CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION, AUTHORITY, AND GENERAL APPLICATION PRINCIPLES


PART B - GENERAL APPLICATION PRINCIPLES


§1B1.8.     Use of Certain Information

(a)       Where a defendant agrees to cooperate with the government by providing information concerning unlawful activities of others, and as part of that cooperation agreement the government agrees that self-incriminating information provided pursuant to the agreement will not be used against the defendant, then such information shall not be used in determining the applicable guideline range, except to the extent provided in the agreement.

(b)      The provisions of subsection (a) shall not be applied to restrict the use of information:

(1)       known to the government prior to entering into the cooperation agreement;

(2)       concerning the existence of prior convictions and sentences in determining §4A1.1 (Criminal History Category) and §4B1.1 (Career Offender);

(3)       in a prosecution for perjury or giving a false statement;

(4)       in the event there is a breach of the cooperation agreement by the defendant; or

(5)       in determining whether, or to what extent, a downward departure from the guidelines is warranted pursuant to a government motion under §5K1.1 (Substantial Assistance to Authorities).


Commentary

Application Notes:

1.      This provision does not authorize the government to withhold information from the court but provides that self-incriminating information obtained under a cooperation agreement is not to be used to determine the defendant's guideline range.  Under this provision, for example, if a defendant is arrested in possession of a kilogram of cocaine and, pursuant to an agreement to provide information concerning the unlawful activities of co-conspirators, admits that he assisted in the importation of an additional three kilograms of cocaine, a fact not previously known to the government, this admission would not be used to increase his applicable guideline range, except to the extent provided in the agreement.  Although the guideline itself affects only the determination of the guideline range, the policy of the Commission, as a corollary, is that information prohibited from being used to determine the applicable guideline range shall not be used to depart upward.  In contrast, subsection (b)(5) provides that consideration of such information is appropriate in determining whether, and to what extent, a downward departure is warranted pursuant to a government motion under §5K1.1 (Substantial Assistance to Authorities); e.g., a court may refuse to depart downward on the basis of such information. 

2.      Subsection (b)(2) prohibits any cooperation agreement from restricting the use of information as to the existence of prior convictions and sentences in determining adjustments under §4A1.1 (Criminal History Category) and §4B1.1 (Career Offender).  The probation office generally will secure information relevant to the defendant's criminal history independent of information the defendant provides as part of his cooperation agreement.

3.      On occasion the defendant will provide incriminating information to the government during plea negotiation sessions before a cooperation agreement has been reached.  In the event no agreement is reached, use of such information in a sentencing proceeding is restricted by Rule 11(f) (Admissibility or Inadmissibility of a Plea, Plea Discussions, and Related Statements) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Rule 410 (Inadmissibility of Pleas, Plea Discussions, and Related Statements) of the Rules of Evidence.

4.      As with the statutory provisions governing use immunity, 18 U.S.C. § 6002, this guideline does not apply to information used against the defendant in a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or in the event the defendant otherwise fails to comply with the cooperation agreement.

5.      This guideline limits the use of certain incriminating information furnished by a defendant in the context of a defendant-government agreement for the defendant to provide information concerning the unlawful activities of other persons.  The guideline operates as a limitation on the use of such incriminating information in determining the applicable guideline range, and not merely as a restriction of the government's presentation of such information (e.g., where the defendant, subsequent to having entered into a cooperation agreement, provides such information to the probation officer preparing the presentence report, the use of such information remains protected by this section).

6.      Unless the cooperation agreement relates to the provision of information concerning the unlawful activities of others, this guideline does not apply (i.e., an agreement by the defendant simply to detail the extent of his own unlawful activities, not involving an agreement to provide information concerning the unlawful activity of another person, is not covered by this guideline).

Historical Note:  Effective June 15, 1988 (see Appendix C, amendment 5).  Amended effective November 1, 1990 (see Appendix C, amendment 308); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 390); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 441); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 674); November 1, 2009 (see Appendix C, amendment 736); November 1, 2010 (see Appendix C, amendment 746).