News and Information
Guidelines E-News is a periodic newsletter delivered via email by the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy. Guidelines E-News provides information on the system of voluntary guidelines for the State’s circuit courts and highlights changes to the guidelines. It also provides useful information on worksheet completion and submission.
E-News 2023, Volume 18
News Releases – 2023
- November 17, 2023: Proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines were published in the November 17, 2023, issue of the Maryland Register (Volume 50, Issue 23). The proposed amendments have three purposes. The first purpose is to add the definition of a feigned weapon and to clarify that sentences to probation before judgement (PBJ) pursuant to either CP, §6-220(b) or CP, §6-220(c) are included in the definition of adjudications. The second purpose is to replace references to “adjudication of guilt” with “adjudication”, “convicted offense” with “offense”, and “conviction” with “adjudication” or “offense” in instances where the intended meaning of “conviction” includes PBJs pursuant to either CP, §6-220(b) or CP, §6-220(c). Finally, the third purpose is to specify that a feigned weapon shall be scored 1 point under part C (weapon presence) of the offense score. Public comments on the proposed amendments will be accepted through December 18, 2023.
- November 13, 2023: The MSCCSP issued a new version of the Guidelines Offense Table (Appendix A of the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines Manual) and adopted corresponding updates in the Code of Maryland Regulations, effective November 13, 2023. See the November 2023 Guidelines E-News for details on these revisions, including the classification of new and amended offenses passed during the 2023 Legislative Session; the classification of three previously unclassified offenses; revised seriousness categories for subsequent drug offenses with a 40-year maximum penalty; and minor edits to the table.
- November 6, 2023: The MSCCSP released Issue 11 of the Sentencing Snapshot. Issue 11 provides a brief summary of the MSCCSP’s July 2023 report, An Assessment of Racial Differences in Guidelines-Eligible Sentencing Events.
- October 11, 2023: Members of the public are invited to address the MSCCSP regarding criminal sentencing policy issues in Maryland at its annual public comments hearing to be held at 5:00 pm on December 5, 2023 at the Maryland Judicial Center. All who are interested in speaking are asked to register and submit a written version of their testimony in advance but not later than December 1, 2023. Please submit written testimony to David Soulé, Executive Director of the Commission, at email@example.com. If participants are not able to present testimony in-person, a videoconference option can be made available upon request. Those who wish to simply observe may view the livestream via the MSCCSP YouTube channel.
- October 10, 2023: The MSCCSP is pleased to announce that Governor Wes Moore appointed Larry L. Johnson to a four-year term as a member of the Commission. Mr. Johnson was appointed as one of the two public representatives on the MSCCSP.
- September 8, 2023: Proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines were published in the September 8, 2023, issue of the Maryland Register (Volume 50, Issue 18). The proposed amendments modify the table of seriousness categories (guidelines offense table) to include (1) the addition of new and revised offenses from the 2023 Legislative Session, (2) the addition of previously unclassified offenses, (3) revised seriousness categories for select subsequent drug offenses, (4) replacing all instances of “inmate” with “incarcerated individual,” and (5) other minor edits to the table. Public comments on the proposed amendments will be accepted through October 10, 2023.
- August 28, 2023: The MSCCSP is pleased to welcome Lydia Becker, who is joining the MSCCSP staff as a Policy Analyst/Graduate Research Assistant. Lydia is a doctoral student in the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland.
- August 7, 2023: The MSCCSP released Issue 10 of the Sentencing Snapshot. Issue 10 examines sentencing trends in Maryland circuit courts for child abuse.
- July 14, 2023: The MSCCSP released its report assessing racial differences in Maryland guidelines-eligible sentencing events.
- July 1, 2023: The MSCCSP has revised the Guidelines Offense Table to include a new cannabis cultivation offense, effective July 1, 2023. The July 2023 Guidelines E-News contains additional details, including guidance on the calculation of the Juvenile Delinquency and Prior Adult Criminal Record scores for previous cannabis possession adjudications.
- June 30, 2023: Proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines were published in the June 30, 2023, issue of the Maryland Register (Volume 50, Issue 13). The proposed amendments: 1) clarify that animals may not be considered victims for the purposes of applying the multiple victims stacking rule; and 2) modify guidelines rules to indicate that when there is a criminal event with multiple offenses, and the sentence for one of the offenses is statutorily required to run consecutive to the sentence for another offense in the same criminal event, the upper limit of the guidelines range for the offense whose sentence is required to run consecutive to another offense shall be added to the upper limit of the guidelines range for the eligible other offense to obtain the upper limit of the overall guidelines range. Public comments on the proposed amendments will be accepted through July 31, 2023.
- June 29, 2023: The MSCCSP is pleased to announce the reappointment of Delegate David H. Moon and Delegate J. Sandy Bartlett to new four-year terms with the Commission. The Speaker of the House, Adrienne A. Jones, reappointed Delegate Moon and Delegate Bartlett to fill the two MSCCSP House of Delegates positions.
- April 21, 2023: Proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines were published in the April 21, 2023, issue of the Maryland Register (Volume 50, Issue 8). The proposed amendments include the sentencing guidelines seriousness category classification for the new cannabis cultivation offense enacted by Ch. 26 (H.B. 837), Acts of 2022. Public comments on the proposed amendments will be accepted through May 22, 2023.
- April 3, 2023: To account for recent cannabis legislation, the MSCCSP issued new versions of the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines Manual and the Guidelines Offense Table, and the corresponding updates were adopted in the Code of Maryland Regulations, effective April 1, 2023. The April 2023 Guidelines E-News contains additional details about these updates, including updated guidance on the calculation of the Prior Adult Criminal Record, as well as information about a MAGS alert message.
- March 13, 2023: The MSCCSP released Issue 9 of the Sentencing Snapshot. Issue 9 examines sentencing trends in Maryland circuit courts for manslaughter.
- February 1, 2023: Revisions to the definition of a single criminal event were adopted effective February 1, 2023. The February 2023 Guidelines E-News provides details on these revisions. The E-News also discusses the impact of recent cannabis penalty changes on the sentencing guidelines, provides links to the MSCCSP’s new crimes of violence data dashboard and 2022 annual report, and notes upcoming opportunities for sentencing guidelines training.
- January 30, 2023: The MSCCSP released its 2022 annual report, which covers the Commission’s activities over the past year and reviews circuit court sentencing practices for fiscal year 2021. Pursuant to Ch. 141 (S.B. 763), Acts of 2022, the MSCCSP also presents, in the annual report, information on sentences for crimes of violence and a corresponding data dashboard.
- January 13, 2023: Proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines were published in the January 13, 2023, issue of the Maryland Register (Volume 50, Issue 1). The proposed amendments include: 1) clarifying the definition of “explosive” as it pertains to the assignment of weapon presence points in part C of the offense score; and 2) revisions that account for recent cannabis legislation (Chapter 26 (H.B. 837), Acts of 2022) that substitutes the term marijuana with cannabis, legalizes the use or possession of a personal amount of cannabis, and reduces the maximum penalty from 5 years to 3 years for unlawfully possess with intent to distribute, manufacture, possess production equipment—cannabis. Public comments on the proposed amendments will be accepted through February 13, 2023.
- January 4, 2023: The MSCCSP is pleased to welcome Kathy Sanchez who is joining the MSCCSP staff as a Research Analyst/Faculty Specialist.