Durbin Questions U.S. Sentencing Commission Nominees At Judiciary Committee Hearing
U.S. Sentencing Commission is charged with the critical task of promoting transparency and consistency in federal criminal sentencing
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned nominees to the bipartisan U.S. Sentencing Commission at the latest Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearing. Congress created the bipartisan Sentencing Commission in 1984 and charged the Commission with the critical task of promoting transparency and consistency in federal criminal sentencing.
“An amazing array of talent, strong resumes… thank you for being here today. We are lucky that you’re willing to engage further in public service. This is an awesome responsibility you’ll have on the Sentencing Commission,” Durbin said. “We created this Commission and charged it with some pretty lofty goals… we are looking for consistency and fairness in criminal sentencing in our courts.”
Durbin continued, “Sentencing is one of the few official activities in our democracy where one American sits in judgment and is empowered to make a decision that affects the liberty of another citizen… how accurate do you think judges are in detecting guilt, remorse, likeliness of recidivism and the like? And secondly, one of the other aspects of your responsibility will be in determining whether sentences are appropriate to the crime. Questions we have to ask ourselves in Congress, and we don’t always get it right.”
Judge Carlton W. Reeves, nominated to be a Member and Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, answered that judges are in a “unique and excellent position” to evaluate whether or not a sentence is sufficient to the offense.
Ms. Laura E. Mate, nominated to be a Member and Vice Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, noted that judges are faced with a very difficult decision to make when sentencing an individual and Congress is faced with difficult decisions when setting policy. Ms. Mate said the Commission can be very helpful to both entities by “collecting data, pursuing the research, hearing input from a wide variety of sources, and collaborating as a body to then make recommendations.” Ms. Claire McCusker Murray, nominated to be a Member and Vice Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, agreed with Ms. Mate’s explanation.
Luis Felipe Restrepo, nominated to be Members and Vice Chairs of the United States Sentencing Commission; and Claria Horn Boom, John Gleeson, and Candice C. Wong, nominated to be Members of the United States Sentencing Commission, also responded to Durbin’s question on sentencing.
Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.
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