2009 FEDERAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES MANUAL
CHAPTER 5 - PART K - DEPARTURES
2. OTHER GROUNDS FOR DEPARTURE
§5K2.10. Victim’s Conduct (Policy Statement)
If the victim’s wrongful conduct contributed significantly to provoking the offense behavior, the court may reduce the sentence below the guideline range to reflect the nature and circumstances of the offense. In deciding whether a sentence reduction is warranted, and the extent of such reduction, the court should consider the following:
(1) The size and strength of the victim, or other relevant physical characteristics, in comparison with those of the defendant.
(2) The persistence of the victim’s conduct and any efforts by the defendant to prevent confrontation.
(3) The danger reasonably perceived by the defendant, including the victim’s reputation for violence.
(4) The danger actually presented to the defendant by the victim.
(5) Any other relevant conduct by the victim that substantially contributed to the danger presented.
(6) The proportionality and reasonableness of the defendant’s response to the victim’s provocation.
Victim misconduct ordinarily would not be sufficient to warrant application of this provision in the context of offenses under Chapter Two, Part A, Subpart 3 (Criminal Sexual Abuse). In addition, this provision usually would not be relevant in the context of non-violent offenses. There may, however, be unusual circumstances in which substantial victim misconduct would warrant a reduced penalty in the case of a non-violent offense. For example, an extended course of provocation and harassment might lead a defendant to steal or destroy property in retaliation.
Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective October 27, 2003 (see Appendix C, amendment 651).