Chapter one – Authority and General Application Principles
Part A – INTRODUCTION
| The guidelines, policy statements, and commentary set forth in this Guidelines Manual, including amendments thereto, are promulgated by the United States Sentencing Commission pursuant to: (1) section 994(a) of title 28, United States Code; and (2) with respect to guidelines, policy statements, and commentary promulgated or amended pursuant to specific congressional directive, pursuant to the authority contained in that directive in addition to the authority under section 994(a) of title 28, United States Code.
1. Historical Review of Original Introduction. —Part A of Chapter One originally was an introduction to the Guidelines Manual that explained a number of policy decisions made by the Commission when it promulgated the initial set of guidelines. This introduction was amended occasionally between 1987 and 2003. In 2003, as part of the Commission’s implementation of the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003 (the “PROTECT Act”, Public Law 108–21), the original introduction was transferred to the Editorial Note at the end of this guideline. The Commission encourages the review of this material for context and historical purposes.
Background: The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 changed the course of federal sentencing. Among other things, the Act created the United States Sentencing Commission as an independent agency in the Judicial Branch, and directed it to develop guidelines and policy statements for sentencing courts to use when sentencing offenders convicted of federal crimes. Moreover, it empowered the Commission with ongoing responsibilities to monitor the guidelines, submit to Congress appropriate modifications of the guidelines and recommended changes in criminal statutes, and establish education and research programs. The mandate rested on Congressional awareness that sentencing was a dynamic field that requires continuing review by an expert body to revise sentencing policies, in light of application experience, as new criminal statutes are enacted, and as more is learned about what motivates and controls criminal behavior.
Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendments 67 and 68); November 1, 1990 (see Appendix C, amendment 307); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 466); November 1, 1995 (see Appendix C, amendment 534); November 1, 1996 (see Appendix C, amendment 538); November 1, 2000 (see Appendix C, amendments 602 and 603); October 27, 2003 (see Appendix C, amendment 651).