Frank Svetlik
Child Pornography Defense Attorney
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A caller to a Houston conservative radio talk show

Article by Attorney Frank Svetlik
March 22, 2022

On March 22, 2022 as the confirmation hearings for potential United States Supreme Court justice Jackson were about to commence a caller to a Houston conservative radio talk show alleged that Judge Jackson had presided over a criminal proceeding in which the federal sentencing guideline suggested a prison sentence duration of 97 to 121 months for a person in possession of child pornography. The assistant US attorney and the Department of Justice had recommended a sentence of 24 months in custody, indicating in my mind that even the Department of Justice believed that in the particular criminal proceeding the sentencing guideline term was excessive. Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant to 3 months imprisonment. The caller suggested that a reasonable inference from this downward departure from the 97 to 121 months sentencing guideline range and the recommendation of the Department of Justice was that either judge Jackson was a consumer of child pornography or that her husband was a person who used child pornography.

Persons who are accused of possession of child pornography have very few and perhaps almost no legislators who will carry their water for them in defining the penalties to be assessed to viewers of child pornography. Judge Jackson has earlier served as a member of the United States sentencing commission which reviewed the sentencing guidelines and made certain alterations to some of those guidelines. There is no indication that she suggested or altered sentencing guidelines for crimes involving child pornography. The bloodlust of the American public for vengeance on those who are accused of crimes involving child pornography can hardly be overestimated. Whether you regard the use or viewing of child pornography is a serious crime or as the exercise of free speech you cannot avoid the reality that if accused of possession of or distribution of child pornography in the judicial system, be it a state proceeding or a federal proceeding, the consequences are almost certain to be exceedingly serious.

I have not been able to determine whether or not the allegations made by the caller to the conservative radio talk show regarding the downward departure from the sentencing guidelines by judge Jackson are accurate, but the tenor and gist of the caller’s outrage is indicative of the fact that when selecting a jury it may be hard to find a truly unbiased and open-minded group of peers of the defendant accused of possession or distribution of child pornography. You should immediately contact an attorney and take such steps as may be suggested to you if you are accused of a crime involving child pornography.