News Release

December 23, 2010

Contact: Michael Courlander

Public Affairs Officer

(202) 502-4597



Boston Jurist Takes High-Level Post; Commissioner Friedrich Appointed to Second Term

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Senate last night unanimously confirmed United States District Judge Patti B. Saris of Massachusetts as the new Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission. President Barack Obama had nominated Judge Saris to this post on April 28, 2010. Judge Saris succeeds Judge William K. Sessions III as Chair of the Commission. The Senate also unanimously confirmed Commissioner Dabney Friedrich of Maryland to serve a second term on the Commission. The President had nominated Commissioner Friedrich to serve a second term on April 28, 2010.

“I am greatly honored to have been nominated by our President and confirmed by the Senate to serve as Chair of the country’s expert body on federal sentencing,” said Judge Saris. “The Commission plays a critical role in the development and implementation of national sentencing policy, and I look forward to working on a guidelines system that is reflective of the principles of sentencing established by Congress.”

Judge Saris has served as a United States district judge for the District of Massachusetts since 1994, having been nominated to that position by President Bill Clinton on October 27, 1993. Prior to her appointment to the district court, Judge Saris served as an associate justice for the Massachusetts Superior Court from 1989 to 1993. From 1986 to 1989, Judge Saris served as a federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She was an attorney in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice from 1982 to 1986, and held the position of Chief of the Civil Division, Office of the United States Attorney for Massachusetts, from 1984 to 1986. From 1979 until 1981, Judge Saris served as staff counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Judge Saris received her undergraduate degree in 1973 from Radcliffe College and her law degree in 1976 from Harvard Law School. She served as a law clerk to the late Justice Robert Braucher of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1976 to 1977.

Commissioner Friedrich has served on the Commission since 2006, having been appointed to that position by President George W. Bush. Prior to serving on the Commission, Commissioner Friedrich served as an associate counsel at the White House. In 2002-2003, she served as counsel to Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah during his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. From 1995 until 2002, Commissioner Friedrich was an assistant United States attorney in San Diego.

Commissioner Friedrich received her undergraduate degree from Trinity University, her Diploma in Legal Studies from Oxford University, and her law degree from Yale University. From 1992-1994, she served as a law clerk to now Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

By statute, the Commission is composed of seven voting members and two nonvoting exofficio members. No more than four commissioners may be members of the same political party, and at least three must be federal judges. Commissioner terms run for six years and a commissioner may serve no more than two full terms. Other voting members of the Commission include Vice Chair William B. Carr, Jr. of Pennsylvania, Vice Chair Ketanji B. Jackson of Maryland, Chief Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and Commissioner Beryl A. Howell of the District of Columbia, who was unanimously confirmed yesterday as a United States district judge for the District of Columbia. The two non-voting members of the Commission are Isaac Fulwood, Jr., chairman of the United States Parole Commission, and Jonathan J. Wroblewski, representing the Office of the Attorney General, United States Department of Justice.