Monday, February 06, 2012

Proposed Federal Sentencing Commission Guideline Amendments

On January 19th., the U.S. Sentencing Commission posted notice of proposed amendments to its sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and commentaries; requesting public comment on these, as well as retroactive application of any of the proposed amendments, and giving notice of the public hearing on the proposed amendments.

In brief the proposed amendments & issues for comment include:
• Fraud & related offenses, including a response to the issue of harm to the public & financial markets;
• Offenses involving controlled substances & chemical precursors;
• Human rights offenses, including “trafficking in documents relating to naturalization, citizenship, or legal resident status, or a United States Passport; false statements made in respect to the citizenship or immigration status of another; fraudulent marriages to assist aliens to evade immigration law;
• Unlawfully entering or remaining in the United States, in response a circuit conflict over application of the term "sentence imposed" in that guideline when the defendant's original "sentence imposed" was lengthened after the defendant was deported;
• Options for specifying the types of documents that may be considered in determining whether a particular prior conviction fits within a particular category of crimes for purposes of specific guideline provisions;
• Definitions and instructions for computing criminal history to respond to an application issue regarding when a defendant's prior sentence for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence (and similar offenses by whatever name they are known) is counted toward the defendant's criminal history score;
• Definitions of terms responding to differences among the circuits on when, if at all, burglary of a non-dwelling qualifies as a crime of violence for purposes of the guidelines,;
• Sentencing considerations on multiple count convictions to respond to an application issue regarding applicable guideline range in cases in which the defendant is sentenced on multiple counts of conviction, at least one of which involves a mandatory minimum sentence that is greater than the minimum of the otherwise applicable guideline range;
• Post-sentencing rehabilitative efforts to respond to Pepper v. United States,131 S.Ct. 1229 (2011), which held, among other things, that a defendant's post-sentencing rehabilitative efforts may be considered when the defendant is resentenced after appeal ;

Written public comment regarding proposed amendments and issues, including those regarding retroactive application of any of the proposed amendments, should be received by the Sentencing Commission not later than March 19, 2012
United States Sentencing Commission, One Columbus Circle, N.E., Suite 2-500 Washington, D.C. 20002-8002 Attention: Public Affairs
Additional information may also be obtained by contacting Jeanne Doherty, Public Affairs Officer via telephone at (202) 502-4502.

Further information regarding the public hearing, including requirements for testifying and providing written testimony, as well as the location, time, and scope of the hearing, will be provided by the Commission on its website at

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