« "How Prisoners’ Rights Lawyers are Preserving the Role of the Courts" | Main | Eighth Circuit reverses 20-month sentence for police abuse and perjury as substantively unreasonable »

August 14, 2014

US Sentencing Commission finalizes its policy priorities for coming year

As detailed in this official press release, the "United States Sentencing Commission today unanimously approved its list of priorities for the coming year, including consideration of federal sentences for economic crimes and continued work on addressing concerns with mandatory minimum penalties." Here is more from the release:

The Commission once again set as its top priority continuing to work with Congress to implement the recommendations in its 2011 report on federal mandatory minimum penalties, which included recommendations that Congress reduce the severity and scope of some mandatory minimum penalties and consider expanding the “safety valve” statute which exempts certain low-level non-violent offenders from mandatory minimum penalties....

The Commission also set out its intention to consider potential changes to the guidelines resulting from its multi-year review of federal sentences for economic crimes. “For the past several years, we have been reviewing data and listening to key stakeholders to try to determine whether changes are needed in the way fraud offenses are sentenced in the federal system, particularly in fraud on the market cases,” Saris said.  “We look forward to hearing more this year from judges, experts, victims, and other stakeholders on these issues and deciding whether there are ways the economic crime guidelines could work better.”

The Commission will continue to work on multi-year projects to study recidivism comprehensively, including an examination of the use of risk assessment tools in the criminal justice system.  The Commission will also consider whether any amendments to the guidelines or statutory changes are appropriate to facilitate consistent and appropriate use of key sentencing terms including “crime of violence” and “drug trafficking offense.”

The Commission is undertaking new efforts this year to study whether changes are needed in the guidelines applicable to immigration offenses and whether structural changes to make the guidelines simpler are appropriate, as well as reviewing the availability of alternatives to incarceration, among other issues.

The official list of USSC priorities is available at this link, and I found these items especially noteworthy (in addition to the ones noted above):

(4) Implementation of the directive to the Commission in section 10 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111–220 (enacted August 3, 2010) (requiring the Commission, not later than 5 years after enactment, to “study and submit to Congress a report regarding the 3 impact of the changes in Federal sentencing law under this Act and the amendments made by this Act”)....

(10) Beginning a multi-year effort to simplify the operation of the guidelines, including an examination of (A) the overall structure of the guidelines post-Booker, (B) cross references in the Guidelines Manual, (C) the use of relevant conduct in offenses involving multiple participants, (D) the use of acquitted conduct in applying the guidelines, and (E) the use of departures.

August 14, 2014 at 02:42 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e201a511f698e3970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference US Sentencing Commission finalizes its policy priorities for coming year :

Comments

(10) Beginning a multi-year effort to simplify the operation of the guidelines, including an examination of (A) the overall structure of the guidelines post-Booker, (B) cross references in the Guidelines Manual, (C) the use of relevant conduct in offenses involving multiple participants, (D) the use of acquitted conduct in applying the guidelines, and (E) the use of departures.

C D & E are pretty major along with backing off on the Mandatories significantly.

1000 ft of a protected area is another item. In most cases it gas nithing to do with keeping children safer. They need to tie it directly to actions, not logistics that are mute.

All in all its getting better, but its all moving way too slow.

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Aug 14, 2014 9:11:27 PM

Whatever happened to addressing the broken child pornography guideline?

Posted by: Evan | Aug 15, 2014 10:47:47 AM

It's priority 11:

"(11) Continuation of its work with Congress and other interested parties on child pornography offenses to implement the recommendations set forth in the Commission’s December 2012 report to Congress, titled Federal Child Pornography Offenses."

Posted by: DEJ | Aug 16, 2014 3:05:40 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB