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A federal judge will sentence Josh Duggar on two child pornography charges on May 25. While the defense has requested a light, 5-year sentence, the prosecution in the case is seeking 20 years behind bars. In a recent court filing, the prosecution explained their rationale, arguing that Josh is “likely to reoffend.” 

The prosecution argues that Josh Duggar is likely to reoffend 

The prosecution has submitted its sentencing recommendations ahead of the May 25 hearing. According to court records, the prosecution believes Josh Duggar should serve 20 years behind bars for downloading and possessing child pornography. 

The prosecution argues that the type of material that Josh downloaded, the previous sexual abuse of his siblings, and his likelihood of reoffending warrant the hefty sentence. In the filing, the prosecution alleges that Josh is at high risk of reoffending due to his past and lack of accountability. The prosecution listed a slew of enhancements that make Josh’s crimes even more serious. 

Josh’s defense team has requested just five years behind bars

Josh Duggar’s defense team does not agree with the prosecution’s assessment of the crimes. They don’t agree with the prosecution’s assumption that Josh is at risk of reoffending, either. While the prosecution would like Judge Timothy L. Brooks to sentence Josh to 20 years behind bars, the defense seeks a much lighter sentence. In recent court filings, Josh’s legal team has asked the judge to consider a sentence of just 60 months or five years behind bars. 

In a sentencing memorandum, the defense argues that Josh Duggar is unlikely to find himself in front of the courts again. The court filing claimed Josh had lived an “admirable” life until federal agents arrested him in April 2021. The defense also submitted several character letters vouching for the 34-year-old used car salesman. One character statement, penned by Michelle Duggar, insisted Josh would have the support of many people upon his release. 

While the defense and the prosecution have both submitted their sentencing recommendations, Judge Timothy L. Brooks will have the final say on May 25. Ahead of Josh Duggar’s sentencing, several legal experts have weighed in on what sentence seems most likely. 

Josh Duggar booking photo from April 2021 arrest
Josh Duggar | Washington County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

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Legal expert and YouTuber, Emily D. Baker, recently theorized that Duggar is unlikely to spend 20 years behind bars but will likely receive a sentence greater than the minimum of five years. Several other legal experts have suggested a sentence of between 8 and 12 years is most likely. That hypothesis falls in line with sentencing averages. 

According to the United States Sentencing Commission, the average prison sentence for those in possession of child pornography was 103 months, or 8.5 years, in 2019. The same source also notes that roughly 28% of former prisoners convicted of possessing child pornography were rearrested within three years of their release. However, most were arrested for failing to register rather than a new sex crime.