2001 Federal Sentencing Guideline Manual


§3A1.2.Official Victim

If --

(a)the victim was a government officer or employee; a former government officer or employee; or a member of the immediate family of any of the above, and the offense of conviction was motivated by such status; or

(b)during the course of the offense or immediate flight therefrom, the defendant or a person for whose conduct the defendant is otherwise accountable, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that a person was a law enforcement or corrections officer, assaulted such officer in a manner creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury,

increase by 3 levels.

Commentary

Application Notes:

1.This guideline applies when specified individuals are victims of the offense. This guideline does not apply when the only victim is an organization, agency, or the government.

2.Certain high-level officials, e.g., the President and Vice President, although covered by this section, do not represent the heartland of the conduct covered. An upward departure to reflect the potential disruption of the governmental function in such cases typically would be warranted.

3.Do not apply this adjustment if the offense guideline specifically incorporates this factor. In most cases, the offenses to which subdivision (a) will apply will be from Chapter Two, Part A (Offenses Against the Person). The only offense guideline in Chapter Two, Part A, that specifically incorporates this factor is §2A2.4 (Obstructing or Impeding Officers).

4."Motivated by such status" in subdivision (a) means that the offense of conviction was motivated by the fact that the victim was a government officer or employee, or a member of the immediate family thereof. This adjustment would not apply, for example, where both the defendant and victim were employed by the same government agency and the offense was motivated by a personal dispute. This adjustment also would not apply in the case of a robbery of a postal employee because the offense guideline for robbery contains an enhancement (§2B3.1(a)) that takes such conduct into account.

5.Subdivision (b) applies in circumstances tantamount to aggravated assault against a law enforcement or corrections officer, committed in the course of, or in immediate flight following, another offense, such as bank robbery. While this subdivision may apply in connection with a variety of offenses that are not by nature targeted against official victims, its applicability is limited to assaultive conduct against law enforcement or corrections officers that is sufficiently serious to create at least a "substantial risk of serious bodily injury" and that is proximate in time to the commission of the offense.

6.The phrase "substantial risk of serious bodily injury" in subdivision (b) is a threshold level of harm that includes any more serious injury that was risked, as well as actual serious bodily injury (or more serious harm) if it occurs.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective January 15, 1988 (see Appendix C, amendment 44); November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendments 246-248); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 455).