that he "does not have more than 1 criminal history point, as determined under the sentencing guidelines" because Mr. Robinson continues to have 2-3 criminal history points regardless of the Court's findings under Section 4A1.3. See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)(1); U.S.S.G. § 5C1.2(1). In its binding interpretation of the safety valve provision, the Sentencing Commission has defined "more than 1 criminal history point under the sentencing guidelines" to mean "more than 1 criminal history point as determined under § 4A1.1 (Criminal History Category)." U.S.S.G. § 5C1.2, Application Note 1; see United States v. Plunkett, 326 U.S. App. D.C. 346, 125 F.3d 873, 875 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (application notes to Section 5C1.2 binding unless flatly inconsistent with Guideline). From this, the government argues that any change in the number of criminal history points brought about by the application of Section 4A1.3 does not affect Section 5C1.2 eligibility because Section 5C1.2 mentions only Section 4A1.1.
Section 4A1.1 provides the framework by which the Court calculates the number of criminal history points a defendant accumulates for prior offenses and that calculation, in turn, "determine[s] the criminal history category" that applies. U.S.S.G. § 4A1.1. Section 4A1.1 is followed immediately by Section 4A1.2, which defines the terms used in Section 4A1.1 and provides that those definitions "govern the computation of the criminal history points," Commentary to 4A1.1, and by Section 4A1.3, a policy statement providing guidance for departures. The obvious interrelationship between the provisions of Chapter 4 demonstrates that the government is wrong in suggesting that Section 4A1.1 must be considered in isolation. As the Supreme Court noted in Williams v. United States, 503 U.S. 193, 200-201, 117 L. Ed. 2d 341, 112 S. Ct. 1112 (1992), Section 4A1.3 is an "authoritative guide" to the meaning of Section 4A1.1. See also United States v. Spencer, 25 F.3d at 1112-13; United States v. Beckham, 296 U.S. App. D.C. 311, 968 F.2d 47, 54 n. 4 (D.C. Cir. 1992). The reference in Section 5C1.2, the safety valve Guideline, to Section 4A1.1 therefore necessarily includes not only Section 4A1.1 itself, but also the definitions provided by Section 4A1.2 and the guidance provided by Section 4A1.3. Accordingly, the Section 4A1.3 departure guidance must be considered in determining whether Mr. Robinson has met the requirements for treatment under the safety valve.
Reading Section 4A1.1 to include Section 4A1.3 is also consistent with Congress' stated intent in passing the safety valve provision. The fundamental purpose of the safety valve legislation was to "refine the operation of certain mandatory minimum sentencing provisions" for "a narrow class of defendants, those who are the least culpable," in narcotics cases where the mandatory minimum sentence is not warranted and to account for "mitigating factors currently recognized under the federal sentencing guidelines." H.R. Rep. No. 460, 103rd Cong., 2d Sess. 2 (1994).
Section 5C1.2, the Guideline's interpretation of the statutory safety valve provision, makes specific reference to Section 4A1.1. In turn, Section 4A1.1 recognizes that the measures provided in Section 4A1.1 for evaluating the seriousness of past crimes are imperfect and that it therefore is appropriate for the Court to consider the factors and information about the significance of past conduct elaborated in Section 4A1.3 "as a basis for imposing a sentence outside the applicable guideline range." See U.S.S.G. § 4A1.1, Background. Since the considerations enumerated in Section 4A1.3 are relevant in determining the proper application of the factors enumerated in Section 4A1.1, the reference to Section 4A1.1 in Section 5C1.2 necessarily contemplates that Section 4A1.3 also will be considered.
The Court concludes that the downward departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4A1.3 places Mr. Robinson in a Criminal History Category I which carries with it a corresponding value of 0-1 criminal history points. See U.S.S.G. Ch. 5, Part A, Sentencing Table. With only one criminal history point, Mr. Robinson has satisfied all of the prerequisites for application of the safety valve under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f); accordingly, the statutory mandatory minimum sentence is not applicable to him and he shall be sentenced in accordance with the Guidelines. See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f); U.S.S.G. § 5C1.2.
Because Mr. Robinson meets the criteria of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f), another provision of the Sentencing Guidelines provides that he also is entitled to a two-level reduction in his offense level. See U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(6) (if the defendant meets the criteria of U.S.S.G. § 5C1.2 and the offense level determined by application of U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1 is 26 or greater, the offense level is decreased by two levels). Accordingly, rather than being at an adjusted offense level of 29, Mr. Robinson is at Level 27; he therefore shall be sentenced in accordance with the guideline range for a defendant with an offense level 27, Criminal History Category I, or a range of 70 to 87 months.
PAUL L. FRIEDMAN
United States District Judge