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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent agency of the judicial branch of the federal government of the United States. It is responsible for articulating the sentencing guidelines for the United States federal courts. The Commission promulgates the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which replaced the prior system of indeterminate sentencing that allowed trial judges to give sentences ranging from probation to the maximum statutory punishment for the offense.

The commission was created by the Sentencing Reform Act provisions of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The constitutionality of the commission was challenged as a congressional encroachment on the power of the executive but upheld by the Supreme Court in Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361 (1989).

Unlike many special-purpose "study" commissions within the executive branch, Congress established the U.S. Sentencing Commission as a permanent, independent agency within the judicial branch. The seven voting members on the Commission are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and serve six-year terms. Commission members may be reappointed to further terms with the consent of the Senate. No more than three of the commissioners may be federal judges, and no more than four may belong to the same political party. The United States Attorney General and the chair of the United States Parole Commission sit as nonvoting ex officio members of the Commission.

Current membership

The following table lists commissioners as of October 2009.

Member Occupation Date appointed
William K. Sessions III
Chief Judge, United States District Court for the District of Vermont November 12, 1999
Ruben Castillo
(Vice chair)
Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois November 12, 1999
Ricardo H. Hinojosa
Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas June 26, 2003
William B. Carr, Jr.
(Vice chair)
Former United States attorney, Eastern District of Pennsylvania December 5, 2008
Dabney Friedrich
Former White House Assistant Counsel March 1, 2007
Beryl A. Howell
Managing Director, Stroz Friedberg, LLC November 21, 2004
Jonathan J. Wroblewski
Deputy Director of the Office of Policy and Legislation, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Edward F. Reilly, Jr.
Chair, United States Parole Commission

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