Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


Compared to the previous two years, the Eleventh Circuit issued relatively few published opinions relating to the United States Sentencing Guidelines ("U.S.S.G.") during 2000. This decline could be the result of fewer guidelines cases being presented to the Eleventh Circuit or more guideline cases being disposed of in unpublished opinions. An equally likely explanation, however, may be that the court has been inundated with cases involving the application of the landmark United States Supreme Court decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey. Courts across the nation have been grappling with the ripple effects of the potentially far reaching applications of Apprendi. This Article discusses some of those applications, including the effect of Apprendi on the guidelines in general, on drug quantity calculations under U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, and on the career offender guideline.

The published guidelines cases that the Eleventh Circuit considered in 2000 address the applicability of the guidelines, relevant conduct calculations, and the scope of resentencing based on retroactive guideline amendments. The court also reviewed the guidelines applicable to various offenses, such as robbery, drugs, racketeering influenced in corrupt organizations (RICO), pornography, voter fraud, firearms, immigration, and money laundering. In contrast to recent years, the cases involving the robbery guidelines far outnumbered the cases involving other guideline provisions, including the drug guidelines.

The court also interpreted some of the guideline adjustments, such as the defendant's role in the offense, abuse of a position of trust, obstruction of justice, acceptance of responsibility, and the safety valve. Although the court only dealt with the criminal history chapter of the guidelines in a few cases, it issued some significant decisions regarding criminal history calculations and the career offender enhancement. The court dealt with fewer departure cases than in prior years. Nonetheless, the court followed the general trend established in recent years by affirming upward departures, reversing downward departures, and affirming district court decisions not to depart downward. Additionally, the court rendered several decisions relating to sentencing procedures and plea agreements, and guideline calculations in cases involving supervised release violations.