News Release

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

For Immediate Release
November 13, 2009

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


Hearing is Sixth in a Series Marking 25th Anniversary of Sentencing Reform Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 13, 2009) - The United States Sentencing Commission will hold the sixth in a series of regional public hearings on federal sentencing policy to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (“SRA”). The hearing will be held at the the University of Texas at Austin School of Law November 19-20. The Commission is holding these public hearings across the country to engage federal sentencing experts about issues related to federal sentencing policy and the implementation of the SRA over the past 25 years. This two-day event will include testimony from federal circuit and district court judges, representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, defense attorneys, probation officers, law enforcement, and members of the academic community and community interest groups.

Commission chair, Chief Judge William K. Sessions III (District of Vermont) said, “This is a very exciting time for the Sentencing Commission and other policymakers dedicated to maintaining a sentencing scheme that is fair, just and protects the public. These hearings retrace the steps taken by the Commission 25 years ago after passage of the bipartisan SRA, and play an important role in our statutory mission to review and evaluate federal sentencing policy. We look forward to hearing what these experts have to say and using that information as we lead stakeholders in examining federal sentencing policy.”

Congress enacted the SRA to enhance the ability of the criminal justice system to combat crime through an effective, fair sentencing system. The SRA established the Commission as an independent agency in the judicial branch of government to, among other things, serve as a clearinghouse and information center for the collection, preparation, and dissemination of information on federal sentencing practices. These hearings represent the Commission’s commitment to furthering the purposes of sentencing set forth in the SRA, including the need for the Commission’s work to reflect, to the extent practicable, advancement in the knowledge of human behavior as it relates to the criminal justice process.

The public and the media are invited to attend the hearing, which will be held at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Eidman Courtroom, CCJ Building, 727 East Dean Keeton Street, Austin, TX 78705. On November 19, the hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 3:00 p.m. On November 20, it will begin at 8:45 a.m. and will conclude at 1:00 p.m. The agenda (including a list of witnesses) for the hearing in Austin is available on the Commission’s web site.

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