Public Meeting - June 17, 1998

Minutes of the June 17, 1998

United States Sentencing Commission Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 1:40 p.m. by Chairman Richard P. Conaboy in the Commissioner Conference Room. The following commissioners, staff, and guests participated:

  • Richard P. Conaboy, Chairman

  • Michael S. Gelacak, Vice Chairman

  • Michael Goldsmith, Commissioner

  • Deanell R. Tacha, Commissioner

  • Mary F. Harkenrider, Ex Officio Commissioner

  • John H. Kramer, Staff Director

  • John R. Steer, General Counsel

  • Thomas D. Brown, Senior Staff Attorney

  • Paul J. Hofer, Senior Research Associate

  • William Adams, The Urban Institute

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt the minutes of the April 23, 1998, business meeting; seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Passed unanimously.

As part of the data utilization contract, William Adams, of the Urban institute, presented an analysis of judicial departures from the sentencing guidelines for the years 1991-1995. The goals of the study were to review the extent, magnitude, and distribution of departures, as well as determine the factors that affect a judge’s departure decision.

Paul Hofer, updating the Commission on federal sentencing disparity research, stated that the research can be divided into disparity created by differences among judges, and disparity related to the characteristics of the offender. He highlighted both internal and external studies pertaining to the two disparity categorizations.

John Steer, updating the Commission on the field testing of the loss definition, stated that the Commission and the Criminal Law Committee were jointly working together to test the definition. Commissioner Tacha and Judge Gilbert (S. D. Illinois) were overseeing the project, with Cathy Goodwin (of the Administrative Courts) and himself operating as staff contacts. He stated that the Commission would be provided feedback on the field testing by the end of the summer.

Tom Brown, updating the Commission on legislative actions, stated that Congress passed telemarketing fraud legislation. In addition, the House of Representatives passed legislation targeting pedophiles who stalk children on the Internet, which contains directives to the Commission. Additionally, a House committee recently considered money laundering legislation.

Chairman Conaboy adjourned the meeting at 2:58 p.m.