Ketanji Brown Jackson on Crime



Prisons must evaluate and accommodate deaf prisoners

In Pierce v. District of Columbia, Judge Jackson considered disability discrimination and retaliation claims brought by a deaf man who was incarcerated in the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility without accommodations such as access to an American Sign Language interpreter. Judge Jackson ruled in favor of the plaintiff on his discrimination claims, finding dispositive the fact that prison staff "did nothing to evaluate [the plaintiff's] need for accommodation, despite their knowledge that he was disabled." Rejecting as "preposterous" the government's claim that the plaintiff had not requested accommodations for his disability, she held that "the failure of prison staff to conduct an informed assessment of the abilities and accommodation needs of a new inmate who is obviously disabled is intentional discrimination in the form of deliberate indifference as a matter of law."
Source: Cong. Research Service on 2022 SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings , Mar 14, 2022

Miranda warning not required outside of police interrogation

In a case addressing Fifth Amendment protections, United States v. Richardson, Judge Jackson denied a motion to suppress statements that the defendant claimed were the product of custodial interrogation by law enforcement without constitutionally required Miranda warnings.

The defendant was detained in the living room of the apartment while law enforcement officers searched the apartment for drugs and guns. An officer discovered a handgun hidden in a laundry basket, and the defendant made several statements that the handgun was hers.

Judge Jackson ultimately concluded that Miranda warnings were not required because the defendant "was not being subjected to police interrogation at the time she made the statements," based on testimony indicating the defendant volunteered the statements in an atmosphere that was neither "inherently coercive" nor designed "to elicit an incriminating response" from her.

Source: Cong. Research Service on 2022 SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings , Mar 14, 2022

No expectation of privacy when not in your apartment

In United States v. Leake, Judge Jackson denied the suppression motion of a defendant who claimed that officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they entered his apartment building's laundry room, arrested him without sufficient cause, and used excessive force. Judge Jackson concluded that the defendant lacked standing to challenge the officers' entry to the apartment building's laundry room because it was a space in which he lacked a common law property-interest, the right to exclude individuals, or a reasonable expectation of privacy. Jackson also determined that when one of the officers grabbed the defendant's arm, it amounted to an investigatory stop justified by reasonable suspicion of criminal activity given that the defendant was standing in a suspicious position holding a "small clear plastic baggie in his hand."

Judge Jackson also determined that the officers did not use excessive force by tackling the defendant when he tried to flee (and then fight) the officers.

Source: Cong. Research Service on 2022 SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings , Mar 14, 2022

Denied release of child pornographer as risk to community

In United States v. Sears Judge Jackson denied compassionate release of an inmate with medical conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and asthma, that he claimed placed him at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19. The Judge's opinion concluded that reduction of the inmate's sentence would not comport with statutory sentencing factors concerning the purposes of punishment, citing the "extremely serious" nature of the inmate's crime (distribution of child pornography), his high risk of reoffending and lack of sex offender treatment while in federal custody, and the risk to the community if he were released.
Source: Cong. Research Service on 2022 SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings , Mar 14, 2022

On US Sentencing Commission, helped reduce drug sentences

She is also a leading expert on federal sentencing policy, having previously served as vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission. While Jackson was on the commission, it retroactively reduced sentences for many crack cocaine offenses in 2011, permitting about 12,000 incarcerated individuals to seek reduced sentences and making an estimated 1,800 inmates eligible for immediate release. It also cut sentences for most federal drug offenders during her last year as a commissioner.
Source: Vox.com on Supreme Court nominee , Feb 25, 2022

Pushed to commute uncle's sentence under "three strikes" law

The thick envelope that Ketanji Brown Jackson received in the mail in 2005, when she was a federal public defender in D.C., was like many others inmates had sent to her office: laden with stamps and stuffed with court filings and a plea for help. But this one was a personal appeal. It had been sent by her distant uncle, Thomas Brown Jr., inmate #15854-004, who was serving a life sentence in Florida for a nonviolent drug crime.

Jackson's brush with her uncle and his prison sentence, which arose out of the nation's war on drugs, adds to a set of life experiences that would distinguish her from previous justices. Brown was sentenced to life under a "three strikes" law. After a referral from Jackson, a powerhouse law firm took his case pro bono, and President Barack Obama years later commuted his sentence.

By the time her uncle contacted her, that person said, she was an experienced attorney and "already knew what has become a national consensus that the nation's drug laws were overly harsh."

Source: Washington Post on 2022 SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings , Jan 30, 2022

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Other Justices on Crime: Ketanji Brown Jackson on other issues:
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Ketanji Brown Jackson(nominated 2022)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)

Former Justices:
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
Anthony Kennedy(1988-2018)
Antonin Scalia(1986-2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
David Souter(1990-2009)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
William Rehnquist(1975-2005)

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Page last updated: Mar 21, 2022