Minutes from December 12, 2000

Minutes of the December 12, 2000
U.S. Sentencing Commission
Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order by Chair Diana E. Murphy at 11:06 a.m. in the Commissioners Conference room. The following commissioners and staff participated:

Diana E. Murphy, Chair
Ruben Castillo, Vice Chair
William Sessions, Vice Chair
John R. Steer, Vice Chair
Joe Kendall, Commissioner
Michael O’Neill, Commissioner
Laird C. Kirkpatrick, Ex Officio Commissioner
Timothy McGrath, Staff Director
A. Donald Purdy, Acting General Counsel


Motion made by Commissioner Johnson to adopt the minutes of the November 21, 2000, business meeting, seconded by Commissioner Castillo. Vice Chair Steer accepted adoption with the following clerical changes: in the second sentence of the second paragraph, to add the word "Commissioners" before "Castillo and Steer"; in the third paragraph, by inserting "’s" at the end of "Johnson"; in the text under the title "Safety Valve" to insert "at least" before "17"; by inserting "s" at the end of "Session"; and in the second paragraph under the heading "Number of Firearms" by striking "‘substantially’" after "16 the term" and inserting "‘significantly’"; and by striking "significantly" after "redline the term" and inserting "substantially". Passed unanimously.

Chair Murphy began the meeting with comments on the day’s agenda. She stated that the Commission would be considering proposed money laundering amendments after spending the past year receiving information from staff and input from other interested parties, such as the Department of Justice and the Practioners’ Advisory Group. She stated that the Commission also would be considering other important issues, such as circuit conflicts and congressional directives, some of which contain emergency amendment authority.

Chair Murphy, reporting on the status of the Commission’s budget for fiscal year 2001, stated that the Chief Justice sent a letter to Congress requesting that the Judiciary’s budget be separated from the larger appropriations package if the budget stalemate continues. She stated that the budget is important to the Commission because it determines staffing levels, which affect the Commission’s ability to consider sentencing guidelines and other related issues.

Finally, Chair Murphy announced that the next public meeting will be held on January 9 in Fort Myers, FL. The Commission will be in Florida to attend the Criminal Law Committee’s meeting. Issues such as sexual predators, economic crime package and other drug matters will be discussed at the January 9th meeting. For those who cannot attend the meeting in Florida, a video conference connection will be set up at the Commission.

Staff Director McGrath introduced Linda Baltrusch, who recently joined the Commission as its librarian. He announced the arrival of the December 16, 2000, Supplement to the 2000 Guidelines Manual, which will be available to all judicial chambers and members of Congress this week.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

Anhydrous Ammonia

This proposed amendment addresses the new offense, at section 423 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 864), of stealing or transporting across state lines anhydrous ammonia knowing, intending, or having reasonable cause to believe that such anhydrous ammonia will be used to manufacture a controlled substance. This new offense was created by section 3653 of the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106–310.

Motion made by Commissioner O’Neill to publish in the Federal Register for comment for sixty days the revised proposed amendment and an issue for comment regarding whether §2D1.12(b)(1) adequately covers conduct of using anhydrous ammonia with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, whether an additional increase up to 10 levels should be provided, and whether alternative ways of handling this particular aggravated conduct should be considered; and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner Steer. Passed unanimously.

Mandatory Restitution for Amphetamine

This proposed amendment implements section 3613 of the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106–310, which amends 21 U.S.C. § 853(q) to provide mandatory restitution for offenses that involve the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Motion made by Commissioner Castillo to publish in the Federal Register for comment for sixty days, and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner Johnson. Passed unanimously.


Amphetamine

This proposed amendment implements section 3611 of the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106–310, which directs the Commission to provide, under emergency amendment authority, increased guideline penalties for amphetamine such that those penalties are comparable to the base offense level for methamphetamine.
Motion made by Commissioner Steer to publish in the Federal Register for comment until February 5, 2001, the revised proposed amendment as an emergency amendment, with an effective date of May 1, 2001, and to publish for comment for 60 days the revised proposed amendment as a permanent amendment with an issue for comment, and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner Sessions. Passed unanimously.

Ecstasy

This proposed amendment addresses the directive in section 3663 of the Ecstasy Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106–310, which instructs the Commission to provide, under emergency amendment authority, increased penalties for the manufacture, importation, exportation, or trafficking of Ecstasy.

Motion made by Commissioner Castillo to publish in the Federal Register for comment until February 5, 2001, the revised proposed amendment as an emergency amendment, with an effective date of May 1, 2001, and to publish for comment for 60 days the revised proposed amendment as a permanent amendment and issues for comment as amended, and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner O’Neill. Passed unanimously.

Re-promulgation of Emergency Amendment Regarding Enhanced Penalties for Amphetamine or Methamphetamine Laboratory Operators as Permanent Amendment

This proposed amendment addresses the directive in section 102 (the "substantial risk directive") of the Methamphetamine and Club Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000 (the "Act"), Pub. L. 106–878.

Motion made by Commissioner Steer to publish in the Federal Register for comment for 60 days the re-promulgation of the emergency amendment as a permanent amendment and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner O’Neill. Passed unanimously.

Human Trafficking

This proposed amendment implements the directive found at section 112(b) of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (the "Act"), Pub. L. 103–386.

Motion made by Commissioner Johnson to publish in the Federal Register for comment until February 5, 2001, as an emergency amendment, with an effective date of May 1, 2001, to publish for comment for 60 days the revised proposed amendment, and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner Sessions. Passed unanimously.


Stalking and Domestic Violence

This proposed revised amendment addresses section 1107 of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Act 2000 (the "Act"), Pub. L 106–386, which amends 18 U.S.C. §§ 2261, 2261A, and 2262 to broaden the reach of these statutes to include international travel to stalk, commit domestic violence or violate a protective order.

Motion made by Commissioner O’Neill to publish in the Federal Register for comment for sixty days and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner Steer. Passed unanimously.

Money Laundering

The revised proposed amendment ties sentences for money laundering convictions more closely to the seriousness of the underlying offense that generated the criminally derived proceeds. In addition, the revised proposed amendment distinguishes between defendants who committed the underlying offense and those who did not. The revised proposed amendment also contains a number of enhancements for aggravated money laundering offense conduct.

Motion made by Commissioner Castillo to publish in the Federal Register the proposed amendment for comment for sixty days, with an issue for comment, and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner Steer. Passed unanimously.

Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons

The proposed amendment responds to the sense of Congress contained in section 1423 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 1997 and amends §2M6.1 (Unlawful Acquisition, Alteration, Use, Transfer, or Possession of Nuclear Material, Weapons, or Facilities) to address two new offenses.

Motion made by Commissioner Johnson to publish in the Federal Register for comment for sixty days, with issues for comment, and to give staff authority to make clerical and technical changes; seconded by Commissioner Steer. Passed unanimously.

Chair Murphy adjourned the meeting 12:07 p.m.