Department of Human Resources

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

General Counsel: District of Columbia Sentencing Commission


Job Summary

The mission of the District of Columbia Sentencing Commission is to implement, monitor, and support for the District’s Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines, to promote fair and consistent sentencing policies, to increase public understanding of sentencing policies and practices, to evaluate the effectiveness of the guidelines system in order to recommend changes based on actual sentencing and corrections practice and research. The Counsel of the District of Columbia (the Council) established the Commission in 1998 to study sentencing practices and recommend criminal sentencing reforms.

This position is established to serve as the General Counsel to the DC Sentencing Commission (Commission), reporting to the Executive Director of the Commission and functioning as the Commission’s chief legal officer. The General Counsel provides legal advice to the Commission and the Executive Director, represents the Commission and Executive Director in various legal proceedings, and acts as the principal attorney in the development of new and amended legislation and regulations. The General Counsel serves at the pleasure of the Commission.

Duties and Responsibilities

Reviews and evaluates all significant legal and policy initiatives related to the DC Sentencing Guidelines. Reviews and evaluates all litigation against the Commission. Intervenes, as appropriate, in on-going litigation brought by or against the Commission. Designs and implements legal strategies for modifications to the Sentencing Guidelines, under the direction of the Executive Director and/or Commission. Reviews various statutes, legal documents and relevant case law to determine whether execution of any proposed actions is in the best interest of the Commission. Prepares written policy statements for action taken by the Commission. Coordinates legal, policy and operational initiatives related to policy or technical modifications to the Sentencing Guidelines. Drafts legislation or prepares reports on changes in basic sentencing structure and Commission related legislation. In drafting or reviewing proposals: analyzes the case law, relevant court decisions; evaluates the facts; determines questions of law or relevant policy decisions; and either recommends adoption of decisions; and either recommends adoption of the decision prepared by another attorney or drafts a comprehensive decision for consideration.

Acts as principal attorney in recommending policies, procedures, regulations, and implementing new or amended legislation. Ensures consistency with the intent of the law and soundness of operation. Completes and verifies Guideline compliance checks and ensures that all sentences imposed are accurately classified as compliant or non-compliant via departure letters and data quality assurance, in collaboration with the agency's Data Manager. Ensures that agency operations, activities and Commission actions are in compliance with relevant District laws and regulations. Drafts formal and informal advisory opinions relating to the operations of agency in a legal context. Defends those decisions when they are questioned or addressed internally or externally. Supplies legal guidance to the Commission and Executive Director. Evaluates and proposes policies related to data sharing and privacy practices for the Commission: examines best practices; and recommends policies and procedures to the Executive Director and the Commission. Addresses, delegates and/or resolves all FOIA issues. Keeps abreast of judicial, agency and other changes in laws and regulations related to the functions of the Commission. Ensures that all agency Sentencing Guidelines inquiries are addressed in an accurate and efficient manner and delegates such inquires as needed.

Qualifications and Education

Education and Experience: The incumbent must have a law degree and be a member of the District of Columbia Bar or eligible for waiver into the bar. (If eligible for waiver, incumbent must successfully obtain admission to the D.C. Bar within one year of commencing employment), plus a minimum of three (3) years of legal experience practicing law in area closely related to activity of the DC Sentencing Commission.

Licenses and Certifications

Must be an active member in good standing of the bar of District of Columbia.

Working Conditions/Environment

The work is sedentary. Typically, the employee may sit comfortably to do the work. However, there may be some walking, standing, bending, carrying of light to medium items, such as paper, books, or small parts; and driving a vehicle may be required. No special physical demands are required to perform the work. The immediate work environment involves everyday risks or discomforts that require normal safety precautions typical of such places as offices, meeting and training rooms, libraries, residences, or commercial vehicles.

Other Significant Facts

Pay Plan, Series, Grade:  ES-0905-08
Tour of Duty: 9:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Monday - Friday
Promotion Potential:  No known promotion potential
Duration of Appointment:  Excepted Service Appointed Appointment (ES) – At will
Collective Bargaining Unit (Non-Union): This position is not in a collective bargaining unit.
Position Designation: This position is subject to enhanced suitability screening per District Personnel Manual, Chapter 4 Suitability, which may include pre-employment background and/or credit checks as applicable.  

Applicants must submit cover letter and resume directly to:  The DC Sentencing Commissions inbox, at [email protected].

The District of Columbia is an equal opportunity employer. In accordance with DC Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, DC Official Code 2-1401.01.