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Sentencing Guidelines for United States Courts

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AGENCY:

United States Sentencing Commission.

ACTION:

Notice of final priorities.

SUMMARY:

In May 2013, the Commission published a notice of possible policy priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2014. See 78 FR 32533 (May 30, 2013). After reviewing public comment received pursuant to the notice of proposed priorities, the Commission has identified its policy priorities for the upcoming amendment cycle and hereby gives notice of these policy priorities.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeanne Doherty, Public Affairs Officer, 202-502-4502, pubaffairs@ussc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent commission in the judicial branch of the United States Government. The Commission promulgates sentencing guidelines and policy statements for federal sentencing courts pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(a). The Commission also periodically reviews and revises previously promulgated guidelines pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(o) and submits guideline amendments to the Congress not later than the first day Start Printed Page 51821of May each year pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(p).

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(g), the Commission intends to consider the issue of reducing costs of incarceration and overcapacity of prisons, to the extent it is relevant to any identified priority.

As part of its statutory authority and responsibility to analyze sentencing issues, including operation of the federal sentencing guidelines, the Commission has identified its policy priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2014. The Commission recognizes, however, that other factors, such as the enactment of any legislation requiring Commission action, may affect the Commission's ability to complete work on any or all of its identified priorities by the statutory deadline of May 1, 2014. Accordingly, it may be necessary to continue work on any or all of these issues beyond the amendment cycle ending on May 1, 2014.

As so prefaced, the Commission has identified the following priorities:

(1) Continuation of its work with Congress and other interested parties on statutory mandatory minimum penalties to implement the recommendations set forth in the Commission's 2011 report to Congress, titled Mandatory Minimum Penalties in the Federal Criminal Justice System, including its recommendations regarding the severity and scope of mandatory minimum penalties, consideration of expanding the “safety valve” at 18 U.S.C. 3553(f), and elimination of the mandatory “stacking” of penalties under 18 U.S.C. 924(c), and to develop appropriate guideline amendments in response to any related legislation.

(2) Review, and possible amendment, of guidelines applicable to drug offenses, including possible consideration of amending the Drug Quantity Table in§ 2D1.1 (Unlawful Manufacturing, Importing, Exporting, or Trafficking (Including Possession with Intent to Commit These Offenses); Attempt or Conspiracy) across drug types.

(3) Continuation of its work with the congressional, executive, and judicial branches of government, and other interested parties, with respect to the Commission's December 2012 report to Congress, titled The Continuing Impact of United States v. Booker on Federal Sentencing, and development of appropriate guideline amendments in response to any related legislation.

(4) Continuation of its work on economic crimes, including (A) a comprehensive, multi-year study of § 2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud) and related guidelines, including examination of the loss table and the definition of loss, and (B) consideration of any amendments to such guidelines that may be appropriate in light of the information obtained from such study.

(5) Continuation of its multi-year study of statutory and guideline definitions relating to the nature of a defendant's prior conviction (e.g., “crime of violence,” “aggravated felony,” “violent felony,” and “drug trafficking offense”) and the impact of such definitions on the relevant statutory and guideline provisions (e.g., career offender, illegal reentry, and armed career criminal), possibly including recommendations to Congress on any statutory changes that may be appropriate and development of guideline amendments that may be appropriate.

(6) Continuation of its comprehensive, multi-year study of recidivism, including (A) Examination of circumstances that correlate with increased or reduced recidivism; (B) possible development of recommendations for using information obtained from such study to reduce costs of incarceration and overcapacity of prisons; and (C) consideration of any amendments to the Guidelines Manual that may be appropriate in light of the information obtained from such study.

(7) Undertaking a multi-year review of federal sentencing practices pertaining to violations of conditions of probation and supervised release, including possible consideration of amending the policy statements in Chapter Seven of the Guidelines Manual.

(8) Possible consideration of amending the policy statement pertaining to “compassionate release,” § 1B1.13 (Reduction in Term of Imprisonment as a Result of Motion by Director of Bureau of Prisons).

(9) 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, and to develop appropriate guideline amendments in response to any related legislation.

(10) Implementation of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, Pub. L. 113-4, and any other crime legislation enacted during the 112th or 113th Congress warranting a Commission response.

(11) Resolution of circuit conflicts, pursuant to the Commission's continuing authority and responsibility, under 28 U.S.C. 991(b)(1)(B) and Braxton v. United States, 500 U.S. 344 (1991), to resolve conflicting interpretations of the guidelines by the federal courts.

(12) Consideration of any miscellaneous guideline application issues coming to the Commission's attention from case law and other sources.

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Authority: 28 U.S.C. 994(a), (o); USSC Rules of Practice and Procedure 5.2.

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Patti B. Saris,

Chair.

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[FR Doc. 2013-20356 Filed 8-20-13; 8:45 am]

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