Sentencing Guideline Specialist – Saint Paul, MN 55101

Posting Date: November 15, 2019

Closing Date: Friday, December 20, 2019, at 5:00 p.m

Area of Consideration: Only open to current judiciary employees

Vacancies: Full-Time (One)

Location: Saint Paul, MN

Classification and Salary Range:

  • CL 29 $76,075 to $123,61

    (Position may be transferable to other units depending on agency needs)

Vacancy Announcement Number: 2019-25


U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services in the District of Minnesota has its headquarters in the U.S. Courthouse located at 300 South Fourth Street, Suite 406, Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are four field offices located in Bemidji, Duluth, Fergus Falls, and Saint Paul. The Probation and Pretrial Services Office serves the Judicial District of Minnesota, which includes 87 counties.


This position is located in the U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services Office, in St. Paul, MN. The Sentencing Guideline Specialist (SGS) manages a caseload that includes a significant proportion of defendants of a specialized type and serves as a local expert on cases of this type. The SGS serves as the district’s authority on presentence investigations and sentencing guidelines. Specialization may range from complex high- profile cases (i.e., Sex Trafficking, Financial Crimes, etc.) to such involving national security. The SGS must carry at least a 50 percent caseload, spending at least 50 percent of their time working with persons under supervision. Further, the SGS shall perform some administrative services, by way of guiding the work of other staff.

This position is considered hazardous duty, which requires irregular work hours, to include nights, weekends, and holidays. This position also requires frequent travel to divisional offices.

This position is slated to be filled mid to late fiscal year 2020.


  • Perform investigative and supervision responsibilities for persons under supervision in both general and specialized cases, to include offenders/defendants identified as high-risk. Conduct investigations, prepare reports, and make recommendations for the court by interviewing offenders/defendants and their families and collecting background data from various sources. An integral part of this process is the interpretation and application of policies and procedures, statutes, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures, and may include U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Monographs, and relevant case law in the area of specialization.

  • Participate in on-going training and educational opportunities to further develop and/or enhance techniques and skills relating to investigation and supervision practices of offenders/defendants in area of specialization. Provide management and staff with ongoing updates related to changes with this offender/defendant population.

  • Track developments in the law and update staff and the court. Maintain personal contact with offenders/defendants through office and community contacts and by telephone. Investigate employment, sources of income, lifestyle, and associates. Address substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, and similar problems.

  • Investigate and analyze financial documents and activities and take appropriate action. Interview victim(s) and provide victim impact statements to the court. Ensure compliance with Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. Analyze and resolve disputed issues involving offenders/defendants and present unresolved issues to the court for resolution.

  • Serve as district authority on sentencing and sentencing guidelines issues. Maintain current knowledge of case law and Sentencing Commission, Administrative Office, and local policies and procedures pertaining to sentencing. Maintain up- to-date district-wide resource materials relating to the sentencing process. Train district staff, law enforcement agencies,U.S. Attorney’s staff, and/or defense attorneys on sentencing guidelines and sentencing matters, including new developments in sentencing issues, guideline amendments, case law, etc.

  • Serve as the lead with district presentence groups by conducting regularly scheduled meetings. Serve as the group’s representative to management and address any group issues of concern during management meetings.

  • Complete presentence investigations for cases involving extremely complex issues and/or cases of unusual notoriety (e.g., white collar, organized crime, large conspiracy drug cases, and criminal organizations).

  • Conduct the investigation on the lead and/or the “most culpable” defendant in multi-defendant cases and coordinate preparation of the offense conduct section of the presentence reports in applicable cases. Coordinate preparation of the victim impact portion of the presentence report in multi-defendant cases when assigned lead responsibilities in such cases.

  • Serve as an expert and district representative of Westlaw and Lexis and act as trainer for staff in research procedures. Serve as a consultant to presentence officers as problems arise during the course of an investigation and/or during preparation of a presentence report, in the absence of, or at the request of a SUSPO.

  • Demonstrate and maintain proficiency in financial investigation techniques and assist officers with these matters, as requested. Maintain resource materials for the district relating to financial investigations. Train staff on financial matters.

  • Serve as resource to SUSPOs by reviewing presentence reports and/or sentencing litany prepared by officers, and make appropriate recommendations for addressing any performance review concerns.

  • Update policy and procedures related to the investigation and preparation of presentence reports and provide related training to staff at least annually.

  • Schedule and conduct drug use detection tests and DNA collection of offenders/defendants, following established procedures and protocols. Maintain paper and computerized records of test results. Maintain chain of custody of urinalysis testing materials. Respond to judicial officer’s request for information and advice. Testify in court as to the basis for factual findings and (if warranted) guideline applications. Serve as a resource to the court. Maintain detailed written records of case activity. May conduct surveillance and/or search and seizure at the direction of the court.

  • Participate in the administrative planning of specialized caseloads. Provide advice, consultation, and program vision and direction and make proposals to the Chief.


To qualify for the position of Sentencing Guideline Specialist, applicants must possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university in a related field of study. For placement at CL29, the selected applicant must have three years of specialized experience, including at least one year as a CL28 U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services Officer in the U.S. Courts.


Specialized experience is progressively responsible experience, gained after completion of a bachelor’s degree, in such fields as probation, pretrial services, parole, corrections, criminal investigations, or work in substance or addiction treatment. Experience as a police, custodial, or security officer, other than any criminal investigative experience, is not creditable.


The successful candidate must have excellent writing skills and average computer knowledge. Preference may be given to those applicants who have more than three years specialized experience in any specialty area such as drug and alcohol treatment, location monitoring, sentencing guidelines, workforce development, or other evidence- based practices programming.

The ideal candidate may also possess the following preferred skills:

  • Be skilled and knowledgeable about national initiatives impacting each discipline within probation (i.e., presentence, post-conviction, and pretrial services).

  • Have contributed to our system via national workgroups or committees sponsored either by the Federal Judicial Center or the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services within the last seven years.

  • Illustrated their understanding of DSS and be able to demonstrate how he or she has used DSS reports to problem solve, access trends, and rely upon evidence-based practices (EBP) principles within their discipline.

  • Have extensive knowledge of EBP (to include re-entry programming) and skilled in their application. A good understanding of programs and service policies and procedures is essential to support decisions and exercise good judgment. Must be a perennial learner with the desire to be an expert in our changing field.

  • Completion of the Federal Judicial Center’s Foundations of Management and Leadership Development Programs.

  • Be skilled in communicating effectively, both orally and in writing, with individuals and groups to provide information, facilitate meetings, and influence decision-makers and strive for high level achievement.

  • Demonstrated leadership by showing initiative to engaging in project management and establishing programs which helps achieve an organization’s mission and vision.

  • Demonstrated how he or she has used technology to improve a process.

  • Demonstrated the ability to organize, oversee, and complete multiple projects simultaneously with limited supervision.

  • Skill in supervising persons under supervision, managing risk assessments, and developing appropriate alternatives and sanctions to non-compliant behavior. Knowledge of legal terminology.


The selected candidate must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident seeking U.S. citizenship. Noncitizens must execute an affidavit indicating their intent to apply for citizenship when they become eligible to do so.

The selected candidate must engage in continuing education, while in the position, which focuses on the deradicalization of domestic/international terrorists. Training may be within the continental United States or outside such territory.

The United States District Court requires employees to adhere to a Code of Conduct Policy. This position is also subject to mandatory Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) for payroll deposit.

The selected candidate will be subject to random drug screening and updated background investigations every five years.


Qualified candidates should submit the following to:

  • A cover letter (not to exceed five pages), which includes a concise description of the following:

    • Your familiarity and ongoing experience in evidence-based practices, to include research; and how you have applied evidence-based practice competencies to your work in either investigations or community supervision;

    • How your overall experience and preparation relates to the stated duties and responsibilities;

    • A summary of the continued education coursework taken to remain abreast of issues in sentencing guidelines and/or evidence-based practices; and

    • Any other educational efforts or other steps taken to prepare you for enhanced leadership roles.

  • A resume, which includes dates of employment, duties and responsibilities, and key accomplishments;

  • Copies of the last two performance appraisals;

  • Names and contact information of three professional references. If you are selected for an interview, references may be contacted prior to the interview. The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office reserves the right to contact additional references other than those provided by the applicant.

All application materials received will be reviewed to identify the best qualified candidates. Only the most qualified candidates will be invited for interviews and only applicants selected to proceed to the next phase of the selection process will be notified. Applicants selected for an interview will be re required to complete a written assignment on the day of their interview. Applicants should arrive 90 minutes prior to their scheduled interview to commence with testing. Applicants must travel at their own expense.

The U.S. District Court reserves the right to modify the conditions of this job announcement or to withdraw the announcement, or to fill the position sooner than the closing date, any of which action may occur without prior written notice.



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