§2J1.7. Commission of Offense While on Release
If an enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 3147 applies, add 3 levels to the offense level for the offense committed while on release as if this section were a specific offense characteristic contained in the offense guideline for the offense committed while on release.
Statutory Provision: 18 U.S.C. § 3147.
1. Because 18 U.S.C. § 3147 is an enhancement provision, rather than an offense, this section provides a specific offense characteristic to increase the offense level for the offense committed while on release.
2. Under 18 U.S.C. § 3147, a sentence of imprisonment must be imposed in addition to the sentence for the underlying offense, and the sentence of imprisonment imposed under 18 U.S.C. § 3147 must run consecutively to any other sentence of imprisonment. Therefore, the court, in order to comply with the statute, should divide the sentence on the judgment form between the sentence attributable to the underlying offense and the sentence attributable to the enhancement. The court will have to ensure that the "total punishment" (i.e., the sentence for the offense committed while on release plus the sentence enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 3147) is in accord with the guideline range for the offense committed while on release, as adjusted by the enhancement in this section. For example, if the applicable adjusted guideline range is 30-37 months and the court determines "total punishment" of 36 months is appropriate, a sentence of 30 months for the underlying offense plus 6 months under 18 U.S.C. § 3147 would satisfy this requirement.
Background: An enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 3147 may be imposed only after sufficient notice to the defendant by the government or the court, and applies only in the case of a conviction for a federal offense that is committed while on release on another federal charge.
Legislative history indicates that the mandatory nature of the penalties required by 18 U.S.C. § 3147 was to be eliminated upon the implementation of the sentencing guidelines. "Section 213(h) [renumbered as §200(g) in the Crime Control Act of 1984] amends the new provision in title I of this Act relating to consecutive enhanced penalties for committing an offense on release (new 18 U.S.C. § 3147) by eliminating the mandatory nature of the penalties in favor of utilizing sentencing guidelines." (Senate Report 98-225 at 186). Not all of the phraseology relating to the requirement of a mandatory sentence, however, was actually deleted from the statute. Consequently, it appears that the court is required to impose a consecutive sentence of imprisonment under this provision, but there is no requirement as to any minimum term. This guideline is drafted to enable the court to determine and implement a combined "total punishment" consistent with the overall structure of the guidelines, while at the same time complying with the statutory requirement. Guideline provisions that prohibit the grouping of counts of conviction requiring consecutive sentences (e.g., the introductory paragraph of §3D1.2; §5G1.2(a)) do not apply to this section because 18 U.S.C. § 3147 is an enhancement, not a count of conviction.