skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 140272 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Relevant Conduct: The Cornerstone of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (From United States Sentencing Commission Reprint Series, V I, June 1992, P 3-39 -- See NCJ-140271)
Author(s): W W Wilkins Jr; J R Steer
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 37
Sponsoring Agency: US Sentencing Cmssn
Washington, DC 20002
Sale Source: US Sentencing Cmssn
1 Columbus Circle, NE
Suite 2-500, South Lobby
Washington, DC 20002
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explains the Federal sentencing guideline entitled "Relevant Conduct," which constitutes the cornerstone of the Federal sentencing guideline system.
Abstract: "Relevant Conduct," as understood by the Federal sentencing guidelines has three dimensions: a temporal dimension, which focuses on the totality of a defendant's conduct from the planning stages of the offense to the post-offense behavior that bears on the possible guideline adjustments of obstruction and acceptance of responsibility; an accomplice-attribution dimension, which focuses on the conduct of others who act in concert with the defendant and for which the defendant should be held accountable at sentencing; and a third dimension that incorporates both of the other two dimensions and permits the court to look beyond the actual offense of conviction to the entire range of a defendant's similar offense behavior. Once the court has determined the offense conduct guideline most applicable to the offense of conviction, it is this composite of the defendant's conduct and related information that essentially determines the appropriate guideline sentencing range. In applying Relevant Conduct precepts and resolving related disputes, courts generally should be governed by a preponderance- of-the-evidence standard of proof, with the burden of persuasion generally resting on the government to establish aggravating factors and on the defendant to establish mitigating factors. The court can then draw upon any other reliable, relevant information to complete the composition of an appropriate sentence. Appended Relevant Conduct guideline with commentary and 138 footnotes
Main Term(s): Sentencing factors; Sentencing guidelines
Index Term(s): Federal courts
Note: Reprinted from South Carolina Law Review 41(3):495-531.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.