Senate Confirms Senior District Judge Charles Breyer To U.S. Sentencing Commission

The Court is pleased to announce that the United States Senate has confirmed three new members to the United States Sentencing Commission, including Senior District Judge Charles Breyer of our court: Judge Breyer’s term runs through October 2015. His responsibilities will be additional to his continued work as a senior district judge with our court.

The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent agency in the judicial branch whose principal purposes are: (1) to establish sentencing policies and practices for the federal courts, including guidelines to be consulted regarding the appropriate form and severity of punishment for offenders convicted of federal crimes; (2) to advise and assist Congress and the executive branch in the development of effective and efficient crime policy; and (3) to collect, analyze, research, and distribute a broad array of information on federal crime and sentencing issues, serving as an information resource for Congress, the executive branch, the courts, criminal justice practitioners, the academic community, and the public.

Chief Judge Claudia Wilken observes: “Since joining our court in 1997, Judge Breyer has brought extraordinary energy and ability both to his judicial duties and to the many courthouse projects under his leadership that have made our court a better and more hospitable place for the public and the bar. Judge Breyer's many talents are certain to enhance the important work of the Sentencing Commission.”

Judge Breyer grew up in San Francisco and graduated from Lowell High School, Harvard College, and Boalt Hall School of Law. His early professional career included a term as law clerk to District Judge Oliver Carter of this court and a stint as an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, followed a number of years prosecuting crimes as an assistant district attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. From 1973-1974, Judge Breyer worked in Washington, D.C., as assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. Upon returning to San Francisco, Judge Breyer spent most of his years prior to becoming a federal judge in private practice, with the exception of a period of service as the Chief Assistant District Attorney for San Francisco in 1979. In 1997, Judge Breyer was nominated by President Clinton to a seat vacated by District Judge D. Lowell Jensen. Judge Breyer assumed senior status January 1, 2012; his seat was filled in 2013 by William H. Orrick.

Of his confirmation to the Sentencing Commission, Judge Breyer notes: “Good sentencing policies and guidelines are critical to the integrity of our federal system of criminal justice. I look forward to working with an outstanding group of colleagues in building on the good efforts of the Sentencing Commission in its nearly two decades of existence to date.”