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November 19, 2009

U.S. Sentencing Commission holds regional public hearing on federal sentencing policy at UT Law School, November 19–20

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

The United States Sentencing Commission will hold the sixth in a series of regional public hearings on federal sentencing policy to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (SRA). The hearing will be held at the University of Texas School of Law on November 19 and 20, 2009.

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 twenty-five 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 officers, members of the academic community, and community interest groups.

The public and the media are invited to attend the hearing, which will be held in the Law School’s Eidman Courtroom.

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 conclude at 1:00 p.m. The agenda (including a list of witnesses) for the hearing in Austin is available on the Commission’s website at

The Commission’s 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 twenty-five 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 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.


Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or

Michael Courlander, public affairs officer, U.S. Sentencing Commission, 240-449-9745.