Sentencing Guideline Specialist

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Job Specifications
Classification Level: 
CL 29
Salary Range: 
$91,221 – $148,279
Multiple Locations
Opening Date: 
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Closing Date: 
Open Until Filled (preference given to applications received by May 30, 2023)
Number of Positions: 
One or more
Vacancy Number: 
Job Type: 
Full Time
Position Overview: 

The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office, Central District of California is seeking exceptional individuals for our Sentencing Guideline Specialist position to be selected and assigned in our Los Angeles or Santa Ana office.  Subsequent to conclusion of the interview process, a ranked list of qualified candidates will be established for selecting one or more Sentencing Guideline Specialists.  The qualified list of ranked candidates will expire 180 days following its creation.  Candidates selected to be ranked will be notified by a member of the Court’s Human Resources Office.

Representative Responsibilities: 
  • Maintain expertise in sentencing law and guidelines to include the latest developments in the presentence process.  This includes identifying and acting on emerging changes in guideline procedures and amendments, and in relevant Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit case law. 
  • Serve as the in-house authority regarding the presentence report preparation and format, case law applications, and sentencing guidelines.
  • Conduct investigations and prepare presentence reports, often taking the lead in unique, complex, expedited and high-profile cases.
  • Perform case law review during assigned periods.  Responsibilities include monitoring, reviewing and analyzing primarily Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court cases, and writing and distributing case law summaries. 
  • Assist in developing new presentence report processes, including new investigative procedures.
  • Under the guidance of the Supervisory U.S. Probation Officer (SUSPO), develop and coordinate training for the staff, Court, and others relating to investigation techniques, sentencing considerations, guideline procedures and amendments, professional development or other assigned subjects.
  • Serve as a resource for staff, providing instruction and consultation on guideline issues and updates to ensure consistent application of the sentencing guidelines.  Assist individual probation officers in responding to objections to the presentence report.
  • Assist the SUSPO in reviewing, editing and disclosing reports prepared by officers.
  • Assist the Assistant Deputy Chief U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officer (ADCUSPO) and SUSPO in responding to judicial officers’ and outside agencies’ requests for information and advice on any issue pertaining to the presentence report and sentencing law and guidelines.
  • Conduct special investigations as assigned by the SUSPO.
  • Appear in court at sentencing, when appropriate, to assist probation officers in responding to questions/objections and/or to aid the probation officer and/or the Court in sentencing.
  • Perform other duties and special projects as assigned.

Applicants for the position must have a minimum of three years federal probation experience, including at least one year as a CL 28 probation officer in Presentence, at the time of appointment to the position.   The successful applicant must have the following: a broad knowledge of the criminal justice system as well as thorough knowledge of federal probation and parole legal requirements, sentencing guidelines and applicable case law, policies and procedures; a broad knowledge of resources available in the specialized area; the ability to evaluate complex and sophisticated criminal offenses and offenders; the ability to work effectively with diverse individuals; the ability to discern deception and act accordingly; skill in interviewing persons with various backgrounds, their families, and others in the community to obtain the information needed; skill in calculating sentencing guidelines; the ability to identify and evaluate needs, develop proposals, and implement programs; the ability to demonstrate leadership skills to conduct training, provide consultation, cultivate teamwork, and take the lead on projects with strict deadlines; strong communication skills in interacting with persons such as judicial officers, attorneys, and law enforcement personnel; the ability to write concisely and clearly; solid computer skills; the ability to work under deadlines; and unwavering integrity.

The selected applicant may not request an intra-district transfer for a minimum of two years from the effective date of appointment.

This position is subject to a one-year probation period, which may be extended at the discretion of the Chief U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officer.


Federal employees are entitled to federal benefits such as health, dental, vision, life insurance, long-term disability insurance, long-term care insurance and flexible spending accounts.  Participation in a defined benefit plan the Federal Employees Retirement System-Further Revised Annuity Employee (FERS-FRAE), and up to 5% matching contributions on retirement savings through the Thrift Savings Plan (401k equivalent).  Generous accrual of paid time vacation and sick leave and 11 paid holidays per year.  Commuter subsidies for public transportation to and from work.  Extensive online training options and in-person training and professional conferences, funds permitting.

Information for Applicants: 

Must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident with authorization to work in the United States who is currently seeking U.S. citizenship or intending to become a U.S. citizen immediately after meeting the eligibility requirements.  As a condition of employment, the successful candidate is required to undergo an FBI background check.  The Federal Financial Reform Act requires direct deposit of federal wages for employees.  The United States District Court and the Probation and Pretrial Services Office requires employees to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Federal Judicial Employees, which is available on the Court’s website:


Applications should be submitted to  Documents must be in Microsoft Word or PDF format, and the email should reference the vacancy number.  Complete applications must include the following:

  1. Cover Letter – Address how your background, skills, and experience meet the qualifications listed
  2. Resume – Include key career accomplishments
  3. Two (2) Most Recent Performance Evaluations
  4. For External Applicants Only:  An application for Federal Branch Employment (AO78) (please visit the Court’s website at to download the AO78 application form).

This recruitment is for a position considered “high-sensitive.”  To determine suitability for the position, applicants must provide criminal history information on the Federal Judicial Branch Application for Employment (AO78).  Therefore, all questions requesting criminal history information must be answered even if identified as optional.  This requirement also applies to any other employment-related forms when requested.

Due to the volume of applications received, the Court will only communicate with those individuals who will be interviewed. Applicants scheduled to interview should advise the Human Resources staff if any accommodation will be necessary to interview.  Unfortunately, the Court is unable to reimburse applicants for any travel or parking costs.

The Court reserves the right to modify the conditions of this announcement, commence interviews immediately, withdraw the announcement, or fill the position at any time, any of which actions may occur without notice.

The Federal Judiciary is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer