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Argued: August 30, 2001

Appeal from a judgment of conviction entered by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Michael B. Mukasey, Chief Judge) after defendant’s plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. �� 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(i), and 846. Before the District Court, defendant argued that pursuant to United States Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”) � 4A1.3, the sentencing judge could impose a sentence below the lower range for Criminal History Category I on the basis of defendant’s minor criminal history. The District Court rejected this argument, refusing to grant a downward departure below the applicable Guidelines range. We hold that a downward departure below the lower limit of the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range for Criminal History Category I on the basis of the minor nature of a defendant’s criminal history is not permissible. In addition, Offense Level points cannot be deducted under U.S.S.G. � 2D1.1(b)(6) where the defendant fails to satisfy the criteria for safety valve relief under U.S.S.G. � 5C1.2 due to his accumulation of criminal history points.


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