Minutes from September 18, 1997

Minutes of the September 18, 1997,
United States Sentencing Commission
Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 9:06 a.m. by Chairman Richard P. Conaboy in the Judicial Conference Center. The following Commissioners, staff, and guests participated:

Richard P. Conaboy, Chairman
Michael S. Gelacak, Vice Chairman
Michael Goldsmith, Commissioner
Deanell R. Tacha, Commissioner
Mary F. Harkenrider, Ex Officio Commissioner
John H. Kramer, Staff Director
Paul K. Martin, Deputy Staff Director
John R. Steer, General Counsel
Pamela O. Barron, Senior Attorney
Amy Schreiber, Staff Attorney
Tom Hutchison, Representative, Federal Public Defenders
Lyle Yurko, Representative, Practitioners’ Advisory Group
Ex Officio Commissioner Michael J. Gaines was unable to attend the meeting.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt the minutes of the July 11, 1997, business meeting. Passed unanimously.

Staff Director Kramer, briefing the Commission on staff activities, introduced Susan Gray, Karen Lies, and Holly MacKay, all who recently joined the Commission in the Office of Staff Director, Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, and Office of Policy Analysis, respectively. Reporting on the September 17 commissioner briefing session, he stated that the Commission received and reviewed final comments on the money laundering report, reviewed issues relating to the fraud and loss tables (e.g., implications of referring guidelines and definition of loss) and discussed scheduling a public hearing on the loss definitional issues.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to publish in the Federal Register for comment the proposed loss table from the April 7, 1997, meeting materials; seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Commissioners Conaboy, Goldsmith, and Tacha voted in the affirmative, with Commissioner Gelacak voting against. Passed, 3-1.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to submit to Congress the Commission’s response to the Department of Justice’s money laundering report; seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Passed unanimously.

Pamela Barron, briefing the Commission on issues relating to the manslaughter guidelines, commended her colleagues on the project, Alan Dorhoffer, Raymond Dummett, Jerry Jones, Arthur Meltzer, and Rachel Singer. Among the issues she discussed was whether the current guideline penalties are appropriate, whether the current base offense levels adequately account for the severity and range of offense conduct, and whether the Commission may wish to recommend statutory penalty changes. She reported that the group has been examining Commission data, appellate and district court decisions, and consulting with outside groups such as U.S. attorneys, federal public defenders, and probation officers. She stated that the group also will be reviewing state statutory schemes to determine how manslaughter offenses are treated.

Amy Schreiber, briefing the Commission on the agency’s two thirty-second public service announcements, stated that the Commission produced these announcements to inform young people about federal drug crime penalties. She stated that staff worked with a California-based advertising agency, which conducted focus groups with young people to determine the most effective way to reach the targeted audience. She reported that the Commission has been able to contain costs because of the donation of free air time, so far valued at approximately $20 million.

Chairman Conaboy adjourned the meeting at 10:00 a.m..