Federal Register Notice of Preliminary Priority Areas for Commission Study


United States Sentencing Commission

Sentencing Guidelines for the United States Courts

AGENCY: United States Sentencing Commission

ACTION: Notice of preliminary priority areas for Commission study. Request for public comment.

SUMMARY: As part of its statutory authority and responsibility to analyze sentencing issues, including operation of the federal sentencing guidelines, and in accordance with Rules 3.5 and 5.2 of its Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Commission has preliminarily identified certain priorities as the principal focus of its policy development work in the coming year. The Commission invites comment on these tentatively identified priority areas and on any other sentencing issues that it should address during the coming year. The Commission has tentatively scheduled a hearing to receive public comment on these matters.

DATES: A hearing to receive public comment on future policy development priorities has been set for June 17, 1998, in the Commission’s offices. Public comment and written testimony for the public hearing should be received on or before June 11, 1998.

ADDRESS: Send comments to: United States Sentencing Commission, One Columbus Circle, N.E., Suite 2-500 South, Washington, D.C. 20002-8002, Attention: Public Information-Priorities Comment. For Further Information Contact: Michael Courlander, Public Affairs Officer, at (202) 273-7731.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Policy development priorities preliminarily identified by the Commission for continuing work during the 1998-1999 amendment cycle are:

  1. Revisions of the fraud, theft, and tax guidelines (including the monetary tables used in these guidelines and other guidelines that reference those tables, consolidation of the theft, fraud, and property destruction guidelines, and the definition of “loss” in the theft and fraud guidelines).
  2. Review and assessment of the criminal history guidelines.
  3. Review and assessment of the guidelines and sentences imposed for homicide offenses.

In addition, the Commission expects to address recent legislative enactments, such as: (1) the Wireless Telephone Protection Act, relating to cloning cellular telephones; (2) the No Electronic Theft Act; (3) and any other legislation affecting sentencing policy that may be enacted in the remainder of this congressional session.

Obviously, the subject matter, scope, and duration of the Commission’s policy development work during the coming year will be influenced considerably by the appointment of new commissioners and the timing of those appointments. Thus, at this time, the Commission has tentatively identified only a few areas in which its work is ongoing.

The Commission invites comment on whether and how it should further investigate these tentative priorities. Additionally, the Commission invites comment on any other sentencing issues that persons believe should be addressed in the coming year, including research issues that the Commission should address. To the extent practicable, comments submitted on additional issues should include the following: (1) a statement of the issue, including the scope and manner of study, particular problem areas and possible solutions, and any other matters relevant to an identified or proposed priority; (2) citations to applicable sentencing guidelines, statutes, case law, and constitutional provisions; and (3) a direct and concise statement of why the Commission should make the issue a priority.

AUTHORITY: 28 U.S.C. § 994 (a), (o).

Richard P. Conaboy,

United States Sentencing Commission: