News Release

U.S. Sentencing Commission
One Columbus Circle NE
Washington, DC 20002-8002

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2008

Contact: Michael Courlander
Public Affairs Officer
(202) 502-4597


WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 22, 2008) – The United States Sentencing Commission announced today the formation of a standing advisory group to provide the Commission insight and advice on the operation of the federal sentencing guidelines from the perspective of victims of federal crime. The initial Victims Advisory Group (“VAG”) will be composed of six members representing the spectrum of interest groups and organizations interested in victims’ issues at the federal level.

Group members were selected from a broad array of applicants, with the aim of providing the Commission with a victim-centered perspective on federal sentencing issues and providing a key educational role in disseminating sentencing-related information to victims groups and other interested advocacy groups.

Mary Lou Leary, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, will serve as chair of the VAG. The other members of the VAG are —

Douglas E. Beloof
Director, National Crime Victim Law Institute
Lewis & Clark Law School

Russell P. Butler
Executive Director
Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center

Montie R. Deer
former Assistant United States Attorney

Pat Sekaquaptewa
Executive Director
The Nakwatsvewat Institute

Howard Zehr
Professor of Restorative Justice
Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

“The Commission’s formation of a standing victims advisory group represents its interest in receiving input on victims issues associated with federal crimes as they relate to the Commission’s work,” said Commission chair, Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa. “The new members of the VAG commend the Commission for providing a mechanism for meaningful dialogue on victims issues as they relate to the Commission’s work,” said Mary Lou Leary, the new chair of the VAG. “The VAG looks forward to working closely with the Commission in the years to come.”

VAG joins the standing Probation Officers Advisory Group (“POAG”) and the Practitioners Advisory Group (“PAG”) that are dedicated to providing information and practitioner insight to the Commission on the operation of the federal sentencing guidelines.

About the Commission:

The United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency in the judicial branch of the federal government, was organized in 1985 to develop a national sentencing policy for the federal courts. The resulting sentencing guidelines structure the courts’ sentencing discretion to help ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences.