Section 5K1.1 is a part of the United States Sentencing Guidelines that allows the government to make a motion before the Court asking that a criminal defendant’s sentence be reduced. This motion is made at the time of sentencing and is not binding on the Court. This is a government sponsored motion and is filed because the defendant has given substantial assistance in the prosecution or investigation of another person. Providing substantial assistance, or what is more commonly referred to as “cooperating with law enforcement,” is a departure that is encouraged in federal sentencing guidelines.
If the Court grants the government’s 5K1.1 motion, the judge is free to depart more or less than either the government or the defense seeks. In order to determine how significantly it should depart from the sentencing guideline range, the court will evaluate, among other things, the nature and extent of the defendant’s cooperation.