Criminal Law

Implementing the Total Sentence of Imprisonment - Determining the Sentence

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§5G1.3GUIDELINES MANUALNovember 1, 2005

instant offense. In such a case, a downward departure may be warranted to ensure that the combined punishment is not increased unduly by the fortuity and timing of separate prosecutions and sentencings. Nevertheless, it is intended that a departure pursuant to this application note result in a sentence that ensures a reasonable incremental punishment for the instant offense of conviction.

To avoid confusion with the Bureau of Prisons’ exclusive authority provided under 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b) to grant credit for time served under certain circumstances, the Commission recommends that any downward departure under this application note be clearly stated on the Judgment in a Criminal Case Order as a downward departure pursuant to §5G1.3(c), rather than as a credit for time served.

4. Downward Departure Provision.—In the case of a discharged term of imprisonment, a downward departure is not prohibited if the defendant (A) has completed serving a term of imprisonment; and (B) subsection (b) would have provided an adjustment had that completed term of imprisonment been undischarged at the time of sentencing for the instant offense. See §5K2.23 (Discharged Terms of Imprisonment).

Background: In a case in which a defendant is subject to an undischarged sentence of imprisonment, the court generally has authority to impose an imprisonment sentence on the current offense to run concurrently with or consecutively to the prior undischarged term. 18 U.S.C. § 3584(a). Exercise of that authority, however, is predicated on the court’s consideration of the factors listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), including any applicable guidelines or policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.

Historical Note:: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 289); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 385); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 465); November 1, 1993 (see Appendix C, amendment 494); November 1, 1995 (see Appendix C, amendment 535); November 1, 2002 (see Appendix C, amendment 645); November 1, 2003 (see Appendix C, amendment 660).

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