Criminal Law

Criminal History and Criminal Livelihood - Criminal History

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November 1, 2005GUIDELINES MANUAL§4A1.3

(2) In the case of a downward departure, the specific reasons why the applicable criminal history category substantially over-represents the seriousness of the defendant’s criminal history or the likelihood that the defendant will commit other crimes.

Commentary

Application Notes:

1. Definitions.—For purposes of this policy statement, the terms "depart", "departure", "downward departure", and "upward departure" have the meaning given those terms in Application Note 1 of the Commentary to §1B1.1 (Application Instructions).

2. Upward Departures.—

(A) Examples.—An upward departure from the defendant’s criminal history category may be warranted based on any of the following circumstances:

(i) A previous foreign sentence for a serious offense.

(ii) Receipt of a prior consolidated sentence of ten years for a series of serious assaults.

(iii) A similar instance of large scale fraudulent misconduct established by an adjudication in a Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement proceeding.

(iv) Commission of the instant offense while on bail or pretrial release for another serious offense.

(B) Upward Departures from Criminal History Category VI.—In the case of an egregious, serious criminal record in which even the guideline range for Criminal History Category VI is not adequate to reflect the seriousness of the defendant’s criminal history, a departure above the guideline range for a defendant with Criminal History Category VI may be warranted. In determining whether an upward departure from Criminal History Category VI is warranted, the court should consider that the nature of the prior offenses rather than simply their number is often more indicative of the seriousness of the defendant’s criminal record. For example, a defendant with five prior sentences for very large-scale fraud offenses may have 15 criminal history points, within the range of points typical for Criminal History Category VI, yet have a substantially more serious criminal history overall because of the nature of the prior offenses.

3. Downward Departures.—A downward departure from the defendant’s criminal history category may be warranted if, for example, the defendant had two minor misdemeanor convictions close to ten years prior to the instant offense and no other evidence of prior criminal behavior in the intervening period. A departure below the lower limit of the applicable guideline range for Criminal History Category I is prohibited under subsection (b)(2)(B), due to the fact that the lower limit of the guideline range for Criminal History Category I is set for a first offender with the lowest risk of recidivism.

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