Criminal Law

Obstruction - Adjustments

<< Previous   Table of Contents   Next >>
November 1, 2005GUIDELINES MANUAL§3C1.1

§3C1.1. Obstructing or Impeding the Administration of Justice

If (A) the defendant willfully obstructed or impeded, or attempted to obstruct or impede, the administration of justice during the course of the investigation, prosecution, or sentencing of the instant offense of conviction, and (B) the obstructive conduct related to (i) the defendant’s offense of conviction and any relevant conduct; or (ii) a closely related offense, increase the offense level by 2 levels.

Commentary

Application Notes:

1. This adjustment applies if the defendant’s obstructive conduct (A) occurred during the course of the investigation, prosecution, or sentencing of the defendant’s instant offense of conviction, and (B) related to (i) the defendant’s offense of conviction and any relevant conduct; or (ii) an otherwise closely related case, such as that of a co-defendant.

2. This provision is not intended to punish a defendant for the exercise of a constitutional right. A defendant’s denial of guilt (other than a denial of guilt under oath that constitutes perjury), refusal to admit guilt or provide information to a probation officer, or refusal to enter a plea of guilty is not a basis for application of this provision. In applying this provision in respect to alleged false testimony or statements by the defendant, the court should be cognizant that inaccurate testimony or statements sometimes may result from confusion, mistake, or faulty memory and, thus, not all inaccurate testimony or statements necessarily reflect a willful attempt to obstruct justice.

3. Obstructive conduct can vary widely in nature, degree of planning, and seriousness. Application Note 4 sets forth examples of the types of conduct to which this adjustment is intended to apply. Application Note 5 sets forth examples of less serious forms of conduct to which this enhancement is not intended to apply, but that ordinarily can appropriately be sanctioned by the determination of the particular sentence within the otherwise applicable guideline range. Although the conduct to which this adjustment applies is not subject to precise definition, comparison of the examples set forth in Application Notes 4 and 5 should assist the court in determining whether application of this adjustment is warranted in a particular case.

4. The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of the types of conduct to which this adjustment applies:

(a) threatening, intimidating, or otherwise unlawfully influencing a co-defendant, witness, or juror, directly or indirectly, or attempting to do so;

(b) committing, suborning, or attempting to suborn perjury;

(c) producing or attempting to produce a false, altered, or counterfeit document or record during an official investigation or judicial proceeding;

PART C - OBSTRUCTION

– 331 –

<< Previous   Table of Contents   Next >>