March 11, 1996

News Release

For Immediate Release
Monday, March 11, 1996

Contact: Michael Courlander
Public Information Specialist
(202) 273-4590

SENTENCING COMMISSION HOLDS PUBLIC HEARING ON MONEY LAUNDERING AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AMENDMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Seven witnesses testified before the U.S. Sentencing Commission this afternoon in favor of substantial revisions to the federal sentencing guidelines for money laundering offenses. The Commission is considering amending the guidelines after proposed revisions submitted to Congress last amendment cycle were rejected.

"While the Commission has declared an informal hiatus on guideline amendments this year, action by Congress may compel us to submit a limited number of amendments by May 1," said Judge Richard P. Conaboy, Commission Chairman. "New legislation raising penalties for sex offenses against children will require changes in the guidelines," he said. "With regard to money laundering, the testimony received today will aid our decisionmaking on this important issue." Congress has directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to report by May 1 on its charging and plea bargaining practices with regard to money laundering offenses. The same legislation directs the Sentencing Commission to comment on the DOJ report.

Testifying before the Commission this afternoon were: Mary Lou Soller, American Bar Association; David Wikstrom, New York Council of Defense Lawyers; Julie Stewart, Families Against Mandatory Minimums; Alan Chaset, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Atlee W. Wampler, III, Esq., and two private citizens, Judith Hall and Lisa Campanella.

At a public meeting following the hearing, the Commission voted to publish in the Federal Register proposed guideline amendments that would respond to provisions in the recently enacted Telecommunications Bill of 1996. These amendments will be considered at the Commission's April meeting.

The Commission is undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the guidelines to ensure that they are meeting congressional objectives outlined in the Sentencing Reform Act and in subsequent legislation. In addition, the Commission's ongoing guideline simplification project is examining all aspects of the current system in an effort to ensure that the guidelines are achieving fairness in the least complex manner possible.

Written statements submitted by the hearing witnesses are available on the Commission's Internet Website, "www.ussc.gov".


United States Sentencing Commission