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Name: Sessions III, William
Current Position: Former Chair

A federal judge for the past 15 years, William K. Sessions III has chaired the United States Sentencing Commission since October 2009. Created in 1984 to deal with disparities in sentencing in different states, the Commission develops sentencing guidelines for U.S. Federal Courts. President Barack Obama had nominated Sessions on April 20, 2009, but Senate Republicans held up his confirmation for six months for reasons that appeared to be unrelated to Sessions himself.

Born 1947 in Hartford, Connecticut, Sessions was educated at Middlebury College, where he was enrolled in the ROTC program. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Reserves in 1969. He spent three years on inactive status with the Army, allowing him to pursue his law degree at George Washington University Law School. He interned for two years at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, before finishing law school in 1972.
Sessions served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant at Fort Benning, Georgia, from 1972 to 1973. He then transferred back to the Army Reserves, remaining there until 1984 and allowing him to pursue his legal career.
He was a law clerk for six months for Judge Hilton Dier Jr. in Addison County District Court, where he later worked as a public defender from 1974 to 1978 after a brief tenure as executive director of the Addison County Youth Services Bureau.
Sessions was a private practice attorney in Vermont from 1978 to 1995. He defended several people accused of murder and eventually began to specialize in defending clients accused in white-collar crime charges. During the same period he also was an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School, teaching courses in Criminal Procedure.
From 1977-1980 he was a member of the board of directors of the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and from 1979-1980 he was chair of the Cornwall, Vermont, Planning Commission. He continued to be a member of the Commission for another five years. He was also the elected town agent, or legal representative, of Cornwall from 1974 until 1995, and he was chair of the Addison County Democratic Party between 1985 and 1991.
Seesions served as campaign manager for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) in 1992,
In June 1995, President Bill Clinton nominated Sessions to the U.S. District Court of Vermont. He has served as chief judge since 2002.
In 1999, Clinton appointed Sessions to serve on the Sentencing Commission. He was re-nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003, and served as vice chair for the commission from then until his nomination as chairman.
Sessions was a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 2002-2008.
Sessions has been a member of the Adirondack Mountain Club since 1980. He also coached Little League baseball for more than 15 years. His wife is a retired teacher.
Sessions, William K. III (Federal Judicial Center)
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