Meet the Trainers

Ebise Bayisa, Senior Attorney in the Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, joined the Commission in 2016. For eight years, Ebise was an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of Maryland, where she handled felony trials. Before that, Ebise clerked for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and spent two years at Hogan Lovells as a litigation associate. Ebise brings real-world knowledge of, and experience with, some of the most challenging sentencing topics, including the categorical approach, departures and variances, and best practices, among others. An avid podcast consumer, Ebise, along with Rachel Pierce, has played a lead role planning the expansion of our online offerings to include podcasts and other audio recordings.

Ebise received her undergraduate degree from Boston University and her law degree from American University, Washington College of Law.

 

 

L. Russell "Rusty" Burress, Principal Training Advisor in the Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, has been on the staff of the U.S. Sentencing Commission since its inception in 1985. He is involved in the Commission’s education programs for judges, probation officers, and attorneys on the federal sentencing guidelines.

From 1976 to 1992, Rusty was a U.S. Probation Officer, serving the first nine years in the District of South Carolina and the last seven years on detail to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He accepted a permanent position at the Commission in May 1992.

A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Rusty holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Arts degree in Probation and Parole Studies from Fordham University.

 

 

Alan Dorhoffer, Deputy Director of the Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, has been on the staff of the U.S. Sentencing Commission since 1995. He has conducted hundreds of training programs for judges, attorneys, law clerks, probation officers, and federal bar associations on federal sentencing. Alan has also conducted numerous webcasts and broadcasts on the Federal Judicial Training Network (FJTN). During his time at the Commission, Alan has chaired or been a member of policy teams on Immigration, Sex Offenses, Firearms, and Criminal History, among others. Alan specializes in analyzing Supreme Court, appellate court, and district court decisions interpreting the federal sentencing issues, and in presenting complex legal concepts in terms guideline users can readily understand.

Alan has been an Adjunct Professor at the George Mason School of Law, and was law clerk to the Honorable Edmund A. Sargus, U.S. District Judge, Southern District of Ohio, in Columbus. Alan is a graduate of Binghamton University and the George Washington University School of Law.

 

 

Peter Madsen, Education and Sentencing Practice Specialist in the Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, joined the staff of the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2015.

Pete conducts training programs for probation officers completing initial officer training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as other training programs throughout the country. He also provides assistance on the Commissions’ HelpLine.

Pete was a U.S. Probation officer in the District of Minnesota for eight years, including two years as a Senior U.S. Probation Officer and Sentencing Guidelines Specialist. Before that he worked for two and a half years in in the Northern District of Texas, and for one year in the Southern District of Ohio, primarily as a writer of presentence investigation reports. Pete’s experience also includes supervising federal offenders and working in pretrial supervision.

Pete graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Sociology, and from Nova Southeastern University with a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

 

 

Rachel Pierce, Senior Education and Sentencing Practice Specialist in the Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, has been on the staff of the U.S. Sentencing Commission since 1998.

Rachel develops training curricula and conducts training programs for judges, probation officers, and attorneys on the federal sentencing guidelines. Her favorite guideline topics are Relevant Conduct and Multiple Counts. Rachel has conducted hundreds of live training programs and has appeared in several Federal Judicial Television Network (FJTN) television broadcasts. Rachel looks forward to taking her “on air” talents into the world of podcasting.

Over the years, Rachel has served on several policy development teams, including those studying straw purchasers, human rights, child pornography offenses, and federal drug sentencing policy.

Before joining the Commission staff, Rachel was a probation officer with the Department of Juvenile Justice in Montgomery County, Maryland. Rachel graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice.

 

 

Krista L. Rubin, Education Program Specialist in the Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, has worked at the Commission for 21 years. Krista has conducted hundreds of seminars over the years, presenting to judges, probation officers, and attorneys. In 2017, Krista took on a new role – that of lead curriculum developer for the Commission. Krista specializes using adult education theory to maximize students’ comprehension and retention. Krista lives for that “Aha!” moment in class, when a student catches on to a concept that has eluded him or her in the past.

Krista has been a member of policy teams addressing drugs, fraud, crimes of violence, criminal history, and sex offenses, and from 2003 to 2008 chaired the Commission’s immigration policy team.

Krista is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice and the George Washington University with a Master’s degree in Education.

 

 

Julia Sickles has worked at the Commission since 1999, starting in the Office of Administration’s Office Services and Human Resources. In 2008, Julia became the Administrative Specialist for the Office of Education and Sentencing Practice (OESP) and the Office of Research and Data (ORD). In that capacity, Julia supports the Commission’s statutory mission to collect, analyze, and report data on federal sentencing, and to conduct training seminars around the country for judges, probation officers, attorneys, and others involved in federal sentencing. During her nine years in ESP, Julia has coordinated hundreds of in-district training programs and has been the logistical frontwoman for our annual national seminars. Julia is the first point of contact for scheduling in-person training with an ESP trainer.

 

 

Matthew Whittlesey, E-Learning Instructional Design Specialist in the Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, joined the Commission staff in 2015. Matt is responsible for instituting a comprehensive online training program in support of our in-person training efforts. Matt is also the visual communications talent behind many of the Commission’s new training products, including one-page primers, our quarterly training newsletter, and our national seminar workbooks.

Matt came to the Commission with over 20 years of experience in digital media production, primarily focused on development of web-based training. Matt holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Scientific Illustration from the University of Georgia in Athens.

 

 

Raquel Wilson is the Director of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, the office responsible for fulfilling the Commission’s training mission. She has been in that position since November 2015, after serving as Acting Director since February 2015.

Raquel joined the Commission staff in 2009 as Deputy General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel. At the Commission, she has served on numerous policy development teams, including hate crimes, offender characteristics, and crimes of violence. She was the lead author of the Commission’s 2012 Report on the Continuing Impact of United States v. Booker on Federal Sentencing.

Before coming to the Commission, Raquel spent ten years as an Assistant Federal Public Defender, first in the Southern District of Texas (Houston), then in the Western District of North Carolina (Asheville) trying cases and arguing appeals in the Fifth and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Raquel graduated magna cum laude from Rice University, and received her law degree from Stanford Law School. Raquel served from 1996 to 1998 as law clerk to the Honorable Robert L. Hinkle, United States District Judge, Northern District of Florida.