Public Meeting - March 25, 1994

Minutes of the March 25, 1994

United States Sentencing Commission Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 8:45 a.m. by William W. Wilkins, Jr., in the conference room of the Sentencing Commission. The following Commissioners, staff, and guests participated:

  • William W. Wilkins, Jr., Chairman

  • Julie E. Carnes, Commissioner

  • Michael S. Gelacak, Commissioner

  • Ilene H. Nagel, Commissioner

  • Gary Katzmann, Ex Officio Commissioner

  • Phyllis J. Newton, Staff Director

  • Paul K. Martin, Deputy Staff Director

  • John R. Steer, General Counsel

  • Fred Bennett, Representative, Practitioners' Advisory Group

  • Barry Bosch, Representative, Practitioners' Advisory Group

  • Justin Thornton, Representative, Practitioners' Advisory Group

  • Lyle Yurko, Representative, Practitioners' Advisory Group

Commissioner A. David Mazzone was unable to attend.

Motion made by Commissioner Carnes to adopt the minutes of the February 25, 1994, meeting. Passed unanimously.

Fred Bennett, on behalf of the Practitioners' Advisory Group (PAG), urged the Commission, irrespective of political pressures or possible challenges to the Commission being constitutionally constituted, to go forward with the amendment cycle and pass those amendments that are necessary and/or resolve circuit conflicts.

Lyle Yurko, appraising the Commission on PAG's view of the proposed drug amendments, stated that the group strongly favors a comprehensive set of amendments to alter sentencing for controlled substance violations in order to create a more rational drug sentencing policy. Within this set of comprehensive amendments, the group favors reducing the drug quantity table by two levels, eliminating levels 42 and 40, creating a cap for minor participants, adding an enhancement for assaultive behavior, and improving the commentary to the role in the offense adjustments.

Barry Bosch, reporting on the money laundering amendments, stated that PAG, because of its view that the guidelines were intended to prevent manipulation through charging practices, strongly supports the amendments with a few modifications. Justin Thornton, reporting on computer fraud, stated that PAG opposed proposed amendment #1 (Chapter Two, Parts B - Offenses Involving Property and F - Offenses Involving Fraud or Deceit) because it is overly broad, fails to consider unintentional harm, and in the case of 2F1.1, is unnecessary. In terms of the public corruption amendments, he reported that the group does not oppose the proposed consolidations in amendments #2(A) and (B) but did oppose the proposed consolidations in #2(C). He also reported that PAG favors non-public corruption offenses having lower base offense levels than public corruption offenses, option #2 of proposed amendment #4(A), and that PAG opposes amendment #35, relating to mail theft.

Fred Bennett further reported that PAG favors proposed amendments #14, without the additional Rivera language, #18, relating to acquitted conduct, #19 and the Judicial Conference's approach in #31, both relating to retroactivity, and option one of #22, relating to diminished capacity. In response to a question by Commissioner Carnes, Fred Bennett stated that PAG's priority amendments were #s 8(A) and (C) (Chapter Two, Part D - Offenses Involving Drugs - Chapter Three, Part B - Role in the Offense), 10 (Chapter Two, Part D - Offenses Involving Drugs - Chapter Three, Part B - Role in the Offense), 11 (Chapter Two, Part S - Money Laundering and Monetary Transaction Reporting), and 14 (Chapter Five, Part H - Specific Offense Characteristics - Chapter Five, Part K - Departures). Chairman Wilkins thanked the group for their comments.

Chairman Wilkins adjourned the meeting at 9:40 a.m.