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March 29, 2006

USSC issues emergency steroid offense amendments

Following up its recent release of a major steroid report (details here), the US Sentencing Commission earlier this week issued this temporary, emergency amendment to its steroid offense sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and commentary.  The important basics are covered in this press account:

Federal officials made a temporary, emergency change to the federal sentencing guidelines Monday to stiffen penalties for steroids-related offenses.  The change by the U.S. Sentencing Commission means abusers of anabolic steroids will face the same sentences as those who abuse other controlled legal substances, categorized by the federal government as Schedule III drugs.

The commission's amendment to provide harsher penalties for steroids use and distribution was prompted by a directive from Congress....  The amendment to the sentencing guidelines also adds sentencing enhancements for athletes using masking agents to hide their steroid use, for coaches who pressure athletes into experimenting with the drug and for individuals who distribute to athletes.

The tougher guidelines would have made the sentences for those convicted in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal about five times longer, according to Luke Macaulay, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of California.  BALCO owner Victor Conte, for example, would have been sentenced to 37 to 46 months instead of the eight months that he served after pleading guilty to possession and conspiracy to distribute steroids in 2005, Macaulay said.

These new guidelines are a fittingly sad way for the sentencing world to gear up for opening day.  I wonder if this fellow blogger is up on this sentencing news.

March 29, 2006 at 01:17 AM | Permalink

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