When and how will the organizational sentencing guidelines be amended? & Three Questions with Joe Murphy

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This is another episode in our ongoing series: Sentencing Commission Confidential. The United States Sentencing Commission is the steward of the organizational sentencing guidelines.  It’s helpful to understand how the United States Sentencing Commission decides to amend certain guidelines before we answer this episode’s questions. Eric explains how the Sentencing Commission sets its amendment priorities, the comment process and how to participate in it, and the actual amendment process. The Sentencing Commission could amend the organizational sentencing guidelines every year, but these guidelines have been very infrequently amended. In the past, organizational guideline amendments have been very evolutionary, reflecting changes in compliance and ethics in the years preceding their amendment.  In this episode, Eric answers:

  • What factors should we consider as we think about when the guidelines many be amended?
  • Who influences the Sentencing Commission’s amendment priorities for the year?
  • What areas of the organizational guidelines are more likely to be amended?

The Upshot

The Upshot this week is when you are thinking about when the organizational guidelines may be amended, take a close look at the Sentencing Commission’s priorities that come out in May or June of each year and keep an eye on who President Trump appoints to the Commission. As far as what might be amended, more talk and guidance around the concept of incentives is in order. There might be some consideration of making the fine provisions of Chapter 8 more applicable to offenses that are currently carved out.

Three Questions with Joe Murphy

For 40 years, Joe Murphy, CCEP, has been a tireless champion of compliance and ethics in organizations and has done work in this field on six continents. Joe has published over 100 articles and given over 200 presentations in 17 countries.  Joe is author of 501 Ideas for Your Compliance & Ethics Program and A Compliance & Ethics Program on a Dollar a Day. He is a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional and a member of the board of the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics. Joe was named one of The National Law Journal’s 50 Governance, Risk and Compliance Trailblazers and Pioneers 2014.

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