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Old 04-16-2004, 05:43 PM
mach1 mach1 is offline
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Question Minor v. Minimal Participant Role?

Who in this brilliant community can tell me what the difference is between "minor" v. "minimal" participant with respect to the federal sentencing guidelines??? Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:52 PM
hkieffer hkieffer is offline
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it is all relative. A minor participant gets a 2 level reduction under the US Sentencing Guidelines and a minimal participant get 4. These adjustments are typically considered in drug cases.

The Guidelines (commentary) suggest that neither (adjustment) will happen very often. FYI - 3 levels is possible for a finding in between the two mitigating roles. Also, there is quite a lot of case law in this area as well as a diversity of opinions over the varios Circuits. For example, someone who just serves as a mule or courier doesn't necessarily get a reduction. The fact that a case has only one defendant also doesn't mean that a role reduction is not possible.

There are so many variables it is very difficult, if not impossible, to speculate. Under the Nov. 1, 2002 version a role reduction is required to "cap" the drug quantity at level 30.
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Old 04-22-2004, 06:03 AM
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John B. Webster John B. Webster is offline
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Mach1:

Below is the Guideline Commentary on the difference. They seem like a distinction without a difference to me, but hope this helps.


4. Minimal Participant.—Subsection (a) applies to a defendant described in Application Note 3(A) who plays a minimal role in concerted activity. It is intended to cover defendants who are plainly among the least culpable of those involved in the conduct of a group. Under this provision, the defendant’s lack of knowledge or understanding of the scope and structure of the enterprise and of the activities of others is indicative of a role as minimal participant. It is intended that the downward adjustment for a minimal participant will be used infrequently.

5. Minor Participant.— Subsection (b) applies to a defendant described in Application Note 3(A) who is less culpable than most other participants, but whose role could not be described as minimal.
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Old 04-22-2004, 08:46 AM
hkieffer hkieffer is offline
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The commentary should be read along with the application notes (in this case, Application Note 3(A)) and the relevant law in the Circuit.
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Old 04-23-2004, 04:25 PM
mach1 mach1 is offline
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Thanks folks! This helps!! Just to recap, Is either minimal or minor a downward departure OR is it an adjustment to the actual sentence?
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Old 04-23-2004, 05:48 PM
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It is an adjustment
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Old 04-23-2004, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mach1
Thanks folks! This helps!! Just to recap, Is either minimal or minor a downward departure OR is it an adjustment to the actual sentence?
Just to clarify a bit. A mitigating role adjustment is to the total offense level under the Guidelines - not to any actual sentence.
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