Amendment: The Commentary to §5G1.3 captioned "Application Notes" is amended by adding at the end the following:
"7. Downward Departure Provision.—In the case of a discharged term of imprisonment, a downward departure is not prohibited if subsection (b) would have applied to that term of imprisonment had the term been undischarged. Any such departure should be fashioned to achieve a reasonable punishment for the instant offense.".
Reason for Amendment: This amendment modifies §5G1.3 (Imposition of a Sentence on a Defendant Subject to an Undischarged Term of Imprisonment) to include certain discharged terms of imprisonment. Specifically, the amendment adds commentary to §5G1.3 to provide that courts are not prohibited from considering a downward departure in a case in which §5G1.3(b) would have applied if the term of imprisonment had not been discharged. In the case of undischarged terms of imprisonment, §5G1.3(b) currently authorizes a court to adjust the sentence if the conduct underlying the undischarged term of imprisonment has been fully taken into account in the offense level for the instant federal offense. See Application Note 2 of the Commentary to §5G1.3. By adding the new commentary, the Commission makes clear that discharged terms of imprisonment may merit a downward departure for a similar reason. The amendment thereby addresses a circuit conflict regarding the propriety of a downward departure under such circumstances. Compare, e.g., United States v. O’Hagan, 139 F.3d 641, 657 (8th Cir. 1998) (holding that a sentencing court could downwardly depart to adjust for time served on a discharged state sentence); United States v. Blackwell, 49 F.3d 1232, 1241-42 (7th Cir. 1995) (same) with United States v. McHan, 101 F.3d 1027, 1040 (4th Cir. 1996) (holding that downward departure to allow an adjustment for a discharged term was based on an error of law and therefore an abuse of discretion), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1281 (1997).
Effective Date: The effective date of this amendment is November 1, 2002.