intervene. A President Trump-appointed judge on the panel wrote separately that Judge Jackson’s decision to apply her injunction nationwide was a ‘particularly egregious’ exercise of judicial power.” (“Jackson Defends Immigration Ruling That Was Reversed,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/23/2022)


REMINDER: Judge Jackson Explained Some Of Her Sentencing Departures By Saying That She Had A ‘Policy Disagreement’ With Sentencing Guidelines

JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: “Senator, two observations. One, I am sentencing in every case, I have policy disagreements with certain aspects of the operation of the guidelines that I lay out in every case as Congress has required and as the Supreme Court permits. In light of my experience, not only as a district judge, but also on the Sentencing Commission, which did a report about the operation of the guidelines. …”
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “But the guidelines are not mandatory. I wish they were, but they're not. The Supreme Court made that determination. I'm trying to understand why you think it's rational not to sentence criminals based on the number of images they have. You say that this is a policy disagreement that you have with the guidelines. This gets to the core of your judicial philosophy. You served on the Sentencing Commission where you recommended changes to the guidelines based in part on this policy disagreement. So I think it's relevant and indeed vital we understand what the policy disagreement is. That's what I'm trying to get at.”
JUDGE JACKSON: “Senator, I previously explained what the policy disagreement is and I will stand on my answer.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 3/23/2022)



Related Issues: Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations, Crime