Minutes from September 20, 2007

Minutes of the September 20, 2007
United States Sentencing Commission
Public Meeting Minutes

Chair Ricardo H. Hinojosa called the meeting to order at 9:45 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Conference Room.

The following Commissioners were present:

· Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, Chair
· Judge Ruben Castillo, Vice Chair
· Judge William K. Sessions, III, Vice Chair
· John R. Steer, Vice Chair
· Michael E. Horowitz, Commissioner
· Beryl Howell, Commissioner
· Kelli Ferry, Commissioner Ex Officio
· Edward F. Reilly, Jr., Commissioner Ex Officio

The following Commissioners were not present:

· Dabney L. Friedrich, Commissioner

The following staff participated in the meeting:

· Judith Sheon, Staff Director
· Kenneth Cohen, General Counsel

Chair Hinojosa called for a motion to adopt the minutes of the August 29, 2007, public meeting. Commissioner Howell made a motion to adopt the minutes, with Vice Chair Castillo seconding the motion. Hearing no discussion, the Chair called for a vote and the motion was adopted by voice vote.

In his report, Chair Hinojosa thanked staff for their hard work.

Ms. Sheon thanked the Chair on behalf of staff for his comments. Ms. Sheon reported that the Commission’s Guide to Publications and Resources (2007-2008) has been published and is available on the Commission’s website.

Chair Hinojosa called on Mr. Cohen to advise the Commission on a possible vote to extend the public comment period for an issue for comment previously published in the Federal Register.

Mr. Cohen reminded the Commission that on July 31, 2007, a notice was published in the Federal Register requesting public comment regarding whether either Amendment 9, which pertains to crack cocaine offenses, or Amendment 12, which pertains to criminal history calculations, both submitted to Congress on May 1, 2007, should be applied retroactively to previously sentenced defendants. The Commission also requested comment regarding whether, if it did amend subsection (c) of §1B1.10 [Reduction in Term of Imprisonment as a Result of Amended Guideline Range (Policy Statement)] to include either amendment in the list of amendments that may be applied retroactively, the Commission should also amend §1B1.10 to provide guidance to the courts on the procedures to be used in applying the amendment(s) retroactively. The public comment period expires on October 1, 2007. Mr. Cohen stated that the proposed notice would extend this deadline to November 1, 2007, in order to provide the public adequate time to consider data relating to possible retroactivity, which the Commission expects to post on its website shortly.

Mr. Cohen advised the Commission that a motion to extend the public comment period would be in order. The Chair called for a motion as described by Mr. Cohen. Vice Chair Castillo made such a motion, with Vice Chair Sessions seconding. Vice Chair Castillo remarked that the Commission understands many inmates, families, and other members of the criminal justice community are very interested in having the Commission decide the issue of retroactivity. Vice Chair Castillo stated that the Commission must adopt a careful and deliberate approach, get the appropriate data to the public for comment, and possibly hold a public hearing before taking a vote on this important issue. Vice Chair Castillo explained that what may appear to be a delay to some in making the decision to extend the public comment deadline is in reality the Commission acting responsibly. Hearing no further discussion, the Chair called for a vote and the motion was adopted by voice vote, with the Chair noting that at least four commissioners voted in favor of the motion.

The Chair asked if there was any further business before the Commission and hearing none, called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Vice Chair Steer made a motion to adjourn, with Commissioner Horowitz seconding the motion. The Chair called for a vote on the motion, and the motion was adopted by voice vote. The meeting was adjourned at 9:49 a.m.