2005 Federal Sentencing Guidelines


CHAPTER THREE - PART A - VICTIM-RELATED ADJUSTMENTS

§3A1.2. Official Victim

(Apply the greatest):

(a) If (1) the victim was (A) a government officer or employee; (B) a former government officer or employee; or (C) a member of the immediate family of a person described in subdivision (A) or (B); and (2) the offense of conviction was motivated by such status, increase by 3 levels.

(b) If subsection (a)(1) and (2) apply, and the applicable Chapter Two guideline is from Chapter Two, Part A (Offenses Against the Person), increase by 6 levels.

(c) If, in a manner creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury, the defendant or a person for whose conduct the defendant is otherwise accountable—

(1) knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that a person was a law enforcement officer, assaulted such officer during the course of the offense or immediate flight therefrom; or

(2) knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that a person was a prison official, assaulted such official while the defendant (or a person for whose conduct the defendant is otherwise accountable) was in the custody or control of a prison or other correctional facility,

increase by 6 levels.

Commentary

Application Notes:

1. Applicability to Certain Victims.—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. Nonapplicability in Case of Incorporation of Factor in Chapter Two.—Do not apply this adjustment if the offense guideline specifically incorporates this factor. The only offense guideline in Chapter Two that specifically incorporates this factor is §2A2.4 (Obstructing or Impeding Officers).

3. Application of Subsections (a) and (b).—"Motivated by such status", for purposes of subsections (a) and (b), 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.

4. Application of Subsection (c).—

(A) In General.—Subsection (c) applies in circumstances tantamount to aggravated assault (i) against a law enforcement officer, committed in the course of, or in immediate flight following, another offense; or (ii) against a prison official, while the defendant (or a person for whose conduct the defendant is otherwise accountable) was in the custody or control of a prison or other correctional facility. While subsection (c) 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 such official victims that is sufficiently serious to create at least a "substantial risk of serious bodily injury".

(B) Definitions.—For purposes of subsection (c):

"Custody or control" includes "non-secure custody", i.e., custody with no significant physical restraint. For example, a defendant is in the custody or control of a prison or other correctional facility if the defendant (i) is on a work detail outside the security perimeter of the prison or correctional facility; (ii) is physically away from the prison or correctional facility while on a pass or furlough; or (iii) is in custody at a community corrections center, community treatment center, "halfway house", or similar facility. The defendant also shall be deemed to be in the custody or control of a prison or other correctional facility while the defendant is in the status of having escaped from that prison or correctional facility.

"Prison official" means any individual (including a director, officer, employee, independent contractor, or volunteer, but not including an inmate) authorized to act on behalf of a prison or correctional facility. For example, this enhancement would be applicable to any of the following: (i) an individual employed by a prison as a corrections officer; (ii) an individual employed by a prison as a work detail supervisor; and (iii) a nurse who, under contract, provides medical services to prisoners in a prison health facility.

"Substantial risk of serious bodily injury" includes any more serious injury that was risked, as well as actual serious bodily injury (or more serious injury) if it occurs.

5. Upward Departure Provision.—If the official victim is an exceptionally high-level official, such as the President or the Vice President of the United States, an upward departure may be warranted due to the potential disruption of the governmental function.

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); November 1, 2002 (see Appendix C, amendment 643); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 663).