News Release

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

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2006

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


WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 14, 2006) — The United States Sentencing Commission is holding a public hearing Tuesday, November 14, at the Georgetown University Law Center entitled “Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy – 2006.” The Commission is holding this public hearing to gather information on all aspects of federal cocaine sentencing policy. In September 2006, the Commission published notice of its policy priorities for the 2006-2007 amendment cycle and specified as a priority the continuation of its work with the congressional, executive, and judicial branches and other interested parties on cocaine sentencing policy.

Accordingly, at the hearing the Commission will hear from representatives of law enforcement, the legal community, the judiciary, interested community groups, and the scientific community on this issue. Scheduled witnesses include representatives from the following groups and agencies:

United States Department of Justice
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
United States Drug Enforcement Administration
Committee on Criminal Law, Judicial Conference of the United States
Federal Public Defenders
American Bar Association
American Civil Liberties Union
Fraternal Order of Police

In addition, the Commission is scheduled to hear testimony from academic experts (Dr. Alfred Blumstein, Carnegie-Mellon University; Dr. Bruce Johnson, Institute for Special Populations Research; and Dr. Peter Reuter, University of Maryland) and the medical and treatment community (Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse; Dr. Harolyn Belcher, Johns Hopkins University; and Mr. Elmore Briggs, D.C. Department of Health, Addiction Recovery and Prevention Administration).

The hearing is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and will be held at the Georgetown University Law Center, Gewirz Student Center, 12th Floor Conference Room, Washington, D.C.

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