Minutes from November 12, 1997

Minutes
of the November 12, 1997,
United States Sentencing Commission Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 9:39 a.m. by Chairman Richard P. Conaboy in the Commissioner’s Conference room. The following Commissioners and staff participated:

Richard P. Conaboy, Chairman
Michael S. Gelacak, Vice Chairman
Michael Goldsmith, Commissioner
Deanell R. Tacha, Commissioner
Mary F. Harkenrider, Ex Officio Commissioner
Michael J. Gaines, Ex Officio Commissioner
John H. Kramer, Staff Director
John R. Steer, General Counsel
Pamela G. Montgomery, Deputy General Counsel
Sharon Henegan, Director of Training and Technical Assistance
Jonathan Wroblewski, Director, Office of Legislative & Public Affairs
Tom Hutchison, Representative, Federal Public Defenders
Carmen Hernandez, Representative, Federal Public Defenders
Fred Bennet, Representative, Practitioners’ Advisory Group
Lyle Yurko, Representative, Practitioners’ Advisory Group

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt the minutes of the October 15, 1997, business meeting. Seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Passed unanimously.

Deputy General Counsel, Pamela G. Montgomery, presented an analysis of the last five of nine circuit conflicts the Commission may wish to resolve during the 1997-98 amendment cycle. The circuit conflicts discussed involved the following guidelines: obstruction of justice, failure to appear, criminal history, and departure on grounds of diminished capacity. She stated that the Commission received and reviewed a report on four previous circuit conflicts in October.

Chairman Conaboy asked the Commissioners to consider voting to publish miscellaneous proposed amendments to the fraud guidelines for public comment. Commissioner Tacha moved to publish all amendments as proposed. Seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Commissioners Conaboy, Goldsmith, and Tacha voted in the affirmative, with Commissioner Gelacak voting against.

Sharon Henegan briefed the Commission on new directions within the Office of Training and Technical Assistance. Among the issues discussed was the focus on more proactive training of the members of the court family and private defense attorneys, as opposed to the current responsive training mode. She reported that a 1996 FJC survey has helped determine where the Sentencing Commission needs to provide further guideline application training for the CJA panel and other members of the defense bar.

Staff Director Kramer briefed the Commission on the November 12, 1997, briefing session for Commissioners. During the briefing session, issues discussed included a report from Greg Hunt, Chair of the Probation Officers’ Advisory Group, on plea bargaining and alternatives to incarceration. Commissioners also received information on the definition of loss and a staff report on substantial assistance. Staff Director Kramer concluded by praising a collaborative staff training effort that produced a new training video. He also commented on the refurbished Commissioners’ Conference Room as a better means to conduct meetings and public hearings.

Chairman Conaboy adjourned the meeting at 10:36 a.m..