Remorse, Cooperation, and 'Acceptance of Responsibility': The Structure, Implementation, and Reform of Section 3E1.1 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

68 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2014  

Michael M. O'Hear

Marquette University - Law School

Abstract

Section 3E1.1 of the federal sentencing guidelines provides a generous discount for defendants who demonstrate "acceptance of responsibility" for their offenses. This article considers the purposes, evolution, and implementation in practice of 3E1.1. The article shows that 3E1.1 is animated by two distinct purposes that are in tension with one another: the recognition of genuine remorse and the reward of cooperation with the authorities. The article argues against the remorse-recognition purpose and proposes reforms to 3E1.1 that would more clearly focus on rewarding cooperation.

Keywords: criminal law, sentencing, Federal Sentencing Guidelines, post-offense

Suggested Citation

O'Hear, Michael M., Remorse, Cooperation, and 'Acceptance of Responsibility': The Structure, Implementation, and Reform of Section 3E1.1 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 91, No. 4, 1997; Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 14-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2469451

Michael M. O'Hear (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Sensenbrenner Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States
414-288-3587 (Phone)
414-288-5914 (Fax)

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