Public Meeting - October 29, 1996

Minutes of the October 29, 1996

United States Sentencing Commission Business Meeting


The meeting was called to order at 11:13 a.m. by Chairman Richard P. Conaboy in the Commissioners' Conference room. The following Commissioners and staff participated:

  • Richard P. Conaboy, Chairman

  • Michael S. Gelacak, Vice Chairman

  • Michael Goldsmith, Vice Chairman

  • Wayne A. Budd, Commissioner

  • Deanell R. Tacha, Commissioner

  • Mary Frances Harkenrider, Ex Officio Commissioner

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

  • John Kramer, Interim Staff Director

  • Paul K. Martin, Deputy Staff Director

  • John R. Steer, General Counsel

  • Susan Katzenelson, Director, Office of Policy Analysis

  • Andy Purdy, Chief Deputy General Counsel

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to adopt the minutes of the September 19, 1996, business meeting; seconded by Commissioner Budd. Passed unanimously.

Amendment #21: Making Permanent the Emergency Terrorism Amendment

This amendment proposes to make permanent the emergency amendment promulgated by the Commission to implement section 730 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214). This section gave the Commission authority to amend the sentencing guidelines so that the Chapter Three adjustment in §3A1.4, relating to international terrorism, applies more broadly to federal crimes of terrorism, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2332b(g).

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to publish for comment in the Federal Register; seconded by Commissioner Goldsmith. Passed unanimously.

Consolidation of Closely Related Guidelines

This 19-part amendment consolidates a number of Chapter Two offense guidelines.

Motion made by Commissioner Tacha to publish for comment in the Federal Register; seconded by Commissioner Budd. Passed unanimously.

Andy Purdy, briefing the Commission on proposed changes to the fraud and theft guidelines, also discussed a draft memorandum on issues relating to loss. He stated that a proposed amendment would be submitted for Commission consideration at the November meeting.

Commissioner Budd, briefing the Commission on the status of the Commission's response to the congressional directive regarding cocaine sentencing policy, stated that staff was in the process of compiling and reviewing materials, including an intensive study sample and legal memoranda, to assist with the assessment. He stated that once the Commission agrees on the framework of a new recommendation, then the Commission would reach out to interested parties, including Congress, the Administration, defense attorneys, and probation officers. Commissioner Budd mentioned that during this past year of deliberations, 3,100 defendants have been sentenced for crack cocaine offenses.

John Kramer, briefing the Commission on staff activities, stated that the Federal Judicial Center National Sentencing Institute would be held January 6-8, 1997, in Fort Worth, Texas. He stated that Commission staff was involved in the planning and both staff and commissioners would be participating. He also mentioned that the American Society of Criminology would be holding a meeting in two weeks. Susan Katzenelson stated that many Office of Policy Analysis staff would be presenting papers on topics relating to just punishment, substantial assistance, disparity, and the safety valve. Mr. Kramer stated that, in response to a request from the Brazilian government, he would be traveling to Brazil November 16-22, 1996, to discuss overcrowding in prisons and sentencing policy in the United States.

Andy Purdy, briefing the Commission on an online public hearing relating to guideline simplification issues, circulated advertisements run by Counsel Connect in the Legal Times. He stated that the Commission should receive a transcript of the comments shortly.

Chairman Conaboy adjourned the meeting at 11:59 a.m.