News Release

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

For Immediate Release
Augustl 4, 2004

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


McAllen Jurist Takes High-Level Post

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 3, 2004) —President George W. Bush yesterday appointed U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa to be the new chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Judge Hinojosa, a member of the Sentencing Commission since May of 2003, fills the vacancy created in January 2004 when the former chair resigned.

"I am honored to have been chosen by the President to serve as chair of this important Commission," said Judge Hinojosa. "The Sentencing Commission, in carrying out its mission in the federal sentencing system, will continue to work with the courts, Congress, the executive branch and interested members of the public in this important aspect of criminal justice."

Judge Hinojosa, who has served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas since 1983, also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law. From 1976 until 1983, he was an attorney with the Ewers & Toothaker Law Firm and was a partner at the time he became a judge. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1972, and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1975. Judge Hinojosa received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas Ex-Students’ Association in 2001. He served as member (1979-83) and chairman (1981-83) of the Pan American University Board of Regents, and in 1986 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Pan American University Alumni Association.

By statute, the Sentencing Commission is composed of seven voting members and two nonvoting ex-officio members. No more than four commissioners may be members of the same political party, and no more than three may be federal judges. Other members of the Sentencing Commission include Judge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois (vice chair); Chief Judge William K. Sessions, III, of the United States District Court of Vermont (vice chair); Commissioner John R. Steer (vice chair); Commissioner Michael E. Horowitz; and Commissioner Michael E. O’Neill. The appointments as sentencing commissioner of Judge Castillo and Commissioner O’Neill expired October 31, 2003, but both have been nominated for a second term and continue to serve under the governing statute until Congress adjourns sine die, new commissioners are appointed, or they are reappointed to the Commission. One position on the Commission remains vacant.