'No-Brainer' Bill Would Add Fed. Defender To Sentencing Body

By Max Jaeger (December 1, 2021, 5:31 PM EST) -- A Senate proposal Tuesday would create a new seat on the U.S. Sentencing Commission for former federal defenders, a move experts say would counterbalance the outsize influence that current and former prosecutors have over the currently dormant panel.

The Sentencing Commission Improvements Act, introduced by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would expand the independent commission from nine to 10 members, creating a new, nonvoting position for public defenders that mirrors longstanding roles afforded to designees from the Department of Justice and Department of Probation.

"The federal Sentencing Commission was created to be fair, impartial, and capable of providing...

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