About the Commissioners


Judge Charles R. Breyer

Senior United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of California. Judge Breyer previously served as Vice Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission from 2013 to 2016. He has served as a United States district judge for the Northern District of California since 1998 and was awarded the 2018 Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award. Previously, he worked at the law firm now known as Coblenz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP from 1974 to 1997, with a brief stint as Chief Assistant District Attorney for San Francisco in 1979. From 1973 to 1974, Judge Breyer worked as an Assistant Special Prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. He also served as an Assistant District Attorney in San Francisco from 1967 to 1973. Judge Breyer began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Oliver J. Carter of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He received his J.D. in 1966 from the University of California at Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law and his B.A. cum laude in 1963 from Harvard College.

Ex Officio Commissioner

Patricia K. Cushwa

Ex officio member of the United States Sentencing Commission representing the United States Parole Commission. Patricia K. Cushwa was nominated to the United States Parole Commission and the United States Senate confirmed her nomination in November, 2004. She was sworn in as a member of the Commission on December 12, 2004. In August 2015 she was designated Vice Chairman by Chairman Patricia Smoot. Vice Chairman Cushwa is currently serving as the Acting Chair of the Commission. Prior to her appointment to the U.S. Parole Commission, Patricia Cushwa served for 12 years on the Maryland Parole Commission, seven of those years as Chair. Her prior experience includes an appointment as Maryland State Senator as well as an elected term to the Williamsport Town Council. She served as adjunct faculty at Hagerstown Community College. Appointed Boards include the Maryland State Board of Education and the Maryland Human Relations Commission as well as two terms on the Board of Trustees of Hagerstown Community College. Commissioner Cushwa co-founded Washington County’s Spouse Abuse Agency, CASA (Citizens’ Assisting and Sheltering the Abused). Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD.) appointed her as Chair of the Washington County Judicial Nominating Commission for Trial Court Judges and she served as Chair for eight years on that Commission. A twenty-three year member of the Association of Paroling Authorities International, Commissioner Cushwa received the President’s Award in 2002 for “significant contributions as a trainer for the National Institute of Corrections.” Her parole initiatives include development of a risk assessment instrument for the Maryland Parole Commission and evidence-based programs for Washington D.C. and federal parole violators. Patricia Cushwa earned a B.A. and an M.A. at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland and resides in Williamsport, Washington County, Maryland.  

Candice C. Wong

Ex officio member of the United States Sentencing Commission representing the United States Department of Justice. Candice C. Wong serves as an Assistant United States Attorney at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. From November 2017 to January 2021, Ms. Wong was detailed to senior leadership positions at the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, including most recently as Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Before entering government service, Ms. Wong worked at a large international law firm and Washington-based litigation boutique. Ms. Wong served as a law clerk to then-Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.) and Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ms. Wong is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as Supreme Court Chair on the Harvard Law Review, and Harvard College.