CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION, AUTHORITY, AND GENERAL APPLICATION PRINCIPLES


PART B - GENERAL APPLICATION PRINCIPLES


§1B1.11.   Use of Guidelines Manual in Effect on Date of Sentencing (Policy Statement)

(a)       The court shall use the Guidelines Manual in effect on the date that the defendant is sentenced.

(b)      (1)       If the court determines that use of the Guidelines Manual in effect on the date that the defendant is sentenced would violate the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution, the court shall use the Guidelines Manual in effect on the date that the offense of conviction was committed.

(2)       The Guidelines Manual in effect on a particular date shall be applied in its entirety.  The court shall not apply, for example, one guideline section from one edition of the Guidelines Manual and another guideline section from a different edition of the Guidelines Manual.  However, if a court applies an earlier edition of the Guidelines Manual, the court shall consider subsequent amendments, to the extent that such amendments are clarifying rather than substantive changes.

(3)       If the defendant is convicted of two offenses, the first committed before, and the second after, a revised edition of the Guidelines Manual became effective, the revised edition of the Guidelines Manual is to be applied to both offenses.


Commentary

Application Notes:

1.      Subsection (b)(2) provides that if an earlier edition of the Guidelines Manual is used, it is to be used in its entirety, except that subsequent clarifying amendments are to be considered.

Example:  A defendant is convicted of an antitrust offense committed in November 1989.  He is to be sentenced in December 1992.  Effective November 1, 1991, the Commission raised the base offense level for antitrust offenses.  Effective November 1, 1992, the Commission lowered the guideline range in the Sentencing Table for cases with an offense level of 8 and criminal history category of I from 2-8 months to 0-6 months.  Under the 1992 edition of the Guidelines Manual (effective November 1, 1992), the defendant has a guideline range of 4-10 months (final offense level of 9, criminal history category of I).  Under the 1989 edition of the Guidelines Manual (effective November 1, 1989), the defendant has a guideline range of 2-8 months (final offense level of 8, criminal history category of I).  If the court determines that application of the 1992 edition of the Guidelines Manual would violate the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution, it shall apply the 1989 edition of the Guidelines Manual in its entirety.  It shall not apply, for example, the offense level of 8 and criminal history category of I from the 1989 edition of the Guidelines Manual in conjunction with the amended guideline range of 0-6 months for this offense level and criminal history category from the 1992 edition of the Guidelines Manual.

2.      Under subsection (b)(1), the last date of the offense of conviction is the controlling date for ex post facto purposes.  For example, if the offense of conviction (i.e., the conduct charged in the count of the indictment or information of which the defendant was convicted) was determined by the court to have been committed between October 15, 1991 and October 28, 1991, the date of October 28, 1991 is the controlling date for ex post facto purposes.  This is true even if the defendant's conduct relevant to the determination of the guideline range under §1B1.3 (Relevant Conduct) included an act that occurred on November 2, 1991 (after a revised Guidelines Manual took effect).

Background:  Subsections (a) and (b)(1) provide that the court should apply the Guidelines Manual in effect on the date the defendant is sentenced unless the court determines that doing so would violate the ex post facto clause in Article I, § 9 of the United States Constitution.  Under 18 U.S.C. § 3553, the court is to apply the guidelines and policy statements in effect at the time of sentencing.  Although aware of possible ex post facto clause challenges to application of the guidelines in effect at the time of sentencing, Congress did not believe that the ex post facto clause would apply to amended sentencing guidelines.  S. Rep. No. 225, 98th Cong., 1st Sess. 77-78 (1983).  While the Commission concurs in the policy expressed by Congress, courts to date generally have held that the ex post facto clause does apply to sentencing guideline amendments that subject the defendant to increased punishment.

Subsection (b)(2) provides that the Guidelines Manual in effect on a particular date shall be applied in its entirety. 

Subsection (b)(3) provides that where the defendant is convicted of two offenses, the first committed before, and the second after, a revised edition of the Guidelines Manual became effective, the revised edition of the Guidelines Manual is to be applied to both offenses, even if the revised edition results in an increased penalty for the first offense.  Because the defendant completed the second offense after the amendment to the guidelines took effect, the ex post facto clause does not prevent determining the sentence for that count based on the amended guidelines.  For example, if a defendant pleads guilty to a single count of embezzlement that occurred after the most recent edition of the Guidelines Manual became effective, the guideline range applicable in sentencing will encompass any relevant conduct (e.g., related embezzlement offenses that may have occurred prior to the effective date of the guideline amendments) for the offense of conviction.  The same would be true for a defendant convicted of two counts of embezzlement, one committed before the amendments were enacted, and the second after.  In this example, the ex post facto clause would not bar application of the amended guideline to the first conviction; a contrary conclusion would mean that such defendant was subject to a lower guideline range than if convicted only of the second offense.  Decisions from several appellate courts addressing the analogous situation of the constitutionality of counting pre-guidelines criminal activity as relevant conduct for a guidelines sentence support this approach.  See United States v. Ykema, 887 F.2d 697 (6th Cir. 1989) (upholding inclusion of pre-November 1, 1987, drug quantities as relevant conduct for the count of conviction, noting that habitual offender statutes routinely augment punishment for an offense of conviction based on acts committed before a law is passed), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1062 (1990); United States v. Allen, 886 F.2d 143 (8th Cir. 1989) (similar); see also United States v. Cusack, 901 F.2d 29 (4th Cir. 1990) (similar). 

Moreover, the approach set forth in subsection (b)(3) should be followed regardless of whether the offenses of conviction are the type in which the conduct is grouped under §3D1.2(d).  The ex post facto clause does not distinguish between groupable and nongroupable offenses, and unless that clause would be violated, Congress' directive to apply the sentencing guidelines in effect at the time of sentencing must be followed.  Under the guideline sentencing system, a single sentencing range is determined based on the defendant's overall conduct, even if there are multiple counts of conviction (see§§3D1.1-3D1.5, 5G1.2).  Thus, if a defendant is sentenced in January 1992 for a bank robbery committed in October 1988 and one committed in November 1991, the November 1991 Guidelines Manual should be used to determine a combined guideline range for both counts.  See generally United States v. Stephenson, 921 F.2d 438 (2d Cir. 1990) (holding that the Sentencing Commission and Congress intended that the applicable version of the guidelines be applied as a "cohesive and integrated whole" rather than in a piecemeal fashion). 

Consequently, even in a complex case involving multiple counts that occurred under several different versions of the Guidelines Manual, it will not be necessary to compare more than two manuals to determine the applicable guideline range -- the manual in effect at the time the last offense of conviction was completed and the manual in effect at the time of sentencing.

Historical Note:  Effective November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 442).  Amended effective November 1, 1993 (see Appendix C, amendment 474); November 1, 2010 (see Appendix C, amendment 746).