Specifically, Section 5K1.1 of the USSG states:
“§5K1.1. Substantial Assistance Motions (Policy Statement)
(a) The appropriate reduction shall be determined by the court for reasons stated that may include, but are not limited to, consideration of the following:
(1) the court’s evaluation of the significance and usefulness of the defendant’s assistance, taking into consideration the government’s evaluation of the assistance rendered;
(2) the truthfulness, completeness, and reliability of any information or testimony provided by the defendant;
(3) the nature and extent of the defendant’s assistance;
(4) any injury suffered, or any danger or risk of injury to the defendant or his family resulting from his assistance;
(5) the timeliness of the defendant’s assistance.”
Initiated by Federal Prosecutors
5K1.1 Substantial Assistance Motions are initiated by the government, typically by the prosecutor, and is based on the defendant’s cooperation with law enforcement authorities or the prosecutor’s office in providing information or testimony that aids in the investigation or prosecution of other individuals involved in criminal activities.
The decision to file a 5K1.1 motion is generally at the discretion of the government.
When the government files 5K1.1 substantial assistance motions, the court has the authority to depart from the otherwise applicable sentencing guidelines range and impose a more lenient sentence on the defendant.
The extent of the departure is determined by the court, taking into consideration factors such as the significance and usefulness of the defendant’s assistance, the nature and extent of their cooperation, the timeliness of their assistance, and any risks or injuries they or their family may have faced as a result of their cooperation.
US Sentencing Guidelines Implications
In summary, a 5K1.1 motion is a provision in the United States Sentencing Guidelines that allows for a downward departure from the applicable sentencing range for a defendant who has provided substantial assistance to the government in the investigation or prosecution of another person.
This motion is initiated by the government and is based on the defendant’s cooperation with authorities, potentially resulting in a more lenient sentence.