Josh Duggar’s Sentencing Date For Child Pornography Charges Is Set, But The Prosecution And Defense Have Very Different Ideas About What His Prison Time Should Look Like

Josh Duggar in his public speaking gig before 19 Kids and Counting ended
(Image credit: Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Josh Duggar’s trial and the time subsequent has been a long and winding road. While the former reality TV star was found guilty on child pornography charges back in December of 2021, he’d actually been arrested the April prior. He spent a lot of time at a third party home while out on bail ahead of his trial and has been in jail since the guilty verdict came down. And yet he has yet to be sentenced. Now, however, we know more about what the prosecution is recommending in the Duggar case, and the amount of prison time they are asking for is very different than what the defense is suggesting. 

The official recommendation from the prosecution notes a few things. First and foremost, it calls Josh Duggar’s efforts to access child pornography “exceptional.” If you can recall trial details, Duggar was found to have created a Linux partition on a computer at the used car dealership in which he worked in order to hide his actions from his wife, who had put tracking software on the computer. He has also been noted to not have taken an accountability for what happened and his legal team worked throughout the case to throw doubt on whether Duggar had downloaded the images at all, despite iPhone 8 evidence placing him at the car dealership on days child pornography was downloaded.

In the official government recommendation (via the Arkansas Democrat Gazette), the prosecution also mentioned the large amount of child pornography that was actually downloaded should factor in when U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks is determining sentencing. 

Government submits that the conduct established at trial supports the application of all contested enhancements and establishes that the offense involved 600 or more images, warranting the application of a five-level enhancement.

Due to these factors, they are asking for the full 20-year sentence, or as it was put in the filing, they are asking “the court impose a guideline term of imprisonment of 240 months.” Meanwhile, Josh Duggar’s legal team also filed its own recommendation for sentencing. 

From the point of view of the defense, Duggar is the sole provider for his wife Anna and their seven children, the last of whom was born after the former 19 Kids and Counting actor’s arrest. The argument from the reality star’s legal team also touches on the fact they feel the prosecution’s numbers were wrong in regards to the images found on the computer (they contend it was 127). His team would prefer their client's lock-up tenure to stick to 60 months, or 5 years. 

A sentence of 60 months undoubtedly reflects the seriousness of the offense, promotes respect for the law, provides just punishment, affords adequate deterrence, and protects the public from future crimes. And, in this case, a sentence of 60 months is sufficient, but not greater than necessary--and that is what the law requires.

The outlet itself notes this case happens to be different than other child pornography cases that have gone to trial. In this case, child pornography was downloaded onto the work computer. It was then opened, viewed and deleted in a relatively short period of time for each of the images found. In addition, Duggar’s legal team has maintained another individual on the car lot may have accessed the images; however, he was found guilty on one count of receipt and one count of possession of child pornography in 2021. He will only be sentenced on the receiving child pornography charge, as it is the larger offense. 

Sentencing is expected to officially come down on May 25th of this year. This new date comes after previous delays led the original sentencing date of April 5th to be changed to later this month. At least one expert has stated they believe Josh Duggar will receive the maximum sentence

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.