United States v. Watts, 519 U.S. 148, 6 (1997) (per curiam)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Cite as: 519 U. S. 148 (1997)

Per Curiam

the applicable guideline range. The commentary to that section states: "Conduct that is not formally charged or is not an element of the offense of conviction may enter into the determination of the applicable guideline sentencing range." USSG 1B1.3, comment., backg'd. With respect to certain offenses, such as Putra's drug conviction, USSG 1B1.3(a)(2) requires the sentencing court to consider "all acts and omissions . . . that were part of the same course of conduct or common scheme or plan as the offense of conviction." Application Note 3 explains that "[a]pplication of this provision does not require the defendant, in fact, to have been convicted of multiple counts." The Note also gives the following example:

"[W]here the defendant engaged in three drug sales of 10, 15, and 20 grams of cocaine, as part of the same course of conduct or common scheme or plan, subsection (a)(2) provides that the total quantity of cocaine involved (45 grams) is to be used to determine the offense level even if the defendant is convicted of a single count charging only one of the sales."

Accordingly, the Guidelines conclude that "[r]elying on the entire range of conduct, regardless of the number of counts that are alleged or on which a conviction is obtained, appears to be the most reasonable approach to writing workable guidelines for these offenses." USSG 1B1.3, comment., backg'd (emphasis added).

Although Justice Stevens' dissent concedes that a district court may properly consider "evidence adduced in a trial that resulted in an acquittal" when choosing a particular sentence within a guideline range, it argues that the court must close its eyes to acquitted conduct at earlier stages of the sentencing process because the "broadly inclusive language of 3661" is incorporated only into 1B1.4 of the Guidelines. Post, at 162. This argument ignores 1B1.3 which, as we have noted, directs sentencing courts to con-


Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007