Notice of Tentative Policy Priorities for amendment cycle ending May 1, 2003, published in the Federal Register on Friday, June 21, 2002



Sentencing Guidelines for United States Courts

AGENCY: United States Sentencing Commission.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities. 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 Rule 5.2 of its Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Commission is seeking comment on possible priority issues for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2003.

DATE: Public comment should be received on or before August 2, 2002.

ADDRESS: Send comments to: United States Sentencing Commission, One Columbus Circle, NE, Suite 2-500, South Lobby, Washington, DC 20002-8002, Attention: Public Affairs-Priorities Comment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Courlander, Public Affairs Officer, Telephone: (202) 502-4590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent agency in the judicial branch of the United States Government. The Commission promulgates sentencing guidelines and policy statements for federal sentencing courts pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 994(a). The Commission also periodically reviews and revises previously promulgated guidelines pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 994(o) and submits guideline amendments to the Congress not later than the first day of May each year pursuant to 28U.S.C. § 994(p).

For the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2003, and possibly continuing into the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2004, the Commission has identified the following tentative priorities: (1) continuation of its work on the 15 Year Study, which is composed of a number of projects geared toward analyzing the guidelines in light of the goals of sentencing reform described in the Sentencing Reform Act and the statutory purposes of sentencing set forth in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a)(2); (2) continuation of its policy work and possible guideline amendments relating to the USA PATRIOT ACT, Pub. L. 107–56, nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons offenses, and other terrorism offenses; (3) continuation of its research, policy work, and possible guideline amendments relating to Chapter Four (Criminal History and Criminal Livelihood), which may include (A) assessment of the calculation of criminal history points for first time offenders and offenders who are in the highest criminal history categories; (B) assessment of the criminal history rules for minor offenses, juvenile offenses, and expunged convictions; (C) assessment of the criminal history rules for related cases; and (D) consideration of other application issues relating to simplifying the operation of Chapter Four; (4) consideration of guideline amendment proposals to implement the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107–155, which may include addressing a number of application issues related to the public corruption guidelines in Chapter Two, Part C (Offenses Involving Public Officials); (5) implementation of other crime legislation enacted during the second session of the 107th Congress warranting a Commission response; (6) §3E1.1 (Acceptance of Responsibility), which may include an assessment of downward adjustments given for timely entry of a guilty plea prior to trial preparation, provision of information regarding the defendant’s role in the offense, and the criteria for demonstrating acceptance of responsibility; (7) consideration, through the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2004, of amendment proposals pertaining to compassionate release programs; and (8) other miscellaneous and limited issues pertaining to the operation of the sentencing guidelines, including (A) offenses involving trafficking in oxycontin; (B) offenses involving the unlawful sale or transportation of drug paraphernalia; (C) §5G1.3 (Imposition of a Sentence on a Defendant Subject to an Undischarged Term of Imprisonment); and (D) policies for voluntary disclosure of offense conduct by defendants (§5K2.16 (Voluntary Disclosure of Offense) and related guidelines).

The Commission hereby gives notice that it is seeking comment on these tentative priorities and on any other issues that interested persons believe the Commission should address during the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2003, including short-and long-term research issues. To the extent practicable, comments submitted on such issues should include the following: (1) a statement of the issue, including scope and manner of study, particular problem areas and possible solutions, and any other matters relevant to a 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); USSC Rules of Practice and Procedure 5.2.

Diana E. Murphy,

United States Sentencing Commission: