sential—to [the judge's] selection of an appropriate sentence is the possession of the fullest information possible concerning the defendant's life and characteristics." Id., at 247 (footnote omitted); see Nichols, supra, at 747 (noting that sentencing courts have traditionally and constitutionally "considered a defendant's past criminal behavior, even if no conviction resulted from that behavior") (citing Williams, supra); BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U. S. 559, 573, n. 19 (1996) ("A sentencing judge may even consider past criminal behavior which did not result in a conviction") (citing Williams, supra). Neither the broad language of § 3661 nor our holding in Williams suggests any basis for the courts to invent a blanket prohibition against considering certain types of evidence at sentencing. Indeed, under the pre-Guidelines sentencing regime, it was "well established that a sentencing judge may take into account facts introduced at trial relating to other charges, even ones of which the defendant has been acquitted." United States v. Donelson, 695 F. 2d 583, 590 (CADC 1982) (Scalia, J.).
The Guidelines did not alter this aspect of the sentencing court's discretion. " '[V]ery roughly speaking, [relevant conduct] corresponds to those actions and circumstances that courts typically took into account when sentencing prior to the Guidelines' enactment.' " Witte, supra, at 402 (quoting United States v. Wright, 873 F. 2d 437, 441 (CA1 1989) (Breyer, J.)). Section 1B1.4 of the Guidelines reflects the policy set forth in 18 U. S. C. § 3661:
"In determining the sentence to impose within the guideline range, or whether a departure from the guidelines is warranted, the court may consider, without limitation, any information concerning the background, character and conduct of the defendant, unless otherwise prohibited by law. See 18 U. S. C. § 3661."
Section 1B1.3, in turn, describes in sweeping language the conduct that a sentencing court may consider in determiningPage: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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