Public Meeting - September 21, 1993

Minutes of the September 21, 1993

United States Sentencing Commission Business Meeting


The meeting was called to order at 10:04 a.m. by Chairman 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

  • A. David Mazzone, Commissioner

  • Ilene H. Nagel, Commissioner

  • Gary Katzmann, Ex Officio Commissioner

  • Edward Reilly, 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

  • Win Swenson, Deputy General Counsel

  • Vince Ventimiglia, Staff Attorney

  • Scott Charney, Chief, Computer Crime Unit, DOJ

  • Kathleen Hawk, Director, Bureau of Prisons

  • Tom Hutchinson, Representative, Federal Defenders

  • Vicki Portney, Representative, Criminal Division, DOJ


Motion made by Commissioner Mazzone to adopt the minutes of the August 30, 1993, meeting. Commissioners Gelacak, Mazzone, Nagel, and Wilkins voted in favor of the proposal. Commissioner Carnes was not present in the room. Passed.

Director Hawk addressed the Commission concerning mandatory minimum/sentencing-related incidents at the BOP facilities in Phoenix, Arizona and Sheridan, Oregon. She reported that inmates are intently following the current debate.

She reported two identifiable segments of the inmate population related to these incidents. One segment waits patiently for relief from the very long, non-parolable sentences suggesting future problems should no relief be forthcoming. The other segment takes more proactive steps to aid their own cause in an effort to show society the inequalities and racial discrimination inherent in the sentences. This segment represents the inmates responsible for the current uprisings. The inmates involved were predominantly young, minority, inner city, Californians, many who are members of the Crips or Bloods. Director Hawk reported that she has presented this information to Congressman Hughes' subcommittee but not to other members of Congress. In response to a question concerning possible "good time" legislation, Director Hawk stated that discussions were still occurring in that area.

Mr. Katzmann requested the Commission, if possible, to expedite the release of the Crack-Cocaine Report. A discussion ensued on possible data undertakings. General consensus was to release the report in stages. Mr. Katzmann agreed to assist, if possible, the Commission in obtaining information on declination policies.

Vince Ventimiglia stated that the Public Corruption Working Group was continuing work in those areas identified in the report as needing more research. He also stated that the group was developing other issues to be presented on November 12, 1993. He made himself available for questions concerning the Public Corruption Working Group Report. Chairman Wilkins thanked Mr. Ventimiglia for the excellent report.

Win Swenson summarized the Computer Fraud Working Group Report. Mr. Charney from the Department of Justice Computer Crime Unit thanked Mr. Swenson for the continuously open discussions related to computer fraud and commended the group for the report. He also briefed the Commission on some cases that reflect possible harms in the computer fraud area that are not necessarily reflected in the data. Chairman Wilkins thanked Mr. Swenson for the excellent report.

Chief Deputy General Counsel Purdy cited that the working relationship between Mr. Swenson and Mr. Charney highlighted the continuous cooperation and consultation with the DOJ and staff. He encouraged Commissioners to think of additional avenues for similar cooperative efforts.

General Counsel Steer briefed the Commission on legislative matters. He reported that today the House of Representatives was going to take up the Hate Crimes Sentencing Act. He also reported that a crime bill might be introduced today by Chairmen Brooks and Biden. Further, staff level discussions are still occurring on Commission legislation relating to drug mandatory minimums. Chairman Wilkins commented that the Judicial Conference of the United States Courts endorsed the Commission's mandatory minimum reconciliation bill.

Chairman Wilkins announced that the next Commission meeting will be held on October 12, 1993. He stated that October 25, 1993, would be the deadline for submission of proposed amendments by Commissioners, staff, and outside agencies, and that at the November 9, 1993, meeting, the Commission would vote on proposed amendments for publication in the Federal Register.

Chairman Wilkins adjourned the Commission meeting into executive session at 11:26 a.m.