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New USSC Chair Confirmed
Chief Judge William K. Sessions III (D. Vt.), was confirmed by the Senate on October 21, 2009, as chair of the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC). He succeeds Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa (S.D. Tex.), who served as chair, and subsequently acting chair, from 2004-2009. Hinojosa continues to serve on the Commission.
“I am honored to have been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as chair of the Commission,” Sessions said. “This is a particularly exciting time, because the Commission is holding a series of regional public hearings throughout the nation to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sentencing Reform Act and the establishment of the Commission. These hearings allow commissioners to hear directly from judges, practitioners, academics, and other individuals about their experiences with, and suggestions regarding, federal sentencing policy.”
Sessions has served as a vice chair of the USSC since November 1999, when he was appointed to that post by President Clinton. He was re-appointed for a second term by President Bush in December 2003. He has served as chief district court judge for the District of Vermont since July 2002, having served as a district court judge since 1995, when he was appointed to the federal bench by President Clinton.
The USSC was established in 1984 to develop a national sentencing strategy for the federal courts. The Commission is composed of seven voting members and two non-voting ex officio members. The other voting members of the Sentencing Commission are Judge Ruben Castillo (N.D. Ill.) (vice chair); Commissioner William B. Carr, Jr. of Pennsylvania (vice chair); Judge Hinojosa; Commissioner Beryl A. Howell of Washington, D.C.; and Commissioner Dabney L. Friedrich of Virginia. There is one vacancy.