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Attorney Advisor: District of Columbia Sentencing Commission

Job Summary

This is position located in the Sentencing Commission of the District of Columbia (SCDC), which is an independent agency within the District of Columbia government. The mission of SCDC is to implement, monitor, and support the District’s Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines, to promote fair and consistent sentencing policies, to increase public understanding of sentencing policies and practices, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the Guidelines system in order to recommend changes bases on actual sentencing and corrections practice and research. SCDC is responsible for implementing and monitoring the District’s Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines used in felony sentences imposed by the DC Superior Court, determining compliance with the guidelines, and providing training to the court, practitioners, and the public regarding the application of the sentencing guidelines. SCDC is also responsible for developing and maintaining an extensive data system used to conduct research and evaluate sentencing policies and practices within the District.

This position functions as Attorney Advisor, responsible for providing legal advice to the Commission and the Executive Director; and developing new and amended legislation, regulations, and contractual activities as directed by the Executive Director.

Duties and Responsibilities

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

Reviews 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 Sentencing Commission’s Statistician. 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 Executive Director and Commission. Evaluates and reviews policies related to data sharing and privacy practices; examines best practices; and recommends policies and procedures to the Executive Director and the Commission. Acts as an advisor for accreditation and other types of internal and external audits for compliance and effectiveness.

Provides assistance on legal technical issues related to the Sentencing Commission’s GRID System, including but not limited to charge code verification and felony offense rankings. Where the Executive Director is recused from participating in a matter, may be required to accept delegated responsibilities from the Executive Director. Keeps abreast of judicial, agency and other changes in laws and regulations related to the functions of the Sentencing Commission. Recommends appropriate course of action to the Executive Director, as deemed necessary. Monitors and conducts the Sentencing Commission’s guidelines and training program. Develops and modifies, as necessary, the annual Sentencing Guideline Manual. Performs other related duties as assigned.

Qualifications and Education

Graduated with a Juris Doctor from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) at the time of appointment, plus two (2) years of legal experience practicing law in area closely related to activity of the DC Sentencing Commission.

Individual must possess one (1) year of specialized experience equivalent to the Grade 06 level, or its non-District equivalent.  Specialized experience is experience, which is in or directly related to the line of work this position and has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities successfully perform the duties of this position.

Must be an active member in good standing of the bar of the District of Columbia, or eligible for waiver into the bar. (If eligible for waiver, incumbent must successfully obtain admission to the D.C. Bar within 360 days of commencing employment).

Work Conditions/Environment

Work environment involves everyday risks or discomforts that require normal safety precautions typical of such places as offices, meeting and training rooms, libraries, and residences.

Other Significant Facts

Ranking Factors:

  1. Familiarity and Experience working with Sentencing Guidelines
  2. Knowledge of DC Criminal Laws and Statutes
  3. Experience with Government Contracting Procedures, including developing Statements of Work and Contract Monitoring Procedures
  4. Proven ability to research and evaluate legal issues
  5. Ability to demonstrate strong verbal and written communication skills

Applicant should submit a cover letter, resume and the ranking factor responses directly to our agency at use [email protected]   Attn: Mia Hebb

Only individuals who meet the minimum qualifications will be contacted.

NOTE: The incumbent of this position will be subject to enhanced suitability screening pursuant to Chapter 4 of DC Personnel Regulations, Suitability – Security Sensitive.

Tour of Duty: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday

Duration of Appointment:  Excepted Service - Employees serving in Excepted Service positions serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.  

Domicile Requirement: Excepted Service appointees must either be a District resident at the time of their appointment or become a District resident within 180 days of their appointment date.

Promotion Potential: No known Promotion Potential

Pay Plan, Series and Grade:   ES-0905-07

Salary Range: $87,815-$131,719; based on funding

EEO Statement: The District of Columbia Government is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, physical handicap, or political affiliation.