Public Meeting - July 11, 1997

Minutes of the September 18, 1997

United States Sentencing Commission Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 1:06 p.m. by Chairman Richard P. Conaboy in the Commissioner’s Conference room. The following Commissioners, staff, and guests participated:

  • Richard P. Conaboy, Chairman

  • Michael S. Gelacak, Vice Chairman

  • Deanell R. Tacha, Commissioner

  • Michael J. Gaines, Ex Officio Commissioner

  • Mary Harkenrider, Ex Officio Commissioner

  • John H. Kramer, Staff Director

  • Paul K. Martin, Deputy Staff Director

  • John R. Steer, General Counsel

  • Pamela O. Barron, Senior Attorney

  • Susan Katzenelson, Director, Office of Policy Analysis Alan Chaset, Representative, Practitioners’ Advisory Group

  • Catherine Goodwin, Representative, Judicial Conference Committee on Criminal Law

  • Tom Hutchison, Representative, Federal Public Defenders

  • Martin F. Klotz, Representative, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Tax Division

  • Kyle O’Dowd, Representative, Families Against Mandatory Minimums

  • Vice Chairman Michael Goldsmith participated via telephone.


Chairman Conaboy introduced Steven Marley, a federal defender from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on temporary assignment to the Commission. He also introduced Ann Linnehan and Joseph Nah, law clerks in the Office of the General Counsel, Joslyn Maula, an intern in the library, and Morgan Browning, an intern in the Office of Training and Technical Assistance. Chairman Conaboy announced that Marjorie Pierce of the New York Council of Defense Attorneys was joining the meeting via telephone.

Chairman Conaboy announced that Susan Katzenelson, director of the Office of Policy Analysis, has accepted the Executive Director position at the North Carolina Sentencing Commission. Commissioner Tacha, on behalf of the Commission, thanked Dr. Katzenelson for her many contributions. She stated that Dr. Katzenelson was a tremendous team member and her expertise was extremely helpful to them in conducting the Commission’s work.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt the minutes of the June 4 and April 25, 1997, business meetings. Passed unanimously.

Commentary Amendments

1.  §4B1.1. Career Offender (LaBonte fix)

This amendment changes the commentary to the career offender guideline to reflect the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. LaBonte.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt, effective November 1, 1997; seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Passed unanimously.

2.  §2A6.2. Stalking or Domestic Violence

This amendment incorporates two definitions from §1B1.1 (for “dangerous weapon” and “bodily injury”) into the commentary of §2A6.2.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt, with language explaining why the guidelines reference Commission rather than statutory definitions, effective November 1, 1997; seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Passed unanimously.

3.  §6A1.3. Resolution of Disputed Factors (Policy Statement)

This amendment updates the case law references in the commentary to §6A1.3 to include references to sentencing guideline cases.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt, effective November 1, 1997; seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Passed unanimously.

4.  Miscellaneous Title 49 Corrections

This amendment strikes background commentary in §2K1.5 that is no longer correct because of a recent change in statutory penalties. This amendment also makes technical corrections to §2B4.1, §2N3.1, §2Q1.2, and Appendix A to reflect changes made to statutory references when Congress codified title 49 (Transportation), United States Code.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt, effective November 1, 1997; seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Passed unanimously.

Loss Tables: Fraud, Theft, and Tax Guidelines

Motion made by Commissioner Gelacak to publish for comment in the Federal Register Option 3, with commentary language that states: “the fact that an offense involved minimal planning is not a basis for a sentence below the applicable range nor is the fact that the offense involved more than minimal planning a basis for a sentence above the applicable guideline range”, and generic language allowing future consideration of alternative drafts; seconded by Commissioner Tacha. Passed unanimously.

Chairman Conaboy stated that the Commission would review guidelines that reference the loss tables and loss definitional issues beginning in September.

Rules of Practice and Procedure

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt; seconded by Commissioner Gelacak. Passed unanimously. With voting completed, Commissioner Goldsmith excused himself from the meeting due to illness.

Pamela Barron, briefing the Commission on the working group examining the manslaughter guidelines, introduced Raymond Dummett, Jerry Jones, and Arthur Meltzer as members of the group, with assistance given by Alan Dorhoffer and Rachel Singer. She stated that the group was examining the voluntary and involuntary guidelines at §§ 2A1.3 and 2A1.4 to determine whether the current guideline penalties are appropriate. She also outlined the methods they will employ.

Chairman Conaboy stated that staff is reviewing circuit conflicts to be addressed this amendment cycle and soon would provide interested members of the public with a draft document for comment.

Staff Director Kramer, briefing the Commission on staff activities, stated that Commission meeting materials are now available on the Commission’s web site prior to each meeting. He mentioned that several staff would attend the National Association of Sentencing Commissions’ upcoming conference and that on June 25 the Disparity Research Advisory Panel, coordinated by Paul Hofer, reviewed the disparity research program. He also stated that Dr. Katzenelson was a wonderful colleague who has provided quality data and analysis to the Commission and whose skills will be sorely missed. Dr. Katzenelson expressed her gratitude for working at the Commission and appreciation of staff.

Chairman Conaboy adjourned the meeting at 2:07 p.m.