2001 Federal Sentencing Guideline Manual


§5K2.20. Aberrant Behavior (Policy Statement)

A sentence below the applicable guideline range may be warranted in an extraordinary case if the defendant’s criminal conduct constituted aberrant behavior. However, the court may not depart below the guideline range on this basis if (1) the offense involved serious bodily injury or death; (2) the defendant discharged a firearm or otherwise used a firearm or a dangerous weapon; (3) the instant offense of conviction is a serious drug trafficking offense; (4) the defendant has more than one criminal history point, as determined under Chapter Four (Criminal History and Criminal Livelihood); or (5) the defendant has a prior federal, or state, felony conviction, regardless of whether the conviction is countable under Chapter Four.

Commentary

Application Notes:

1.For purposes of this policy statement—

"Aberrant behavior" means a single criminal occurrence or single criminal transaction that (A) was committed without significant planning; (B) was of limited duration; and (C) represents a marked deviation by the defendant from an otherwise law-abiding life.

"Dangerous weapon," "firearm," "otherwise used," and "serious bodily injury" have the meaning given those terms in the Commentary to §1B1.1(Application Instructions).

"Serious drug trafficking offense" means any controlled substance offense under title 21, United States Code, other than simple possession under 21 U.S.C. § 844, that, because the defendant does not meet the criteria under §5C1.2 (Limitation on Applicability of Statutory

Mandatory Minimum Sentences in Certain Cases), results in the imposition of a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment upon the defendant.

2.In determining whether the court should depart on the basis of aberrant behavior, the court may consider the defendant’s (A) mental and emotional conditions; (B) employment record; (C) record of prior good works; (D) motivation for committing the offense; and (E) efforts to mitigate the effects of the offense.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 2000 (see Appendix C, amendment 603).