News Release

March 5, 2013

Contact: Jeanne Doherty

Public Affairs Officer

(202) 502-4502




WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Judith W. Sheon announced that she will retire on May 31, 2013, after serving for eight years as staff director of the United States Sentencing Commission. She retires as the longest serving staff director of the Commission, having served under three chairs of the bipartisan agency — Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa of the Southern District of Texas, Judge William K. Sessions III of the District of Vermont, and most recently Judge Patti B. Saris of the District of Massachusetts.

Ms. Sheon’s tenure as staff director was marked by the Commission’s transition to advisory guidelines after the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Booker. She led the Commission’s efforts to modernize and expand its collection, analysis, and reporting of federal sentencing data, and oversaw the drafting of several major reports to Congress, including two reports on federal child pornography offenses and the continuing impact of Booker on federal sentencing that were issued last month. Among the Commission’s major policy accomplishments during her tenure are amendments that reduced the guideline penalties for crack cocaine offenses.

“Judith Sheon’s intellect, wisdom, creativity, and energy have been invaluable to the Commission and its work to achieve the purposes of the Sentencing Reform Act,” said Patti B. Saris, chair of the Commission. “She has effectively mentored and led a dedicated professional staff and given sound advice to the Commission, and we will continue to benefit from her various contributions for many years to come. We are grateful for her service.”

Her tenure as staff director caps a distinguished career of 26 years of federal service, including more than 17 years at the Commission, where she previously served as special counsel and principal guidelines drafter. Prior to joining the Commission, she served as assistant counsel to the Science and Technology and Armed Services Committees of the United States House of Representatives, as supervising staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and as a law clerk to the Honorable Morey L. Sear of the Eastern District of Louisiana.