Public Meeting - May 3, 1994

Minutes of the May 3, 1994

United States Sentencing Commission Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 9:36 a.m. by William W. Wilkins, Jr., in the conference room of the United States Sentencing Commission. The following Commissioners and staff participated:

  • William W. Wilkins, Jr., Chairman

  • Michael S. Gelacak, Commissioner

  • A. David Mazzone, Commissioner

  • Ilene H. Nagel, Commissioner

  • Gary Katzmann, Ex Officio Commissioner

  • Edward F. Reilly, Jr., Ex Officio Commissioner

  • Phyllis J. Newton, Staff Director

  • Paul K. Martin, Deputy Staff Director

  • John R. Steer, General Counsel

  • Andy Purdy, Chief Deputy General Counsel

Commissioner Julie E. Carnes participated via telephone conference call.

Chairman Wilkins introduced Probation Officers Joan M. Leiby (E.D. Pa.) and Cathy Battistelli (D. N.H.), both on temporary assignment to the Commission. He also introduced Jonathan Wroblewski, who recently joined the Office of General Counsel as a senior attorney, and Lou Reedt, who recently joined the Office of Policy Analysis as a senior researcher. Chairman Wilkins also introduced Ken Young, a probation officer from the Northern District of California participating in the Federal Judicial Center's leadership development program.

Motion made by Commissioner Nagel to adopt the minutes of the April 14, 1994, meeting. Passed unanimously.


2D1.1 Unlawful Manufacturing, Importing, Exporting, or Trafficking (Including Possession with Intent to Commit These Offenses); Attempt or Conspiracy

The proposed commentary amendment addresses the issue of upward departures for drug quantities in excess of that for offense level 38.

New language will be drafted and circulated.


General Counsel Steer stated that the House of Representatives already has named conferees for the conference on the crime bill, while the Senate has not. A conference is expected shortly. He stated that the "safety valve" provision, if adopted, has a ten-day implementation date. Commissioner Nagel requested a copy of the House and Senate versions of the "safety valve" provision with a short description of each.

Deputy Staff Director Martin stated that the current draft of the crack report would be circulated shortly. In response to Commissioner Gelacak's question regarding whether the Department of Justice was considering a separate initiative on crack, Commissioner Katzmann stated that nothing has been proposed formally, although there have been some discussions. General Counsel Steer briefly discussed the crack directive as passed in the House crime bill.

Commissioner Nagel stated that the plea bargaining study was finished and that the Commission might want to consider a follow-up study because of the change in the Department of Justice's charging policy that allows for increased flexibility. She also stated that the departure study should be completed by mid-summer. Staff Director Newton stated that the substantial assistance study would be completed by the end of the year. Commissioner Katzmann stated that he would reiterate to the Department the Commission's view that the Department would benefit by providing access to their prosecutors.

Commissioner Nagel stated that the Commission should wait until new commissioners are appointed before staff move forward with organizational guidelines for environmental and food and drug offenses. Staff was directed to outline specific areas of study related to criminal history. Commissioner Gelacak stated that, other than implementing the crime bill, his only priority is to continue the examination of alternatives to quantity-based drug guidelines. Commissioner Nagel suggested convening a bi-partisan task force, comprised of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, to study the drug issue.

Commissioner Mazzone briefed the Commission on the idea of convening a symposium in 1995 to discuss organizational sentencing issues. Commissioners Gelacak and Nagel stated that it was a good idea, although Commissioner Gelacak stated that it would be premature if we wanted to make statements about how the guidelines are operating because of the sparse numbers of cases.

Consensus was given for Staff Director Newton and Deputy Staff Director Martin to develop an outline and timeframe for the priority suggestions for consideration at the June Commission meeting.

Chairman Wilkins told Commissioners to anticipate a conference call, possibly on June 6, to discuss implementation of the "safety-valve" provision, if passed by Congress.

Staff Director Newton reminded Commissioners of Employee Recognition Day following the Commission meeting. Chairman Wilkins adjourned the meeting at 10:56 a.m.