Victims Advisory Group – Charter

Section 1. Establishment.

The Victims Advisory Group (the “VAG”) is hereby established by the United States Sentencing Commission (the “Commission”) as a standing advisory group to the Commission pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 995 and Rule 5.4 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

The purpose of the VAG is—

(1) to assist the Commission in carrying out its statutory responsibilities under 28 U.S.C. § 994(o);
(2) to provide to the Commission its views on the Commission’s activities and work, including proposed priorities and amendments, as they relate to victims of crime;
(3) to disseminate information regarding sentencing issues to organizations represented on the VAG and to other victims of crime and victims advocacy groups, as appropriate; and
(4) to perform any other functions related to victims of crime as the Commission requests.

Sec. 2. Membership.

For appointment of the initial members of the VAG and thereafter as vacancies arise, the Commission shall openly solicit applications for membership from organizations and individuals who have knowledge, expertise, and/or experience in the area of federal crime victimization.

The Commission shall select the members of the VAG by a majority vote of the Commission. The VAG shall consist of not more than 9 members each of whom may serve not more than 2 consecutive terms.

Each member of the VAG shall serve for a term of 3 years, except that—

(1) the terms of the initial members shall be staggered so that 3 members serve a term of three years, 3 members serve a term of two years, and 3 members serve a term of one year; and
(2) the Commission may vote to extend the term of any member as the Commission considers appropriate.

Sec. 3. Chairperson.

The Commission shall appoint the Chairperson of the VAG, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Commission. The Chairperson shall—

(1) preside at VAG meetings and collaborate with Commission staff in the development of VAG meeting agendas;
(2) serve as the liaison to the Commission and communicate with all members of the VAG when necessary;
(3) after consultation with all members of the VAG, coordinate the development and presentation of VAG positions to the Commission with respect to sentencing issues; and
(4) form committees as needed.

Sec. 4. Meetings; Voting.

The VAG shall meet not less than once a year while there is at least a quorum of commissioners serving on the Commission. Meetings of the VAG may be held in Washington, D.C. at the offices of the Commission. Meetings of the VAG shall be approved by the Commission in advance of the meeting. Members of the VAG may participate in meetings from remote locations by electronic means, including telephone, satellite, and video conference devices. Meetings of the VAG shall be funded at the Commission’s expense.

Each member of the VAG shall have voting rights at VAG meetings. VAG action requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the members at a meeting at which at least a quorum is participating. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the members then serving.

Sec. 5. Minutes.

The Chairperson shall designate one or more members to record the minutes of meetings of the VAG. The minutes shall reflect the time period during which the VAG met, the topics of discussion, outreach efforts to solicit the views of the victim community, and any votes that were taken. The Chairperson shall review the minutes and disseminate them to the Commission for its review.

Sec. 6. Suspension or Amendment of Charter Provisions.

The Commission may suspend or amend any provision of this Charter as the Commission considers appropriate.