Acceptance of Responsibility and Conspiracy Sentences in Drug Prosecutions After Apprendi

16 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2002  

Nancy J. King

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Susan R. Klein

University of Texas School of Law

Abstract

In this article, we address two concerns about federal drug sentencing following the decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey. First, we suggest that the United States Sentencing Commission add an Application Note to the Commentary that accompanies the acceptance of responsibility section of the Guidelines, to clarify that acceptance points are appropriate not only for defendants who plead guilty to the charged offense, but for defendants whose unambiguous offers to plead guilty to a lesser-included offense are rejected by the prosecution, and who are acquitted of the greater offense. Second, we suggest that Congress consider amending the federal drug conspiracy statute, 21 U.S.C. Section 841, to add a mens rea requirement for drug quantity and type. This will retain pre-Apprendi conspiracy sentencing practice, which was unintentionally modified by the interaction between Apprendi, the conspiracy statute, and Section 1B1.3 (a)(1)(B) of the Guidelines.

Suggested Citation

King, Nancy J. and Klein, Susan R., Acceptance of Responsibility and Conspiracy Sentences in Drug Prosecutions After Apprendi. Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 02-05; and U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 41. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=321422 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.321422

Nancy J. King (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
(615) 343-9836 (Phone)
(615) 322-6631 (Fax)

Susan R. Klein

University of Texas School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
512-232-1324 (Phone)
512-471-6988 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/sklein/

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