Code of the District of Columbia

§ 3–101. District of Columbia Sentencing Commission.

(a) The District of Columbia Sentencing Commission (“Commission”) is established as an independent agency within the District of Columbia government, consistent with the meaning of the term “independent agency” as provided in § 1-603.01(13).

(b) The Commission shall perform the following duties:

(1) Promulgate, implement, and revise a system of voluntary sentencing guidelines for use in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia designed to achieve the goals of certainty, consistency, and adequacy of punishment, with due regard for the:

(A) Seriousness of the offense;

(B) Dangerousness of the offender;

(C) Need to protect the safety of the community;

(D) Offender’s potential for rehabilitation; and

(E) Use of alternatives to prison, where appropriate;

(2) Publish a manual containing the instructions for applying the voluntary guidelines, update the manual periodically, and provide ongoing technical assistance to the court and practitioners on sentencing and sentencing guideline issues;

(3) Review and analyze pertinent sentencing data and, where the information has not been provided in a particular case, ask the judge to specify the factors upon which he or she relied in departing from the guideline recommendations or for imposing what appears to be a noncompliant sentence;

(4) Conduct focus groups, community outreach, training, and other activities designed to collect and disseminate information about the guidelines;

(5) Review and research sentencing policies and practices locally and nationally, and make recommendations to increase the fairness and effectiveness of sentences in the District of Columbia; and

(6) Consult with other District of Columbia, federal, and state agencies that are affected by or address sentencing issues.

(c) The Commission is designated as a criminal justice agency for purposes of accessing offender and sentencing related data required to perform the duties specified under this chapter.


(Oct. 16, 1998, D.C. Law 12-167, § 2, 45 DCR 5180; Oct. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 14-28, § 3802(a), 48 DCR 6981; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-190, § 2(a), 51 DCR 6737; June 16, 2006, D.C. Law 16-126, § 2(a), 53 DRC 4709; Oct. 18, 2007, D.C. Law 17-25, § 2(a), 54 DCR 8014; Sept. 20, 2012, D.C. Law 19-168, § 3032(a), 59 DCR 8025; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 3128(a), 63 DCR 10775.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-4201.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-28 rewrote subsec. (a) which had read as follows: “(a) There is established the Advisory Commission on Sentencing (’Commission’).”

D.C. Law 15-190, in the section heading and in subsec. (a), substituted “District of Columbia Sentencing Commission” for “Advisory Commission on Sentencing”.

D.C. Law 16-126, in section heading, substituted “Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission” for “Sentencing Commission”; in subsec. (a), substituted “Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission” for “Sentencing Commission”; and, in subsec. (b), substituted “In addition to the duties required under § 3-101.01, the Commission” for “The Commission”.

D.C. Law 17-25 rewrote subsec. (b).

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-168 added (c).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3402(a) of Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-124, August 3, 2001, 48 DCR 7861).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Advisory Commission on Sentencing Structured Sentencing System Pilot Program Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-437, May 21, 2004, 51 DCR 5957).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Advisory Commission on Sentencing Structured Sentencing System Pilot Program Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-510, August 2, 2004, 51 DCR 8967).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of District of Columbia Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-72, July 20, 2007, 54 DCR 7401).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) creation of § 3-001, see § 813 of Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-130, Oct. 9, 2020, 67 DCR 8622).

Editor's Notes

Applicability: Section 4 of D.C. Law 16-126 provided: ’This act shall apply as of January 1, 2007.”