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
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
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