John Kennedy Asks Biden Judicial Nom About Her Decision To Cut Jail Sentence In Half For Man Who ‘Molested’ Kids

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana asked a Biden judicial nominee during a Thursday hearing about her 2023 decision to slash the jail sentence in half for a man who “molested” two young girls.

President Joe Biden nominated Maine Superior Court Judge Julia Lipez to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on May 23. Kennedy questioned Lipez about the March 2023 sentencing of Michael Smith during the confirmation hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Judge Lipez, you, um, you have more sympathy for the criminal than the victim, don’t you?” Kennedy asked, before questioning her about Smith.

Lipez suspended half of Smith’s 12-year prison sentence for molesting two girls, one four years old, the other nine years old, the Lewiston Sun-Journal reported. During the sentencing, Lipez claimed Smith is “a person who has a lot of good in him,” according to the Sun-Journal.

“Mr. Smith molested a 4-year-old girl, didn’t he?” Kennedy asked Lipez.

WATCH:

“Senator, he was convicted after trial of unlawful sexual contact under Maine law,” Lipez responded, prompting Kennedy to say, “That’s a nice way of putting it.”

Smith’s victims described long-term mental effects in written statements provided before sentencing, saying they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and night terrors as a result of the abuse, the New York Sun reported. Kennedy pressed Lipez about the victims, asking if Smith “molested” the nine-year-old victim.

“Senator, again, he was convicted of unlawful sexual contact against two children,” Lipez said. “In that case, I did impose the sentence the state requested.”

Kennedy then read a description of Smith’s acts towards the two young girls.

“Now where I come from, we call that sexual abuse,” Kennedy responded. “You can … pretty it up all you want to, judge. This is what you said at Mr. — Mr. Micah’s [Michael’s] sentencing. These are your words, not mine. ‘What I can say’ — you said — ‘is that this is a very tragic situation of a person who has a lot of good in him,’ a lot of good in him, ‘having done a very… reprehensible thing to two young children causing extreme damage.’ Did I read that correctly?”

Lipez deflected Kennedy’s question by reiterating that she sentenced Smith per the state’s request.

“Did I read that — your quotation correctly?” Kennedy asked, prompting Lipez to admit it was a portion of what she said.

“I bet the victims remember, judge.” Kennedy responded. “And then you handed down a sentence. You gave Mr. Smith 12 years, but you suspended six of ’em, didn’t you?”

Lipez repeated once again that the sentence was at the recommendation of the state.

“Senator, that was the recommendation of the state,” Lipez said.

Republished with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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