Biden’s Supreme Court nominee sentenced the defendant to 21 months in jail, which was less than the defense wanted. When prosecutors, the defense, and sentencing guidelines all sought a heavier sentence, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson sentenced a previously deported narcotics dealer to fewer than two years in jail.
From the bench, Jackson admitted that Daniel Garcia-Guerrero of El Salvador faced a sentence of 27 to 33 months in jail under the sentencing guidelines. Jackson had been advised by both the prosecutor and the defense side that they would suggest the lower end of the range at 27 months.
However, Jackson told the defendant — who was previously convicted of drug dealing in 2003 — that she would sentence him to 21 months under the guidelines, noting that he did not commit another crime when he returned illegally to the United States and that “family circumstances appeared to be the motivation for your return.”
According to a court transcript obtained by Fox News Digital, Jackson said at the sentencing hearing in 2013 that “the just and appropriate sentence… does fall below the guideline range, both in fairness to you because you were told at the plea stage that the guideline range would be significantly lower and in light of the fact that you would be deported upon release.”
Breitbart News was the first to publish the transcript. The case has surfaced as Republicans scrutinize Jackson’s sentencing record, looking for trends where she departed from standards to inflict lighter penalties. Republicans have slammed her record of handing down lighter penalties than the guidelines set for child pornography offenders.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, pointed to this case as an example of Jackson being too lenient with some offenders. According to a news statement from Grassley’s office, she opted to give a “light” term to a felon who had reentered the country after being deported once for trafficking crack cocaine.
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The statement’s headline reads, “Repeat illegal immigrant and drug dealer receives kid glove treatment.” Garcia-Guerrero pled guilty after being apprehended for unlawfully reentering the United States and was sentenced by Jackson in 2013.
His defense attorney told Jackson that he traveled to the United States from El Salvador in search of a better life and began peddling narcotics as a “desperation act.” In 2003, he was sentenced to jail for narcotics charges. In 2008, he was deported from the United States to El Salvador. Garcia-Guerrero apologized to Jackson for coming to the United States in 2013 to give birth to his daughter and stated that he had changed his ways.
“I’ve changed completely,” Garcia-Guerrero told Jackson. “And when I returned here, it was not with the purpose of doing anything evil or harming anyone. My child was going to be born, so I came. And I came because I needed to find a method, I needed to find a means to fight for my daughter’s and wife’s economic well-being.”
In court, Jackson appeared to accept Garcia-reasoning. Guerrero’s “It is also clear that Mr. Garcia-Guerrero returns for economic reasons, presumably to build a better life for himself and his children, one of whom is an infant, who are here in the United States with their moms,” Jackson said at the sentence.
Jackson’s downward departure from 27 to 21 months, according to Josh Blackman, a law professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, does not appear excessive. “Judges have the authority to depart from the rules,” Blackman told Fox News Digital. “Unless it’s a ‘unreasonable’ departure, that isn’t forbidden. And I don’t think this is irrational.” The White House did not reply to a request for comment from Fox News Digital right away.
A conservative outside organization started internet advertising against President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, on Friday, accusing her of being too soft on child pornography offenders and asking a dozen senators to vote against her confirmation.
The Article III Project’s digital ads, which were first shared with Fox News Digital, take aim at Jackson’s sentencing of eight child pornography offenders when she was a federal court judge and handed down prison sentences that were less than what prosecutors recommended and what sentencing guidelines allowed when she was a federal court judge.
“Activist judges like Ketanji Brown Jackson care more about the well-being of pedophiles than the protection of your children,” the ad claims, “and due to her, they may be living in your neighborhood.”
Jackson’s sentence in child pornography cases was the focus of GOP questions during two days of hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. During her confirmation hearings, Republican senators Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina all raised the subject in sometimes heated exchanges.