Requires a court, in sentencing a defendant convicted of an offense involving a minor victim, to impose a sentence within the Federal sentencing guidelines range for that offense unless the court finds that:
(1) there exists an aggravating circumstance of a kind or to a degree not adequately taken into consideration by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (Commission) in formulating its guidelines that should result in a sentence greater than that described;
(2) there exists a mitigating circumstance of a kind or to a degree that has been affirmatively and specifically identified in the sentencing guidelines or policy statements as a permissible ground of downward departure (imposition of a sentence below the range established by such guidelines) taking into account any amendments to such guidelines or policy statements by Congress, has not been taken into consideration by the Commission in formulating its guidelines, and should result in a different sentence; or
(3) the defendant has provided substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person that should result in a sentence lower than that described.
Requires a court, in determining whether a circumstance was adequately taken into consideration, to consider only the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and official commentary of the Commission, together with any amendments thereto by act of Congress.
Amends the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to allow a sentencing court to impose a sentence below the authorized range only if the court finds that there is a mitigating circumstance of a kind or to a degree that:
(1) has been affirmatively and specifically identified as a permissible ground of downward departure in the sentencing guidelines or policy statements, taking into account any amendments thereto by act of Congress;
(2) has not been adequately taken into consideration by the Commission in formulating its guidelines; and
(3) should result in a sentence different from that described.
Makes such grounds the sole permissible grounds for downward departure.
Sets forth policy statements regarding specific offender characteristics as grounds for downward departure (including, under specified circumstances, age and extraordinary physical impairment, but excluding drug, alcohol, or gambling dependence or abuse).
Requires the court, at the time of sentencing, to state the reasons for imposition of a particular sentence (current law) and to include such reasons in the written order of judgment and commitment, except to the extent the court relies on in camera statements.
Authorizes appellate review of a sentence that is outside the applicable guideline range:
(1) if the district court failed to provide such written statement; or
(2) the departure is based on an impermissible factor or to an unreasonable degree.
Prohibits a court, upon remand, from imposing a sentence outside the applicable guidelines except upon a ground that was: (1) specifically and affirmatively included in the prior written statement of reasons for a sentence; and (2) was upheld by the court of appeals as a permissible ground of departure.
Modifies the Guidelines Manual of the Commission to allow one additional offense level reduction when: (1) a defendant timely notifies authorities of the intention of entering a plea of guilty, thereby avoiding the need for government preparation for trial; and (2) the government enters a formal motion for such reduction at the time of sentencing.
Requires the Chief Judge of each district court to ensure that the report submitted to the Commission by the sentencing court within 30 days following entry of judgment in every criminal case includes:
(1) the judgment and commitment order;
(2) the statement of reasons for the sentence imposed (including the reason for any departure from the otherwise applicable guideline range);
(3) any plea agreement;
(4) the indictment or other charging document; and
(5) the pre-sentence report.
Directs the Commission:
(1) upon request, to make available to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees the written reports and all underlying records accompanying those reports, as well as other records received from courts; and
(2) to submit to Congress at least annually an analysis of these documents, any recommendations for legislation that the Commission concludes is warranted by that analysis, and an accounting of those districts that the Commission believes have not submitted the appropriate information and documents required.
Considers a defendant to have engaged in a pattern of activity involving prohibited sexual conduct if, on at least two separate occasions, such defendant engaged in such conduct with a minor. (Current law requires such conduct on at least two separate occasions with at least two different minors.)
Provides for specified offense level increases if the offense involved: (1) material that portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence (up four levels); and (2) specified numbers of images (up from two to five levels).
Requires the Attorney General to report to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees:
(1) not later than 15 days after a district court's grant of a downward departure in any case other than one involving such a departure for substantial assistance to authorities, setting forth the case, the facts involved, the identity of the district court judge, the district court's stated reasons, whether the court provided the United States with advance notice of its intention to depart, the position of the parties with respect to the departure, and whether the United States has filed or intends to file a motion for reconsideration; and
(2) not later than five days after the Solicitor General decides whether to authorize an appeal of the departure, informing the committees of the decision and the basis for it.
Requires the Commission to review the grounds of downward departure authorized by the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and official commentary, and promulgate:
(1) appropriate amendments to ensure that the incidence of downward departures are substantially reduced;
(2) a policy statement authorizing a downward departure of not more than four levels if the government files a motion for such departure pursuant to an authorized early disposition program; and
(3) any other necessary conforming amendments.